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Taking Stock: Strategic Planning for the Next 100 Years

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Congratulations to the leadership of 2014. The installation event was a tremendous success and well attended by our members and bench. I especially want to thank Judge Risë Pichon for administering the oaths of office and Judge James Towrey for his thoughtful reflections on professionalism and how the Santa Clara Bar has been at the forefront of this significant area. On behalf of the 2014 Officers (John Mlnarik, Nicole Isger and Matt Poppe) as well as the Board of Trustees, thank you for your kind support. We are honored to serve this excellent legal community.

2014 marks a transformative year for the Bar and we will continue to need your strong support and participation throughout this year. As I stated in my last column, as we near our 100th anniversary, the Board of Trustees is undertaking substantial strategic planning efforts to ensure that we are strong and vibrant for the next 100 years. Among other things, the leadership will be addressing our core values—who we are and how we can best continue to serve our legal community in the long-term. We will also consider the changing demographics in our legal community as well as what newer lawyers value in a legal organization.

To undertake this journey, it is important that we understand our past. When the Bar was founded in 1917, Woodrow Wilson was President, the world was involved in the First World War and John F. Kennedy was born. 1917 was also a time for development of ideas that continue to be part of our daily lives. The USPTO issued the first patents for the Separable Fastener (later known as the zipper) and sheetrock and a forward thinking automaker designed the first dual power car (a gasoline and electric hybrid known as the Woods Dual Power coupe). Other inventions, such as the World Book Encyclopedia series, have passed their viable lifecycle and/or evolved to fit in an electronic world.

In an institution that is the size and complexity of the Bar, we must strive to balance the values of the past with the needs of the generations of lawyers to come. In identifying our core values and what differentiates our Bar from other types of legal organizations, as well as MCLE service providers, I am consistently drawn back to the caliber and quality of our members, our depth of knowledge of the Courts in this County, and the strong working relationship we have with our bench. As the Board explores our strategic planning, I would urge each of you to contribute your thoughts about how the Bar has impacted the legal community and supported your practice/professional development throughout your legal career.

There is much work to be done in serving our legal community and our ability to continue to ensure access to justice for our clients. I expect that the leadership will also continue to grapple with the dire levels of state funding that seriously jeopardize the excellent venue that Santa Clara County provides to all members of the community. I have asked our presiding judge, the Honorable Brian C. Walsh, to be our guest columnist next month and to update us on court funding and how to compensate for the budgetary crises. Judge Walsh has been extensively involved in the quest for reasonable funding levels and was selected by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to serve as chair of the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee. Please look for Judge Walsh’s article next month and take a few moments to share with us what you value in the Bar. Thank you again for your continued support.

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