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Reflections On A Year As SCCBA President: A Humbling And Positive Experience

Posted By Steven B. Haley, Thursday, December 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One of the benefits of being President of the SCCBA is that it has afforded me a unique opportunity to be more deeply involved in the breadth and scope our local legal community.

Throughout this year, I have been impressed by the willingness of the attorneys and judges in our local legal community to participate in the many SCCBA initiatives and programs.  On countless occasions this year I have contacted attorneys and judicial officers, seeking their involvement in various projects and programs. Invariably, they were willing to share their knowledge and insights, and to provide their assistance and time.

As this year progressed, I came to the realization that being President of the SCCBA is both a humbling and a positive experience. My experience as President has provided me with a deeper appreciation for the professionalism of our members, and for the leadership role that they play in our local legal community and in the communities in which we live. I am grateful to have had the opportunity for this experience.

The 2013 Board of Trustees met frequently throughout the year to discuss issues of common interest and concern to our legal community.   One of the major initiatives of the 2013 Board of Trustees was to engage in a concerted effort to improve the communication between the Board and Chairs of the Association’s committees and sections.  Throughout the year, individual Trustees attended various meetings of the committee and section executive committees, in order to gain a clearer understanding of the challenges and the efforts of the various committees and sections in planning the many CLE programs that the SCCBA offers throughout the year.

In addition, Chairs of the committees and sections attended Board of Trustees meetings in order to update the entire Board on the activities of their respective committees and sections.  This process increased the recognition of the leadership role that the Chair group plays in our legal community, improved the interaction between the Board and the Chair group, and improved the awareness and appreciation that members of the Board and members of the Chair group have for their respective roles and efforts.

The 2013 Board of Trustees also adopted the new SCCBA Judicial Assessment Policy and Procedures.  The Policy will provide a method for meaningful feedback and communication between the Bench and the Bar on matters of mutual interest and concern, and is designed to nurture and sustain the longstanding tradition of the close Bench-Bar relationship that we enjoy in Santa Clara County.

I would like to express my gratitude for the time and dedication of the many members who play a leadership role in our legal community.  The 2013 Executive Committee was comprised of:  Dianne Sweeney, president-elect; Matt Poppe, secretary; Sylvia Perez-MacDonald, Treasurer; Ram Fletcher; Gabriel Gregg; Kevin Hammon; Nicole Isger; and J. Carlos Orellana.  The Executive Committee was instrumental in framing the issues and initiatives that the SCCBA pursued this year.   I valued and greatly appreciated their insights, guidance and contributions throughout the year.

Thank you also to Clark Stone, Stephen Wu, Josh Gilliland, John Steele, John Mlnarik, Matt Rudy, Diane Sweeney, Jordan Becker, Jill Fox, Elena Rivkin-Franz and Chris Burdick for their contributions throughout this year as members of the President’s Project Steering Committee.

I would also like to say ‘thank you’ to Chris Burdick and to the SCCBA staff: Angie Loyola; Irene Cortez; Tiffany Taubado; Alisa D’Angelo; Dolores Hernandez; Veronica Checa; Sara Brylowski and Craig Melton.  They are each a pleasure to work with.  They have brought great  dedication to facilitating and enhancing this year’s SCCBA programs and events for the benefit of our membership.  I have so enjoyed working with them this year.

I would like to recognize and express my gratitude to Michael Groom and Tom Cave and the members of my firm, Groom & Cave LLP, for their support for my efforts this year.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to practice law with attorneys of their caliber and integrity.

The 2014 officers for the SCCBA will be: Dianne Sweeney, President; John Mlnarik, President-Elect; Nicole Isger, Secretary; and Matt Poppe, Treasurer.  I wish each of them and the entire 2014 Board of Trustees great success for next year.

As a final thought, the enduring lesson from my experience as 2013 President is that the strength and vitality of our legal community is directly related to the willing participation of our members to work on programs and initiatives that benefit our entire community. Active involvement in our legal community provides each of us with an opportunity to develop and expand our leadership role in our profession, beyond what is normally available through our practices.  More than that, active involvement in our legal community can increase our appreciation for the privilege and responsibilities associated with being a member of our honorable profession.

I wish each of you and your families Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.


Steven B. Haley
Groom & Cave, LLP

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