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A New Legal Reality

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 2, 2020

 

By Michael Lee            2020 SCCBA President

 

Take care of yourself. Take care of your family. Be a support to your friends. Have hope in the future.

 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic the SCCBA, like many of you, is in crisis. We make most of our money through membership dues, special events (all of which are face to face) and CLE seminars. As we shelter-in-place, a major source of income for our organization has disappeared – with no clear alternative – for months on end. In this new reality, lawyers are unable to meet new clients. Courts are closed and work has stopped or slowed in almost every part of the legal system.

 

The SCCBA has responded through reduced work hours, telephonic meetings, a Zoom Pro account, and an upcoming online CLE where judges will tell you about how the Courts are coping, and how it affects the practice of law in our county. Please reach out to us if you think there is anything else we can do for you and for the legal community. Please reach out to us if there is anything you can do for us as a bar association. Please reach out to each other when you are able to lend a helping hand. This is a time of crisis. It is also a time of opportunity.

 

Stay well.

 

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Women’s History Month

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 5, 2020

 

By Michael Lee              2020 SCCBA President

 

March is Women’s History Month. It started in Santa Rosa, California as Women’s History Week in 1978. The organizers chose the week of March 8th to correspond with International Women’s Day.1 We in the Bay Area are a part of a rich history of spear-heading diversity in our community with results that have had ripple effects across the nation. Santa Clara’s corporations have featured woman leaders like Sheryl Sandberg, Meg Whitman, and Carly Fiorina. Our own Laurie Smith is the first female Sheriff in the history of California, first elected into office in 1998.2

 

As you know, there is still a long way to go and much more work to be done. Opportunities to get involved are right at your door-step. Please be a part of this rich history. Our county is sponsoring a Women’s Equality 2020 Leadership Counsel with meetings throughout the county all year long.3

 

Additionally, the SCCBA’s Women Lawyer’s group is one of the most active parts of our organization. It is vital and vibrant. Please consider joining the Women Lawyers today. Be a part of a group that supports each other and supports women throughout the legal field.

 

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[1] https://www.womenshistory.org/womens-history/womens-history-month

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurie_Smith

[3] https://www.sccgov.org/sites/owp/board/womensequality2020/Documents/we2020%20LC%20Meeting%20Dates.pdf

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2020 Salsman Award

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 6, 2020

 

By Michael Lee              2020 SCCBA President

 

Nothing says, “This is your country too,” like a law that prevents your parents from owning property because your mother was born in Japan. When Richard Schramm was a toddler, his parents left Wyoming to live in Oregon because Wyoming law prevented his parents from owning property due to his mother’s Japanese ethnicity.

 

Richard is this year’s recipient of the Salsman Award. During his acceptance speech, he shared about this experience and how he is personally invested in advocating for diversity and inclusion in our legal profession. For almost 30 years, Richard has served as a member of the SCCBA’s Labor-Employment Law section, including as it Chairperson. He will Chair the committee once more in 2021 and has also served as a member of the SCCBA’s Board of Trustees, the Board’s Finance Committee, Chair and Presiding Arbitrator for the Fee Arbitration Committee, Member of the Rainbow and Diversity Committees, and as a Delegate to the American Bar Association.

 

It may be hard to believe that blatantly racist laws personally impacted people we know today. But discrimination and outright racism is not a historical note. It has and does directly impact people we know today. The blatant discrimination of the past has a ripple effect on subsequent thoughts and behavior. New metrics like Harvard’s Implicit Association Test have shown that all of us hold biases against different social groups. We are often even biased against our own groups.

 

It's now commonly accepted social science that young white men are evaluated for promotion based on potential while all other groups are promoted based on proven past leadership. So what we need to create a more level playing field is more women and minorities at the top right? However, “research suggests, it is women and nonwhites themselves who often impede the advancement of their own peers. They do not advocate for them when positions come open or there is an opportunity for a promotion, and they do not provide the mentorship and support that everybody needs to navigate their careers successfully.” Why is this? How do we address bias that is so deeply ingrained that we discriminate against ourselves?

 

Please join me in congratulating Richard for his award and in thanking him for his service to our legal community. Please join me in tackling the issue of increasing diversity and inclusion within our profession by having an honest discussion about the issues and the solutions. Please increase the size of our discussion pool by inviting your colleagues to join the Bar Association. 

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2020 VISION

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 9, 2020

 

By Michael Lee               2020 SCCBA President

 

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) improves results and creativity. Research shows that even the mere presence of people from diverse backgrounds results in better performance. McKinsey and Company studied over 1,000 companies from 12 countries in 2018 and found that greater diversity in the workforce results in greater profitability and value creation. Additionally, on the executive level, there was a statistically significant correlation between diverse leadership and better financial performance. In fact, ethnically diverse organizations are 35% more likely to outperform their peers.[1]

 

Despite the obvious economic benefits of D&I, and the moral imperative that D&I is just “right,” companies still fail to include diverse employees and continue to exclude those who do make it into their organizations. Our profession, the legal profession, remains severely behind even the corporate world in the area of D&I.  

 

It is not enough that minorities are present. I found this survey to be shocking. According to a report released in 2019 by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine, almost two thirds of the participants in a global survey of in-house counsel who specialize in intellectual property state that they have been discriminated against for being a minority.[2] The survey’s definition of minority includes gender and sexual orientation.

 

I would like to make 2020 the year of clear-focus on the issue of increasing diversity and including those who are diverse within our profession.

 

Please join me, with the Bar Association, in tackling this intractable problem. Please tell your colleagues and have them become members of the Bar Association so we can work together. Please celebrate with me on January 29th at the SCCBA offices to install our new officers and begin the year with a conversation of how we can uplift our profession and our society. 



[1] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity

 

[2] https://www.managingip.com/Article/3886470/Managing-Copyright-Archive/Survey-Nearly-two-thirds-of-in-house-counsel-have-faced-discrimination.html

 

 

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more Calendar

8/13/2020
Winning Inside & Outside the Courtroom While Being Civil

8/20/2020
The Critical Deposition of the Human Resources Representative

Recent Recognitions
Susana Inda2018 Barrister of the Year
Constance L. Carpenter2018 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year

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