Dear Family Law Section Members:
I am excited to announce that the Sections of the State Bar are likely to become a new entity at the beginning of 2018. This change will open a world of possibilities as to what we can do for our profession, increase the number of lawyers we reach, and embrace fully the technological advances now available for our work and our relationships.
The good news is that, after separation, you will continue to receive all of the services and benefits you have come to expect from your Section. The better news is that, without the regulatory limitations and costs that came as part of being in an agency of the State of California, we believe that you will get better service, have much more ability to impact how the Sections function, and be far more satisfied with the new entity that serves you.
Consider, for example, how much more efficient the Sections’ committees will be (again) once the limits on electronic communications and meetings among members are lifted. Imagine how a modern, dynamic website and social media on which you, the members, can post directly will improve communications and member interaction. Think about how the freedom of each Section to operate, seek sponsorships, and utilize funds without paying for the costs of the regulatory structure in which we had to operate will free up resources for the Sections’ priorities.
The Legislature, with the support of the State Bar and the Sections, determined that the Sections, including their members, intellectual property, and reserves, will be separated from the State Bar -- the regulatory agency of the State of California in which they have operated for decades. Going forward, the Sections will operate as a private, 501(c)(6) non-profit entity. A bill (described below) now making its way through the Legislature will effectuate this change to allow the State Bar to concentrate on its core public protection missions of admissions and discipline.
Senate Bill 36 appears to be very likely to become law and will transfer the 16 Sections (with more than 60,000 members) and the California Young Lawyers Association (with its 48,000 members) into what will become the second largest voluntary association of lawyers in the nation, smaller only than the American Bar Association.
Senate Bill 36 was introduced by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and amended by Assemblyperson Mark Stone, Chairperson of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, with substantial input from the Chief Justice of California, Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye. SB 36 provides for the creation of a separate, private, non-profit corporation, governed by a board of directors selected by the individual Sections themselves.
The Sections’ financial reserves and intellectual property, including CLE materials and member lists, will go to the new entity. The membership in the new organization will be voluntary. It will not be part of the State Bar, and it will receive no funding from State Bar’s mandatory membership fees – though the legislation does provide that a membership check-off will continue on dues statements for California attorneys. In August, SB 36 was passed through the Assembly Judiciary Committee in modified form by a unanimous vote, as was the case in the Senate. Assuming a final version is passed by both houses, it is expected to reach the Governor’s desk and be signed not later than October 15, 2017.
The Sections are working diligently to develop and put into place a seamless transition plan. Pam Wilson & Associates, headed by the Sections' former senior executive Pam Wilson, has been selected as the primary consultant to head and effectuate the transition to make it successful. If you wish to be part of this historic effort please feel free to contact me, Avi Levy, at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that we can put you in touch with the Section leaders in our new entity planning effort and hear your ideas. We need your help! If you are currently active in your Section, we encourage you to continue everything you do to maintain the strength and vitality of your Section throughout this transition.
The 16 Sections and CYLA provide enormously valuable contributions on so many different levels to all lawyers in California. We look forward to making the most of this unique opportunity for evolution and improvement. Please let us know how we can better serve you, and join us as we build a new future for the Sections and for all California lawyers.
Avi Levy, Incoming Chair 2017-2018
Family Law Section
Wednesday, September 20, 12 noon - 1 p.m.
This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit and 1 hour legal specialization credit in Family Law. You must register in advance to participate.
The presenters will cover topics such as:
Speakers: Michelene Insalaco, Catherine Ongiri and Erin Smith
Are you a Section member who wants to be reminded of all the benefits? Do you have a colleague on the fence about joining the Section? Being a Family Law Section member offers a number of great benefits. READ MORE
We're very grateful for your membership in the Section.
As a token of that, we're offering self-study MCLE credit in the areas of Legal Ethics, Competence Issues, and Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and in Society. The programs are posted in our Member's Only Area.
Simply watch the programs and keep track of having done so. You can report this to the State Bar when it's time to demonstrate your compliance with the MCLE requirements.
The Family Law Section is a sponsor of the radio program “Know Your Legal Rights” hosted in the Bay Area by San Mateo Deputy District Attorney Chuck Finney. Mr. Finney welcomes attorneys and other professionals to talk about hot legal topics on a weekly basis. He routinely hosts members of FlexCom and other family law attorneys to educate the public on burgeoning issues important to our practice. FlexCom thanks Mr. Finney for providing our Section with this forum over the years.
If you are interested in listening to prior broadcasts focused on family law issues, the State Bar website now has a list that dates all the way back to when the Section first started sponsoring the program. Visit the our Your Legal Rights page for additional details. For an entire list of podcasts hosted by Mr. Finney, please see HERE.
Continuing Education of the Bar, California (CEB) is extending some special discount offers to our section. As a member of the Section, you're eligible for:
Information about the section dues rebate program can be found on the CEB Web site.
The State Bar of California's "Get the Legal Facts of Life" Pamphlets are available for purchase from the State Bar. These pamphlets are both educational and informative for your clients.
For more information, see Consumer Education Pamphlets or call the Education Pamphlet Hotline: 888-875-LAWS (888-875-5297).
View Family Law Section programs over the internet for participatory MCLE credit . Choose from hundreds of hours of official State Bar of California MCLE programs. For more information, see streaming audio and video, and select Family Law Be sure to check out CLEtoGo , downloadable podcasts you can listen to on the BART, or on the drive in or from the office.
Who said family law lawyers weren’t social? A reminder, our Family Law Section is on Facebook and Twitter - join us! The Section sees social media as another way to connect our members with information as it develops. Stay in touch with us to learn about the great work being done by Section members across the state. You can Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter at the links below.
Family Law Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639