January 2015 Bar Bulletin
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Dreaming about KCBA

 

 

I'm guessing that for the average KCBA member reading this issue of the Bar Bulletin, it's fair to say you've never found yourself waking in the morning from a dream about KCBA. Not so for your KCBA executive director: I regularly find myself waking in the morning from a dream about KCBA.

Sure, I tend to live and breathe the King County Bar Association 24/7/365, but advancing KCBA's mission is the focus of my work on your behalf. And I'm able to report that my work gives me great satisfaction, so I don't mind the occasional ceding of some dreaming to KCBA (even if I would prefer a few more dreams of me winning the lottery).

While it's almost impossible for me to retain my memory of a dream beyond a minute of waking up, I have some dreams for KCBA that occur while I'm wide awake. In keeping with this month's Bar Bulletin theme, I'd like to share two of my top daydreams for KCBA with you. My hope is that these aren't pipe dreams, but are attainable goals for 2015.

First, I would like for KCBA to do a better job demonstrating and communicating our value to the attorneys and judges in King County. For example, we conduct regular liaison with the trial courts in King County, where bar leaders share their input into important decisions impacting our court system, including the improvement of local court rules.

One new rule being implemented this year will expand the ability to electronically serve various filings on opposing counsel. Yet, as this rule change gets implemented, I would be surprised if more than a handful of the 14,000 lawyers in King County would appreciate that KCBA was the proponent and champion to make this happen.

There are many, many more examples of KCBA's work that happen without fanfare, from court liaison to legislative advocacy to delivery of legal services to the poor. And by dreaming of better communications, I'm not looking for a pat on the back for the bar. But I am looking to remind members that KCBA plays an important role in issues that matter to attorneys and judges. If we don't improve our communication efforts, I fear the axiom "out of sight, out of mind" will result in attorneys not supporting the bar's work through their membership in KCBA.

During 2015, KCBA will work to address its communications challenges by conducting an "audit" of this function, looking to other major metropolitan bars in similar-sized cities for examples of best practices that we can implement here. My dream is that we'll do a better job of communicating our value to members in 2015.

My second dream is to expand our pro bono program by launching new neighborhood legal clinics in south and east King County. We know from recent census reports that the populations of economically challenged neighbors are growing in these areas, yet our 34 monthly Neighborhood Legal Clinics are largely clustered in Seattle. Only two are on the Eastside and six in south King County. Our challenges to addressing this need include finding volunteers who live or work in these areas (clinics are traditionally conducted in the evening) and having sufficient staff support to ensure the volunteers receive the quality training they need.


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