February 2015 Bar Bulletin
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Is KCBA Getting It Right or Wrong?



We have conducted two surveys over the past six months and I'd like to share some results with you.

The KCBA Annual Awards Dinner was held last June 18 with more than 400 attendees. The dinner's purpose is twofold. First, we recognize outstanding attorneys and judges for noteworthy accomplishments in the legal profession. Second, we express our appreciation to the outgoing KCBA president for his or her hundreds of hours of volunteer leadership on the profession's behalf, and then we welcome the incoming president with encouragement as he/she begins the next bar "year" (our membership calendar runs from July 1–June 30 each year).

We asked attendees and non-attendees to share feedback afterwards. We learned that among the 308 individuals completing the survey, the most cited reason for attending (33 percent) - respondents could select multiple reasons - was to recognize the specific award winners, with another 27 percent reporting they attended to support the bar. Approximately 14 percent of attendees cited both the opportunity to network and the annual tradition as reasons for attending. A large majority (72 percent) offered that they planned to attend the event again in future years.

Conversely, of 221 individuals who did not attend, 40 percent cited the main reason as the price of admission ($100 per ticket), followed by 30 percent who felt they did not know the honorees. For those who aren't aware, I should note that the cost of individual tickets is primarily a 100-percent pass-through charge for what the hotel quotes KCBA for food and beverage cost. Law firm sponsors generally underwrite the "extra" direct costs of the dinner (audio-visual, video interview recording, etc.). In fact, the event just "breaks even" each year, not making any net for KCBA. Yet, given KCBA's commitment to honoring exceptional lawyers and judges, we produce the event despite this financial reality.

The MLK Luncheon, honoring the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., saw more than 700 attendees on January 16 (please see the article on page 25). Our post-event survey is providing valuable feedback that the planning committee will consider as it begins work on the 2016 event. While the survey result ink is not yet dry as this issue of the Bar Bulletin goes to press, I can preview a few results for you.

Among the 348 individuals completing the survey, we learned that, unlike the Annual Dinner, attending the MLK Luncheon has become more of a tradition for the bench and bar. This was the most cited reason (33 percent) for attending. Supporting KCBA's diversity program came in at 27 percent, followed by 15 percent selecting the keynote speaker as a motivation for attending. Eighty-one percent who attended plan to do so again next year.

Among those who did not attend the Luncheon, schedule conflicts were the most cited reason at 41 percent (compared to 23 percent for the Annual Dinner). And in terms of cost, 32 percent cited the ticket price. I should note that the MLK $50 ticket is half the cost of the Annual Dinner ticket.

I've focused on statistics in this report about the Annual Dinner and MLK Luncheon, but please know that we have almost 100 open-ended comments that survey participants also shared with the bar. That's where we get a lot of important feedback for future events. Among those comments are several by attorneys and judges who expressed a general dislike for attending any events.

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