At the start of each membership year (July 1 through June 30), KCBA takes time to plan for the coming period by developing an annual workplan. This month I would like to preview that plan for you.
First, in the member services area, we expect to develop additional social events and new/prospective member orientations after a successful pilot event this past May. We will also be reviewing the results of a recently available installment dues payment plan to assess if that option is helping retain members versus adding too much administrative work for the bar to justify the benefit.
Next, with recent dramatic changes made by the Supreme Court to continuing legal education requirements, KCBA's CLE committee and staff will likely be expanding the scope of our offerings to include non-traditional programming such as practice management.
In the pro bono services area, we plan to survey our volunteers to learn areas of our training and support that might need improvements. We will also be carefully analyzing a recently released update to the State's Civil Legal Needs Study to identify gaps in our program coverage. And I'm pleased to announce that with new funding from the Legal Foundation of Washington, KCBA will be expanding its third-party custody, family law program to assist with unaccompanied minor immigrant children who are eligible for special immigrant status in the United States.
Another important focus this year will be in publications and communications. As previously reported in the Bar Bulletin, KCBA has the results of a communications audit recommending that we redesign our website and allocate additional resources to social media such as LinkedIn. KCBA will begin work on both fronts this summer. In addition, we will be soliciting additional advertisers for the Bar Bulletin and will be exploring ways to improve the production process for our Washington Lawyers Practice Manual.
Complementing the communications work, over the next 12 months KCBA will begin efforts to improve our membership database, which has not seen an update in more than 10 years (a lifetime in terms of rapidly improving technology!). We will evaluate new automated, web-based, lawyer referral technology as well. In both areas we will benefit from similar efforts already undertaken by sister metropolitan bar associations across the country.
The public affairs work by the bar is often the most visible of our activities. This coming year we will be conducting the quadrennial judicial officer survey (bar poll) about Superior Court judges, for release by early 2016 (ahead of the election season). Our Public Policy Committee will be actively investigating three new areas of interest, including administrative law judge independence, voting rights challenges, and the impact of legal financial obligations on indigent residents of our community. Further study and policy recommendations on our state's referendum and initiative process also are continuing. (Please contact me to get involved in any of these four efforts; we're always looking for volunteers!)
Our diversity programs also will be strongly promoted, including the annual MLK Luncheon. We will look carefully at the bar's diversity "pipeline" efforts to ensure we remain vigilant in promoting diversity early in attorneys' careers.
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