December 2015 Bar Bulletin
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From the Desk of the Executive DirectorKCBA’s website could use some TLC. The last time we updated the style and “look” was May 2010, five and a half years ago. I’ve heard an adage that websites show their age faster than chronological years, something akin to “web years” being like “dog years” -so, in reality our site feels like it’s over 30 years old. “Holy obsolescence, Batman.”

Kidding aside, we actually have some empirical data from a recent member survey that our site is far from a regular online destination for attorneys and judges in King County -70 percent report they visit only several times a year, if ever. The next level of visits was 22 percent who stopped by monthly, followed by 8 percent weekly and zero daily.

We haven’t drilled down too deeply yet into the reasons why people don’t visit, but I also don’t think it takes a computer science, graphic design or communications degree to diagnose the root cause of this problem. The site is visually uninteresting, illogically organized and technically lacking for the mobile devices of this decade. I’m sorry to report that the website of our charitable arm, the King County Bar Foundation, is in even worse shape.

Before I take us out to the woodshed, I think it’s fair to offer an explanation to put this situation in context. Unlike most bar associations in the country, KCBA makes a conscious choice to hold back on infrastructure spending so that we can put more of our financial resources into our highly regarded pro bono services and diversity scholarships for law students.

It’s a decision that KCBA leaders easily justify. Spend an extra $25,000 to make our website “prettier” or put that money into protecting more at-risk, indigent neighbors from housing eviction, domestic violence or bankruptcy, or helping a law student take on a little less debt? I stand by that choice to stretch out addressing our infrastructure needs as long as I responsibly can.

That said, the bar’s trustees and staff are stewards of a 129-year-old institution that we are obligated to hand over to the next generation in good working order -if not one improved on during our watch. It’s time to meet this challenge and make an investment in our website.

My action plan involves a few steps before what I hope will be an unveiling next summer of new KCBA and KCBF websites. First, I want to know more about what our members (and prospective members) expect to see online. How will they use the site, what do they need and which areas are most critical to them?


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