Catching Up with Lisa Reep

The CC Lawyer is taking a look back for this “Retro Issue.”  No review of the Contra Costa County Bar Association would be complete without a focus upon our former long-time Executive Director, Lisa Reep.  I had the opportunity to catch up with Lisa while she was on a trip in Colorado (home state to both of us), and again before a separate trip to Chicago.  Per her modus operandi, Lisa graciously took the time to participate in this month’s President’s Message:

James Wu: Tell us about how/why you first joined the CCCBA staff.

Lisa Reep:  I had been working as Director of Education for the American Arbitration Association in SF for ten years and was ready for a change.  When I saw the job announcement in the Daily Journal in the fall of 1994, it sounded like a perfect fit.  So I studied up on the CCCBA, asked my Contra Costa attorney contacts a lot of questions, and gave the interview my all.  Marc Hallert called me with a job offer the next morning and I started two weeks later.

James Wu: What are the top five achievements you are most proud of accomplishing as Executive Director of the CCCBA?

Lisa Reep:  This is a toughie!  In collaboration with committed board and committee members, as well as my fabulous staff, I was fortunate to have accomplished so many good things during my 20-year tenure.  Together, we transformed what started as a primarily social organization into a professional association that supported our members’ practices and provided valuable legal services to the community.  Here are five of my top picks:

  • We conceived and launched the annual “MCLE Spectacular” (now in its 24th year);
  • We underwent a comprehensive operational review conducted by the ABA, which brought about major programmatic and corporate governance improvements, as well as the adoption of annual strategic planning sessions with the board (Dick Frankel deserves a shout-out for this one);
  • We established “The BAR Fund” to support the provision of pro bono and related legal services through local agencies;
  • We hired a Communications Coordinator, which resulted in a state-of-the-art redesign of our website (including a mobile-friendly version), a more professional Contra Costa Lawyer magazine (including an on-line version), the launch of our weekly e-mail broadcasts, and vastly improved general interactions with our members and the public;
  • We received outstanding recognition by the State Bar for programs shepherded by our Diversity Committee.

James Wu: What were some of the challenges you faced as ED of the CCCBA?

Lisa Reep:  Section integration was a big one, and a process that took the better part of my 20-year tenure there.  But we ultimately managed to bring them (mostly) into the fold, in large part by providing them with good staff support.  Another challenge was trying to persuade our more traditional members that switching to an on-line version of our magazine made sense.  Another was when the board elected to boycott the Marriott Hotel at the State Bar conference due to their (the Marriott’s) support of Proposition 8.  That raised a lot of ire within a segment of our membership.  But despite the ire, it felt like we did the right thing.  There were also the occasional rogue presidents and staff members, as well as tricky challenges with our Criminal Conflict Program.  And then there was the judicial induction when the Presiding Judge  deemed our president “persona non-grata” after he insulted many of our judges while presenting the gavel to the inductee.  Anyone who was there knows exactly what I’m referring to!

James Wu: In your experience, how does the CCCBA differ (if it does) from other voluntary member Bar Associations?

Lisa Reep:  I was always secretly proud of our bar association when attending the ABA’s annual bar leadership institutes and my fellow California bar association executive director retreats.  I’d listen to the laments and dysfunctions of our counterparts and feel so good about how healthy our bar was in comparison to so many others.  We managed to do so much with our limited resources, and had such healthy relationships within our board, with our sections, the staff, and with the bench.  My ABA colleagues often commented on how the CCCBA was a poster child for bar associations of our size.

James Wu: What advice to you have for CCCBA members in order for them to get the most out of their CCCBA membership?

Lisa Reep:  Get involved and take advantage of everything the CCCBA as to offer!  You’ll get out of it what you put into it.

Editor:  (After Lisa left the CCCBA, she created her own successful business)

James Wu: What inspired you to found your own business after leaving the CCCBA?

Lisa Reep:  I wanted to do something completely different, and something that would be gratifying and helpful to others.  I’ve always loved fashion and organizing spaces, and my Closet Concierge business incorporates both.

James Wu:  Any other interesting topics/old CCCBA secrets/surprises that you’d like to reveal?!

Lisa Reep:  It’s no surprise to most, but I met my wonderful husband, Scott, when he was president of the Barristers in 1994.  I have the CCCBA to thank for that, as well as the many amazing and longstanding friends I met while working there.  I was extremely fortunate to have enjoyed such a rewarding career there, and am so pleased to know what a fabulous successor I have in Theresa Hurley.  She is owning the position and taking the CCCBA to the next level!

James Wu:  Thank you Lisa!  You were a wonderful Executive Director and asset to the CCCBA.  For more information about Lisa, check out her bio article in the September 2017 issue of Benicia Magazine.

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