Thank You

This is my last President’s Message to you. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our 1,537 attorney members for your amazing work this year.

I believe the true measure of success of any organization is how much its members give back, and by that measure this year has been a resounding success! Our Executive Director, Theresa Hurley, and her staff have done an incredible job this year in tapping into our giving sides and motivating us to serve and help others while our Contra Costa County Bar Association Board Members have generously donated hours of their time attending board meetings, section events and mixers to keep us going, but that isn’t even close to everything. Here are just a few examples of the things our members have done so far this year- and this is just through the end of October!

Our members generously donated over $100,000 to great causes. Specifically, the Women’s Section raised $7,200 for their scholarship fund, helping three deserving women achieve their dreams of becoming lawyers so that they might help others. The Food from the Bar event raised $56,800 for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. Finally, The Bar Fund raised $42,000 for the Social Justice Collaborative, which provides attorneys to help undocumented immigrants and unaccompanied minors navigate the immigration system.

Our members didn’t just donate money, though. They also donated their precious time to help out with free legal workshops to the public in the areas of Family Law, Immigration, Bankruptcy, Civil Pro Per and Employment.  We had over 60 volunteers in these programs who donated over 150 hours.

Our members also volunteered hundreds of hours serving the courts and the general public who desperately need access to justice. For example, self represented litigants in the Family Law Courts received over 769 hours of free legal services from the 25 regular family law volunteer attorneys who worked in the Family Law Self-Represented Litigant Calendar and Clinic programs.

Our Discovery Facilitator program helps unclog the congested civil calendar.  Over 189 discovery disputes were handled by volunteer attorneys totaling over 400 hours of donated time.

Our Pro Tem Judges served in our various court rooms on at least 183 days handling traffic, small claims and unlawful detainer matters. It is conservatively estimated that our attorneys gave over 1,000 hours of their time helping as Pro Tem Judges.

The time spent by our attorneys giving back this year totals over 2,319 hours. If we assume that attorney time is valued conservatively at $300.00 per hour, the total value would be $695,700.  Think about that for a moment- almost $700,000 worth of attorney time was donated by our members this year alone.

In addition to this, our 20 sections held over 103 events such as mixers, seminars, and clinics.  The Bar staff (with Anne Wolf as the primary coordinator) helped organize these but they took hundreds of hours of time by the section leaders and members to plan and carry them out.

This has been a very fulfilling year for me to associate with you and to watch you in action as you help others through your legal training and expertise. My vision this year was to help us all give back through our sections and to increase diversity in the legal profession and I think we have made great progress on both goals- thanks to all of you. In addition to all the time and money you have given this year, our Diversity Award Program is off to a good start and we will hand out the awards in January at our installation lunch scheduled for January 26, 2018. I hope to see you all there.

In my messages, and hopefully in my practice, I have tried to convey the importance of getting along with others, giving back, being effective in ADR (and in practice generally) by being professional and courteous , helping the elderly, achieving a better work/life balance , coping with stress , being courteous with claims adjusters ) and serving as Pro Tem Judges.

It has been a pleasure to serve you this year.  Thank you for all of your time and efforts that have made this such a successful year for the CCCBA – and for me personally. I look forward to many fulfilling interactions with you over the years to come.

The views expressed in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, State Farm.