What Have You Done for Me Lately?

building puzzle in the airThat’s a good question—and it’s more than a Janet Jackson song from 1986. In a time of change and uncertainty the CCCBA was there for our members in a myriad of ways in 2021.
We brought new benefits to support your practice such as FREE access to Fastcase legal research. We started CCCBA PRO (Professional Referral Organization) which gives members another avenue for networking and building business. Our Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) expanded to operate 365-24-7 via an online self-referral system, in addition to staff on the phone lines Monday through Friday from 9 am-4 pm. P.S. The LRIS is a great place to refer anyone you can’t take on as a client!

In 2021 we spotlighted some of the very talented people in our community. In February we held our first Visual Art Show where members displayed their talents in a wide variety of mediums. Several authors highlighted the need for pro bono service in the July Access to Justice themed issue of the Contra Costa Lawyer. In September we gave out the first annual Justice James J. Marchiano Distinguished Service Award to Ray Robinson and recognized our Pro Bono Honor Roll recipients. Entertainment was also on the agenda in 2021 from joint socials with the Alameda County Bar Association to attending a Cal Shakes performance to a Halloween Bar Babies Parade on Zoom.

Once Covid restrictions eased, the Wellness Committee restarted in-person hikes, had a bike ride and started planning a Wellness Challenge for 2022. We also had a Wellness-themed edition of the Contra Costa Lawyer in May 2021 – check it out!

We put on a variety of popular ‘series’ including the Elder Law series where members learned about various areas of law that impact elders in particular. The Attorneys Behaving series examined important topics such as ethics, civility and competence and the Attorneys Working series educated members about cybersecurity, time management and cellphone forensics. The fifth annual and ever-popular Member Information Series included discussions on Medicare, student loans and healthier habits. Check out page 12 for information about the 2022 Basic Trial Skills series.

Some of our long-time events went virtual for the first time including the Officer Installation and Diversity Awards event and Bar Fund Benefit where we raised more than $56,000 for CASA of Contra Costa! We held the 27th Annual MCLE Spectacular as a virtual event for the second time and were again blown away by the outstanding programs put on by our sections and Keynote speakers. We are looking forward to holding these events in person in 2022!

In addition to keeping our members informed about changes at the CC Superior Court we put on training programs for Discovery Facilitators and those wanting to volunteer with eviction matters.

Our DEI committee was busier than ever with new events such as a Juneteenth Celebration, Disability Rights programs, Diversity in Film and education about the Port Chicago Mutiny. In addition, our ongoing DEI Townhall series, fourth annual Lunar New Year celebration and third annual Racial Reconciliation Forum were also popular programs.

The 22 CCCBA Sections were a force to be reckoned with in 2021, presenting over 100 MCLE accredited programs and some very creative social and practical support programs. They kept the CCCBA membership informed, well networked and upleveled all on Zoom.

In 2021 there continued to be a plethora of programming related to Covid issues affecting our members and their clients. The Real Estate Section and the Employment Law Section did their best to tackle many of the most important topics focusing on Covid issues in the workplace and the Tenant Relief Act.

The ADR Section’s two-part Pathways to a Mediation Practice presentation brought together a diverse group of practitioners and judges to discuss the benefits of mediation as a practice area or a practice enhancement. The Elder Law Section started 2021 with an eight-week Elder Law Training Series. This was a huge undertaking and a spectacular success.

The Criminal Law Section offered their annual update in January and out of the box programs throughout the year from the tactical uses of fruit-scented markers during cross examinations, to the changing bail laws. Our Family Law Section held over 17 programs ranging from electronic trial binders and crossover issues surrounding disabled children, to town halls and a judge’s night.

Their eight-part Business Law 101 series announced the resurgence of the Business Law Section. It’s been interesting to watch heroines Britni Spearstein and Marta Stewardess execute their brilliant business idea. Attend in 2022 to see how their business forms. Recent life science cases and innovations in agriculture technology fueled the 2021 programming of the Intellectual Property Section.

The Women’s Section thoroughly supported their membership with Book Clubs focused on racial and DEI issues, Social Hours (including chocolate tasting!), peer support programs and other topical programming. They also awarded two deserving law students with The Honorable Patricia Herron and The Honorable Ellen James Scholarships.

The Estate Planning and Probate Section hosted their 28th Annual Estate Planning Symposium, and along with the Taxation Section and the East County Section, helped keep everyone current on the intricate issues surrounding Proposition 19. Focusing on recruiting more urgently-needed juvenile dependency attorneys, the Juvenile Law Section hosted programming highlighting the work of Contra Costa Juvenile Advocates.

The Solo and Small Firm Section presented courses related to law firm operations and were integral in assisting the beginning of wellness programming for CCCBA, meanwhile the Bankruptcy Law Section hosted numerous practical discussion roundtables for their members. Hosting an extremely popular competence credit program on banishing burn out, was just one of the 2021 contributions of the Litigation Section. The success of the 2021 MCLE Spectacular was due in no small part to our Appellate Section’s review of recent California Supreme Court cases.

In the Spring, the Senior Section held its annual Law Day event and in the Fall hosted an in-person social event at a local winery. Adding to the fun, the Law Student Section hosted a Comedy Night, and the Barristers Section hosted a Valentine’s Day-themed scavenger hunt.

While 2021 was the year everyone seemed to thrive on Zoom, the CCCBA section leadership looks forward to adding some in-person educational programs and networking events in 2022. We hope to SEE everyone again soon!