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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Conference of California Bar Associations 2011, Long Beach: Take That Otto


By Oliver Dunlap King & Spalding LLP


Otto Von Bismarck famously quipped “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” Clearly Otto had never been part of the Conference of California Bar Associations (CCBA).

The weekend of September 16-18, 2011, delegations of attorneys from county bar associations across the state gathered in Long Beach, aboard the sumptuous and august Queen Mary Hotel, for the 69th Annual Conference of California Bar Associations. Conference delegates were joined by judges, members of the California legislature, and incoming State Bar President (2004 BASF President) Jon Streeter, for three focused days of drafting, debating and making laws that — unlike so many Bismarckian bratwursts — were truly worth seeing.

The BASF delegation, as always, lead the charge, authoring, co-sponsoring and/or amending more than 20 resolutions, 16 of which were passed by the conference, and so will now be handed to CCBA’s lobbyist to complete the process. These resolutions covered areas of family law, civil procedure, trusts & estates and criminal law, and dealt with many crucial issues facing the practice today, such as court funding, civil representation, pro bono commitment and elimination of the death penalty.

In addition to often passionate and rousing discussion, behind-the-scenes caucusing, compromise and pre-vote amendments, the conference also showed its lighter side: Amid the grandeur of the Queen Mary, delegates were treated to the bon-mots of some of our state’s finer orators, while all enjoyed the décor, company and cocktails at CCBA and state bar mixers that bookend the conference’s formal sessions — including the BASF, BALIF and LGLA hosted event honoring Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, in recognition of his strong support for CCBA resolutions over the past two years and continued work on behalf of the underserved and underrepresented.

Indeed, along with Senators Leno and Hancock, and Assemblymembers Ma and Huber (just to name a few), Ammiano and others helped to make six different CCBA resolutions into California law just this year. And, unlike unsavory sausage-makers of the past, BASF and CCBA’s law making has been both enjoyable and successful: Since 2009, CCBA has sponsored more legislation than any other single entity in the state, with over 60% of CCBA-sponsored bills becoming California law. As a result, CCBA — and the BASF delegation in particular — more than any other group in Sacramento, has actually written and passed law. And perhaps as important, the BASF delegation has both had fun, and been fun to watch, as they have done so.

For more details on the CCBA and the BASF delegation — including how you can join us next fall in Monterey — visit


Oliver Dunlap is a litigator with King & Spalding LLP’s San Francisco office. His practice focuses on class action products liability, pharmaceutical and toxic tort matters, with additional emphasis on intellectual property and general commercial litigation.

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