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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

2010 Conference of California Bar Associations

A Nod to Tradition in an Untraditional Setting


By Cristina Rubke, Shartsis Friese LLP


Spending a warm weekend on the tennis courts in Monterey, California, has a whole new meaning for the delegates that attended the 2010 Conference of California Bar Associations (CCBA) in late September. Traditionally, the CCBA meets in a large ballroom at Monterey’s Hyatt Regency when the State Bar holds its Annual Meeting there. This year, the CCBA met in a large vinyl tent on the Hyatt’s tennis courts. In this unusual setting, the delegates of the CCBA discussed the group’s future and whether it would continue to hold its conference at the same time and place as the State Bar’s Annual Meeting, as it has done since CCBA’s inception over 70 years ago.

As its name suggests, CCBA is composed of the various bar associations of California who gather every year to propose changes to California law. At its annual conference, the CCBA debates and votes to approve or disapprove proposed resolutions from its constituent bar associations. The approved resolutions then get passed on to the CCBA’s dedicated lobbyist who works in Sacramento to finds sponsors for these resolutions to become bills and then laws. BASF’s delegation submitted 15 resolutions; 11 passed at the conference. These included resolutions covering paid sick leave legislation; elimination of the death penalty; and a monitored mortgage workout program.

In addition to its usual legislative work, this year’s delegates discussed CCBA’s future. In order to discuss the future, delegates reflected on CCBA’s historical connection with the State Bar. Until recent years, CCBA was actually part of the State Bar. Certain traditions, such as California’s Supreme Court Chief Justice coming to the CCBA to swear in the incoming State Bar President and CCBA officers and board members, are part of the perceived advantages of keeping the CCBA conference with the State
Bar Meeting.

Last year, prompted by the State Bar’s decision to hold its meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, which was partly owned by a supporter of Proposition 8, CCBA held its conference at a separate hotel but at the same time and in the same city as the State Bar’s Annual Meeting. The 2009 CCBA conference was well attended and financially successful. This year, because we were once again sharing a venue with the State Bar, delegates were required to pay the State Bar registration fee of $395 on top of the $150 fee to attend the CCBA. Attendance was extremely low this year — 170 delegates registered compared to 350-450 in previous years.

Despite this year’s high cost, low turnout, the tent venue, and arguments that an independent Spring CCBA conference would better serve the CCBA’s legislative mission, delegates generally voiced a desire to continue the tradition of holding the CCBA conference at the same time and location as the State Bar’s
Annual Meeting.

With the departure of the Executive Directors of both the State Bar (Judy Johnson) and the CCBA (Laura Goldin), there is ample opportunity for change even while following tradition.

For more information about BASF's delegates, visit the Conference of Delegates Committee web page.

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