“This isn’t good or bad. It’s just the way of things. Nothing stays the same.”
Service organizations that fail periodically to re-evaluate the services they provide risk becoming irrelevant or obsolete. Professional bar associations are no exception. Under the extraordinary leadership of last year’s President, Laura Scott, the officers of your Salt Lake County Bar Association carefully examined virtually every aspect of our operations. The results of the Utah State Bar 2011 Survey of Members included some surprising information about the current demographics of our Bar, and informed many changes to several of our longstanding programs.
This fully electronic version of our Bar & Bench newsletter provides one example of the changes adopted. Many of you have been members of the Salt Lake County Bar Association long enough to remember the light blue card stock newsletters that used to arrive with your mail. In recent years we gradually phased out print copies, and moved to electronic newsletters. The formatting and functionality of this newsletter reflects further transition to a format we hope you will find more approachable, and easier to navigate.
Given the tremendous popularity of our judicial profiles, the Bar & Bench subcommittee assembled this first of its kind “judges only” version of our newsletter. Save for this message and some calendar notes of our upcoming events, this entire newsletter is devoted to judges. Our very own Justice Tongue offers below more wildly popular judicial wisdom, and we offer profiles of 5 (relatively) new judges. Our members often comment that these profiles are interesting and informative, and we hope you enjoy this compilation. Like our recent electronic newsletters, it will be available on our website for future reference.
Under the leadership of Judge Julie Lund, our Bar & Bench subcommittee is working on some new content ideas for our upcoming winter and spring newsletters. Joining Judge Lund on our Bar & Bench committee this year are Trystan Smith, Chandler Thompson, Billie Siddoway and Tomu Johnson.
Continuing Legal Education is another area in which we made some substantial changes, beginning with a summer series of free CLE’s on practical topics many young lawyers confront, particularly when friends and relatives call seeking advice. Hosted by the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, programs on family law and criminal law quickly filled to capacity. Look for two more free basic skills level CLE’s next summer. In addition, we will continue this year our popular lunch programs with judges on the Third District Court and our State appellate courts. We’ll also continue to host CLE lunches on relevant, interesting and topical issues, like our most recent CLE on troubling trends in voter rights. Chris Hogle chairs our CLE subcommittee, with excellent assistance from Judge Michele Christiansen, Mark Kitrell, Rita Cornish and Clem Landau.
One area where our committee made virtually no changes is our social programming. I am convinced that no bar-related organization hosts better social functions than our own Salt Lake County Bar Association Socials subcommittee. Our events have been at full capacity for many years. While tremendously enjoyable, our events serve an important function – they provide perfect occasions for members of our local bar and bench to gather and connect in ways that advance the collegiality and professionalism for which our bar is known. Our annual Alta Club reception for new lawyers was a huge success, and our upcoming holiday party at the Country Club will sell out again. Be sure to circle December 7 for that event. Jonathan Pappasideris continues his outstanding multi-year tenure as chair of our Socials subcommittee, ably supported by Bart Johnsen and Sam Meziani.
Look for information after the first of the year concerning our annual Art and the Law project, led by Jennifer Mastrorocco and Kristine Larsen. Participation among local schools remains near an all-time high, and our Third District Court judges always demonstrate great enthusiasm for judging the entries (many of which are on display in the Matheson Courthouse).
Our Membership, Public Relations and Social Media Committee is assembling a Survey Monkey questionnaire designed to help us better understand whether there exists among our membership unmet needs or interests for which new membership benefits would be useful. The Committee is also ensuring that our operations remain transparent. A calendar of our events, publications like this Bar & Bench Newsletter, and other materials are posted on our website at www.slcba.net. Lauren Shurman, Aida Neimarlija, and Laura Scott are constantly working on ways to improve our value proposition for members.
Finally, I wish to express my appreciation to our officers. Anneliese Booher is serving as our Vice President, Amy Sorenson is our Secretary, and Shane Hillman is our Treasurer. Laura Scott remains on the committee as our Past-President. These officers and all the members of our Executive Committee provide countless hours of service every year. Our Salt Lake County Bar is fortunate to have such talented and dedicated lawyers working on our behalf.