Press Releases

For Immediate Release
January 19, 2018

California Lawyers Association aims to expand educational and networking opportunities for its members

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 19, 2018 – The California Lawyers Association (CLA) has now officially launched, shifting oversight of the 16 Sections and the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) from the State Bar of California to a voluntary organization, as required by legislation passed in 2017. With nearly 100,000 members, the CLA is the nation’s second-largest professional association for attorneys, smaller only than the American Bar Association. Its first President Heather L. Rosing, first Vice-President Emilio Varanini, Board of Directors and officers began the work of the organization’s inaugural year this week.

“With the launch of CLA, we are on an exciting path toward advancing the legal profession in California,” said Rosing, the first President of the organization. “From day one, we offer a wealth of benefits to practicing California lawyers, and we anticipate adding many, many more. Our goal is to become an indispensable legal resource for the legal community and a tireless advocate for our lawyers and our courts.”

CLA will continue to build on the mission of the Sections, providing educational and networking opportunities, including in-person events, webinars, and publications, for members of the 16 Sections—Antitrust, Business Law, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Trust and Estates, Family Law, Intellectual Property, International, Labor & Employment, Law Practice Management, Litigation, Public Law, Real Property, Solo and Small Firms, Taxation, and Workers’ Comp—and CYLA. Having been freed from the limitations inherent in being part of a regulatory agency of the State of California, the CLA’s ability to serve and advocate for lawyers, to foster and strengthen ties between lawyers from all practice areas and within and among all segments of society and government is unlimited.

The CLA’s just-launched website, opens in a new window, allows CLA members immediate access to all Section materials as well as a link to join the CLA if you are not already a Section member.

Last year, the State Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 36, which allowed for the incorporation of the Sections and CYLA into a private, 501(c)(6) organization. The unanimous vote by the Legislature followed input from the State Bar and Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 36 into law in October, initiating the transition from the government agency. The State Bar will continue to operate as a regulatory entity, overseeing California attorney admission, licensing, and discipline.

“The California Lawyers Association is an exciting new chapter for our Section and CLA members generally. The new organization allows us to be more responsive to member needs, to provide a broader range of cost-effective products and services, and to conduct focused advocacy to help ensure our members’ professional success,” said Matthew J. Spark, Chair of the Intellectual Property Law Section. “We look forward to providing an enhanced level of service and community to the membership.”

“Scores of our Section volunteers have worked incredibly hard this past year along with leaders and volunteers of the other Sections to emerge as an integral component of the CLA, soon to be known within and outside our state borders as the bar association for all California lawyers,” said Jim Hill, Chair of the new CLA Board. “We will continue to make excellence our standard. We will become only stronger as part of the CLA.”

Under the new organization, each of the 16 Sections and CYLA has elected one delegate to the CLA Board, ensuring equal representation. State Bar staff and the Council of State Bar Sections—the leadership body through which all Sections previously interacted—oversaw the transition to the nonprofit organization from 2017 to 2018. Membership in the Sections is automatically transferred to CLA and will remain intact and renewable, as long as members pay annual dues to the State Bar and Section membership fees to the CLA (through the State Bar).

For more information on the mission of the California Lawyers Association or how to join, please visit opens in a new window.

About California Lawyers Association:
California Lawyers Association (CLA), a nonprofit, Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(6) organization, is committed to promoting excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. CLA comprises the Sections and California Young Lawyers Association, and represents the vast diversity of California’s legal community and the various areas of law practiced throughout the state. For more information, visit opens in a new window.

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Media Contact: Tricia Horan
Director, California Lawyers Association
Phone: (415) 795-7201

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