The California Conference of Bar Associations in San Jose

Catherine Rucker


Catherine Rucker

I was a BASF Delegate at the 2013 California Conference of Bar Associations (CCBA) meeting  held in San Jose, October 11-13, 2013.  (Formerly known as the “Conference of Delegates.”)  And I had an awesome experience.

Earlier in 2013, I wrote three resolutions related to the California Education Code, which were approved by BASF and then submitted to the CCBA.  The CCBA posted my resolutions, along with all the others, on the website for anyone to review.   The CCBA Resolution Committee (Res Comm) reviewed my resolutions and stated its opinion.  One of my resolutions was supported right away, but the other two were challenged.  Res Comm “disapproved” those two resolutions, in addition, two California bar associations posted counterarguments.  And so I knew that I had touched a nerve.

In preparation for the CCBA, the BASF delegation holds three caucuses in order to discuss and vote on its positions on all of the resolutions.  I presented my three resolutions orally at a caucus and the BASF delegation “approved in principle” all three.   For the two resolutions that had been challenged, BASF decided to call them up for “full debate.”  BASF was only allowed ten full debates, and it granted two of them to my resolutions.

At the conference, it was time to debate.  My resolutions were called up on Saturday morning and because I was the proponent, I was allowed to speak for three minutes.  All of the other delegates who brought arguments for or against were allowed to speak for two minutes each.  In the end, I had one minute for closing.

For both of my challenged resolutions, I knew Res Comm disapproved, that most of the California bar associations disapproved, and that two bar associations posted counterarguments.  Therefore, I had nothing to lose.  I argued with confidence and I had four precious minutes to get my points across.  In the end, several delegates voted “yes,” and that was encouraging.  The CCBA as a whole was not ready to support my ideas at the time, but its opinion may change in the future.

We debated some serious issues.  But we also had fun.  One of the CCBA board members had the duty to bombard us with trivia questions about the City of San Jose.  By doing so, we all learned about the host city.  And then some silly delegation (BASF) wrote a resolution and called up a debate to abolish “summary judgment.”  It was ridiculous, and I was in on the act…

Attorneys and law school students are constantly working and thinking about work.  It is difficult for us to carve out time to relax let alone find the time to participate in the CCBA.

Attorneys can benefit from finding the time: The CCBA allows attorneys to practice statute writing, to discuss other people’s ideas, to lobby other groups, and to practice oral debate.  Delegates also earn MCLE credit when they participate in the caucuses.

It is awesome and fulfilling to be a CCBA delegate, and the BASF delegation has room for some more participants.  Please consider joining us in 2014.

About the author:

Catherine Rucker is a 3L Student at Golden Gate University School of Law and she was a 2013 BASF Delegate to the CCBA.