Top Five Reasons to Join the BASF Delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations

Andrew McDevitt, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger

The 2015 Conference of California Bar Associations (CCBA) will be held October 9-11 in Anaheim and serves justice in California by bringing together attorney volunteers from across the State representing diverse backgrounds, experience, and expertise to seek, debate, and promote creative, non-partisan solutions to law-related issues for the benefit of Californians.

Check out the top five reasons to join the delegation and then download the 2015 BASF delegation application today at www.sfbar.org/ccba.

#1 Great Networking Opportunities

CCBA is a statewide organization of attorneys representing more than 30 metropolitan, regional, minority and specialty bar associations. The organization consists of hundreds of attorneys from all areas of legal practice. At the CCBA’s annual conference, which is held in conjunction with the State Bar Annual Meeting, delegation members from throughout the state spend three days together debating resolutions, meeting in groups, and attending receptions.

#2 You Can Make a New Law or Change an Existing Law

If you do not like the language of a statute, draft a resolution that changes it. If you think a new law needs to be written, draft a resolution that creates it. During the year, delegates from the various bar delegations propose changes to statutes and rules of court, work in committees and study groups to review these resolutions as well as those proposed by other bar associations from throughout the state, and make recommendations on the proposed resolutions.

The resolutions approved at the delegation level are disseminated statewide for possible counterarguments by other delegations, for comment by committees of the State Bar of California, and for analysis by the Conference’s own Resolutions Committee. Finally, the resolutions are discussed, debated, further refined and voted upon by at CCBA’s annual conference.

Resolutions passed by the conference are prioritized by the CCBA board and legislative committee, with input from CCBA lobbyist Larry Doyle, and are then lobbied for in the California legislature. Many resolutions drafted by members of BASF’s delegation have been enacted into law.

#3 You can meet Senators and Assembly Members at the annual Legislative Day

Every year, CCBA’s officers, board members, and delegates spend a day in Sacramento moving the CCBA legislative agenda forward: finding out what’s going on in the Capitol, letting our representatives know what’s important to us, and reminding them that CCBA is California’s most active and effective sponsor of efforts to improve our laws. Delegates are divided into groups by geographic region. The CCBA arranges a day full of meetings with Legislators and their staff for each group of delegates. At the end of the day, there is a two hour reception. All Legislators and staff are invited.

#4 Practice Public Speaking (or not)

At the CCBA’s annual conference, delegates debate resolutions that have been “called up.” It presents a great opportunity to practice arguing in front of a group in a low pressure and friendly environment. There are two types of call-ups: limited and full. Limited debate includes the proponent (author) of the resolution, plus one speaker in support and two speakers in opposition. The proponent has two minutes to open the debate and one minute to close. The debate alternates between speakers in favor of the resolution and speakers in opposition, with each having only two minutes to speak.

Full debate includes the proponent and unlimited speakers in favor and in opposition until debate ceases or there is a vote to end the debate. In full debate, the proponent has three minutes to speak and one and one-half minutes to close. Other speakers have three minutes to address the Conference. At the end of either type of debate, there is a vote by a show of hands in favor or against. The majority position prevails.

#5 It’s Fun!

BASF’s delegation to the CCBA includes members that have been participating in the Conference for decades. There is good reason for that. The group is filled with light-hearted, intelligent and friendly attorneys who truly enjoy the Conference and the process. The delegation welcomes new members with open arms and supports all levels of involvement.

About the author:

Andrew McDevitt serves as the 2015 Chair for the BASF Delegation. He is an Associate at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger where he handles a full range of wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. Andrew graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and attended law school at UC Hastings.