By Matthew Mallet, Law Office of Kirk B. Freeman
Did you go to law school, become a lawyer, in hopes of making a difference? Do you want to improve matters not only for your clients, but also for society?
The CCBA brings together attorneys of diverse backgrounds, experience, and expertise to devise, debate, and promote nonpartisan proposals for changes to California law. The CCBA, a nonprofit organization, has an impressive record of proposing legislation that is ultimately passed into law. By this measure, today it is the most effective lobbying organization in Sacramento.
But the work that goes into making a CCBA-sponsored law is not quick, nor easy. It all starts with an idea – an idea to change a portion of California’s codes – by someone like you. Individuals propose changes in the law to “fix” what they see as a problem. It may be a problem they have encountered themselves and their legal practice. Or it may be an issue reported in the news. Whatever the inspiration, the individual drafts their proposal as a resolution for submission to the CCBA. The resolution requires stating the problem, crafting the legislative language to address the issue, and arguing how the proposed legislation provides the necessary fix.
Resolutions vary in scope and impact. Recent resolutions from BASF members have ranged from prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to those under 21 years of age, to raising the minimum levels of automobile insurance liability coverage required, to providing a fraud exception to mediation confidentiality for communications between divorcing spouses. Over 100 resolutions were submitted to the CCBA last year; many were authored by BASF members.
Resolutions are gathered and considered by BASF’s delegation to the CCBA. Over the course of months, the delegation members review and debate not only BASF’s member’s resolutions, but also resolutions from delegations throughout California. Ultimately, members of BASF’s delegation and members from delegations throughout the State converge at the CCBA’s annual conference to debate the resolutions. (This year’s Conference will be held on September 30 – October 2, 2016 in San Diego.) Those resolutions voted on and passed at the Conference are placed on the CCBA’s legislative agenda. Members take an active role in promoting this agenda, by going to Sacramento to lobby Senators and Assembly members regarding CCBA’s legislative agenda. (The event is called “Legislative Day,” and this year it will be held on March 7, 2016.)
The process of making laws is not quick, nor easy – but participating in BASF’s Delegation to the CCBA is rewarding, and fun. It offers a means to become intimately involved in the crafting of legislation. It offers exposure to new areas of the law. And it offers a great way to meet a diverse group of attorneys from within BASF and from throughout the State who, too, are interested in making a difference.
If you are interested in making a difference by joining BASF’s Delegation to the California Conference of Bar Associations, please contact Matthew Mallet at 415-398-1082 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Barbara Fanning of BASF at 415-982-1600 or email@example.com.
Matthew A. Mallet serves as the 2016 Chair for the BASF Delegation to the CCBA. He is Of Counsel at The Law Offices of Kirk B. Freeman where he handles an array of business and employment litigation cases. He graduated with a B.A. degree, with honors, from the University of San Francisco, a Ph.D. from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a J.D. from Boalt Hall at U.C. Berkeley.