By Matthew Mallett, Law Office of Kirk B. Freeman
Approximately 30 BASF members participated in the BASF Delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations, a collection of dozens of regional and specialty bar associations which meets once a year to debate and vote on proposed legislative reforms. This year, the conference was held at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego from September 30 to October 2. BASF had one of the largest delegations attending the conference. It also had the most vocal delegation, as members spoke on nearly all of the resolutions raised for debate on the floor of the conference.
Over 102 resolutions were introduced this year, of which 48 were approved in principle and 12 were approved as amended. Fourteen of these resolutions were authored by BASF delegates, most of which were approved. These included resolutions to: allow an attorney discretion to reveal confidential attorney-client information if necessary to prevent death or substantial bodily harm; extend trademark protection to cannabis products; mandate a health curriculum for public schools; provide that domestic violence incident reports are equally available to the victim as well as any person identified as a suspect; and to make admissible into evidence mandatory financial disclosures produced in mediation in family law cases.
Unfortunately, two BASF resolutions related to criminal justice reform were disapproved. This included a resolution to ban the use of choke-holds by police and a resolution limiting the use of tear gas by police. As noted on the floor of the conference by BASF Delegate James Brosnahan, this fight is not over, as members of the BASF delegation plan to pursue these reforms year after year, if need be, until successful.
A highlight of the conference was the CCBA’s Chair’s Reception of Friday evening, where Brosnahan, who has participated in 51 of the last 54 conferences, was the inaugural recipient of the BASF Delegation’s The Brosnahan Award for Exceptional Dedication and Commitment to the Cause of Justice Through Laws. Oliver Dunlap gave a spirited and heartfelt introduction, after which Brosnahan captivated the assembled delegates and friends by recounting fights for social justice on the floor of the conference. Seldom were these fights won the first year, he noted, but with persistence and perseverance, the conference has consistently offered its early support on significant social issues such as the right to marriage equality, transgender rights, and, yes, criminal justice reform.
If you are interested in participating in BASF’s Delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations, please contact Ujvala Singh, the 2017 Chair of the Delegation, at email@example.com. Learn more at ccba.sfbar.org
Matthew A. Mallet served as the 2015-2016 Chair of 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.