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Letter from the Chair

CCBA News

Conference of California Bar Associations

March 29, 2010

Dear Delegates:

In this second edition of the Letter from the Chair, I would like to bring you up to date on what the Board and Staff have been working on.

1.  The Monterey Conference:  The CCBA Staff and Board have been busy planning the 2010 Conference, to be held in conjunction with the State Bar annual meeting in Monterey. We have received 75 resolutions for debate. Because this Conference will be held as part of the State Bar annual meeting, the State Bar will handle the registration, as well as the arrangements for our Conference space in Monterey. In order to attend, the State Bar is requiring that all delegates pay the State Bar registration fee, the proceeds of which will go to the State Bar. In addition, to pay for the cost of staging the Conference itself, delegates will be required to pay a "supplemental fee" or "ticket fee," which the State Bar will remit to CCBA. The State Bar has advised that its registration fee will be between $375 and $395. As you may recall, the cost of attending last year's independent CCBA conference was a maximum of $275. This amount covered the costs of the Conference and generated sufficient additional income to contribute to reserves and help pay other operating expenses. The Board recognized that a similar fee, when combined with the State Bar registration fee, could be cost-prohibitive for many delegates. The Board weighed the need to generate income sufficient to sustain the organization against the cost to the delegates of the combined fees. After much deliberation, the Board established the "supplemental fee" at $150, which will result in a total registration cost for delegates of between $525 and $545. We want everyone to know that the Board worked to minimize the supplemental fee as much as possible.

We advised delegation chairs about the terms of registration for the Monterey Conference earlier this week, and you may already have received this information from your delegation chair. We are interested in knowing what impact, if any, the registration structure will have on attendance at the Monterey Conference. That information will be important, because only the amount of the "supplemental fee" paid by delegates who actually register and pay the State Bar registration fee will help the CCBA offset the cost of the Monterey Conference. Even with this supplemental fee, we anticipate borrowing from reserves to fund this year's Conference. We therefore have asked the delegation chairs to respond with respect to their delegations' anticipated attendance. We appreciate their work and response, which will help us assess what we will need in order to stage a successful conference.

2.  Road Ahead, Continued:  In the last issue I told you that the CCBA Board had formed a committee to study and make recommendations to assure CCBA's continued operations in 2011 and beyond. We formed that committee because our budget for 2010 indicates that we will deplete approximately half of the CCBA's reserves this year. The anticipated shortfall is due to a variety of factors, including, a decline in the amounts collected from the voluntary dues "check-off" on the State Bar's fee statement over the past three years and a the lack of income from the Conference when held at the State Bar Annual Meeting. The committee was charged with studying the impact to the CCBA's operations in 2011 and beyond with respect to the reserve draw-down this year and to recommend ways for the CCBA to generate independent sources of revenue to ensure its ongoing operations.

Our committee has been hard at work. Over the past six weeks, it has met three times, with two in-person meetings. It formed separate subcommittees, each of which has met to study separate aspects of conference operations, budgetary implications, and ways in which to ensure operational sustainability. The committee will draft a report with respect to its conclusions and recommendations, and we plan to share that report with the Board in the next month and with the delegations after the Board and committee have completed their work.

3.  Pfeiffer Event:  2010 marks the 5th year of the Pfeiffer Event. At the event, we honor one of our own who has contributed significantly to both the organization and the legal community. Prior honorees have included James Brosnahan, John Van de Kamp, Joanne Garvey, and Danette Meyers. This year's honoree is Jay-Allen Eisen of Sacramento. The event will be a reception in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 from 5 – 7 p.m. Please check our events page for details. Everyone is invited. I hope that you will join me in there or, if you are not able to attend, will recognize Jay-Allen by sponsoring the Pfeiffer Event.

I welcome your input and thoughts on any issues raised in this communication.

Sincerely,
Lilys D. McCoy, Chair