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Conference of California Bar Associations

by Shaun Dabby Jacobs
Have you ever thought, "this law should be changed or amended, or it should not exist at all?”  Have you ever thought “there ought to be a law about this” but when you researched the appropriate legal authorities, you found no law existed that addressed the topic you researched?  Do you enjoy debating policy and the law as well as meeting interesting people from across the state?  Then consider joining WLALA’s delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations.
The Conference of California Bar Associations (“CCBA” or “Conference”) is a group of attorneys from local, specialty, and minority bar associations across the state, that are focused on improving California's laws.  CCBA typically meets at the same time the State Bar Convention is held.  During the Conference, the bar associations propose and debate revisions to California law.  If passed by the Conference, a lobbyist takes the resolutions to the State legislature to find a sponsor and works to get the resolution passed into law.  Getting a resolution passed by the Conference involves a combination of advance preparation, marshaling your allies and negotiating or bartering with other bar delegations, and skillful argument on the Conference floor.

The WLALA delegation has a long history of active involvement in the Conference.  In the past, we have passed resolutions regarding family leave, child pornography, and domestic partnership.  Some of our resolutions have gone to Sacramento, been carried as a bill, and passed into law.  At the recent September Conference in Long Beach, WLALA successfully sponsored a resolution regarding a California Rule of Court to amend the tentative ruling procedure to require courts to provide four hours notice instead of one hour notice of the tentative ruling the day before the hearing.  We submitted the resolution to the Conference lobbyist to find supporters on the California Judicial Council.  In addition, WLALA suggests, and other delegations often come to WLALA seeking our input on, potential amendments to resolutions proposed by other delegations.  Indeed, WLALA's delegation is often asked to speak in support of or opposition to a resolution on the Conference floor.

Our work begins in early winter, when we brainstorm potential legislation and draft resolutions that either propose new laws or revise existing laws.  Then we review the other delegations' resolutions and make comments.  We culminate our work at the next State Bar Convention in the fall.  Everyone with ideas for how the law may be improved, or even just curious about the process, is encouraged to join our delegation and get involved with the Conference.  Resolutions to be considered at the October 2012 Conference are due March 22, 2012. The tentative dates for the 2012 Conference are October 11 to October 14, 2012 in beautiful Seaside, California, near Monterey.  If you have ideas for resolutions or would like more information about the Conference, please contact WLALA’s delegation chair, Shaun Dabby Jacobs at You can also go to the CCBA website at for more information and to see resolutions from prior years.
Shaun Dabby Jacobs is the WLALA Conference of California Bar Association Chair.