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Outcome of the 2013 Conference of California Bar Associations: A Report From the WLALA Delegation

by Shaun Dabby Jacobs and Mary McKelvey

Mary McKelvey receives token of recognition on behalf of WLALA for WLALA-sponsored resolution recently signed into law.

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? WLALA’s delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations had an opportunity to participate in all of these activities and more at the state-wide Conference of California Bar Associations ("CCBA” or "Conference”) two weeks ago and had a lot of fun in the process.

The CCBA is a group of attorneys from local, specialty, and minority bar associations across the state, that are focused on improving California’s laws. This year, CCBA met during the same weekend the State Bar Convention was held in San Jose. During the Conference, the various bar associations debated revisions and amendments to California law called "resolutions,” including a resolution proposed by WLALA to amend the California Rules of Court Rule 3.1345 to require an electronic exchange of separate statements in support of motions to compel further responses to discovery. Once a resolution is passed by the Conference, as WLALA’s resolution was, CCBA’s lobbyist takes the resolution to the State Legislature or California Judicial Council to find a sponsor and hopefully get the resolution passed into law. The success rate of the CCBA lobbyist, Larry Doyle, has been impressive with many of the last few year’s resolutions enacted into law.

It bears noting that two resolutions sponsored or supported by WLALA which passed through the Conference in previous years became enacted into law this year. The first, which WLALA sponsored, was a resolution for the Conference to support the Open Courts Coalition to adequately fund the state courts. This resolution became enacted into law through Senate Bill no. 75. The second, which WLALA supported, was a resolution to amend the domestic violence statute, Penal Code section 273.5 to expand the class of victims protected by the statute. This resolution became enacted into law through Assembly Bill No. 16.

We encourage anyone who has ever had an idea for how the law may be improved, as well as people curious about the process to talk to WLALA Board Members Shaun Dabby Jacobs ( and Mary McKelvey (, who serve as WLALA’s delegation chairs, and also to consider getting more involved by joining the WLALA delegation. Topics of law addressed at the conference encompass a wide range, including uninsured motorists, solicitation of child prostitution, probate law, electronic reporting for unlimited civil cases, and amending the Education Code to address the problem of snack foods at K-12 schools. The process is exciting and interesting. Resolutions considered at the October 11-13, 2013 Conference are posted at the Conference website,, along with resolutions from prior years. Next year’s Conference will take place in the fall of 2014, in San Diego. Resolutions for next year’s Conference are due in late winter or early spring of 2014.

Shaun Dabby Jacobs is a deputy city attorney with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office in the Police Employment Litigation Section. Mary McKelvey is an experienced litigator in the Los Angeles office of McKenna, Long & Aldridge. Ms. Jacobs and Ms. McKelvey are Co-Chairs of WLALA's delegation to CCBA.