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December 2012 - Reflections on 2012

by Dimetria A. Jackson

At the OCBA Volunteer Recognition Reception, Dean Zipser, the 2005 OCBA President, asked me about my year as president and whether I have enjoyed the experience. I quickly realized that my year as President of the OCBA was rapidly drawing to a close. I told Dean, who served as my mentor when I prepared to assume the presidency and has continued to be supportive throughout the year, that this has been such an amazing year.
Reflecting upon my year as OCBA President, I am so appreciative of everyone who donated time and resources to continually ensure that the OCBA fulfills its mission to the membership and the community. This year, the OCBA supported the Superior Court of Orange County regarding court funding issues and upon the passage of AB 2073 (which mandates that all documents filed in civil limited, unlimited, and complex cases in Orange County, be electronically filed beginning January 1, 2013); the OCBA and Orange County Women Lawyers Association (OCWLA) co-hosted free seminars with the Superior Court to train attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff on electronic filing. The OCBA added a new Health Care Law Section to its section roster. This new section chaired by Maryalice E. Khan and David H. Nayebaziz focuses on networking and education for health care law attorneys. Further, the OCBA launched its first presentation highlighting legal giants, beginning with the Honorable Thurgood Marshall, under the direction of Education Co-Chair, Greg Berk.
As a result of the concerted leadership, knowledge, and countless hours of our volunteers, including members of the OCBA Facilities Task Force, chaired by John Hueston, the Board, the Finance Committee, members of the OCBA staff, as well as others, the OCBA moved into its new headquarters located at 4101 Westerly Place in Newport Beach. The OCBA is especially grateful to Kyle Kawakami of Irell & Manella LLP for his time and expertise throughout all phases of the project. As you may know, the new building is equipped with training and meeting space available for OCBA activities. Please join me, your colleagues, members of the bench, and invited guests at the Grand Opening of the OCBA’s new headquarters on December 11, 2012.
This year, I proposed several key initiatives to assist the OCBA to remain relevant to its current members, to encourage attorneys to join the Association, and to serve the diverse needs of our membership.

Launch of Mommy Esquire Committee
My goal for an OCBA committee for parenting attorneys to share their joys, tackle challenges, and network with other similarly situated attorneys was realized in 2012. Mommy Esquire, the OCBA’s newest committee, was launched this year to provide a forum for parenting attorneys of school-aged children through networking, support, social events, education, and mentoring. In addition to monthly lunch meetings, two networking play dates in Irvine and Laguna Beach were held this year to celebrate and incorporate families. The Committee also presented an MCLE program with the OCBA on Recruiting and Retaining Lawyers with Children—Bias, Employment Law, and Good Business and partnered with the OCWLA on another program. The Committee membership, currently at 76, continues to grow under the leadership of Darlynn Morgan, Chair, and Vice Chair Ashleigh Aitken. Mommy Esquire provides a forum for mommy lawyers to stay connected with other parenting attorneys and their OCBA colleagues.
In addition to the Mommy Esquire networking play dates, the OCBA Community Outreach Committee planned a few family friendly community service projects this year including donating backpacks and school supplies to children in need, cleaning beaches, fundraising walks, and harvesting and packing food for local food banks.

OCBA Mobile Member App & Social Media Seminars
My initiatives also included ensuring that technology and social media remain a central focus for both the OCBA and its members. This summer, the OCBA became the first voluntary bar association (based upon the OCBA’s research) to implement an interactive app. The OCBA Mobile Member App enables members to access their benefits, renew their membership, browse the latest OCBA news and events, and register for events, using their smartphones, iPads, or other mobile devices. The OCBA is also exploring the use of webinars to communicate and educate its membership. In addition to the OCBA Facebook page, members may also connect with me, and future OCBA Presidents, on Facebook at the OCBA President’s page. To enhance members’ knowledge of social media, the OCBA hosted a free social media seminar at the Microsoft Store at South Coast Plaza. The seminar was so well received that the OCBA plans to offer additional social media and technology training courses.

OCBA Rewards Card
The OCBA Rewards Card was launched to provide additional members-only discounts for shipping, car rentals, family entertainment at restaurants, hotels, and spas, as well as other perks. Please visit the OCBA’s website for the current list of rewards. Most discounts will be available upon presentation of your OCBA member card.

Additional Networking Opportunities
The OCBA hosted a spring member mixer in Fullerton and another one in the summer in Laguna Beach for members who live and/or work in North and South County. Based upon feedback, members overwhelmingly appreciated the opportunity to attend an OCBA event near their homes and/or offices. The OCBA also co-sponsored the ABC (“Attorneys, Bankers and CPAs”) networking event at the Angel Stadium Diamond Club with the local chapter of the California CPAs (CalCPA). It was an excellent opportunity for members to network with other local professionals and tour Angel Stadium. CalCPA has expressed an interest in co-sponsoring a future OCBA event. In August, OCBA members networked and socialized with their colleagues and family members at an outdoor concert in Irvine. The OCBA’s networking and social events are perfect occasions to meet and mingle with fellow members of the bar and bench and to welcome new members to the OCBA.

Strategic Planning
As noted in my November column, the OCBA Board implemented the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan, which was approved at the July board meeting. The new strategic plan will focus on programs and services for attracting and retaining members, community service, education of the public and legal community, access to justice, increasing Orange County legal practice viability, and OCBA leadership and structure.

Appreciation
While I stand on the shoulders of so many who have come before me, including past bar presidents, board members, volunteers, and members of the bench and bar, I am continually uplifted by the commitment and compassion of our current members, staff, and future leaders of the OCBA. I originally joined the OCBA to meet lawyers with similar interests, but the OCBA has also afforded me the opportunity to learn from and befriend so many intelligent, passionate, and service-oriented attorneys in Orange County who are committed to being lawyers, judges, and public servants. To everyone who has expressed a kind word, note, or email, I am truly appreciative of your support and encouragement throughout this year. I am extremely grateful to Trudy Levindofske, OCBA Executive Director, the board, and staff for their assistance in implementing my initiatives.
Thanks to my husband, Ernest Priestly, and our two sons, Jackson (4) and Jordan (2) for being so understanding and supportive throughout the year. As I have repeatedly stated, it has been an honor to serve as the 2012 President of the OCBA. I look forward to seeing you at Judges’ Night, as the OCBA welcomes its 2013 President, Wayne Gross, who will continue to guide, enhance, and uphold the mission of the OCBA.


Dimetria A. Jackson is 2012 President of the Orange County Bar Association, a freelance attorney with Montage Legal Group, handling corporate transactional matters, and the Chief Executive Officer of redBAMBINA.com. She may be reached at president@ocbar.org.

 
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