The June General Membership Meeting usually signals a great time of year for MCBA. We hear from the always-entertaining Professor Rory Little (who did not disappoint), we're halfway through the calendar year (how time flies), and we are enjoying the social side of MCBA that flourishes with the gorgeous weather. We look forward to a great turnout at the MCBA/CalCPA Mixer on July 12, and the General Membership Meeting on July 26 with Rhonda Hjort (Lucasfilm Deputy Chief Counsel), before we, like Congress, take our August break.

July, the start of our fiscal year, also brings another milestone for us. A little over a year ago, MCBA launched its Leadership Circle and the results have been gratifying. We had eleven inaugural members of the Circle—these attorneys and firms understand the importance of giving to MCBA, and each of them made a contribution of $500 to help MCBA keep up with technological advances, expand our offerings, and connect with the larger community.

I would like to recognize and thank our 2016-2017 Leadership Circle:
Elizabeth Brekhus, Esq.
Freitas Law Firm, LLP
Nassiri & Jung LLP
Peter Flaxman, Esq.
Chavez & Gertler
Steven Nielsen, Esq.
James Sell, Esq.
Strick Law Offices
Gary Ragghianti, Esq.
Richards Watson & Gershon
Susan Feder Mediation

We are now extending the invitation for 2017-2018 Leadership Circle contributions. I hope that each one of these leaders will continue to set the example for all of us and renew their commitment in this meaningful way. Please encourage your friends to join our Circle! As a bit of an incentive, we will be increasing visibility for our Leadership Circle, including such features as recognition in the Sidebar button area of our website, rather than just the Leadership Circle page. We would also like to spotlight Leadership Circle members in The Marin Lawyer.

The summer is also that time of year to start planning for next year's MCBA leaders. Applications for the Board of Directors become available this month, and one of my strongest desires is to see diversity in our leadership continue. We always need additional perspectives to continue serving the professional needs of our varied membership. As I know you have experienced yourselves, when the members of your team are engaged, enthusiastic, and energetic, everyone benefits. So it's time to let all of you in on a little secret—the Board has had a stealth theme this year, driving us forward. What could it be? It's FUN.

Yes, fun. Not one of my tortured acronyms, but just “fun” as in, “have more” and “make it.” It might sound hokey, but one of the ways that the Board has improved our work together is to remind ourselves to have fun. We still care deeply about all the rewarding things about leading this organization, such as passing a balanced budget last month while ramping up programs and services, and recruiting great speakers, but like our law practice, we try to remember that in midst of serious business, it's OK to have fun.

Case in point: We've been participating in the Food from the Bar Campaign for several years, but stepping up the engagement this year, we added an exclusive kickoff Comedy Night event at the Throckmorton Theatre, hosted by Mark Pitta. For those of us who were able to attend the private VIP Reception before the excellent comedians, this was a way to have a fun night out in each other's company while raising money for a good cause. I'm sure the lucky members who snapped up the “Bag with Phil” tickets will also have a great time sharing a shift at the SF-Marin Food Bank with Phil Lesh. The results of adding more fun? We exceeded our contribution targets and were recognized as Silver Level Winners, the best we've ever done! We appreciate that our members care enough about our community to make this huge difference for those in need. Bravo to everyone who participated with MCBA and your individual firms.

Our next project to increase the value of your MCBA membership is also in the works. The last time we conducted a membership survey, we focused on communications. As a result of your voices, we completely revamped our website to make it cleaner, mobile-friendly, easier for members to use, and easier for staff to update and push out information. A collateral benefit has been the modernized Marin Lawyer, landing in your email inbox every month. In order to keep what you love and improve what you don't, we're rolling out an expanded Membership Survey this summer—please share your preferences, feedback, and ideas with us. Yes, we're trying to make it more enticing with a drawing for a free membership, but more importantly, please take this opportunity to help shape YOUR Marin County Bar Association.

Happy summer!