Welcome to a new year with MCBA! I am Susan Feder, your new MCBA president, and I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible during the course of the year. Allow me to briefly introduce myself. I am a full-time mediator with a varied civil mediation practice. I settle cases statewide, and work through the provider Judicate West. Before devoting myself to dispute resolution, I was a civil business litigator, first at Paul, Hastings, and subsequently in the General Counsel’s office at Bank of America. After devoting several years to raising my family, I embarked on my new mediation career with a newfound respect for the power of listening, the value of understanding and the satisfaction that comes from resolving disputes.

As a recently established neutral, I joined MCBA in search of a community. I found it—in the monthly membership lunches, the section meetings, the networking events, the volunteer programs and more. Membership led to leadership, and before I knew it, I was in line to become president for 2020.

Your MCBA is a place where lawyers and non-lawyers from many practices can come together to share ideas, find support and form lasting bonds with one another. Unlike in specific practice-area organizations, at MCBA we are both plaintiff and defense attorneys, we are family law practitioners, we are prosecutors, public defenders and transaction attorneys. We are from large law firms and we are solo practitioners. When you first log on to the MCBA website, you are greeted by the smiling faces of our diverse membership, as member photos rotate through our home page. You are also reminded of our mission statement, which describes the mission of MCBA as follows:

To involve, encourage and support Bar Association members, to serve as a liaison to the Marin County courts, and to educate the community and enhance access to legal services.

As your new president, I heartily encourage you to get to know your fellow members, and to reach out to the MCBA Board and other leaders with your ideas and suggestions. We are your bar association, and one of our goals for 2020 is to support you in the best way possible. This goal is best realized if we know what you need: let us know how we can help you!

We are at a time of new beginnings: a new year, a new decade, new resolutions and new commitments. Personally, I recently welcomed a new grandchild to my life (our first). I encourage you to think of MCBA as a place for new opportunities. I found that the best way to feel connected is to become involved. Join several sections. Become a section leader. Sit on one of our many committees. Attend events you have missed in the past. Volunteer for the courts or the community through our pro bono programs and Lawyers in the Library. There are many ways to become connected.

I hope to see you at the first two exciting events of the year: our January 22nd general membership meeting and luncheon featuring Congressman Jared Huffman as our distinguished speaker, and our Gala Installation Dinner and Scholarship Fundraiser on February 8th, where we will swear in your new board members and thank retiring members for their service. When you attend these and other events, please introduce yourself to a board member and reach out to someone new to you.

Connection. Community. Camaraderie.

These are my goals for the coming year. Make this the year you commit to MCBA as your local bar association. I look forward to getting to know you!