Dear Friends,
As I write my President’s Message from the Iranian American Bar Association Conference in Los Angeles, I consider the importance and relevance of bar associations in today’s world.

I love being a part of MCBA. For me, it offers a form of connection to all the other lawyers in my community. In addition,the feeling that I am making a difference motivates me to join and volunteer. I am sure many of you taking the time to read our newsletter feel the same.

However, as a volunteer on a number of bar boards, I’m aware that a common concern for board leadership has been a decline in membership, through retirement and attrition, even before the pandemic years. Why is this? Are attorneys busier than they were in years past? Are young attorneys simply uninterested in getting together in person, perhaps preferring virtual communication? Are law firms simply strapped for money and less capable of supporting their local bars, despite the fact that bar associations provide so much for the communities from which they benefit?

The Marin Bar, as with any organization, must periodically take stock to ensure it is meeting the needs of those eligible to join. Certainly, the more robust the membership, the more all members benefit by way of increased networking, more CLE opportunities, more hands to share the volunteer work and and more minds brainstorming to improve our Bar. Let us consider what would happen to our local attorneys and community at large if our Bar ceased to exist? What would we lose?

We would lose the homebase of our legal community. Our Bar assists in providing legal counsel to those with limited resources. It provides affordable CLEs on issues pertinent to all practice areas and many relevant specifically to Marin. It connects the Marin Bar with the Marin County Superior Court, ensuring opportunities for each to communicate and cooperate in improving the court experience. It partners with other bar associations in Marin, in the Bay Area and statewide, to connect a wider legal community. It provides the physical spaces for us to get to know each other – to become friends as well as colleagues, promoting the congeniality, support and kindness that the Courts and many attorneys believe to be increasingly important as the world changes in unforeseen ways.

As the Board works to ensure ongoing relevancy and strong membership, we hope you will consider and promote all that the Marin Bar provides not just for you and its members, but for others. If you have ideas or unmet needs, we want to hear about them. We are highly motivated to evolve in ways that will ensure our long term success and leave a legacy for future lawyers to benefit from and enjoy.

Ahtossa Fullerton