From Greek philosopher Heraclitus to Mahatma Gandhi to David Bowie to Taylor Swift, the great thinkers and/or pop stars of their times appear to agree the only constant in life is change; and that change needs to be embraced head on. But really how much change is there at the Marin County Bar Association? We had a change in the Presidency this year, but we transition to a new President every year. Likewise, the make-up of the Board of Directors changes annually by roughly one third.

Certainly, we have transitioned from former Executive Director Mee Mee Wong to Interim Executive Director Theresa Hurley to our new Executive Director Julie Cervetto over the past few months. It was a transition that was thoughtfully guided by the capable hand of our past President Ahtossa Fullerton. We are fortunate to have Julie taking the Executive Director helm.

The most impactful change we have experienced as an organization lies in the profound ways the practice of law was altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, not just here in Marin County but throughout the nation. Almost overnight, practicing law was thrust into the digital age with remote work, Zoom meetings and virtual proceedings becoming the norm. Moreover, given the looming ubiquity of Artificial Intelligence, the landscape of many professions may soon be dramatically transformed, not the least of which is the practice of law.

All of this at a time when Bar Associations throughout the state and country were already grappling with declining memberships, fewer younger members and financial challenges. While we are hardly at a crisis point here in Marin, I would suggest being mindful that in every crisis lies opportunity. We stand at a pivotal moment of opportunity.

In the face of these challenges, MCBA has the chance to reinvent itself, becoming more responsive to the diverse needs of our members, particularly the younger and newer additions to our legal community. To that end, I am thrilled to have Will Aspinall and Virginia Millacci co-chairing the Barristers Section. I would encourage our younger members to reach out to them and join the Barristers Section. Not only will MCBA benefit from your unique perspectives and experiences, I would also argue our younger members hold the key to our continued growth and success.

To our more seasoned members, understand that innovation does not necessarily entail abandoning the old in favor of the new. One of the traditional functions of a bar association is for experienced practitioners to mentor newer practitioners. You have so much to offer, please pay it forward.

In essence, the opportunity for change that lies before us at the Marin County Bar Association is not merely a challenge but a call to action. It is a chance to reimagine our role in the legal community, to redefine our priorities, and to reaffirm our commitment to service and excellence. Help us to chart a course towards an even brighter future for MCBA and the entire Marin County legal community.

We are only as strong as our membership. I entreat all MCBA members to get more involved with your bar association. We have amazing talent, experience and wisdom right here among us. You can see it at any one of the many CLE presentations offered each month. Make a CLE presentation about a topic you know well, get involved with Lawyers in the Library, serve as a discovery referee or small claims pro tem judge. There are so many opportunities out there to make MCBA an even better and more responsive bar association. Your contributions are invaluable. As Gandhi is credited with saying, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

While I know many members, I do not know everyone. I extend an open invitation to all MCBA members to reach out to me, whether to share what you are looking for from the MCBA, suggest ways we can better serve our members and our entire legal community, or simply to introduce yourself and say hello. Your input and engagement are indispensable as we steer this association toward the future. I am confident the best is yet to come for the Marin County Bar Association.