By Lee Smalley Edmon
Lee Smalley Edmon is president of the Association.
The Association Is on the Move…Literally
We are building new quarters to meet the needs of lawyers in the new millennium
After nearly 20 years in the same location on Olive near Sixth Street, the Association is moving its offices this spring. Our new location will be the Figueroa Courtyard at 261 South Figueroa Street, just west of the new Disney Concert Hall. Although an exact date has not been set, current plans call for the move to take place during the latter part of March.
You could call this move one of our efforts at reinventing the Association for the new millennium. Our new quarters will provide us with more meeting space and a state-of-the-art conference center (sponsored by Lexis-Nexis and Aon Insurance Administrators, among others) at a more convenient location, and for less rent.
It's not that we did not love the old-world charm and Art Deco stylings of the landmark Oviatt Building. The magical penthouse and rooftop patio, original engraved-wood elevator cars with their personable operators, the late-afternoon wafts of the finest culinary creations from the kitchen of Cicada Restaurant-all will be very difficult to leave behind. But as much as we will cherish the fond memories of that great old building on Olive Street, it represents our past. Now, more than ever, we are focused on the future.
One thing that means is selecting and building out the most member-friendly space we could find, as close to the majority of our members as we could get, for a good price. For members from Bunker Hill who are attending one of our many excellent training programs in our new conference center, we will be little more than a brisk five-minute walk away. For those driving in, we will be right next to the 110 Freeway. That means no more fighting your way through Downtown traffic to get to the Association's offices. We will also have inexpensive covered parking available on the premises.
Our new conference center will accommodate 200 people for CLE seminars and other large gatherings. This will allow us to serve you better by holding more LACBA programs on the premises and fewer at expensive hotels, thereby reducing the cost of CLE programs. The new center will also feature a state-of-the-art computer training facility-courtesy of Lexis-Nexis-that will allow us to meet your increasing demand for computer-research and software training.
This move is a result of much hard work and planning by many people. Over the last few years, the Quarters Committee (under the able and dedicated leadership of a distinguished past president, Don Baker of Latham & Watkins) assessed our needs and the precise nature of the structure we required and then examined potential sites. (As an aside, you should not miss this year's Shattuck-Price Memorial Award luncheon on March 23, 1998, at which Don will receive the Association's most prestigious award for this and his many other contributions to the Association.) Once the site was selected, Michael Meyer of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro LLP took the lead in negotiating the new lease. Rich Walch and the Association staff have spent countless hours developing a facility that will best meet our needs for many years to come. We will let you know as soon as a final move date is established, but in the meantime you can check out our new digs on our Web site www.lacba.org.
How You Can Help
We are quite proud of the fact that we are not coming to you with a fund-raising campaign to pay for these upgraded facilities. We seek no generous contributions in exchange for a promise to put your name on a wall of the new headquarters. We are not even raising your annual dues. But we do ask one thing of you: your help in building the membership of the Association. We are, without a doubt, one of the most diverse, resourceful, dynamic, and effective bar associations in the country. The strength of this Association and our ability to continue to do good work for the profession and the community depends on retaining our current members and recruiting new ones.
Here's what we ask. First, renew your membership if you have not done so already. Second, urge one other lawyer who does not belong to the Association to join. For some people, all it takes is a little nudge from someone they know. Over the past few months I have talked to some who have let their membership lapse because they did not see much benefit in belonging. In each of those circumstances, I found that the person had very little idea of the many projects that the Association had undertaken to give our members opportunities for self-advancement, to improve the profession generally, and to serve the community. The Association performs functions that are essential to our profession and to society that we simply cannot accomplish as individuals. If you have a similar conversation with a former or potential member, you may want to mention that over the last five years alone the Association has:
- Helped educate more than 55,000 lawyers at our live and videotaped CLE programs.
- Published and disseminated more than 4,000 pages of CLE articles to our members through Los Angeles Lawyer as well as tens of thousands of pages of CLE materials produced by our sections.
- Generated more than $20 million in legal fees for members through our Lawyer Referral and Information Service.
- Given legal information and referrals to more than 1,000,000 people through LRIS.
- Provided legal services to more than 42,000 people through our Immigration Project.
- Helped 32,000 victims of domestic violence secure restraining orders.
- Provided legal assistance to more than 5,000 individuals who needed help because they or members of their family have AIDS or are HIV-infected.
- Provided legal services to 3,400 homeless people.
- Served more than 150,000 people through Dispute Resolution Services.
- Assisted more than 13,000 people through our Unlawful Detainer Project.
- Provided attorneys for more than 32,000 indigent criminal defendants.
- Provided nearly $900,000 in funding for Public Counsel.
- Raised, through the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation, more than $540,000, which was distributed to other legal service providers.
- Arranged for member insurance programs and discounts on cellular telephones, Lexis/Nexis, and other member benefits.
- Published evaluations of all local judges who were up for either election or retention and provided the governor with evaluations of hundreds of judges and lawyers under consideration for appointment to the bench.
- Participated in a unique evaluation of the operations of the Los Angeles Superior Court, which has resulted in the implementation of many court improvements, including the court's recent agreement to adopt a one-day, one-trial jury system.
- Reviewed and commented, testified, or offered analysis on hundreds of bills pending in the legislature or proposals by other organizations that affect our profession.
This list barely scratches the surface. At any given moment, literally hundreds of our members are assisting in the ongoing work of the Association. Here are some other services that are under development right now:
- Guidelines for private judges, including appropriate disclosures of conflicts of interest.
- New and improved profiles of judges sitting in Los Angeles County.
- A brief bank where you can easily access briefs filed in the hottest new appellate cases.
While there is much personal benefit to be gained from becoming actively involved in the Association's work, there is an additional benefit as well: your Association membership helps the profession do what has to be done. For those who simply do not have the time to participate actively, belonging to the Association will ensure that this work can continue. So please renew your membership, encourage someone else to join, and come visit our new offices later this year.