Relevance. A word that Merriam-Webster defines as "relation to the matter at hand; practical and especially social applicability; pertinence; the ability (as of an information retrieval system) to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user."
What are we to make of the word? How shall we apply it in the context of the San Joaquin County Bar Association? More specifically, does "relevance" apply? Are we relevant?
As I began my tenure as president I set as a goal making our association relevant to our members, creating interest on the part of non-members, and expanding our organization. Of course, we cannot succeed unless we agree on why our association has relevance. For that, the Board of Governors needs your help.
I recently asked a long-time member why he belongs to the Association. He could not articulate a reason other than the benefits of our continuing education programs. When I asked a former member why she no longer belonged, she responded by saying that there simply was not enough to justify paying dues.
We have to be more than a CLE provider; we do not need to be a bar association to do that. We need to examine (as the Board is now doing) our purpose, and whether we are fulfilling the roles that define our existence.
There is no point to having the Board of Governors work in a vacuum. We need to know why you belong. What are we doing that is right? Where are we falling short? If the membership can answer those questions, we are making progress. If they cannot (or simply are not interested in doing so), how can we be relevant to prospective members?
Help us. Send an email to me (), any member of the Board of Governors, or our executive director (Rebekah Burr-Siegel, ). Let us know how we can make this a better organization. Tell us whether we are relevant.