A Better Bar Meeting

     “The State Bar Requests Your Input.”
     Believe it or not, that was the subject line of an email that showed up in my inbox last week.
     The State Bar wanted my input?
     How could this be?
     Did the State Bar have any idea of who I am?
     I know I’m an influential public figure, but the State Bar has always seemed smart enough not to ask me for advice before. What sort of crisis could this be?
     It turned out that the request was part of a mass mailing. The email contained a link to a survey about State Bar conventions and continuing legal education.
     Since I’m an expert on both those things, I was happy to help out and I recommend that all of you do the same. This is a nice opportunity for creativity because there are lots of “other” options that allow you to do some specifying.
     Specifying is one of my favorite things.
     (Note to State Bar: I’m the guy who suggested a costume contest for the State Bar meeting. You can thank me from the stage at the first contest. I’d also be happy to be one of the judges.)
     I have to point out, though, that the survey did have some defects that maybe ought to be fixed.
     A nitpick first: If you check “no” to the question about attending a CLE course at a State Bar meeting, you get options explaining why not. One of them is “Other (please specify.)”
     And then there’s no way to specify anything.
     This is the sort of thing that might make you wonder if taking a State Bar CLE course is a good idea.
     My main criticism of the survey, though, is that there just aren’t enough options to choose from.
     For example, after a question about possible meeting locations, there are only 10 options. Bakersfield and Fresno are on the list. Sacramento and San Francisco are not.
     OK, the last meeting was in San Francisco, so maybe that’s why it wasn’t included, but where was Yosemite?
     Or Disneyland?
     Or Honolulu?
     Or Paris?
     Or my house?
     There are so many possibilities, but no “other” specification box.
     I would have recommended Santa Anita. I’d go to that meeting.
     Then there are the meager choices for the optimal length of the State Bar meeting — just two or four days.
     What if we like three days?
     How about a weeklong festival?
     This, of course, is silly. The length of the State Bar meeting is unimportant. What really matters is how much fun it is.
     A few of you out there may also think the meeting’s educational or networking or political value is important too. I think that’s a little weird, but you’re entitled to your opinion.
     My point, though, is that length doesn’t matter — quality and variety matter.
     Imagine a State Bar meeting with a fact-filled seminar on, say, recent changes in discovery rules or tax law updates followed by the first round of a softball tournament.
     And then on Day 2, updates on marijuana legislation followed by bowling and snacks.
     A lot of us might sleep in and just go to the later events, but attendance would definitely go up.
     I’d go for the first time in many years.
     See you at the Masquerade.

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