Oregon State Bar Bulletin FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014
Two “Big Pictures”:
A Focus on Governance and Outreach
By Tom Kranovich
Whether I am speaking to bar or civic groups, talking to you in person or writing this column, my goal for the next year will be to inform, hopefully educate and (from time to time) maybe provoke or cajole as to the issues facing us as a bar.
As bar president, I have two “big picture” areas for 2014. The first area is institutional, the area of governance: carrying out the bar’s mission of protecting the public, promoting access to justice and providing the programs and resources necessary to meet the myriad needs of our 14,760 active members. The second area is personal, the area of outreach: of building stronger relationships between the board, our members, our bar committees, our sections, our specialty bar groups and our local bar associations.
The initial task for any new bar president is to work with the Board of Governors to determine the priorities and goals for the upcoming year. We are starting our year by developing a long-range strategic plan. The purpose of this process will be to set bar goals and aspirations for 2014 and beyond. We will identify what needs to be done to efficiently meet the mission of the bar and evaluate how effectively we are in providing programs that best facilitate that mission.
I am confident that our strategic plan will include continuing our efforts to promote an independent, properly funded judiciary both through our legislative efforts and with our support of the Citizens Coalition for Court Funding. Past OSB President Mike Haglund was instrumental in founding this group and I am happy to report that he will continue in his role with them. We will continue to explore ways to better fund Legal Aid. We will continue to promote diversity. We will continue our support of the Oregon New Lawyers Division. We will continue to seek ideas and implement programs to help our unemployed and underemployed members find meaningful employment in the legal field.
Our strategic plan will need to address new areas including the House of Delegates’ effectiveness and its historic inability to carry out its function due to problems with obtaining and maintaining a quorum. We will be looking at the delivery of CLE services and make policy decisions about the degree to which we should continue to subsidize CLE programs. We will be looking at the issue of licensing and disciplining legal technicians. We will be reviewing and evaluating our discipline system for fairness, effectiveness and for procedural and time line efficiencies. We will find ways to support the court’s implementation of eCourt (see sidebar).
I am encouraging members of the Board of Governors to participate in local legal and community functions, not just as lawyers and citizens, but as members of the board. Each board member has a lapel nametag that reads “Oregon State Bar Board of Governors. Please look for it and take time to talk to them and get to know them.
I have established a new email address for member contact with me. If you are interested in or curious about anything the bar is doing, please use it. If I do not have an answer to your inquiry, I will either get one or I will get it into the hands of someone who does have an answer. My invitation to communicate is open to all members so, if someone tells you something that sounds a little odd, before jumping to any conclusions, please ask them if they have been in contact with Tom Kranovich. To contact me on bar issues, anything not case-related to my practice, please use firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not use my office email.
I will also be sharing my adventures as your president via a newly established Facebook page (facebook.com/OSB president). Time permitting, and if it portends to be useful, I may start a blog.
I am profoundly honored to be your bar president. We have a great bar staff and executive director dedicated to carrying out the policies and directions set by the BOG. I am working with a board comprised of dedicated individuals with diverse experiences, backgrounds and fiscal philosophies, none of whom are afraid to speak their mind but all of whom are willing to listen and learn. You have a board that thoroughly discusses issues and votes its conscience while retaining the flexibility necessary to build consensus when needed. On the issues of governance and outreach, 2014 is going to be a great year for all of us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
OSB President Tom Kranovich practices law in Lake Oswego.