Boards vote to sell Bar & Foundation CEnter
July 20, 2021
Members, Colleagues, and Friends of the Bar --
As members of the Mecklenburg County Bar, we should be proud of this organization’s collective achievements. In its more than 100 year history, the Mecklenburg County Bar has matured into a community of nearly 6,000 professional members working to advance the practice of law. It is a Bar that now boasts 42 committees, sections, boards and divisions. Collectively, we pour more than 1,000 hours into pro bono and community service work annually. Our Lawyer Referral Service connects hundreds of Charlotteans each year with legal representation to which they might otherwise not have access, and the Bar’s work to advance diversity and inclusion in the profession has been recognized nationally by the American Bar Association.
Our existing Bar & Foundation Center is the physical testament to the unwavering dedication, countless hours of volunteered time, and the generous financial contributions of so many members. Yet, to continue that tradition of selfless service, to be good stewards of the financial resources of the Bar and Bar Foundation, and to meet the demands of the future Bar, it is time to make a change.
For more than a year, the Executive Committees of the Mecklenburg County Bar and the Bar Foundation have been evaluating the utilization of the Bar Center and the cost to operate it. In consultation with the Boards of Directors of the Mecklenburg County Bar and Bar Foundation the decision has been made to sell the property at 2850 Zebulon Avenue. At the Monday, July 19 joint meeting, the boards from the Bar and Foundation approved motions supporting the move.
Lessons learned from the pandemic, the Bar & Foundation staff’s success in maintaining services throughout a remote and hybrid work environment, the changing needs of a more diverse membership, and the current state of the real estate market were all contributing factors. Legal and legislative challenges that may impact Bar dues make the committees’ decision the most responsible move.
If the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that we must be prepared to meet our members where they are, and with the services they need. A smaller location with lower operating costs will allow the Bar to be more agile in its approach to doing so in a post-pandemic world.
We anticipate staff at the Center will manage the transition with the same grace and flexibility shown over the course of the last year. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we prepare for the changes and challenges ahead.