2016 - 17 Communications Committee



Develops the communication process among members of the MCB through publications including the Mecklenburg Bar News, http://www.meckbar.org/, Bar Blasts, social media and the MCB Annual Membership Directory.




2016-17 Chair 2016-17 Vice-Chair
Sonya Pfeiffer
Malik Dixon


Class of 2017 Class of 2018 Class of 2019
Scott R. Branam
Angela D. Lindsay
Vera S. Goudes
Randall S. Hoose Jr.
Karen D. McCallum
Lawrence J. Shaheen Jr.
Rashad L. Blossom
Michael C. Harman
Nancy Litwak
James G. Middlebrooks




Staff Liaisons

Leah Campbell, Assistant Executive Director & Director of Communications - lcampbell@meckbar.org
Katie Guenther, Communications & Events Assistant - kguenther@meckbar.org  



Volunteer Need / Commitment

Members of the Communications Committee attend monthly committee meetings, write newsletter articles, monitor legal trends that should be included in future publications, evaluate Bar Blast effectiveness and discuss ways to serve MCB membership through communication efforts. Interested in joining this committee? Complete the committee interest form .


Committee Documents/Links

Mecklenburg Bar News

MCB Membership Directory

MCB Bar Blasts

MCB Publication Guidelines


2016-17 Communications Committee Report
Sonya Pfeiffer, Chair & Malik Dixon, Vice-Chair

The Mecklenburg County Bar Communications Committee met on a monthly basis in 2016-2017.  The meetings focused on planning content for each edition of the Mecklenburg Bar News, weekly Bar Blasts, MeckBar.org and various social media outlets. The Committee also developed a substantial list of newsletter article ideas which were executed and published throughout the year. 
New developments this year included a discussion and plans for distributing informational cards with details on how to obtain legal help to various public facilities, such as libraries and other gathering areas. By the end of the committee year, however, the cards for distribution had just been printed and were not available for dissemination by the committee. Next year, the Committee is likely to pick this project back up for completion. The Committee also participated in a social media tutorial by Katie Guenther, focusing on the social media vehicles used most frequently by the MCB:  LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. 

The Communications Committee also spent significant time responding to requests for input on the newly imposed recommendations of the Pro Bono Task Force relating to publication guidelines. Several concerns relating to the recommendations were shared with the MCB Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and next year’s Committee will monitor the impact of the new guidelines on requests for publication over the next Newsletter cycle.  
The Committee also continued its customary analysis of the effectiveness of MeckBar.org through usage statistics.  Some highlights are as follows: 
In 2016-17, MeckBar.org averaged 8,155 visitors/month, with an average of 4,246 unique visitors each month. October 2016 was the busiest month on MeckBar.org with 12,870 visitors (due to the inclusion of judicial bios on the website prior to Nov. election). The top ten most visited pages on MeckBar.org in descending order were: CLE Schedule; Pay Your Dues; On-Demand/Online CLEs; Classifieds - Attorney Positions Available; MCB Member Directory; Judicial Candidates for Nov. Election; Attorney & Firm Announcements; MCB Basketball Leagues; Judicial Bio-Tracy Hewett; and All Activities Calendar.
Bar members accessed MeckBar.org more on their mobile devices in 2016-17. Visitors accessed the site via a desktop computer 71 percent of the time, a decrease of four percent from last year; a mobile device 25 percent of the time, a 13 percent increase; and a tablet four percent of the time, same rate as previous year. This information will be important for the Committee to consider during the website re-design process.
The Committee monitored how Bar members responded to the weekly Bar Blasts distributed via e-mail each Thursday by tracking the percentage of members opening the e-mail and then clicking on various links within the email. In 2016-17, the rate at which Bar members opened the Bar Blasts was 29 percent of recipients, same as 2015-16. The rate at which Bar members then clicked on a link within the Bar Blast was 20 percent, a five percent increase from 2015-16. One hypothesis on the drop of  the click rate is that with the rise of social media followers, detailed below, Bar members are getting their information from a variety of sources and do not need to click on the link.
MCB’s presence on social media continued to grow in 2016-17. The Committee continued to focus on expanding the Bar’s presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook by increasing frequency and variety of information shared.  In 2016-17, MCB Facebook followers increased by 14 percent, Twitter followers increased by 20 percent and LinkedIn followers increased by 7 percent.
Communications Committee
2016-17 Goals
1. Assist as needed with the redesign of MeckBar.org and strengthen the Communications Committee presence on the current MeckBar.org.  Incomplete
a. The website is still in development, but the Committee is prepared to assist in this goal next year. – TBC next year
2. Determine next steps for implementation of Pro Bono Task Force recommendations and identify any potential ramifications of these recommendations that the MCB Board might need to consider.  Complete, but ongoing review.
a. The Committee spent several hours and a number of meeting periods discussing, reviewing a providing suggestions related to the Pro Bono Task Force recommendations. 
b. The Committee identified several significant concerns about the ramifications of the recommended changes to the publication guidelines; the proffered alternatives and recommendations were declined by the Task Force and the new guidelines will be put into effect during the next Newsletter cycle.
c. The Committee will monitor the impact of the new guidelines and provide regular, ongoing feedback as necessary to the MCB executive committee and Board of Directors.
3. Strengthen the network & efficiency of communication between Bar committees/sections.  Complete
a. Assign Communications Committee member liaisons to each committee/section. Committee members will provide their assigned committee/section leaders their contact information and inform them of their role as Communications Committee liaison.  The Committee amended the previous duties of liaisons by creating a system in which liaisons made themselves known and available to their assigned Committees.  This created a more efficient, less burdensome system wherein Committees knew to reach out directly to their liaison as necessary.
b. Put contact info for assigned liaison on committee web pages & encourage committee/section chairs to include Communications Committee liaison on their meeting agendas each month.  Complete
4. Enhance public education/information.  Ongoing
a. Support work of various MCB committees, sections and divisions who have goals to provide/enhance legal education for the public. Consider enhancing the channels of communication with schools, social services and Justice Initiatives. 
b. Work with court system and section chairs to enhance content on MeckBar.org 
c. Explore avenues to increase external communications to the public about the work of the Bar and its members and the benefits to our community, including possible presentations at Court Camp and/or Court College. 
d. With the exit of Charles Keller, the Committee was stalled for a period of time as it relates to these goals.  However, Pam Cunningham-Escobar now fills the role of court liaison and she has attended several Committee meetings since accepting the position.  Incoming Chair Malik Dixon is slated to speak to the court camp in July 2017; Court college was cancelled this year as a result of Keller’s departure.
5. Review Bar member demographics once a year to ensure all groups (gender, age, race, firm size) find relevant information in newsletter/MeckBar.org.  Incomplete
a. Add demographics discussion to meeting agendas quarterly to ensure committee is focusing on how best to meet the needs of the different demographics.
b. In large part due to the amount of time spent on the Pro Bono Task Force recommendations to change publication guidelines, the Committee did not specifically focus on a review of demographics.
6. Produce a monthly newsletter with relevant and timely articles for the broad and diverse MCB membership and, when applicable, push content through MCB’s various social media sites, within the rules set forth by the NC State.  Ongoing
a. Define the NC State Bar rules re: social media
b. Ensure all Communications Committee members are following all MCB social media accounts.  Social media tutorial, noted above.
c. Determine how to increase the MCB’s presence on social media & increase the participation of the Bar’s volunteers in promoting MCB activities on their own social media accounts.  This will continue into next year.
d. Determine how Communications Committee can best utilize the information collected in the monthly social media dashboard.  This will continue into next year.
7. Work with the Future Bar & Foundation Center Committee to inform and educate the Bar membership and community about the facility, including amenities, reservation opportunities and the updated facility use policy.  Ongoing
a. Incoming Chair Malik Dixon is currently working on a technology-related article that will include information about the new use policy, which was just approved by the MCB board in late March 2017