Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.” The Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) has begun implementing a strategic plan that guides our work through 2020, in accordance with our mission: “To serve the public and the Bar members in improving and preserving the administration of justice, and to assist the North Carolina State Bar as described by statutory requirements.”
The plan is the culmination of three years of work by dozens of MCB leaders and staff, who prioritized two areas of importance: (1) offering value to our diverse membership and (2) dedicating resources to what the MCB can uniquely provide.
In 2014-15, the MCB board decided to create the plan through your guidance, solicited through a membership survey conducted in the fall of 2015; the help of the American Bar Association’s Division for Bar Services (“the ABA DBS”); and a full-day strategic planning retreat for the board and senior staff. During 2015-16, the MCB worked with the ABA DBS to learn emerging bar trends and shape our big ideas. In 2016-17, the ABA DBS’s Jennifer Lewin drafted a plan that the board fine-tuned and approved. An Executive Summary of the 2015 membership survey and the strategic plan approved in December 2016 are available on the Bar’s website MeckBar.org.
The following plan “outcomes” are the guideposts for MCB staff and volunteers:
1. The MCB will build awareness of its mission and activities, fostering an inclusive community of members and the visibility of the profession in Mecklenburg County.
2. The MCB offers programs and services that are essential to members’ practices.
3. The MCB serves as a leader and supports the efforts of other organizations to help ensure that those who cannot afford legal services have meaningful access to our justice system.
4. The MCB helps cultivate a diverse and inclusive profession that reflects the diversity of the community it serves.
5. The MCB achieves its goals through organizational excellence.
Plans are great on paper but mean nothing without proper implementation. This is where you come in. We invite you to participate in the plan’s execution. You can do so by answering the demographics questions that we present to you; attending swearing-in ceremonies, welcoming new members, and participating in the Linking Lawyers mentoring program; staffing volunteer projects; joining a section, committee, or division; providing pro bono services in Mecklenburg County, including through our new online pro bono program at meckbar.freelegalanswers.com
, which assists low-income residents whose legal needs cannot be met by local pro bono agencies; and offering paid legal services as a member of the MCB Lawyer Referral Service panel.
It is through clear planning that we know where we want to the Mecklenburg County Bar to go, and with your help we will get there. As a 15-year MCB member who has enjoyed participating in sections, committees, CLEs, Linking Lawyers, the board and the executive committee, I’m grateful for the structure the MCB provides us and excited about our future together.