The San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA), like all law groups, is facing the fact that law school applications are the lowest they’ve been since the 1970s. It doesn’t take a genius to see that fewer applications may result in smaller classes and fewer attorneys. The prospect of fewer future members is a wake-up call for many bar groups—and an invitation to bridge the gap between new practitioners and the more seasoned attorneys who have participated in association activities for years. SDCBA is revitalizing the association in two ways: through programming and governance. The association is using its space to host new types of programs (TedTalk Brews and PR Power Hours) along with an emphasis on hospitality that’s increasing member engagement. A recently completed governance overhaul has re-energized volunteers and enabled them to more easily focus on, and support, the association’s strategic plan. Together, these activities are creating a “new” bar association.

Join me for a conversation with Ellen Miller-Sharp, SDCBA Executive Director. Her strategy may well be what you’re looking for in your own association. (If you’re mostly interested in the governance piece, fast forward to 11:18.)