Forming a new Substantive Law Section
Forming a new section requires a core minimum group of 10 people. Organizational meetings can be held at the Bar office. An interim chairperson should be selected until such time as regular elections can be held. The names of all interested persons should be forwarded to the Board of Governors along with a letter requesting the formation of a new section. The Board will vote on the matter at its next regularly scheduled meeting. See sample letter.
Considerations in Forming a Potential Section
If a potential section is geared toward a small group of Bar members, there are a few facts to consider: The Bar has had small “niche” sections start up and go inactive within a year or two for lack of attendance at lunch meetings, inability to draw a large enough audience to hold a CLE (required at least every 2 years), and leadership unable to sustain continuing topics/speakers for meetings – thus member interest was lost. This is NOT to discourge formation of a section; but only to understand the responsibilities. The Alaska Bar will support the section to achieve it’s continuing education of our members.
Membership in ONE section is covered by your Bar dues. The cost for each additional section is $15. Non-Bar members may join a section for $15 per section. However, non-Bar members are restricted from serving on the Executive Committee and are non-voting section members. They may attend all section meetings and will receive all section emailings, including the monthly Section News. Membership is from January 1st through December 31st.
All section members receive the monthly Section News. In addition, all section members receive any section emailings or information materials sent by the chair(s) of the section. Members outside of Anchorage can attend section meetings via teleconferencing paid for by the Bar.
There is no specific line item for each individual section. There is one Bar line item to cover costs for ALL sections including teleconferences for members out of Anchorage, section photocopying and emailing of information materials, Section News preparation and miscellaneous expenses. Individual sections do not have discretion over any budget.
Each section must (1) hold monthly meetings with substantive topics (or alternatively every other month or quarterly if that best serves the membership); (2) present one continuing legal education seminar (CLE) a minimum of every two years, (3) hold an annual section meeting and election of executive committee and selection of chair by September 30 of each year (or the first fall meeting of the section); (4) present an annual report to the Board of Governors in May of each year working with the Section Coordinator; and (5) prepare annual professional updates discussing significant legal issues and legislation for section members each year, and hold section meetings in a location with teleconference capability to allow participation by members outside of Anchorage.
Bar Support for Sections
Meetings: The Bar can arrange for regular section meetings in the Bar conference room, provide teleconference calls for members outside of Anchorage to attend meetings and email material to members. The Bar will assist those sections meeting in off-site locations with teleconference and materials for members. NOTE: Most sections do not meet over the summer.
Section News: The Bar emails a monthly newsletter, Section News, which highlights meeting dates and topics, section chair contact information, and other relevant information. Section chairs are responsibile for submitting this information to the Bar’s Section Coordinator.
CLE: Once a CLE topic is approved by the CLE Director, the Director and the CLE Coordinator provide administrative and logistical support for presenting the program. The CLE Director develops a budget for each CLE and administers the program. The section provides members to assist in planning and presenting the topic and developing materials
Updates: Annual professional updates covering significant cases (federal & state) and legislation affecting the section’s area of law when presented for members either at regular section meeting or CLE are posted by section on the Bar website.
Annual Report to the Board of Governors: Sections are responsible for preparing a brief report on the section’s activities for the past year for the Board’s annual May meeting. Starting in 2011 the Section Coordinator prepares this report on the chairs’ behalf including a summary of all topics and CLEs held by each section over the prior year.