The Bar’s Communications Committee hopes to transfer the momentum from the Bar’s successful The Vote’s In Your Court program last year to the Bar’s ongoing Benchmarks program, according to Chair Mary Ann Morgan.
The Vote’s In Your Court was created last year to educate voters about the merit selection and retention system for judges, particularly on the appellate bench, after three Supreme Court justices were challenged in their retention campaigns. It was the first time in 20 years there was organized, active opposition in a retention race.
“Benchmarks is an adult civics education program,” Morgan told the Bar Board of Governors in April. “We had such great energy with The Vote’s In Your Court and such incredible volunteers because we had a crisis. What we want to do is capture some of that enthusiasm and not let it dwindle.
“The Benchmarks program is an awesome opportunity.”
The Communications Committee, working with the Constitutional Judiciary Committee, which oversees Benchmarks, will be seeking volunteers, offering training, and working with the Bar’s Speakers Bureau to place speakers before various groups. Morgan said the Bar has plenty of contacts for appearances from last year’s education program.
“It’s a great way to keep the community educated about the importance of an impartial judiciary,” she said.
On other issues, Morgan said the committee is working to carry out the mandates of the Bar’s Strategic Plan, particularly helping Bar members with technology issues and using technology to reach out to Bar members and the public.
The committee has put a link to the Pro Bono Committee on the website, which serves both as a way for residents to find pro bono help and for lawyers to find a way to perform pro bono services.
The committee also heard a report from the Bar’s technology consultant on technology matters, including the development of Bar apps. In addition, it looked at the Bar’s presence on the Twitter and Facebook (with, respectively, 194 and 914 followers) social media sites and looked at whether the Bar should have a presence on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Morgan said the committee reviewed 11 applicants for the Citizens Forum and recommended four names for vacancies on the forum and reviewed the Board of Legal Specialization and Education’s communications program.