Nominating Committee guides future ACBA leadership

December 20, 2019
President’s Message By Lori McMaster

The Nominating Committee is created under Article 6 of the bar association’s bylaws and its purpose is to select the candidates who will stand for election to serve as 1) an officer of the bar association (President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary); 2) a member of the Board of Governors; or 3) a member of the Judiciary Committee. As such, this committee serves a central function in guiding the future leadership of the association. The candidates selected by the Nominating Committee run in the contested general election held in the spring in which all active members are eligible to vote. The results of the election are then announced to the membership in the ACBA Sidebar.

The President appoints members of the Nominating Committee with the approval of the Board of Governors. Presidents seek to establish broad diversity within the Nominating Committee in terms of members’ practice areas, years of practice, places of employment, range of courts before which members appear, trial and appellate practice, civil and criminal practice, gender, age, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. At least one third of the Nominating Committee members must have previously served on the committee in order to assure familiarity with its processes and institutional knowledge.

The members of the Nominating Committee are also asked to identify and recruit qualified candidates to run for a position as an officer, or as a member of the Board of Governors or Judiciary Committee. The committee seeks candidates who are actively involved in the bar association and its divisions, sections and committees. Encouraging specific individuals to consider running is a huge aspect of ensuring a diverse and talented roster of candidates.

In my experience, qualified individuals are sometimes hesitant to run, and only do so after they have been specifically encouraged to do so by a colleague or friend. The encouragement of my colleagues in the Women in the Law Division was critical to my decision to run in the contested election for Chair of the WLD. It is extremely helpful for one to hear someone else’s perspective on the unique attributes and experience they could bring to a role. Such encouragement is, in my view, absolutely essential to assuring a diverse roster of candidates.

The President-Elect of the bar association chairs the Nominating Committee; this year the committee will be led by President-Elect Elizabeth Hughes. The committee meets twice (and possibly a third time, if needed) and considers the applications and resumes submitted by the candidates. Persons seeking to serve as President-Elect, Treasurer, or Secretary of the bar association appear individually and in person before the committee, make brief presentations, and then answer questions posed by the committee. Candidates seeking to serve on the Board of Governors and/or Judiciary Committee do not appear before the committee; their applications and resumes are simply reviewed and discussed one at a time by the committee.

You may find information regarding how to apply as a candidate on the Nominating Committee’s webpage at Advertisements seeking candidates will be published in the PLJ and Sidebar beginning the week of December 23, 2019. The application deadline for candidates is Friday, February 7, 2020.