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On June 9, 2020, the Board of Governors approved the strategic plan that will serve as the foundation for the Bar’s vision over the next five years.
The plan’s six priorities focus on the Bar’s vision of leading within the legal profession, empowering individuals, enhancing member value, providing public service and professional excellence, fostering community and connections, and encouraging organizational and operational excellence.
In the fall of 2019, President Susan Hoffman appointed a Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by former President Tim Webster. Committee members were selected to represent the breadth of interests of the Bar’s 110,000+ strong member base. The American Bar Association’s Bar Services Division was engaged as a consultant to facilitate the process.
The Committee first surveyed the legal landscape and completed an in-depth assessment of the Bar’s programs and services. Our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion were given significant emphasis throughout planning discussions. A thorough stakeholder analysis followed. To ensure priorities reflected the voices of all members, the Committee distributed a member-wide survey.
Once survey findings were aggregated and analyzed, topics and questions were drafted for focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Over six months, the Committee conducted dozens of facilitated discussions with members, staff, institutional partners, and legal profession and community leaders to obtain additional input and finalize the framework.
The Board of Governors’ affirmative vote signals the beginning of our five-year journey.
In coming months, executive leadership and staff will work closely with the Board of Governors to operationalize the plan. Immediate next steps include identifying organizational implications of the priorities and objectives; scoping and executing projects bound by performance metrics; and continuously reporting progress.
For the plan to truly reflect the voice of the membership, individual members are encouraged to share their feedback throughout the coming months.
The framework below integrates multiple interests and needs. It provides direction while giving the Bar the flexibility to adjust as circumstances warrant. It addresses immediate member and Bar needs, and encourages the Bar to explore longer-term trends impacting the profession. Finally, it balances the Bar’s responsibility to serve the public interest while supporting individual lawyers in the D.C.metro area and around the globe.
“We hope that the Strategic Plan will provide the direction and priorities to guide the Bar and serve our members effectively during challenging times and a changing legal environment in the five years ahead.” - Susan Hoffman, President
“The Strategic Planning Committee worked hard to provide the D.C. Bar with a critical tool for guiding organizational policy and initiatives for the next five years, not just a ‘paper tiger’ that would sit on the shelf. We were able to build off of the excellent work of the Committee that developed the 2015-2020 plan by updating and fine tuning the strategic goals for the new decade.” - Timothy Webster, Chair, Strategic Planning Committee
D.C. Bar Strategic Plan
Strategic Priority 1: Leading Within the Legal Profession
Demonstrate thought leadership that advances the profession and the administration of justice.
- Recognize and explore the implications of the regional, national, and global practice of law
- Foster a professional culture that prioritizes lawyer and law student wellness
- Support innovations that result in increased access to legal services
- Promote the integrity of a self-regulated profession
Engage in collaborative problem solving to address systemic challenges.
- Collaborate with judicial partners and stakeholders on issues of importance to the legal profession and the administration of justice
- Encourage greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession to enhance the public’s respect for the rule of law and trust in the justice system
- Raise public awareness of the importance of legal services, the rule of law, and independence of the judiciary
Strategic Priority 2: Empowering Individuals
Cultivate opportunities to strengthen professional growth.
- Assist members in adapting to the changing legal economy
- Ensure D.C. Bar programs and structures reflect the diverse interests of the membership
Foster career exploration, development, and transitions to facilitate professional satisfaction.
- Assist new members of the D.C. Bar in their transition from law school
- Offer opportunities for members to develop business and leadership skills
- Equip members to effectively navigate the demands of modern legal practice
- Support lawyers who are exploring career transitions
Strategic Priority 3: Enhancing Member Value
Communicate and deliver value.
- Engage members in an ongoing dialogue to better understand and anticipate how the D.C. Bar can serve them
- Ensure products, services, and communications are cost-effective and targeted to members’ specific practice needs
- Increase multi-channel access to D.C. Bar products, services, and communications
Provide outstanding service experiences.
- Prioritize ease of user experience in all member and community interactions with the D.C. Bar
- Continue to enhance online and remote access to D.C. Bar programs and services
Strategic Priority 4: Providing Public Service and Professional Excellence
Promote access to justice to protect the integrity of the justice system.
- Advance approaches that increase the delivery of civil legal services to those who cannot afford them
- Support lawyers in fulfilling their ethical obligation to contribute time and resources to serving clients of limited means
- Increase the availability of legal information and guidance on accessing lawyers and legal services
Enhance members’ substantive knowledge and technological competence in service to their clients.
- Provide leading-edge information that helps members enhance data integrity and security
- Help members understand and leverage technology to ensure proficiency
- Advance the use of technology to serve the best interests of clients
Advance the highest ethical standards among D.C. Bar members.
- Promote the highest ethical standards to maintain a self-regulated profession
- Educate our members about their ethical obligations, including those related to technology proficiency and providing legal services to those of limited means
- Monitor the changing legal landscape and propose appropriate changes to ethical rules and obligations
- Promote a culture that values civility and professionalism.
Strategic Priority 5: Fostering Community and Connections
Inspire members to view the D.C. Bar as their legal community of choice.
- Encourage members to engage with the D.C. Bar and each other
- Provide members with diverse engagement opportunities
Bridge both practice area and demographic spectrums.
- Promote innovative connection opportunities that speak to member interests
- Expand opportunities for law students to connect with the D.C. Bar
Strengthen national and global connections.
- Support and engage members located outside the metropolitan area
- Strengthen connections with state, national, and international bar associations in order to better serve members outside the metropolitan area
Strategic Priority 6: Encouraging Organizational and Operational Excellence
Communicate effectively with members to create greater understanding of the D.C. Bar.
- Build awareness of the D.C. Bar’s core functions and services
- Increase member access to points of engagement
- Develop targeted messaging that aligns with individual member preferences
- Maximize consistency in brand messaging across business units
Nurture a culture of staff service and flexibility to serve members and the public interest.
- Promote an adaptive, flexible, and nimble staff culture and processes to ensure safety, productivity, and business continuity
- Align staff skill sets with emerging programmatic, technological, and administrative needs
- Adapt to a post-pandemic environment by developing flexible policies that serve the needs of members and staff
Maximize the use and value of the building for staff, members, and stakeholders.
- Ensure that the Member Connection Space is accessible, convenient, and safe
- Optimize the use of the D.C. Bar headquarters as a gathering place
Sustain a strong fiscal position and effective use of resources.
- Engage in contingency planning for anticipated disruptions in the legal economy, including potential declines in membership applications or renewals
- Engage in financial forecasting to anticipate the D.C. Bar’s short- and long-term financial needs, including maintaining sufficient reserves
Collaborate with voluntary bar associations and other partner organizations.
- Develop the leadership pipeline with a commitment that leadership reflect the diversity of the D.C. Bar’s membership
- Augment the exchange of information for mutual benefit
- Promote the shared values of professionalism, access to justice, and the importance of the rule of law
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