D.C. Bar 2020: A New Five-Year Horizon

Strategic Priorities and Objectives

Approved by the Board of Governors on June 9, 2015.

D.C. Bar 2020 ProcessOn June 9, 2015, the Board of Governors voted to adopt the following strategic priorities and objectives to serve as the foundation of "D.C. Bar 2020: A New Five-Year Horizon," the Bar's new strategic plan. They were identified by the D.C. Bar Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) after it completed a comprehensive environmental scan of the legal profession and extensive member engagement efforts.

These priorities and objectives are based on the input of thousands of members, the analysis of an internal staff team and third party market research and strategic planning experts, and the review and directional guidance provided by the SPC comprised of members representing all segments of the profession.

These strategic priorities and objectives will allow the D.C. Bar to account for its current activities and to build a set of initiatives for each discrete priority and across priorities to achieve desired outcomes. Those outcomes are set forth in the strategic objectives that are broadly defined below.

Priority 1

Context: The D.C. Bar is the second largest unified bar in the country with members in all states and 83 countries. Members from all areas have articulated a desire for the D.C. Bar to function as a leader in the profession, serving as an enabler of thoughtful discussion on the key issues affecting the profession.

The Bar will strive to convene the talented individuals and premier organizations within the profession to help define, evaluate and identify opportunities in response to existing and emerging issues and challenges, consistent with the parameters of its role representing members across entire spectrums of perspectives on any given matter.

Strategic Objectives:

  • Thought Leadership: The D.C. Bar will use its stature in the community to provide thought leadership around domestic and global issues of importance affecting the legal profession and the community, including the delivery of, and removal of barriers to, access to justice for underserved communities.
  • Collaborative Problem Solving: The D.C. Bar will focus greater emphasis on partnerships and collaboration with other organizations to address immediate, near and long-term areas of opportunity and challenge for the profession, its members and the public interest.
  • Organizational and Operational Excellence: The D.C. Bar will achieve positioning as an overall leader in the profession by acquiring, retaining and showcasing the skills and expertise of talented staff, leveraging technologies, and conducting efficiency and effectiveness reviews of programs and processes. The Bar will ensure that a five-year horizon and beyond is considered in making all significant economic decisions, and will strive for long-term financial sustainability and resiliency.

Priority 2

Context: A key theme expressed within 21 focus groups in which hundreds of members participated in person and in responses by thousands of members to online surveys and polling focused on the desire for choice and the ability to have professional mobility. A high percentage of members indicated that a career change had been thrust upon them, while significant numbers indicated that movement within practice areas had been driven by their interest in career progression or in the subject matter. In general, feedback was focused on the ways in which the D.C. Bar could provide individuals with the multi-dimensional resources that would empower them to have choices.

Strategic Objectives:

  • Framing Professional Opportunity: Drawing on the expertise of its members and the profession at large, the Bar will help to define frameworks and approaches for the opportunities and challenges associated with the choices that a member may encounter within the course of a professional journey. It will seek to drive a holistic understanding of ‘what I need to know’ in order to enhance members’ awareness and ability to identify appropriate professional choices.
  • Career Exploration and Development: The Bar will provide its members with an opportunity, both in-person and virtual, to consider new career options and trajectories by identifying and addressing gaps in strengths, skills and experience, and by developing both technical expertise and technological competence in the practice of law.
  • Lifelong Transitions: The Bar will focus on providing resources and experiences for every phase of an individual’s professional journey from the prospective lawyer to those who have retired but may still wish to contribute and the many in-between phases that occur within career spans.

Priority 3

Context: An organization that serves more than 100,000 members in 83 countries with a high concentration of its membership in the D.C. metropolitan area must focus on the many views of what constitutes value for such a diverse and dispersed community. By effectively growing and communicating the Bar’s brand value, an opportunity exists to yield both real and perceived added value to membership in one of the premier bars in the country.

Strategic Objectives:

  • Understanding Individual Value Proposition: The D.C. Bar will work proactively to evaluate the needs and interests of its individual members, discreet member segments and cross-segments of its membership in order to define a sophisticated value proposition model to encourage and support individual members’ engagement.
  • Communicating and Delivering Value: Leveraging the latest technologies whenever possible, the D.C. Bar will seek proactively to communicate the unique value available to its members. The Bar will ensure that value is delivered in a manner that aligns with the diverse and dispersed nature of its membership.
  • Delivering Outstanding Service Experiences: Members and other key stakeholders should expect a consistently superior service experience, in person or virtually through leading edge technologies, in keeping with the superiority of its member value offerings and its standing as one of the premier bars in the country.

Priority 4

Context: The D.C. Bar has a public service mission, which addresses the public’s need for exceptional legal representation. It achieves this by ensuring that the competence and ethical standards of its members are of the highest caliber.

Strategic Objectives:

  • Promoting Access to Justice: The D.C. Bar is committed to promoting and supporting access to justice for low income individuals by promoting the increase of pro bono services in the District of Columbia while also focusing on expanding public awareness of this challenge.
  • Technical Excellence and Technological Competence: The D.C. Bar will serve the profession and the public interest by providing continuing education that reaches members locally, nationally and globally as a component of its efforts to invest in and support the technical and technological proficiency as well as the overall professional excellence of its members.
  • Highest Ethical Standards: The D.C. Bar will provide resources to support the membership in upholding the highest ethical standards of practice and to ensure the appropriate enforcement of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct.

Priority 5

Context: An overwhelming number of responses from members focused on the desire to network and connect, both in person and virtually, to other individuals and organizations within the profession. They cited the D.C. Bar as uniquely positioned to convene groups and foster opportunities for self-directed exchanges of ideas and information around practice specialty and issue areas of interest locally, nationally, and internationally.

Members further indicated a desire for connections that highlight their value and contributions to the corporate community, the general public and the complementary professions with which they engage on a regular basis.

Strategic Objectives:

  • Community of Choice: Members will see the D.C. Bar as an important in person and virtual professional gathering place, which fosters rewarding connections that focus on being part of a critically important profession.
  • Bridging Both Practice Area and Demographic Spectrums: The D.C. Bar will facilitate connections within a dispersed and diverse community of members engaged in sharing their expertise and experience.
  • Local, National, and Global Focus: Recognizing the widely dispersed nature of the D.C. Bar’s membership, and its location in the Nation’s Capital, the Bar will provide opportunities in person as well as virtually and will aggressively move to migrate its catalog of offerings online and consumable wherever a member may be located.