The Only Constant is Change

Welcome to the Brief . This is the first President’s message of the bar year because changes are in the works at the Beverly Hills Bar Association. One change is that we are no longer publishing our bi-monthly print magazine Bar Brief . A new communications plan is in place for three publications to be published throughout the month.
In an effort to more effectively communicate, we are reducing the number of emails we send out, and have instituted three digital publications to keep everyone up to date. You may have already received The Recap , which provides a review of recent BHBA activities, in case you missed them. This is the first edition of The Brief , for which we are seeking content in various media platforms. Submit your content here. The Agenda is soon to the follow.

We are on the verge of a new website that will be far more effective for the bar and its members. Stay tuned for information about the rollout. And we are improving and expanding upon the online experience.
MCLE Program of the Month
Litigation Impacts: The GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act and a Possible Federal Privacy Act

Lawyers face increasing challenges in a diverging profession. There is growing non-lawyer provision of legal services. Technology is transforming the practice.

These same challenges impact bar associations. Continuing legal education, while important and necessary, can be found in a multitude of places, and bar associations no longer have a lock on the activity. Bar associations must demonstrate their benefit and answer to expected return on investment. The increased remove, made possible by technology and current attitudes, has not, however, done away with the need for community: cohorts, colleagues, business partners, referral sources, and professional development. 

Here, the BHBA has a good story to tell, as an organization first and foremost for its members. As a full-service bar association, the BHBA is large enough to have the tools to help its members advocate, teach, network, plan events. Yet it is small and nimble enough to easily get involved, pursue interests, and gain recognition. 

While there is challenge, there is also opportunity. In recognition of this, the BHBA changed its member pricing model a few years ago, eliminating Section and Committee dues, offering free 25 hours of online MCLE and reducing the costs of programs, allowing members more opportunities for networking. The more engaged our members are, the better it gets.

The BHBA will increase online engagement and expand brand awareness, in addition to growing membership. The age of bar associations as silos is over. We are working on increased connection with our brother/sister bar associations as well as with non-legal organizations. Your suggestions are welcomed.

We appreciate our members’ continued support and patience.

Our Board of Governors provides committed leadership.

The Section and Committees consistently develop great programming, networking events, and opportunity for engagement.

In new developments, our DBA ( Diverse Business Affiliations) Committee is off to a great start ( see pictures from a recent networking event), and the International Committee is building a group for international attorneys.

With respect to our large events, tireless effort resulted in a stellar Litigation Awards Dinner and a wonderful Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Award Dinner.

We are excited about our developing video programming and invite you to subscribe to the BHBA’s YouTube channel.

The BHBA is a team effort. This list is just a drop in the bucket. More to come . . . .
My most pressing issue to share with you is the Annual Supreme Court Luncheon and Scholarship presentation. Each year, the Foundation awards law school scholarships to students of UCLA Law School, USC Gould School of Law, Pepperdine School of Law, Southwestern Law School and Loyola Law School who have shown academic excellence, a commitment to public interest law and who demonstrate financial need. To fund those scholarships, we depend on our members, member law firms and the generosity of those who value the Rule of Law and the viability of our constitution to support and enable the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation to continue presenting such outstanding law school students with its annual scholarships.
Meet Past Scholarship Recipients
Please join us on June 4, 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills to honor the California Supreme Court and be inspired by the achievements of this year’s scholarship recipients despite the hardships and hurdles they have overcome to merit our recognition.
It is my honor and pleasure to address the BHBA and its members. This is my first open letter to our members and the community, and my first official communication since my induction speech last September. So much has happened since then, and so much lies ahead before the end of my term.
Before I briefly recap what has happened and preview what is to come, I want first to touch on our objective this year as Barristers and encourage you to get involved. 
This year, we have focused on maintaining our dedication to our pro bono projects while placing an emphasis on networking opportunities and social events. We are bringing energy to the BHBA and providing opportunities to our members and prospective members to join us. We are here, and we are accessible. Join us at any of our events and encourage your peers.
Our pro bono projects are healthy and on-going. Each month, we staff a pro bono legal clinic at Roxbury Park (first Saturday) and cook a meal for the homeless at the Santa Monica Homeless Shelter “SAMOSHEL” (second Saturday). This coming October, we will be staffing “Lawyers in the Library” as we do every year. You are always invited to participate in these enriching experiences. The good we do is dependent on member participation, and we are incredibly grateful for our member participation.
Our networking and social events have been fantastic during my term, and fantastic events remain on calendar. In March, we had a fantastic New Admittees reception at SuitSupply in Century City. In April, our wonderful President-Elect, Dira Imam, organized a free MCLE event at Craft in Century City with free drinks and food. The event was oversold and went off without a hitch.

Our regular Networking Mixers have found a home at The Henry in West Hollywood. In an effort to maximize networking opportunities, we have successfully partnered with The Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (“WLALA”) and California Young Lawyers Association (“CYLA”). Our attendance has exceeded 150 people.
We are extremely pleased with the opportunities we are providing. We are creating the “buzz” we intended. 
In closing, I again invite you to attend any and all of our events, especially the young attorneys. We look forward to meeting you (or seeing you again)!
Does the Entertainment Bar Need to Confront the Talent Agencies Act?
Written by Shelley Surpin , Surpin, Mayersohn & Coghill, LLP,
Regardless of the merits of the controversy between the WGA and the major agencies, the fight has revealed the need for an amendment to the Talent Agencies Act, California Labor Code Sections 1700 et. seq. to clarify the roles that attorneys may play in representing talent. Attorneys cited by the WGA and by the Association of Talent Agents disagree strongly on what the law permits attorneys to do and one reason for that is the vague language of the statute and the lack of definitive judicial interpretation.
The language of the statute purports to give licensed talent agents the exclusive right to engage “in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist or artists. . .” The Labor Commissioner and the few court decisions on this appear to say that negotiation of artists’ contracts for employment fall squarely into “procurement” activity. Nor does the Labor Commissioner appear to read in any exception to this exclusivity for licensed Bar members, notwithstanding that attorneys are far more highly regulated, require more stringent educational qualifications and have stricter ethical standards than any licensed talent agent. Also, attorneys have been doing this work for many years. Rather than helping writers, this interpretation of the law grants talent agents a monopoly, making it more difficult than it already is for writers who may not yet have had a hit. The result of this exclusivity is that artists who do not have agency representation will not be able to get professional help and counsel in negotiating their contracts and will end up more or less at the mercy of the offeror.

Attorneys should be permitted to do for entertainment artists what they have done for years and what they do well for all of their clients, i.e. counsel, draft, review and negotiate contracts. A large plurality, if not the majority, of California’s entertainment lawyers practice in Los Angeles and belong to either the Beverly Hills Bar Association or the Los Angeles County Bar Association or both. Both of these groups should be working together in Sacramento to modify and clarify the Talent Agencies Act.