“We’re analyzing every aspect of what we do,” president Tad Delegal says.
The Jacksonville Bar Association has begun the most substantial operational changes in the 119-year history of the organization.
“We are rethinking everything and restructuring,” said Tad Delegal, president of the association’s board of governors. “We’re analyzing every aspect of what we do to determine how to enhance and improve it. This is the first time we’ve taken a comprehensive strategic plan and implemented it.”
The board of governors selected Jim Bailey, former publisher of the Daily Record, to lead the business and operational elements of the transition.
He sold the newspaper — the “Official Newspaper of The Jacksonville Bar Association since 1926” — in January after running the publication for 35 years and planned to retire from day-to-day business.
“I had no desire to go back to work — until Tad called me. But this was perfect,” Bailey said.
Planning for the JBA’s “new era” began two years ago with consultation among board members as well as a formal survey of the association’s members.
Areas of focus for the transformation include making more benefits and services available to the more than 2,000 association members; expanding avenues of communication, including redesigning the website, jaxbar.org, and social media; and improving the organization’s engagement with the legal community.
In addition, Delegal said the organization will create more opportunities for networking with attorneys who are members of the other voluntary Bar associations who aren’t JBA members.
He said the inaugural “Open Bar Social” event in July when the association invited the entire legal community to network and learn about the various Bar groups was a success.
It will be a “bookend” for the Bar year with another debut event, a gala being planned for May.
“A lot of what’s involved with enhancing the organization is just getting people together and being more organized and deliberate,” Delegal said.
Outreach is another part of the transition. The JBA’s six specialty practice sections and 36 committees will be more engaged in service projects already in place and new initiatives will be developed.
“Our goal is to establish a structure to let lawyers be involved in the legal community and the broader community. We’re using the structure that exists to strengthen what we can do,” Delegal said.
Bailey is seeking input from members who would like to contribute to the operations redesign process.
“I’m collecting ideas,” he said. “If it looks good and makes good business sense, it could be implemented.”