President’s Update: Examining Our Governance Structure
I’m just back from the National Conference of Bar Presidents Midyear Meeting in Dallas and thought I would offer some food for thought. The keynote speaker was Mary Byers, an organizational consultant who works with a lot of professional associations. She identified a number of problems that professional associations are experiencing and offered 5 solutions.
Some of the solutions offered were unremarkable, for example, using technology better, but one in particular, caught my attention. She urged us generally to reexamine our governance structures and specifically to shrink our governing boards. Since, we have a task force looking at governance, this seems like a good time to discuss representation.
We currently have geographic representation, along with three at-large positions designed to ensure diversity. Each attorney in the state has a particular Governor representing them, but some parts of the state have more representatives than others.
Is it important to have a more or less personal representative on the Board of Governors? Or is it enough to know that there’s a mechanism for input, that any member has a way to have a voice at the board meetings and the board’s going to be responsive to his or her concerns?
If representation is geographic, should it be based on equal sized districts, even though that gives King County greater representation than it now has?
I’m posing questions, not offering an answer. We need to have a conversation about this because every member has a real stake. I’m interesting in hearing what you think.