PAABA President’s Address – Spring 2015

President’s Address. April 5, 2015


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Mahatma Gandhi

A new day is upon us and, like the tech industries that fuel this Valley, the legal profession is well into its next iteration. Using online form fillers is no longer novel and many law firms now use, rely or promote such tools. It wasn’t that long ago that our profession was openly hostile to this idea that it now widely embraces. Similarly, legal search has made a quantum leap from “plain language” search terms to visual aids that mimic the way our minds process information. Big data rules the day when it comes to analytics, valuing claims and cases, and predicting outcomes. Finally, some authoritative sources now credibly argue that IBM’s Watson will someday replace us all. All of us.

Many of the above ideas and more were on display last month at a joint program between PAABA and the Stanford University Law School CodeX program. The message from the event was clear – evolve or die. The times they are a changin’, and at a faster rate than any of us imagined.

Your Palo Alto Area Bar Association is changing also. If you are reading this, you have noticed that the web site has a hip, new design. You can now sign up for events directly from our site instead of via a third party provider. You also have noticed that we now have a regular newsletter that lists current activities. You can now expect a weekly summary of what’s going on instead of periodic event-specific emails. Plan accordingly.

Finally, we are now open for sponsorships and ads on our website and at our events. Two of our loyal sponsors hosted a mixer recently at the Left Bank in Menlo Park, and you can plan on seeing more such events.

Not everything is different over at PAABA. We still have several committees and still offer ample opportunities to get involved at whatever level you can. Our events still provide a venue for lawyers to meet the community and get out of your offices to exchange ideas with other lawyers. You can still meet for lunch and talk about your area of practice in any of the following groups:

Business Law


Intellectual Property


Family Law

Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation

Estate Planning


Women’s Group

It has been said that the Silicon Valley owes its success to our incredibly cooperative culture, where even fierce competitors will freely exchange ideas. The law business in this Valley is no different. Join a committee and meet your peers.

The PAABA Fee Arbitration program and Lawyer Referral Service are also open for business, conducting more activity this year than in recent years. Our social media sites on Facebook and LinkedIn are constantly buzzing with articles, blog posts and discussion of relevant legal topics. We now offer CLE sessions by webinar, so you can obtain CLE hours from your home or office. We even have a twitter account – @PaloAltoAreaBar. Like our page on Facebook, join our group
on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter!

This venerable organization, formed in 1934, has embraced modernity with a vengeance. There has never been a better time to get involved and sign up or renew your membership. I look forward to meeting all of you in person or online as we explore and lead the coming revolution in legal services.

Roger Royse