York County Bar Association
Association-Structure-Strategic Plan
Advancing the legal profession; Promoting public service through strategic initiatives to…
  1. Build on a proud local tradition of service to the profession and the community;
  2. Adjust to significant changes in our society and the legal system;
  3. Capitalize on members’ commitment to professional excellence and respect for the law.

Bar Association Mission
The York County Bar Association is a non-profit professional membership association of attorneys and judges. It exists to serve the needs of lawyers, judges and public of York County. The Association and its members have dedicated themselves to the following general purposes:

  1. Providing services and benefits to member attorneys to enable their successful practice of law;
  2. Promoting a legal and judicial system where the rights of all persons can be asserted, defined and protected;
  3. Rendering assistance to the various courts before which we practice, thereby helping to improve the quality of justice;
  4. Developing mutual trust and confidence among the members of the Bar, between the Bench and the Bar, and between the Bar and the community at large;
  5. Educating the public on legal matters;
  6. Striving for the highest standards of ethical conduct;
  7. Ensuring quality continuing legal programs for the members;
  8. Providing legal representation of the indigent

Bar Foundation Mission
The York County Bar Foundation was created by the York County Bar Association, and is dedicated to the following charitable purposes:

  1. To provide legal services to disadvantaged residents of York County regardless of their ability to pay
  2. To promote the fair and efficient administration of justice; and
  3. To provide grants and support to projects consistent with our charitable purpose.

The mission of the York County Bar Foundation is therefore

  1. To increase pro bono participation by the Bar
  2. To increase our endowment and our law-related grants
  3. To raise public awareness of the public service role of the Bar in our community.
  1. Better connect and engage members with each other and with the Association and Foundation.
  2. Improve Bench-Bar relations and intra-Bar civility.
  3. Improve community relations and the public image of lawyers, and promote community service and outreach.
  4. Develop and implement a viable financial model.
  5. Define and implement the strategic direction of the Foundation.
#1 Better connect and engage members with each other and with the Association and the Foundation

Measures of Success

  1. Current membership levels are maintained or increased
  2. Young lawyer members represent a growing percentage of membership
  3. New lawyer members represent a growing percentage of membership
  4. Public sector attorneys represent a growing percentage of membership
  5. In-house counsel members represent a growing percentage of membership
  6. A growing percentage of members in all identified segments and groups is actively engaged in some aspect of the Association


Target and personalize communications

  1. Consider members’ various life circumstances, geography, special interests, categories of practice, etc.
  2. Consider ways that larger firms might help target and personalize Association communications within the firms.
  3. Investigate use of technology to capture member profiles and facilitate customized message development and distribution.

Customize and target services and benefits for identified segments or groups

  1. Maintain and enhance traditional services and benefits that have been well received.
  2. Identify segments or groups and their special interests (young lawyers, new lawyers, public sector attorneys etc.).
  3. Systematically recruit members of identified segments or groups to help specify, develop and promote desired services and benefits.
  4. Define, refine, promote and support the mentoring program.
  5. Investigate use of technology to make services and benefits more accessible (e.g. videoconferencing).
  6. Investigate feasibility of branch offices for filings and other services.
  7. Consider incentives for identified segments or groups.

Consider the following as elements of a comprehensive member recruitment and retention program:

  1. Identify and promote the tangible benefits of membership, i.e. develop an answer to the question, "Am I getting value for my membership?"
  2. Issue Membership cards that offer discounts at area vendors.
  3. Implement a dues structure that covers the cost of popular special events such as annual meeting, annual dinner, Law Day, etc.
  4. Adopt a Welcome Wagon approach to recruiting young lawyers.
#2 Improve Bench-Bar relations and intra-Bar civility

Measures of Success

  1. A Bench Bar conference has been held
  2. Channels of communication between the Bench and Bar have been established
  3. Judges are more actively involved in the Bar Association
  4. Tangible evidence that the relationships between lawyers and between the Bench and the Bar reflect the highest standards of professionalism, competence and ethical conduct


  1. Develop a clear and concise plan that is championed and monitored by the Board.
  2. Identify specific strategies, as necessary, to overcome reluctance of the Bench to join the Bar in these efforts.
  3. Plan and conduct a Bench Bar conference in 2005.
  4. Articulate clear goals and objectives of the conference.
  5. Evaluate conference results and use findings to plan content and structure of future conferences.
  6. Strengthen and improve relationships between Bench leadership and Bar leadership
  7. Seek advice and assistance from retired York County Judges and Senior Judges from outside of York County.
  8. Create a mechanism to reduce attorneys’ reluctance to approach judges on issues of courtroom behavior or process.
  9. Work with the Bench to create a Code of Civility, using the PA Supreme Court Code as a model.
  10. Explore the use of a survey to assess the performance of the Bench (consult other communities that use this tool).

Maintain/increase attention to the Lawyer’s Code of Civility.

  1. Offer annual seminar on Professionalism and Excellence (civility, respect, decorum, competence).
  2. Coach mentors to place greater focus on the issue of civility between the mentor and the young attorney.
  3. Revise new member orientation to place greater emphasis on civility between attorneys.

Institute a process for the Professionalism Committee to consider complaints and grievances, using fee dispute process as a model.

#3 Improve community relations and the public image of lawyers, and promote community service and outreach

Measures of Success

  1. Tangible evidence that target external relationships have expanded and strengthened (Association relationships)
  2. Greater involvement of the Association and Foundation in high profile community initiatives like YorkCounts
  3. Greater number of individual members are personally involved in pro bono legal representation and other public service
  4. The Lawyer Referral Service business plan has been successfully implemented


  1. Use the Bar Brief and website to promote public service opportunities.
  2. Strategically deploy Foundation and Association resources (human and financial) to amplify our collective contribution.
  3. Establish a policy regarding the Association taking a "position" on sensitive or "political" issues (intent of the policy is to avoid dividing the membership).
  4. Promote and communicate the pro bono and community-related activities of the Association and Foundation.
  5. Consider the feasibility of using the Judicial Center as an education tool for the public and the schools.
  6. Continue working with MidPenn Legal Services to identify and pursue strategies for improving its operations and effectiveness.
  7. Identify and pursue strategic opportunities for the Association, as an association, to be involved in higher-level community initiatives like YorkCounts.
  8. Continue positive advocacy to rotect the public (this is the message) against UPL – take caution not to be seen as self-serving.
  9. Complete the planning and implementation of restructuring Lawyer Referral Service to promote service to the community, as well as the interests of Association members.
  10. Continue representation of the indigent through enhanced and more diversified participation in the pro bono program.
  11. Support and expand the work of community liaison committees.
#4 Develop and implement a viable financial model

Measures of Success

  1. A sustainable financial model reflecting more diversified revenue streams is developed, and an implementation plan is adopted and initiated.
  2. A pro-forma contingency operating plan is developed and ready for deployment in the event of loss of revenue from the York Legal Record.
  3. The Lawyer Referral Service business plan has been successfully implemented.


  1. Develop a policy proposal concerning allocation of Foundation funds to support Association operations.
  2. Identify and resolve questions related to the issue of how separate or integrated Association and Foundation purposes should or must be, considering that it might be better for the Association or Foundation to be in the background on some issues.
  3. Develop and implement a policy and plan for building an Association reserve.
  4. Build Foundation assets as a promising avenue for developing a sustainable revenue stream.
  5. Bolster membership as an important strategy to build membership fee revenue.
  6. Complete the planning and implementation of restructured Lawyer Referral Service to promote service to the community, as well as the interests of Association members.
#5 Define and implement the strategic direction of the Foundation

Measures of Success

  1. A plan is in place for building the assets of the endowment long term.
  2. Policies are in place regarding the use and allocation of Foundation funds that ensure organizational continuity and ability to carry out our mission as well as appropriate support of community initiatives (issue of proper balance of placing donations into endowment v. passing through to community).
  3. There is increased participation/involvement in Foundation initiatives.
  4. A document is prepared that clearly articulates a tangible case for a personal sense of ownership of the Foundation mission, ownership that implies both financial support and personal involvement.


  1. Appoint a task force to raise the visibility of Foundation efforts, and to oversee the various components of this goal area, including the following:
    1. Develop and implement a plan for building resources, both financial and human.
    2. Develop and implement a plan for allocating resources (financial and human) that addresses the issue of supporting big, strategic issues v. making many smaller grants.
    3. Concentrate on person-to-person contact to cultivate both personal involvement and financial support.
    4. Identify and capture strategic opportunities for Foundation involvement in, or funding of, community initiatives.

Develop a joint Association/Foundation branding and identity proposal that addresses the tension over the degree of organizational autonomy.


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