Proposed Membership Category Change
We are excited to share with you news regarding recent discussions had by the ALA Board of Directors. At the recommendation of the Association’s Membership Development Committee, the Board has spent a great deal of time evaluating the continued need for multiple classifications of Association membership. On June 4, and after considerable discussion, the Board approved a proposed bylaw amendment to eliminate the Associate Member category currently in place, elevating these individuals to Regular Member status.
If this proposal is approved by the membership at large, this means the nearly 200 members affected by this change will have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles within the organization and, most importantly, will be entitled to vote on any future amendments to the Association’s bylaws.
Section 2.4 of the current bylaws outlines three membership categories: Regular Members, Associate Members and Life Members. Approximately 97.08% of current ALA members are Regular Members, 2.41% are Associate Members and less than 0.5% are Life Members. Regular and Life Members are permitted to vote on bylaw amendments in accordance with Article XIII of the current bylaws. Associate Members are currently not afforded that opportunity. According to Section 2.5(b), Associate Members are also prohibited from holding office within the Association and serving on the Board of Directors.
The current structure precludes a subset of members, including those employed by bar associations, legal management professors, paralegals and the like, from having a voice or serving within the organization. There may have been a time when this categorization had merit. However, the current Board of Directors believes that both the legal management profession and this Association have evolved beyond the need for such distinction.
Under ALA’s bylaws, the changes being proposed require a bylaw amendment. All Regular Members of the Association were entitled and encouraged to vote. A secure electronic ballot was distributed to all Regular Members on June 27, 2019. Voting remained open until 11:59 p.m. Central on July 17, 2019. Regular Members could only vote once and were not permitted to change their ballot once it’s cast. Results of the vote will be announced to the membership on July 22, 2019.
What Do I Do Now?
Please review the redlined version of the bylaws and the FAQs to familiarize yourself with the changes and the reasons behind the proposed amendments. A recording of the Town Hall session that was held on Thursday, July 11 is available below and may be a useful resource as well. You can also share your comments and questions or request more information by directing a message to BoardOfDirectors@alanet.org.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you for your membership in ALA and your participation in this process. We are excited about the opportunities these changes will provide to all our current and future members.
James L. Cornell III
2019-2020 ALA President