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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Final Interview With Bar Association’s Liz Post

After nearly 25 years with the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Executive Director Liz Post will step down from her role and return to her home state of New York to lead the Nassau County Bar Association. Under her leadership, the Valley bar association grew from 800 members to more than 2,000. Post discussed the challenges and triumphs of her tenure in a special farewell interview with the Business Journal. Question: What will you miss most about your job? Answer: The people. Our members, our bar leaders, the staff, the judges. Over 25 years I’ve honed a lot of close relationships – they’re my family. What has changed about running a bar association since you began? There’s more competition from for-profit corporations (for attorney membership). When I first started, it was really just the bar associations that provided continuing legal education for attorneys or referrals for the public. Now the bar associations face a lot of competition from online services. When I started in 1994, the technology wasn’t where it is now. How has the legal profession changed? Diversification. Both the bar associations and the bench make a concerted effort to make sure that our membership or our judiciary is a full reflection of the communities that we serve. What is your proudest accomplishment? I think overall it’s the successful programs. Our fee arbitration program, our Fastcase program, our probate settlement program and our inclusion and diversity committee have provided services to the community and to our justice system that ensure that our justice system and our legal community reflect the communities that we serve. I’m also very proud of Valley Lawyer magazine. How did Valley Lawyer magazine get its start? My first assignment as executive director was to create a newsletter to communicate to our members. It started as a four-page newsletter that was designed on my PC. It grew into a larger newsletter and eventually into our award-winning magazine. I heard recently from one of the largest bar associations in the nation that they’re restructuring their magazine and they’re using ours as something they will strive for. What has made Valley Lawyer successful? It’s very member-centered. We try to promote the good works of our members so they get to know each other and our bar leaders. The articles … are an opportunity for our members to share their expertise in the profession. They’re written in a way that attorneys from different sectors of the industry can understand. What was your biggest challenge, and how did you face it? I think we’re still facing our biggest challenge – and not just us, but bar associations nationwide: Keeping up with technology, keeping up with our competition. When I started and really even before that, attorneys felt that it was an obligation to join and support their local bar association. That was how they got their legal education and how they made contacts to get referrals. Now, not only is there the online competition, but also the newer generation of attorneys don’t necessarily want the same things. They don’t understand why they need to belong to a bar association. We’re trying to connect with those younger lawyers through social media and social events, providing an opportunity to make those personal connections in a way that doesn’t intrude on other things that are going on in their lives. What is your favorite memory from your time as executive director? One of our alumni of our bar association is Justice Armand Arabian. I’m from New York and he was from the East Coast and spent a lot of time in New York. It was 2001, and we were unbeknownst to each other both in New York City during the holidays. We were both at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and we bumped into each other. Every time I ran into him after that – which was fairly often – and we were in the company of other people, he would always share that story. The bar is a small world. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your position? Always be accessible, whether it’s to your bar leaders or your rank-and-file members. For an organization of our size with limited staff and limited resources, once in a while you have to say no because of other priorities. But at the same time, you want to say yes as much as you can and help your bar leaders and members and help accomplish their vision. Anything else you’d like to add? Just a big “thank you” to everyone. The San Fernando Valley is a large place, but whether you’re talking about the business community or the legal community, it’s small enough where you know people personally or you know names. When I started with the bar 25 years ago, I’d only been in Los Angeles two years. I probably in some ways was considered an outsider – I certainly wasn’t a Valley girl at that time. But from the start, everyone has been very welcoming both within and outside the bar. I just want to thank everyone for their friendship and support over the years.

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