I've been involved with a few strategic planning initiatives in my life, and perhaps bizarrely, I actually enjoy them. The ELS Strategic Planning Committee is putting the finishing touches on a survey of our members, and I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to take the time to complete it when it is sent. We have approximately 600 members with extremely diverse backgrounds. In my experience, the ELS has focused its efforts on full-time environmental lawyers in private practice and while that has served many of us well, I think we can do better. So please, give us your input so we can cater future events and publications to better serve you.
I had the pleasure of attending the Bar Leadership Forum on behalf of our section in early June. By far, the highlight of that event was the presentation on the 21st Century Law Practice. This has been a focus of the State Bar for the last year, and you can learn more about it here. I suspect we have all seen competitive threats to our area of practice from environmental consultants, and I expect that to continue. Perhaps more interesting are the efforts of folks in Silicon Valley and similar places to reinvent the practice of law. If you happened to watch IBM's Watson computer play (and win) on Jeopardy a few years ago, you have a sense of what the 21st century may bring. I started my legal career using a Wang computer, and while I gave that up a long time ago, the practice of law has been relatively untouched by technology during my career. The 21st century changes will come sooner than you may think.