Dear members of the Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association (TCYLA),
When my term as President of the TCYLA began in September of 2017, one of my primary objectives was for TCYLA to conduct a comprehensive organizational review. The Board of Directors (Board) was divided into three focus groups: membership recruitment and engagement, leadership structure and strategic planning, and administrative/marketing/communication. Each group was led by a member of the Board and met for brainstorming sessions during the fall of 2017. They reported their recommendations to the full Board during meetings in November and December, and the groups yielded many great ideas and recommendations for improvement that the Board is going to take for action. The focus group charged with reviewing TCYLA’s leadership structure made several recommendations that would require significant changes to the TCYLA bylaws, and the Board approved these changes at our regular Board meeting on January 2, 2018.
For as long as anyone can remember, TCYLA has been governed by a seniority-based system where Directors are elected to six-month terms and eventually ascend into the officer ranks where they are voted on as an officer slate. Officers then automatically elevate through the executive ranks every six months until they eventually serve a six-month term as President. This system has served the organization well for a number of years, but many were concerned that six-month leadership terms were no longer an effective way to lead a large and growing organization. And there was a consensus that the lack of term limits didn’t create an opportunity to inject new voices in the organization’s leadership frequently enough. Therefore, the Board decided that moving to a more merit-based system where leaders served for longer terms, but shorter periods of time overall, would serve the organization and its members better in the long term.
To accomplish this, the Board is proposing one-year terms for officers and Directors, and imposing four-year term limits on Director positions. Additional changes include reducing the number of officer positions to only include a President, President-Elect, and Secretary/Treasurer. Officers will be voted upon by the sitting Board, and to be eligible for an officer position, you must have served as least one term as a member of the Board. A recruitment committee will be established to make recommendations for open Director seats, and the elections will shift to an online voting system vs. being held at the monthly CLE luncheons. In addition, the President will have the authority to appoint two members of their choosing to serve on the Board.
Assuming these proposed amendments pass, the changes will go into effect for the 2018-2019 bar year. Accordingly, there will be one last leadership term under the current system from March 2018 to August 2018. A summary of the proposed revisions is attached, and the actual edits to the current bylaws are attached for your review.
The vote for this amendment will occur with elections on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018. According to Article X of the TCYLA bylaws, amendments to bylaws must be presented to the membership at two consecutive meetings prior to the meeting at which the vote of the members will take place. However, this notice requirement can be waived by a majority of members present. Since we plan to conduct the vote for this amendment with the February elections, we will be asking the membership to waive the notice requirement.
We are excited about these changes and believe they will help keep TCYLA as one of the premier young professional organizations in Tarrant County. If you have any questions about these changes or how the Board arrived at these recommendations, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association