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Bar News - May 23, 2008

Entering A New Era in Bar Communications


For several years now, the Bar Association communications staff has struggled to keep up with the demands of the electronic era, providing more information, faster, in a variety of forms, to a growing Bar Association and legal community.

At the same time, the Bar Association has continued to produce a quarterly journal and a twice-monthly (except for single issues in December and August) newspaper of substantial size. We have added staff to accommodate the growing demand for information delivered on the website and via the e-Bulletin while maintaining high standards for our print publications, but our resources again are stretched thin.

Effective with the new fiscal year, we are making some significant changes improvements, we hope to the mix of electronic and print publications to maintain the proper balance among the challenges of quality, service, timeliness and cost. Briefly, these changes include:

Bar News transition to monthly publication. In the fiscal year of June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009, we plan to publish 15 issues, with two issues in the months of June, July and September. Starting in October, the Bar News will be published, in its current format, monthly, with a cover date of the second Friday of each month.

Conversion of the Bar Journal to an online-only publication. The next issue of the Bar Journal, coming out in a matter of weeks, will be in print, but the following issue, in the Fall, will be published online, in a page format that resembles its current format. We will report more on the online transition of the Bar Journal in coming months, but we are in consultation with law librarians and other publishers to ensure that the online version of the Bar Journal will be produced in a form that will be citable and archivable.

Advertising opportunities created for the website. Following the lead of other bar associations, we are slowly and cautiously proceeding with the creation of advertising options for the website. Our website user statistics indicate that is a valuable tool providing comprehensive, reliable information to the legal community and the public. For example, our average user spends an average of five minutes on our web site (not counting time spent on Casemaker or Online CLE pages), almost an eternity in our fast-paced society.

You can read more about our approach to website advertising, and the rates we have established, at, you guessed it, our website! Rest assured, though, we will use discretion in advertisements that we allow on our website, following the policies we use for our publications, and we will not allow pop-ups or annoying, distracting ads.

In the works, also, are advertising/sponsorship options for the e-Bulletin and for the online edition of the Bar Journal. You will read more about these in the future.

These changes represent a redirection rather than a reduction in resources devoted to member communications. You will have one fewer Bar News issue in your in-box on your desk, but we believe that the e-Bulletin will be providing you more information options, in a more timely and targeted way.

While it may seem sudden to you, these change have been under consideration for some time.

In 2003, a Member Communications Task Force looked at the mix of communications vehicles that the Bar used to communicate to members. At that time, the recommendations were for a reconsideration and review of the electronic edition at some point in the future. Last year, the Board of Governors reviewed and rejected a change to the Bar News and Bar Journal formats. This year, following an operational audit comparing our Bar Association activities with other bars by the ABA Division for Bar Services, and in light of the challenges of the coming budget year, it was decided to streamline our mix of publications and electronic communications. The Bar News and Bar Journal editorial committees were consulted on these changes as well.

I truly welcome your comments and suggestions. Take pen to paper, e-mail me, or call me at 603-715-3264 with your comments or suggestions. As long as Im not on deadline, I will be all ears.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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