Mission & Strategic Plan 2014-2017

The Section's Vision and Mission

The Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (“SEER” or the “Section”) strives to be the premier forum for environmental, energy, and resources lawyers; a meeting place where they can find the most current and sophisticated analyses of the complicated environmental, energy and resource problems facing the United States and the world and where they can learn, teach and contribute to solving those problems while serving the public interest.

Strategic Plan

Membership Service Goal
1.0  The Section will take the actions that are needed to establish and maintain the Section as the “go-to” source for current, high-quality information for environmental, energy and resource attorneys.  To that end, the Section will:

1.1  Ensure that existing and proposed educational programs and publications are crafted with the sophistication and nuances that will make them the first choice for experienced practitioners seeking insight into seemingly intractable legal problems.  (Education Service Group; Publications Service Group)

1.2  Use all appropriate forms of communications (such as paper publications, telephone, internet, electronic media, social media, in-person conferences, and multi-media) to disseminate information to members and encourage collaboration among members.  (Special Committee on Strategic Planning; Special Committee on Communications and External Relations; Special Committee on Webinars; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group)

1.3  Develop new formats that can cost-effectively reach groups that have not participated fully in the past in Section activities (for example, government lawyers, tribal lawyers, and lawyers serving NGOs).  (Special Committee on Strategic Planning; Special Committee on Communications and External Relations; Special Committee on Webinars; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group; Membership Service Group)

1.4  Give Section members opportunities to learn and teach each other, to mentor younger lawyers, to understand and anticipate new areas of practice and new issues that arise, and to prepare to assist their communities in addressing environmental, energy and resource issues.  (Executive Committee; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group; Membership Service Group)

1.5  Accomplish all of these goals in a manner that emphasizes the importance of professionalism, camaraderie, work/life balance and enjoyment in Section endeavors and the practice of law.  (Executive Committee; Membership Service Group)

1.6  Develop and engage in public service projects that connect our members, involve the community, benefit others and contribute to responsible management of environment, energy, and resources, and improve public understanding of the American legal system and the ABA’s Goal VIII on Rule of Law.  (Special Committee on Public Service; Committees)

Public Policy Goal
2.0  The Section will participate through its input and support in the formulation, discussion and implementation of public policy.  This goal derives from the Section’s commitment to provide our expertise to our communities.  To achieve this goal, the Section will:

2.1  Develop and identify emerging public policy matters on which the Section’s input would be most relevant and timely and, utilizing the Section’s membership, substantive committees, service groups and other resources, prepare and position the Section to be effective participants in the dialogue on such matters.  (Executive Committee; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group; Committees)

2.2  Actively initiate, as well as promote continued Section dialogue with Congress, Federal departments and agencies, international entities, foreign bar associations and NGOs on issues affecting the practices of Section members.  (Executive Committee; Congressional Relations Committee)

2.3  Actively promote the Section’s programs and publications as public forums for national dialogue on key environmental, energy and resources issues, pursuing the full participation of all stakeholders, including the media.  (Executive Committee; Special Committee on Strategic Planning; Special Committee on Communications and External Relations; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group; Committees)

Membership Retention, Development, and Diversity Goals
3.0  The Section will retain its current members and recruit new student, lawyer, and associate members, particularly members who enhance the section’s diversity and public service.  To achieve this goal, the Section will:

3.1  Identify underserved environment, energy or resource practice areas and evaluate ways to provide service to these practice areas through leadership, outreach, programing and publications.

3.2  Retain and add to its membership by delivering high professional value to its members through publications, internet, social media, in-person conferences, and multi-media means of communication. (Education Service Group; Publications Service Group; Special Committee on Webinars)

3.3  Provide meaningful opportunities for members to participate in Section programs, publications, preparation of Section activities, and leadership roles.  (Executive Committee; Membership Service Group; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group; Committees)

3.4  Increase diversity in Section membership, committees, leadership, programs, and publications, and further ABA Goal III, which is to eliminate bias and enhance diversity.  (Executive Committee; Nominating Committee; Committees; Membership Service Group; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group; Special Committee on Environmental Justice)

3.5  Increase membership and activity in the Section by law students, young attorneys, and attorneys in academia, government (local, state, tribal, federal), non-governmental organizations (in-house counsel with companies and associations).  (Executive Committee; Committees, Membership Service Group; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group)

Interdisciplinary Practice Goal
4.0  Recognizing that environment, energy and resource substantive practice areas continue to become more interrelated, the Section will position itself as a leader in interdisciplinary practice and will assist its members in focusing on an interdisciplinary environmental, energy and resource practice.  To achieve this goal the Section will:

4.1  Encourage greater coordination and interaction among substantive committees to encourage interdisciplinary discussion. (Council; Executive Committee; Council Liaisons; Committees)

4.2  Restructure the way that the Section works with its substantive committees by creating council liaison working groups based upon interrelated practice areas. (Council; Executive Committee; Council Liaisons; Governance Committee)

4.3  Liaison led committee groups will hold regular conference calls to encourage working relationships between interrelated substantive committees and encourage Committees to work together on conference proposals, book proposals, newsletters and other member communications.  (Council Liaisons)

4.4  The Section will evaluate its existing committees, including existing interdisciplinary committees, and determine whether there are existing committees that should be combined or retired and whether new committees should be created. (Council; Executive Committee; Council Liaisons; Committees; Governance Committee)

Marketing and Communications Goal
5.0  The Section will focus on establishing a coordinated marketing and communications plan with a unified marketing message that the Section is the Premier Forum to serve environmental, energy and resource practitioners by coordinating all marketing and communications functions and working groups under one service group headed by a Section officer.  To achieve this goal the Section will:

5.1  Organize marketing and communication functions under a service group headed by a Section officer.

5.2  The service group will oversee both internal and external communications assuring a centralized voice for the Section.  The service group will oversee communications between the Section and its members; between the Section and other ABA Sections, Divisions and Forums; between the Sections and the ABA; and public communications from the Section. (Council)

5.3  The service group will coordinate all Section marketing activities including membership, programs, publications and sponsorships. (Council)

Leadership Goal
6.0  The Section will identify, recruit and develop future leaders.  Leadership development will be a key service priority and shall be coordinated with membership development (Section 3.1 and 3.2, above).  To achieve this goal, the Section will:

6.1  Publish and maintain a catalogue of the leadership needs of the Section. (Council; Nominating Committee)

6.2  Maintain general descriptions of the responsibilities entailed in leadership positions, in order to enable those not in leadership to understand what leadership opportunities may require, to provide a clear and fair basis for evaluating leadership performance, and to provide guidance to those holding leadership positions.  (Executive Committee)

6.3  Create opportunities for section members to elect to participate in leadership development opportunities and to secure leadership positions within the Section, to augment self-selection and self-initiative of membership.  (Council; Nominating Committee)

6.4  Create and implement a leadership development progression to be implemented in conjunction with leadership appointment and recruiting. (Council; Governance Committee)

6.5  Match appointments to leadership needs, ensuring that diversity in practice, age, geography, gender and ethnicity is considered.  (Executive Committee; Nominating Committee; Special Committee on Environmental Justice)

6.6  Develop mentoring programs within each committee for leadership development and “lines of succession.”  (Council; Executive Committee; Governance Committee; Committees)

6.7  Acknowledge and reward leadership performance.  (Council; Governance Committee)

Fiscal Goal
7.0  The Section will be a fiscally stable and well-managed organization, working in support of its mission and membership, through the use of specific accounting best practices and internal controls, balanced budgets, investment planning and asset allocation, funding for Section staff and operations, fundraising, proper management of revenue and expenses, and periodic financial reviews that reflect the status of the Section’s finances as approved by Council.  To achieve this goal, the Section will:

7.1  Institute and maintain financial targets, strong financial controls, and fiscally responsible spending with the overall objective of maintaining a balance budget.  (Budget Officer; Executive Committee)

7.2  Periodically update the Section’s reserve policy, review its use of funds and investment allocation and performance, and consider fund allocation changes as deemed appropriate.  (Budget Officer; Executive Committee)

7.3  Work to identify and enhance the amount and stability of non-dues revenue such as revenue from the production and sale of Section publications, marketing and sale of Section educational program materials, and the management of revenue-positive programs.  (Budget Officer; Publications Service Group; Education Service Group)

7.4  Vigorously pursue diverse revenue sources to support the Section’s mission by seeking outside funding from foundations, corporate and consultant sponsors, and other sources.  (Budget Officer; Executive Committee; Education Service Group; Publication Service Group)

7.5  Clearly articulate financial status to Section leadership and membership.  (Budget Officer)

Governance Goal
8.0  The Section will be structured and governed effectively and efficiently to achieve the Goals set forth in Sections 1.0 through 7.0, above.  To achieve this goal, the Section will:

8.1  Delegate to the Section’s Executive Committee oversight and decision-making on matters relating to the routine discharge of Section business.  (Council)

8.2  Require the Section Officers and Council to establish policies and plans in accordance with the Section’s goals and affairs and dedicate Council meetings primarily to these tasks.  (Council)

8.3  Conduct no less frequently than every three years optimization reviews of the Section’s education and publications programs and activities. (Executive Committee; Council; Education Service Group; Publications Service Group)

9.0  This Strategic Plan will be implemented in a manner that ensures achievement of its objectives with the flexibility to respond as developments warrant.  To achieve this goal:

9.1  The group or groups designated in parentheses following each element of this plan, working closely with the Section Staff, shall have primary responsibility for implementing each task in a timely manner.

9.2  The designated groups and the Section’s leadership overall will routinely consider and pursue the relevant elements of this strategic plan in all their activities and decisions.

9.3  The Strategic Planning Committee will routinely and consistently promote awareness of and adherence to this strategic plan through communication with the Section’s leadership and through informal review and comment on the Section’s activities and decisions.

9.4  The Strategic Planning Committee will prepare and provide to Council an annual written report on the Section’s achievement of the goals contained in the strategic plan.

9.5  The Strategic Planning Committee will review and evaluate the Section’s strategic plan in the last year of its approved duration and no later than at the Spring Council Meeting of that year, will recommend to the Council renewal of that strategic plan together with any necessary revisions.