CALL Membership Committee 2021-2022 Annual Report

The committee put into place some procedures that should prevent us from losing members during the renewal process.  CALL now has a renewal grace period so that those who have not renewed will not be placed on inactive status.  We also have renewal reminders on a set schedule in Neon.  Need the membership due email schedule, membership overdue email schedule, and grace period memorialized in the Handbook.  The Handbook or shared Neon documentation should also remind committee members that all dates on emails need to be updated and the sender changed from the current President to the incoming President/current Vice-President.  

This committee has been tasked with maintaining a directory.  The current charge provides that   the Committee will maintain a print version of the directory.  This charge has been a source of frustration for the committee because we also have a membership management system, Neon, that creates a member directory.  Past hesitation to rely on the Neon directory centered on the inability to pull up a list of CALL members working at a particular institution.  This was very easy with the old print directory, but the Neon directory could not pull up such a list effectively because it described institutions in different ways (i.e. “Northwestern School of Law” versus “Pritzker Legal Research Center”).  The committee agreed that it was worth doing the work on the backend to try and make the Neon usable for members rather than devoting the time to creating a print directory. The committee implemented some authority control to allow people to pull up a list of CALL members at a particular institution.  Because of this change, the Board has agreed to remove the “print directory” charge from the Handbook.  Clare made a video explaining how the new directory works and feedback has been largely positive.  

However, this authority control also means that the Membership Committee chair or a member of the Membership Committee must make any changes to an individual member’s profile.  Changes made by individuals were not reflected in the directory.  The committee agreed that maintaining the authority control and consistency in the Directory should be a part of our charge.  And we will include these detailed rules.  It gives guidance for future committees and tells a little about the effort that we already put in.

  1. Rules for maintaining the Directory
    1. Retired members
      1. Company name = “Retired/(former institution)” if and only if they list an institution 
      2. Retired as title
    2. Student members
      1. Company name=“Student/(school name, if provided)”
      2. Student as title 
    3. Law firm members
      1. LLC, LLP, etc. will not be included with law firm names
      2. “Official” law firm name comes from Crain’s list
      3. Add institution if obvious from their email address 
    4. Law school members
      1. Using version of name most commonly used by members already in the Directory
      2. Add institution if obvious from their email address

This committee has taken on a role as sort of experts in using Neon.  Jessie LeMar remains an incredible resource for all things having to do with Neon and was very helpful on the committee this year.  Jessie and Carrie Port, former Meetings committee chair (another committee that uses Neon heavily) created a Neon basics document.  The document should be updated and future Membership committees should consider whether and how to memorialize important information about Neon.  Finally, this committee believes it will be good to have Neon training at the beginning of the CALL year with Membership, Meetings, and the Treasurer

The final policy and procedure to be added to the Handbook relates to the listserv.  It should be this committee’s responsibility to provide updated and current member information to the CALL Listserv Administrator.  The Membership Committee should also be charged with contacting the listserv administrator to add new members as they join.   The procedure should be as follows:

  1. Listserv purge process (September) 
    1. pull a list of current members
    2. send a last call out to the listserv to allow lapsed members another chance to renew
    3. Coordinate with Listserv administrator to remove people from the listserv

Finally, the focus on fixing the Directory meant that there were several good ideas from our committee members that we did not get to this year and would like to suggest to next year’s committee.  First, we think it would be good to do some outreach to those who left the organization.  It would be easy to generate a list of lapsed members in Neon.  We could do a survey and/or email campaign in Neon just to this audience to find out why people did not rejoin.  We also suggest doing some outreach to those who have never joined CALL.  The Membership committee could identify those firms who have no CALL members.  We can look again at AALL’s list of members in Chicago and see who is not in CALL.  This committee also believes that the hybrid work environment allows us to recruit people who are present in Chicago working remotely elsewhere or those who might be elsewhere but serving Chicago.  

Second, this committee would like to suggest coming up with some better ways to share member information with the Board or other CALL committees.  This committee and the Board could work to create a new member workflow.  The workflow could be something like: Placement and Recruitment finds out who got the job from a listing, Membership gets them to join, gets them on Neon, and gets on the listserv, the Treasurer records payment and new member for Exec meeting numbers, the President sends a welcome email, and Mentorship and Leadership sends a welcome email.  This committee should explore ways to automate this process in Neon to send a new member alert.  Also, this committee is interested to know if Meetings can use the information we have in the Directory for nametags at meetings.

Third, this committee could work on recognizing and highlighting long-term members of CALL.  Our data only goes back to Wild Apricot (circa 2012).  This committee could try to find old Directories: offices, Cook County Law Library, CALL archives.  We could also ask people when they joined CALL.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve CALL this year.  It has been a pleasure.

Clare Willis, chair
On behalf of the committee:
Jessie LeMar
Jamie Stewart 
Shari Berkowitz Duff
Julie Pabarja