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Staff, Staff | June 10, 2015

During the Commercial Law League of America’s Annual Convention, April 29 through May 2, 2015, the membership voted to approve nine constitutional amendments. Approval of the amendments was a culmination of the Constitutional Amendment Committee’s study of the League’s Constitution where its charge was to update the Constitution to align with the CLLA’s current structure and goals. The Committee’s recommendations were discussed and ultimately approved by the Board of Governors. Prior to the Convention, the Board approved amendments were submitted to the entire CLLA membership for review. An explanation and vibrant discussion of the amendments was conducted at the opening business session in Las Vegas.

While many of the changes were technical in nature, there were several substantive modifications to the Constitution. Among the substantive changes were: merger of the New England District into the Eastern District; a broadening of membership eligibility; a reduction in the number of members of the Board of Governors; and elimination of restrictions imposed on lay members.

New England District Part of the Eastern Region

Due to its geographic makeup, the New England District has naturally and historically comprised of the lowest regional membership. In a logical move, the membership approved a merger of the New England District into the Eastern District. The move eliminates additional costs and structural formalities of the sparsely populated district.

CLLA Membership Now Available to a Broader Scope of the Credit and Commercial Business Community

As the CLLA focuses its efforts on reaching out to a broader base of the credit and commercial business communities, it was important to open its membership to include individuals who were previously not eligible in the past. Such individuals include credit managers, business executives, and other trade professionals. The underlining theory is to eliminate any barriers imposed on someone who finds value in the CLLA and wants to take advantage of being a member. There is not an expectation that this change will result in an immediate opening of the flood gates to new members, but will allow the CLLA flexibility in reaching out to untapped areas with the ability to offer the benefits of the League.

CLLA Board of Governors Reduced in Size

An important aspect of the CLLA’s strategic plan is to restructure the Board of Governors to a more manageable size and composition. A large step towards that goal was achieved through these amendments. The size of the Board was reduced from 17 members to 13. The transition from 17 to 13 members will occur over the next three years by electing only one attorney board members (rather than two) starting in 2016. Prior to the amendments, two attorney board members were elected each year. There are currently six attorney board members. With the election of only one attorney board member next year, the Board will then have five attorney members. By virtue of the dissolution of the CCAA, that section’s representative was also eliminated; however, an at-large agency member position will remain. By 2018, the Board will consist of 13 members which will include the President, Immediate Past President, President-Elect, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, three Attorney Board Members, one representative each from the Bankruptcy, Young Members and Creditor Rights sections, a Law List representative and an Agency Representative.

Restriction on Membership Promotion for Non-Attorney Members Lifted

Perhaps the most significant change was repealing Article XXI of the Constitution which restricted lay members of the CLLA from publicizing that they are members of the League. More specifically, the Article provided that any non-attorney member of the League shall not “use, authorize or permit the use of the designation ‘Member of the Commercial Law League of America’ or other words, initials or symbols indicating such membership, in connection with or upon any stationery, business card, or public relations, advertising or other similar materials”. Certified agencies, however, were permitted to advertise their membership in the League’s CCAA. This restriction applied to all non-certified agencies, law list members, accountants and other members of the League. Certainly, the premise of any organization is to encourage its members to positively promote the organization and convey to the public that they are proud members of that organization. Article XXI inhibited that ideal. The CLLA leadership is cognizant of the potential abuses that may result from the repeal of Article XXI, and believes that it currently has in place effective procedures to deal with anyone who unethically misuses their membership or non-membership in the CLLA. The League has consistently and will continue to admonish and pursue both members and non-members who misuse CLLA logos and other intellectual property and falsely publish their membership in the League. In an effort to ensure the effectiveness in the CLLA’s enforcement policies, President Bernstein has appointed a committee to study and, if necessary, propose additional policy and provisions imposing appropriate sanctions against those who inappropriately use the CLLA’s intellectual property and misuse their membership in the League.

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    Commercial Law League of America

    3005 Tollview Drive
    Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

    Phone: (312) 240-1400
    Fax: (847) 584-3939