Everything you need to know about NBLSA’s new governance structure

Additional Resources: Thrive Powerpoint | Thrive Handout

Our founder, A.J. Cooper, has called NBLSA Thrive the “most transformative change” in the organization’s 50 years of existence. This change will bring new opportunities, improved stability and increased financial capacity to NBLSA over the next few years. Keep reading for all you need to know. Also, check out some of the resources available for download to help better understand how these changes bring you more membership benefits.

What is NBLSA Thrive?

THRIVE is a series of amendments to the NBLSA Constitution and Bylaws that separates administrative duties away from National and Regional Boards, placing these duties with a newly created National Staff. By removing these duties, NBLSA Boards are now mandated to focus their time and attention on fundraising, strategic planning, and building our national brand to bring you more membership benefits. Conventions, Competitions, and everyday functions will be handled by 5 core teams made up of local members from all six regions who keep NBLSA running as it should.

How does Thrive affect my chapter?

As we begin to see the benefits of Thrive in the next few years, Chapters will begin to see more resources and membership perks passed down over time. Chapters also have more points of contact with NBLSA Leadership in order to communicate their needs and ideas. By creation of a National Staff, Thrive also creates more leadership opportunities for local members who want to be involved on a National and Regional level. Chapter members can hold National positions with the NBLSA Staff while working flexibly and remotely from their own law schools without the financial burden of travel. Thrive does not change the core functioning of Chapters.

How much does Thrive cost?

The present phase of Thrive costs us $0. Thrive gives us the infrastructure to hire professional staff such as a Chief Financial Officer and/or an Executive Director, which potentially costs us the amount of their salaries and benefits in future years. For the next few years, NBLSA will focus on establishing financial stability and will not use the Thrive model to incur these potential costs until the membership decides we can afford those costs. One benchmark to indicate we can afford hired staff is consistent, annual gross revenue of $1MIL or more.

Who can be on the National Board and/or Regional Boards under Thrive?

Any member of the organization can be on the National Executive Board and any member within a given region can serve on that region’s board. Every board also now has the opportunity for one alumni division member and one pre-law division member to serve as representatives of their membership divisions. The Thrive model focuses on representation-based positions rather than performance-based positions to ensure that every member’s voice is heard at all levels of leadership.

What positions are available?

The National Board now has the following positions, all positions are elected and voting but one:

  • Chair
  • Vice Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Attorney General
  • Parliamentarian (appointed)
  • Regional Chairs (6)
  • Alumni Division Rep
  • Prelaw Division Rep
  • Members-at-Large (2)

Regional Boards mirror the National Board with the following positions:

  • Regional Chair
  • Vice Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Attorney General
  • Parliamentarian (appointed)
  • Sub-regional Directors (varies)
  • Alumni Division Rep
  • Prelaw Division Rep
  • Members-at-Large (unlimited)

 

What positions are no longer available?

Certain positions are no longer available on the National or Regional Boards because their duties now exist with the National Staff. Members may still apply to do the work of these positions in the same way they would have applied for appointed positions under our old structure. Below is a list of positions that have shifted over and the Staff Team that now houses the responsibilities previously covered by the Board role.

Moot Court – Moot Court

Mock Trial – Mock Trial

Int’l Negotiations – Int’l Negotiations

Membership, Historian – Information Team

Communications, Public Relations, Marketing – Communications Team

Corporate Relations, Financial Secretary – Finance Team

Programming, Education, Convention Coordinator – Operations Team

Social Action, Int’l Relations, Community Service – Advocacy Team

 

How do I apply for a position under Thrive?

All Board Positions, with the exception of Parliamentarians, are elected. Parliamentarians are required to apply due to the technical knowledge of Robert’s Rules required to perform their position. All National Staff positions are filled by application. Members may apply at any time by filling out online applications for the team they wish to join. For Team Leads, the National Executive Board will appoint the officers. For supporting officers, Team Leads may appoint members as needed.

Do Regions have their own Staff?

The National Staff serves all of the Regions equally and Regional Chairs are empowered to give directives to the Staff same as the National Board. Each Region is encouraged to send at least one member from its school to serve on each team so that the Staff has equal regional representation as its base. Where a Region needs more support for its Programming and/or events, more members from that Region should join the National Staff.