President's Message

Elizabeth F. McCausland

Elizabeth F. McCausland, Esq.

The Briefs, January 2018

Happy New Year!


Henry Ward Beecher wrote in 1882, “Every man should be born again on the first of January.” Each new year brings us an empty slate. It gives us a starting point akin to “starting your diet on Monday.” Soon, though, our year becomes filled with activities, to-dos, pleasures and disappointments, work, play, friends and family, life and loss. Many people these days seem to eschew New Year’s resolutions, having found them either impossible to keep or a trivial idea in the first place. Many people I know don’t make resolutions, but rather choose a word or focus to their year. One person I spoke with recently has chosen the word “fearless,” which is in line with author Neil Gaiman’s new year suggestion: “Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it.”

There is something about the new year that can be inspirational. It’s the perfect time to make necessary and beneficial changes. A new calendar can be a powerful and motivating force. It can also be a good time to break with harmful patterns of the past. A new year and resolution can provide the focus needed to make goals happen.

If I am to be honest, I rarely keep my resolutions going all year long. The only time I managed to do so was when I resolved to eat McDonald’s fries no more than once a month. (I love those things!) I think the secret to my success with this resolution was that it was a baby step to a bigger goal of eating better and allowed me to indulge just once in the month. So rather than give up on New Year’s resolutions, I think it makes sense to figure out how to make the resolutions work and to remind yourself not to become discouraged if you fail once in a while. You can always begin again.

So as the new year begins for us at the OCBA, we will be refocusing our efforts to carry out our long range plans. We have taken the baby steps necessary on many of our action items, such as starting the Health and Wellness Committee. You will now see this committee as an option when you renew your membership in June. However, for those of you on Facebook, you can join the discussion in the group OCBA #livewell#livelonger. We have also begun recording CLEs put on by our various committees. We hope to offer these for you to watch online, on demand, from the comfort and convenience of your home or office. We continue our efforts to launch a new, more user-friendly website. I am assured this will happen during my year as president. Fingers crossed we will get there!

We also continue to work toward becoming a more inclusive bar and will be holding a summit to discuss many long-standing OCBA practices and re-evaluate whether they should be continued or whether some could be handled differently. I expect the summit to take place in the spring and would welcome your suggestions and attendance. After all, this is your bar and we wish you to feel some ownership and pride in it.

One thing that will not change with the new year is the planning of our Bench Bar Conference, our Law Week programs, and our Law Day 5k. These events are coming up, and I encourage all of you to participate. The committees of each event work tirelessly to make these programs worth your time away from the office, and I cannot brag enough about the many surprises they have in store for you! In fact, one of my resolutions may be to get back in shape for a 5k again! Feel free to share your goals with me, whether personal or professional, and maybe the simple act of sharing them will hold us each accountable!

Happy New Year, one and all.


Elizabeth Foshee McCausland, Esq., Liz McCausland, P.A., practices in the areas of bankruptcy, mortgage modification, and mediation. She also teaches lawyers across the U.S. on how to modify mortgages in bankruptcy. She has been a member of the OCBA since 1997.

Orange County Bar Association The Briefs, January 2018, Vol. 86, No. 1.  All rights reserved.