Bar associations provide a plethora of opportunities to network and to meet people. Take advantage of these opportunities. Make it a point to meet three new people at each event you attend. If you are not comfortable introducing yourself to others, ask a more experienced member of the bar, or someone from the bar association staff, to introduce you to people. Tell people you meet about your practice. Get to know attorneys who do not practice in the same area that you do because you never know when they may have the opportunity to refer you a case.
Bar associations often provide a wonderful feeding ground for firms looking for new associates. In today's market, provided you have the requisite educational background and experience, firms are often concerned whether you will simply be "the right fit." By establishing relationships with others through your local bar association, you will have a leg up on applicants who are sending their resumes blindly. You never know where your next big case or your next job will come from, but being an active participant in your local bar association certainly helps.
Expand Your Knowledge And Improve Your Career
By joining the section or committee ?for your practice area, not only will ?you meet new people, but you will also ?have the opportunity to sharpen your skills and learn about the latest trends. Often times, the size and informality of section and committee meetings present members with the unique opportunity to ask ?questions about a substantive area of ?the law, a rule or a procedure without the fear of looking incompetent. Chances are, others in the room may have the same question but are afraid to ask. Also, by getting to know attorneys who practice in a similar area, you increase the chance of knowing your next opponent. While lawyers must be advocates for their clients, personally knowing and having a good relationship with your adversary can often help you resolve a case more favorably for your client.
Bar associations provide the opportunity for a lot of fun. From casual social events ?to community events to section and ?committee meetings, bar association members are always having fun. Often, as lawyers, we take ourselves too seriously. Being an active member of the bar association ?allows us to let our hair down, take off ?the boxing gloves and enjoy the company of our fellow lawyers, whether those in ?our own offices or those on the other side of the aisle.
I hope I have convinced you of the benefits to joining, and being involved in, your local bar association. If you are convinced but do not know where to start, simply call your local bar association. Let them know what your interests are and ask for suggestions on what activities might be a good fit for you. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
Stephanie Nolan Deviney is a partner in the Exton, Pa., office of Fox Rothschild. She handles litigation and construction matters in both state and federal courts throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.