Taking it in at the ABA Mid-Year Meeting

I heard a new term yesterday afternoon at the National Association of Bar Executives, at the ABA Mid-Year meeting in Dallas, that caught my attention.


Have you heard of this term? If so, have you practiced microvolunteering? For those that have not heard this term, here is a brief definition.

“Microvolunteering is ad-hoc and episodic volunteering are terms used in the non-profit industry to describe volunteer tasks that can be accomplished in small increments of time. Examples of microvolunteering are editing a newsletter, or brochure. Testing new website navigation, reviewing a contract, or translating a document.”

Photo via benevolentmedia.org.

The appeal for microvolunteering is that it provides you the ability to tap valued volunteers with an opportunity for engagement without a major commitment. The MCBA has extraordinary volunteer engagement, but I do experience from members the constraints on their time. The challenges of the profession; the aspiration to find some work life balance. In the midst of their day, so many of them are taking time to attend meetings at the bar, where so much of the important work is done.

I recognize when someone that has been so engaged, suddenly disappears from our radar — maybe someone we have over-taxed, and they are backing away, or perhaps just taking some time off. All fine!

But this concept of microvolunteering is intriguing to me. As I sit here and listen to the panel I am thinking about the types of tasks that we have already tapped a volunteer on. A few things that came to mind were:

Photo via mccmlaw.com

– Amy Varel, McConville Considine Cooman Morin, P.C.: Amy, a very smart business law attorney, has reviewed and advised the bar on several online CLE provider contracts on our behalf. Having served on the Academy of Law, Amy’s value here was critical in understanding our CLE program, and she knows contracts.

Photo via lacykatzen.com

– Rob Vigdor, Lacy Katzen LLP: Rob teamed up with Alan Biernbaum many years ago to negotiate all the partner leases at the Telesca Center for Justice. Now, years later as lease extensions, or amendments occur, I will continue to forward a letter to Rob for review and counsel. His value is that he knows the history for us, and can do quick reviews on our behalf.

steven v. modica, esq.
Photo via modicalawfirm.com

– Steve Modica, a solo practitioner, and a seasoned labor and employment lawyer: Steve took on the MCBA Employee Handbook for us several years ago. I feel guilty calling this a micro project, because it was a significant amount of work for Steve. He was able to work on this one-time project on his own time. We provided Steve with some samples from other bar’s, and he provided the magic touch.

Recently we launched our online member directory, and prior to the official launch, Liz Novak had a few members test the directory to make certain it will meet member expectations.

The program yesterday morning was on social media, which continues to evolve for all of us. The social media world is now a universe. It is so big and getting bigger. Most bars are engaged in social media, but dependent on the bar, the level of activity varies. The big bars have social media machines in place. The small bars are admittedly struggling as they simply don’t have the resources,but amazingly, they are out there perhaps in only a single medium. We are fortunate at the MCBA as we have a very talented communications team with Liz Novak and Dajaneé Parrish. Dajaneé keeps us out there, and always brining new ideas and suggestions. If you are not yet following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, check us out.

I also heard a great program yesterday on mentoring. This is a topic of interest for me. With the biggest young lawyers section in the history of the MCBA so actively engaged, I am encouraging some dialogue amongst our leadership about what a mentoring program would look like. I have received requests from young attorneys for mentors, and I have had more seasoned attorneys offer to serve as a mentor. So what do you think? Should the MCBA have a process in place to deliver this important service? With so many new attorneys hanging their own shingle is it time to put something in place? Let me know what you think.

Today’s topics at the NABE meeting: leadership academies, 50 ideas for member retention, and App-timization…is it time for an MCBA app?

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