What I learned at the Conference of Metro Bar Associations …

Erie and MCBA bar dinner with COMBA sponsor NPP.

Erie and MCBA bar dinner with COMBA sponsor NPP.

Last week I was in attendance at the Conference of Metro Bar Associations (COMBA), along with MCBA President-Elect, Steve Modica. This is a small conference of local, metro bars between 1,000 and 6,000; so it is bars like us. It is always a great conference because the group is a manageable size; the presentations are on point with where we are; and the one-on-one conversations are invaluable because you can really drill down and ask detailed questions.

Fred Ury, Esq., talking about future trends in the profession.

Fred Ury, Esq., talking about future trends in the profession.

So here are the top 5 “walk aways” for me:

First, AVVO.com – is a website that rates lawyers. Now before you roll your eyes and say, “Mary, what are you thinking? Which is exactly what I did when I first heard the presentation, the message we heard was that the public/clients are using this site to check you out. So perhaps it is worth looking at your rating, and with only a few updates, you improve your rating. I checked out a number of you, and you are far better attorneys than this site portrays, so with some additions to your résumé, it does boost your rating. Check it out and tell me what you think. I know this is not the only site out there, but according to the presenters, it is getting a lot of attention.

Second, Google Scholar — free legal research. Before you dismiss this, perhaps you should check it out again as it is reported to be getting better and better. Not suggesting this is the ideal solution, but it may serve a purpose some of the time.

Third, Incubator Law Firms — where new lawyers invest for 12-18 months to cover their rent, shared office space, administrative support, while receiving training in business skills and professional development. Interesting concept. Would this model be viable in Rochester?

Fourth, a networking section — an interesting concept out of the Indianapolis Bar Association. The Indy Attorneys Network was established to promote the development of professional and personal relationships among the members of the Indy bar. Their goal is to create dialogue while building new relationships between members, with a goal of establishing relationships fostered by the networking group will impact the lives of their members.

Fifth, the conference was in Florida. I learned that I really don’t like Florida. When I was explaining this to my mom, she asked why. And of course, like many children, young and old, I blamed my parents. “Why is it my fault?,” she asked. I went on to remind her of the RV trip we took to Florida when I was a sophomore in college. My parents decided to pack me, my 5 brothers, my 2 parents in an RV, and if 8 of us were not enough, they let my brother, David, bring his friend, Vinnie along. Nine people in an RV going to Florida to visit my grandparents over  a 10 day period. Some of that time was spent in the crowded, crazy Disney World. Need I say more?

I know many of you are Florida lovers, so I mean no disrespect. Perhaps I have not been to the right location yet. If Elaine Cole reads this, she is going to cancel her invitation to have me visit. Elaine, perhaps your part of Florida will be the part of Florida that I fall in love with!

There were many other ideas that came out of the conference, but these were some of the highlights. All are focused on  assisting members in the practice of law, except for the last one — and that was all about my own personal self-discovery.

The MCBA is in the process of Strategic Planning, and so if any of these ideas are ones that you believe we should explore, then give us some feedback. What this means though, is that if we start something new, we MUST sunset another program. As always, we welcome your input.

Also one more thing, thank you to all who took the time out to take our website survey. We are getting a lot of great feedback. We look forward to taking all the information from the survey and using that to develop a new MCBA website. If you haven’t taken the survey yet please click here to take it. The survey will only take 5 minutes. Thank you!

Thanks for checking in,


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