What Do You Want Us to Be?

“So, if you want to reinvigorate the blog, you’ll need to write something regularly. How about starting this week?” She meant last week, and she gave me a look that carefully hid her recognition that this was unlikely. I said, foolishly, “Sure, I can do that” – not at all getting the irony of her question. Well, as it turned out, that first post was late in starting and Ben rode to the rescue with a fun post on the MCBA staff – and I was left to come up with something this week.

But that’s easy. I want to share a vision of the future of bar associations in general – and of this bar association in particular. I believe strongly that the bar association of the future will differ significantly from the bar association we know today. This is in part due to larger changes in economy and society, and in part due to generational shift. The fast pace of technological development means that bar associations need to be nimble and, if they are to keep their members, they must ride on the crest of the wave of change rather than trailing behind. And everyone who has studied the characteristics of Generation Y – our next generation of lawyers – has concluded that they expect different things from their association than do the Baby Boomers and Generation X. If we are to survive as a professional association, we need to begin now to provide those things, and do so in the manner expected by a generation reared on the Internet, used to having things work online quickly and efficiently, and seeking a wider range of benefits from their associational activity than continuing education and a handful of price reductions on services and products.

As executive director of the Monroe County Bar Association I want to find ways to make the bar central to your success as a lawyer. This means a wide range of things. When you want legal education about the latest developments in your field of practice, you know the MCBA will provide that education. When you need basic training in a new practice area, you can find that training through the bar association. When you need training on office systems or new technological tools, the MCBA provides that training. When you have a question about how to manage your practice, the MCBA has the answer. When you need advice on what systems and technologies you should adopt in your practice, you can get that advice from the MCBA. When you need to do legal research, the MCBA provides a platform for you to do that research easily and at little or no cost. When you need forms or other resources to make your practice go more smoothly and meet your clients’ needs, you can find those forms and resources via the MCBA. When you need information or have concerns about your mental or physical health, you can turn to the MCBA for useful, timely, and accurate information and assistance. When you have concerns about the welfare of our community, you can count on the association to share those concerns and offer opportunities for you to address together with other professionals. When you want to explore new ways to advance your career, you can count on the MCBA to let you know what’s out there and help you take advantage of your chances. When you are looking for ways to expand your practice, the MCBA is the place you turn for help. And when you want to connect with other legal professionals, whether to network or just to have fun, the MCBA offers ways to make that possible.

I hope you will let us know how we can best help you in your professional (and to some extent your personal) life. We are open to all ideas, no matter how big, no matter how “out of the box” (a cliché I don’t usually employ, but it fits here), no matter how unusual or weird they might be at first glance. What do YOU want from the MCBA? How can we make you more successful? How can we make your life easier? I urge you particularly to think out into the future – for the profession and the nature of law practice are changing, and in order to be successful you need to accept that fact and, to the extent you can, step into the flowing stream.

So please tell us what we can do to help you achieve your goals in the coming years. Every member of the MCBA team – all those folks Ben introduced you to in our last post – is open to your ideas and will bring them to the rest of the group for discussion and planning. Of course we can’t promise to do everything you ask of us, budgets and time being what they are. But we can guarantee that your suggestions and ideas will be taken very, very seriously and that, if we can do so within the constraints provided by our overall mission, our budget, and our schedules, we will do what we can to make the Monroe County Bar Association all that you want and need it to be. We look forward to working with you in the days, months, and years to come.

So there, Liz, I wrote a blog post. We’ll keep this up, regular posts being the sine qua non of successful blogging. Oops, Latin. Must be that Jesuit education, which pokes its head up now and again. I used to tell my students (no matter what course it was) that one of the benefits of the class was they got to learn Latin. Same goes for readers of this blog.



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