A great deal of what we learn in our professional lives comes from the wisdom of successful practitioners who seem to have an ease even in seemingly stressful situations. One of my takeaways is that many of these lawyers view each case through the eyes of a beginner. They are masters of their profession by reputation, but they listen and learn as though it is their first day on the job.
The temporary privilege of being your Bar president is guided by the fact that I really am a beginner in this position. And, I find, one of the best places to listen and learn is by getting involved in Bar Association committees. Whether you are a master in your practice area, or you have been practicing for less than five years, Bar committees offer a remarkable way to give and receive critical information.
My first Bar committee was the Confidential Assistance Committee, now known as Lawyers Helping Lawyers, where I learned and practiced a professional commitment to assist fellow practitioners in personal and professional crisis. Meaningful assistance to another human being is part of why many of us became attorneys in the first place. This committee ensures you can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
There are many more committees that I urge you to join. The profession needs your insights and wisdom to sustain itself for your career and for those who will follow you. Please consider one or more of the following Bar committees. More information appears on the Bar’s website, and joining is easy through the website’s Members Only portal.
The Bar's website is also a source of excellent information for professional and personal assistance including: the online Attorney Directory; the Rhode Island Bar Journal article archive; free-to-members, Casemaker's 24/7 online law library; the members only Online Attorney Resources (OAR) providing volunteer assistance in a wide range of practice areas; SOLACE to help Bar members and their families in need; the Committee Chair Directory; a regularly updated Latest News section on the Home page, providing timely information; the Lawyers Helping Lawyers quick link with its connection to related Coastline Employee Assistance Program for free confidential assistance for Bar members and their families; and more.
Additionally, the Bar’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program offers a wealth of excellent seminars, through both in-person and via web casts, that help build your professional knowledge. And, the Bar’s Public Service offerings, like the Volunteer Lawyer Program, provide great opportunities to provide pro bono assistance to those in the greatest need, as well as an avenue to build your practice through the Lawyer Referral Service.
These are just a few of the many benefits of Bar membership, and, as helpful as they are to me, I hope you will take the time to discover how your Bar membership helps you. I look forward to serving you in the coming year!