The Abominable Snow Rabbit is by far my favorite Loony Tune’s cartoon. While the entire short film is over six minutes long, this clip is the best part https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JlVqfC8-UI. Why, you ask, am I watching a cartoon while I encourage you to hug your bar associations. The operative point is to hug all your bar associations; belonging to just one probably won’t meet all your professional needs and this cartoon is just a fun way to encourage membership and involvement (the “hug”).
Like many of you I am “co-barred” (I belong to a district, state, and national bar association). But why, you might ask yourself, does one lawyer need to be co-barred? For me, the answer to this question is very clear: each of these different bar associations provide uniquely different valuable tools to my practice and my professional career. No one bar association can provide a lawyer with all of the tools he or she needs to prosper in this profession. Here is how I look at my co-bar experience:
- The ABA provides me with access to information and other lawyers who are specialized in a subject matter practice area that is dictated by federal statutes and agencies. I am an active member of several committees of the business law section and the tax law section and through these committees I am able to interact with and bounce ideas off of other lawyers who are in these “federal” practice areas. It makes more sense to obtain this connectivity at the national level.
- The MSBA provides me with opportunities to focus on the parts of my practice that are state law specific by allowing me to spend most of my active MSBA membership time working with other member-practitioners in the for-profit, nonprofit and limited liability company space since the statutory framework for this legal work is state specific.
- The HCBA provides me with opportunities to connect with other practitioners across practice areas and to focus more specifically on parts of my professional career and obligations that are interpersonal in nature (versus subject matter specific) such as pro bono, practice development skills, and relationship and network building.
Of course my co-bar experience is unique to me. Other members will find other and different value from the various bar associations. What I realized early on in my legal career is that one bar association cannot be all things to a member. The various bar associations intentionally operate in concert with each other and collectively provide members with the tools they need to succeed and prosper as a member of the legal profession.