Vol. 85, No. 2, February 2012
Recently, a young lawyer gave me some sound advice: Remind young lawyers that they have much to offer to the State Bar and their communities. I'd like to dispel any notion that new and inexperienced attorneys are too “green” to help the State Bar meet its public service mission and shape the future of the legal profession.
Don’t underestimate what you can bring to the table. New lawyers’ involvement is essential to the future of the State Bar. They bring a fresh, different perspective.
The very characteristics that led you to become a lawyer qualify you to be a leader, Milwaukee attorney Anna Muñoz says. Anna, who graduated law school in 2005, was like many other new lawyers who start jobs with sharp learning curves – extremely busy.
She thought she didn’t have time to volunteer on a State Bar section, committee, or division. She didn’t think she was ready to present at a State Bar seminar or conference. She hadn’t thought of writing for a State Bar publication like the Wisconsin Lawyer or WisBar InsideTrack. And she didn’t know about all the pro bono activities that are available through the State Bar.
But the time Anna spends on the State Bar’s Leadership Development Committee is manageable, and it is strengthening her professional network. She realizes now that she could have, and should have, started volunteering earlier.
Anna got involved after volunteering in the Milwaukee legal community through pro bono and other volunteer activities. And she’s now encouraging new and young attorneys to explore the possibilities in their own communities and through the State Bar. These opportunities can help you build skills, access knowledge, and develop your network.
Young lawyers who currently serve in State Bar leadership positions help determine legislative policy positions, plan seminars, and serve as newsletter editors and authors. Their ideas address challenges like court funding, public education, ethics, and technology.
The State Bar offers many opportunities to get practical experience in different areas of law, get connected to your legal community, and be a leader. The professional connections you will make can help you as you move through your career.
To get started, attend the Young Lawyers Division Leadership Conference (for CLE credit) and Networking Reception on March 30 in Milwaukee. At this free event, you’ll meet young leaders, learn about the benefits of volunteering for the State Bar, and how you can participate. Register by March 9, at www.wisbar.org/yld. And, incoming State Bar President Kevin Klein is seeking volunteers for State Bar committees (form at www.wisbar.org/newsletter/cmform); submit your name by March 31. I encourage you to get involved.