Inside Track: New State Bar director Larry Martin is all about 'member services':

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  • New State Bar director Larry Martin is all about 'member services'

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    Larry MartinJuly 20, 2011 – Larry Martin has a wealth of experience in association management and government administration. He also has an unquenchable thirst to find out “what members want” from their professional association and the desire to meet their needs. Martin joined the State Bar of Wisconsin as the new Member Services Director on June 13.

    “Larry is a great find for the State Bar of Wisconsin,” says Executive Director George Brown. “He earned his stripes in the nonprofit sector and in government administration as the executive director of the Wisconsin Library Association, senior advisor and director of External Relations to Gov. Jim Doyle, and executive assistant at the Department of Regulation and Licensing. If you missed meeting Larry at the June Business Law Institute, not to worry, you’ll likely run into him soon during his travels around the state to meet members.”

    Born and raised in Kenosha, Martin says, “I am the classic story of someone who went to U.W.-Madison and never left. I have been in every corner of the state. I have traveled to all 72 counties throughout my professional and personal life. Wisconsin is a very diverse and interesting state to live in.”

    “I think the biggest challenge of any association is connecting its members directly with the services that they may not necessarily know the association offers, and I look forward to going into the field to talk about those services,” says Martin. “I believe it is particularly important when you live in Madison to get outside of the capitol city and really do a lot of listening.”

    Martin believes being member-driven is what makes an association relevant. “I had such a positive experience working for the library association, which, like the State Bar, has a rich tradition of member involvement. When you have a high level of hands-on talent and input from the members, it makes the organization successful.”

    “When you have strong volunteerism, such as the Bar does within its committees, sections, and divisions, it creates the energy that keeps the members and the staff motivated,” says Martin. “I realize lawyers are busy people, and there are many members who are not involved. They should have a voice too. We must look to members for direction.”

    Pots of gold

    Martin sees the various sections, committees, and divisions as pots of gold. Martin notes the Leadership Development Committee as just one example, “This committee is a wonderful means to identify future leaders of the State Bar and the profession.” While he has only been at the Bar for five weeks, Martin says, “The Leadership Development Committee already has identified an ambitious agenda for the next year to develop future leaders and grow the pool of future leaders. Good leaders make an association stronger.”

    “The wealth of talent, knowledge, and experience in the Bar’s divisions and sections is another incredible resource for the bar,” says Martin. “We must find more ways to tap into those resources. For example, there is a logical synergy between the Senior Lawyers and the Young Lawyers divisions. I hope to explore those opportunities.”

    With eight years of state experience, Martin had many opportunities to work with government lawyers on regulations and licensing. “I look forward to working with the government lawyers who have a unique set of needs.”

    And nonresident lawyers are not overlooked by Martin, “This large division comprises 31 percent of State Bar membership, and finding ways to serve nonresidents is a special challenge. I look forward to meeting with this group.”

    “There is so much to learn,” says Martin. “It’s going to be a very exciting year for me, and I hope the members will feel confident and invigorated as the year unfolds.”

    “The next time you are in the State Bar Center, stop by the reception desk to see if I’m available or call ahead. I want to meet you,” says Martin. “If our paths don’t cross, org lmartin wisbar email me or call me at (608) 250-6038, (800) 444-9404, ext. 6038.”