Our Board of Governors (BOG) committees will continue to work on issues. Taskforces will work on important projects. Fiscal year transition will continue an economic process that promotes State Bar efficiency and seeks a solution for the yearly budget struggles. Sections and divisions will address matters. Other members positively impact State Bar operations. If you are part of this effort, you will understand at least a segment of the big picture.
If not a part of this effort, you may have differing reactions. I have heard many. Some don’t care about committees, or the BOG, or really anything else about the State Bar. These are concerned about practice and profession, and as State Bar leaders we still strive to address their needs. Some care about member issues, but feel they have no say. They may opine the State Bar just does what it wants, and leadership members are insiders, so “why should we care.” There is only a handful of “insiders” that tend to support State Bar operations at all costs and without question. Not an “insider,” I address matters thoroughly and objectively, and from a member perspective. Most of your leaders share this approach, and are striving to make improvements that will impact all members.
Still others care about member issues and State Bar operations, but aren’t sure how to “meaningfully participate.” To borrow a suggestion from the March Leadership Summit: do what you can. This is not a discussion that is foreign to you, but a focus on the bigger picture.
I would first encourage you to obtain PINNACLE® seminars and practice books from the State Bar. By doing so, you will familiarize yourself with State Bar products, become familiar with many Wisconsin attorneys, and develop networking/communication that will assist you.
Second, build on this simple start by actually participating at your local or specialty bar level. You will be working with attorneys you know, and in your own communities. Perhaps this will be through mock trial (National Mock Trial will be in Madison in 2014), or a mentorship program, or a legal services workshop. Any effort will make a difference in the big picture, but also for you.
Third, do not hesitate to provide the State Bar with ideas and feedback. It is your State Bar; make it work for you. You can communicate directly with the State Bar or through your various member representatives. The State Bar should be promoting the highest level of customer service. But you cannot expect concerns to be addressed or changes to be made if you do not actively participate and make your ideas and feedback known.
Finally, become a member-leader. Offer to do committee work. Join sections. Run for the BOG. Serve on taskforces. Your work can be general, wherever needed; or specific, on a project or innovation for the practice of law. Our profession is changing rapidly, and the State Bar cannot continue to follow an “old routine.” If you want to make the State Bar better for members, step up. Don’t settle. Become an active part of the bigger picture.