Many of us will celebrate the 4th of July holiday with our family and friends, watching parades, wearing red, white and blue, cooking out and watching a beautiful fireworks finale. We are all very fortunate to live in the USA. The signors of the Declaration of Independence risked everything to establish this great Country. Because of the fortitude and courage of those revolutionaries, we are free to enjoy this Holiday.
We, as attorneys, have a very important role in continuing the work of our founding fathers by ensuring all citizens, including our clients, receive all the benefits and all protections of the laws to which they are entitled.
I am very honored to serve as the President of the Broward County Bar Association. One of my first BCBA leadership roles was being on the House Committee. I went to the old BCBA offices and I met Norma Howard who was the only employee of BCBA at that time. The building had a reception area and two small offices. The committee consisted of Norma Howard and myself. Norma would ask if I approved a list of repairs before moving forward with them; Norma Howard ran the office very efficiently. Our Norma Howard Bar Center is named after her.
Things have changed. Now, the BCBA has almost 3,000 attorney members, and continues to grow. This is 38% of all Florida licensed attorneys practicing in Broward County. The BCBA owns two buildings, free and clear, and maintains a staff of 8 people. Due to the efforts of many, the membership has increased almost 20% over the previous year. As president, one of my main goals will be to increase membership by providing quality, low-cost seminars and events that are meaningful and relevant to our members respective practices, and thus a continuing endeavor to attract members.
Here is why you should join the BCBA:
1. Staying Abreast of Essential and Relevant Information One of the primary missions of the BCBA is to offer topical and interesting CLE’s at a reasonable cost such as the “Lunch and Learn” sessions, the section seminars, and the Bi-Annual Bench and Bar Convention. The Barrister regularly features articles on current practice procedures and significant changes in the law.
2. Establishing Relationships with Members A good reputation in the community is essential to building a successful legal career.
Participating in the activities and events of BCBA allows our members to establish relationships with local judges and other attorneys in the same practice area and to get referrals from attorneys who do not practice in the member’s specific area of law. Conversations lead to practical advice and referrals.
3. Increasing Business Attorneys want to work and the BCBA provides a connection to those potential clients that need an attorney. When a potential client calls the BCBA, the referral is screened and referred to a member of the panel in particular area of law.
4. Making the Community a Better Place to Live and Work Many BCBA members have a strong urge to give back and improve their profession as well as our community. They understand how lucky they are to be educated as attorneys and to possess the unique skills that impact the lives of others. BCBA members assist Broward Lawyers Care by volunteering to accept cases. The Young Lawyers Section of BCBA raises funds for various charitable organizations through their events. BCBA recognizes these need of its members and strives to satisfy the member’s needs in many ways.
5. We also like to have fun! BCBA has started a “Where in the World is the Barrister” contest. When you go on vacation, take your Barrister with you. Send to BCBA a picture of you and the Barrister with your vacation spot in the background. The editors might publish your photo.
As President, I encourage you, as members, to enlist your colleagues to join and participate in this great organization. Discuss your positive experiences with other attorneys who are not members.
I look forward to a great year as your president.