The percentage of attorneys practicing in Broward County who are members of the BCBA has hovered in the low 2000′s as far back as anyone can remember. Building on the creative and determined efforts of the last few membership committees, this year Membership Committee Chairs, Gary Singer and Gary Landau, have worked with Braulio Rosa and our other professional staff to increase membership from 2100 in 2010 to over 2900 this year. With the help of other Board members, they have gone to the root of the problem by signing up law school students and first year attorneys and then holding events for them to introduce to them the benefits of BCBA membership in order to develop a culture of belonging right from the start of their careers. Jeff Harris and Ken Hassett have developed new programs to make membership meaningful to Assistant State Attorneys and Public Defenders, as well as other government-employed attorneys.
I am “preaching to the choir” to those of you who receive this magazine for two reasons. The first is to urge you to renew your membership now for the new year which begins July 1, 2014. Every year we lose existing members who forget to renew because they put it off until “next month”. We are learning that some associates and even partners of big firms assume that their membership is being renewed by their office managers, only to learn that it slipped through the cracks. When you see the email to renew in the next few weeks, take five minutes to do it that day. Somehow we never seem to get back to those saved emails. If you are in a firm where someone else is responsible for your renewal, take five minutes to contact them to make sure that it gets done.
The second reason is to remind you of the many benefits of membership in the BCBA so you can take full advantage of them and so you can encourage nonmembers to join. The most obvious reasons for membership are access to the many inexpensive CLE’s for every practice section and the reduced attendance fees at functions such as Small Solo dinners, Law Day (May 2), Raising the Bar for family lawyers (April 11), the recent 4th DCA reception and the many other opportunities to network and to mingle with our judges. Our Lawyer Referral Service provides a steady stream of new business to our members. Members can buy units to the Clerk’s Premium Access service in small quantities. Bench Bar and Clerk Bar committee members have direct access to those who run our court system. Our website lists discounts at local legal and retail merchants available to our members.
The more members we have, the greater the number and quality of programs and benefits we can offer. And then there is the most important reason of all – as attorneys we have a responsibility to be involved in the legal community to strengthen the quality of legal service to the citizens of Broward County.