ABA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Help Spread the Word
Inform your colleagues of benefits and public service aspects of ABA membership
BY CAROLYN B. LAMM
WINSTON CHURCHILL ONCE SAID,
“We make a living by what we
get; we make a life by what we
give.” In this season of giving, it
is appropriate to reflect on the
many ways the ABA gives to its
members, and how its members
give back to the profession and
to the public. This year we are
working to ensure that the bene-
fits of ABA membership are pro-
vided to as many lawyers as possible.
The ABA is the world’s largest voluntary professional
association. With nearly 400,000 members, we provide
an extraordinary forum where lawyers can develop skills,
enhance professional networks, exchange ideas, develop solutions on professional and legal system issues, promote the rule of law and ensure public access to justice.
One of the greatest things about the ABA’s extensive
national presence is the community it creates. Throughout my many years as an active member, I have learned
that involvement in the ABA can produce not only valuable professional development and networking opportunities but also rewarding friendships. Glance at the
ABA’s event calendar and you will see CLE programs,
section meetings, receptions and other events, all offering the chance to meet lawyers from across the nation
to exchange ideas, learn new approaches to practicing,
share resources and referrals, and, yes, make friends.
THE ABA PROVIDES BENEFITS FOR MEMBERS IN ALL SEG-
ments of our profession—from solo, small, medium,
large and global practices to public interest, government,
the military and the judiciary, to law students and academia. We have resources tailored for lawyers from various backgrounds and stages in life, with services for
young lawyers, senior lawyers, women lawyers, lawyers
of color, LGBT lawyers and lawyers with disabilities.
ABA benefits keep members informed and enrich
their careers. Regardless of your legal interests, you are
certain to find a newsletter, magazine or journal to keep
you up to date on topics you and your clients care about.
In addition to the ABA Journal, the association publish-es more than 80 periodicals and hundreds of books on
all areas of law. ABA sections and other entities offer a
wide variety of CLE programs, many of which can be
downloaded at the ABA Web Store ( ababooks.org).
The ABA is also conscious of the issues lawyers are
PHOTOGRAPH BY AK VOGEL
facing and responds accordingly. Our Economic Recovery Resources portal contains information from throughout the bar on how lawyers can meet the challenges of
the economic crisis ( abanet.org/economicrecovery) and
its job board helps them locate new positions. In addition, the ABA’s Governmental Affairs Office advocates
before Congress and other agencies on policies adopted
by our House of Delegates. Policymakers are receptive
to our advocacy on issues involving an independent bar
and judiciary, access to justice, rule of law and other
core values of the legal profession.
Aside from professional resources, all ABA members
can enjoy the Member Advantage program ( abanet.org/
advantage), which provides discounts on insurance, hotels, car rentals, and many other products and services.
Just as the ABA gives to members, it also enables
members to give back to the legal profession and our
communities. Thousands of leadership positions, committee assignments, pro bono opportunities and public
service projects are facilitated throughout the ABA.
Despite our large size, extensive reach and multitude
of benefits, our membership amounts to only 30 percent
of the U.S. legal profession. One of my priorities is to
increase membership to at least 50 percent of the profession. As many lawyers as possible should be part of
our collective advocacy and enjoy all we have to offer.
To complement our existing membership efforts, last
year I created task forces for each segment of the profession. Each task force was charged with analyzing the
relevance and recommending the value we must add to
make membership indispensable. In addition to value,
many of the segments identified price as an impediment
to greater market penetration. Accordingly, we are examining our dues structure to determine how to maintain the revenue we need to conduct our activities
while reducing the cost of membership.
As Sandra Day O’Connor said, “We accomplish nothing in this world alone.” With the ABA, lawyers nationwide work together to strengthen the profession and
improve our service to clients and the public. I encourage you to take advantage of the association’s benefits,
to introduce them to your friends and colleagues, and to
let me know of ways in which the ABA can add relevant
and effective resources for members. Only when all
segments of our profession are well-represented will the
ABA truly carry out our mission to be the national representative of the legal profession.
I hope this holiday season each member will give the
gift of ABA membership to at least one other lawyer.
Thank you for your support. May each of you enjoy a
happy and healthy holiday season and new year. ■