ABA President's Message

Take Advantage of Association Offerings

The ABA is a clearinghouse of resources to help lawyers deal with life’s realities

Posted Jul 1, 2009 10:50 PM CDT
By H. Thomas Wells Jr

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Tommy Wells
Photo by Dee Moore

The American Bar Association is always committed to helping you enhance your employment and business prospects, career development, and other professional and lifestyle needs. This is truer today more than ever.

Though many lawyers and law firms are surviving the economic crisis and even thriving, too many others have suffered from layoffs, delayed or withdrawn job offers, dissolved law firms, reduced busi­ness and other consequences of the recession.

Now is an especially good time to take advantage of our membership resources. ABA programs, publications and other activities connect lawyers across the country to share best practices on career and professional development, law firm management and substantive law practice issues. And through our Mem­ber Advantage program, we offer savings on insurance, car rentals, office equipment, and other products and services.

To make it easier to access the vast amount of ABA material and other resources that can help our members during the recession, we’ve created a Web portal at abanet.org/economicrecovery. The Economic Recovery Resources website is also prominently linked on the ABA’s home page at abanet.org.

On the website, you’ll find free articles and books for discounted purchase from the ABA, the world’s largest legal publisher. Our materials can keep you informed of developments in the law, technology and other topics of value to your practice and professional development. The ABA also offers a wide variety of comprehensive continuing legal education programs that can enhance your skills and knowledge.

Of particular value are audio downloads of four programs in the ABA Recession Recovery Teleconference Series, available at no charge to our members. These programs, described below, provide practical advice for success in today’s career climate:

How to Sell Yourself: Developing the Perfect Pitch offers self-marketing strategies to land a job, get a promotion and attract new business.

Overcoming the Obstacles of Going and Being Solo in a Down Economy features seasoned solo practitioners who advise on the steps to setting up shop as a first-time solo.

Recession-Proof Yourself: Take Control in a Down Econ­omy helps with career goal development, work-life balance, networking and safeguarding finances.

Staying Positive in a Down Economy: Beyond the “Group Hug” offers techniques to help displaced lawyers stay motivated as they seek new career opportunities.

The Economic Recovery Resources Web portal also provides links to relevant programs from a multitude of state and local bar associations across the country. If you are out of work or otherwise vulnerable, or if you want to get ahead of the curve and sharpen your skills and professional development, the organized bar can help you with abundant programs, counseling and other tools.

Another timely issue for many of our members is find­ing and keeping good insurance. If you haven’t taken advantage of the ABA’s group insurance programs, the values we offer may surprise you. In many instances, the savings associated with ABA insurance alone can go a long way toward offsetting your bar membership fees.

COPING WITH SERIOUS ISSUES

Finally, there is a difficult issue we must deal with and are thankfully confronting—the enhanced prospect of suicidal acts, substance abuse and depression among our colleagues and clients as the effects of the recession widen. The Eco­nomic Recovery Resources Web portal contains links to critical resources from lawyer-assistance programs. It also provides an online CLE program, avail­able free of charge, that educates about employers’ ethical responsibility to assist lawyers and others in their workplaces who may be suicidal. The program also offers suicide-prevention gatekeeper training for identifying the signs of depression and suicide that can lead to intervention and a saved life.

We’re living in troubled times, but it’s times like these when the value of bar mem­bership becomes the clearest. If you’re looking to expand your cli­ent base or job prospects, use our resources. Volunteer your time on a bar committee, pro bono project or public service activity. The ABA can point you in the right direction.

In today’s crisis lies opportunity to seek out the ABA, get involved and make a difference for ourselves, our practices, our profession and our communities.

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