Arkansas Bar Association casts its net wide
In the past, says Karen K. Hutchins, executive director of the Arkansas Bar Association, the bar took a two-step approach to its membership campaigns, first reaching out to current and recent past members and then to all nonmembers at a later date.
But this year was different: The bar reached out to all lawyers in the state, all at the same time.
“We wanted to make sure all the attorneys across the state were aware of our new benefits and incentives,” Hutchins explains. “We also wanted to make sure they were aware we were supportive of the entire legal community, especially as we were facing the pandemic.”
To date, Hutchins says, this new approach—along with a few other strategies—has gained the bar at least 100 new members. Along with the widespread outreach, Hutchins also attributes the increase to awareness of the bar’s existing offerings; free programming and resources made available during the pandemic; and some new member benefits, including free CLE and access to experts and resources in technology and practice management.
In July 2020, the bar launched its first-ever law practice management assistance member benefit, an online library of resources called Practice Link. Members can also schedule a free, one-on-one 30-minute video or phone consultation with an expert, notes Kristen Frye, the bar's director of education. Also part of Practice Link is Affinity University, a collection of more than 150 in-depth training videos offered in partnership with Affinity Consulting.
The free CLE that was added for the 2020-2021 bar year also relates to law practice management, Frye adds: Members receive six hours of CLE on LPM-related topics at no additional charge.
Added last bar year and proving popular for this one are two new dues payment options: Annual Auto Renewal and Monthly AutoPay (in which annual membership is broken into 12 installments).
"Both options continue each year until cancelled," Frye says, "and the member no longer has to keep up with invoices." The monthly option has also saved staff time during the renewal process, she adds.
About Monthly AutoPay in particular, Hutchins says, “The first year, we had 13 [members sign up], and so far, this year we have over 35. We definitely see it becoming more popular with each new year.”