We are all pulled in a multitude of directions. It is as true in regards to our memberships and volunteer activities as it is at home and at work. What organizations we belong to says a lot about our interests and aspirations; and active engagement with those organizations can help us expand our level of success and impact.
Joining the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution connects you to a wide range of dispute resolution professionals, including neutrals, lawyers, academics, trainers, leaders from roster organizations, representatives of the Courts and business, among others. Our members are distributed across the country and the world, providing a multiplicity of perspectives, and opportunities for learning and professional development. The Section encourages members to share with others, and in so doing helps the profession to improve and evolve. It allows members to make connections and have a voice.
So, what can we do to make the most of our membership? First, join the committees that interest you by going to their individual pages on the ABA website and click on “join committee.” As a committee member, you will start to receive emails about events and activities sponsored by that committee. Once you see what kinds of activities the various committees engage in, you will be able to identify potential avenues for networking, learning, contribution and visibility. You will be able to do more and get more by being on a committee. Unlike state and local associations, we are a large and geographically-distributed group. That gives us scope and strength, and gives you an opportunity to network, learn from and influence more widely. But you can also choose to focus your energies in a more local way.
New to the field? Members of our Section represent many of the most accomplished professionals in the field. Who better to learn from? Our committees, periodicals and educational programs give you opportunities to contribute to the conversation and thus improve your visibility. How better to build your business or reputation? And all the while, you are making connections that broaden your understanding and support your professional development.
More seasoned? The scope of our Section gives you a chance to give back, as you share, learn and influence. And even those with a great deal of experience will continue to learn as part of this multifaceted community supporting dispute resolution.
Regardless of experience level, we all benefit from being part of a community of likeminded professionals. Our Section is a great place to not only share ideas, resources and opportunities but also to make friends. Being able to pick the brains of others and bounce around ideas supports not only the individuals but also the growth of the profession.
As with anything in life, what you get out of your membership is directly related to your level of engagement. Remember there is no right way to do it, just choose what works best for you. Where to start? By no means exhaustive, consider writing for a committee newsletter, connect with the Reflective Practice Group initiative of the Mediation Committee, attend the next institute, register for a webinar, attend the Spring Conference, resolve to meet Section members in your hometown, or connect with the Section on social media and start sharing your voice.
We also encourage you to reach out to us, to Section staff, and to the committee chairs to discuss ways that you can be more involved. You can reach Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org and Anna at email@example.com. Section staff can be reached at 202-662-1680 or you can directly contact associate director of the DR Section, Gina Viola Brown, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-212-9314. If you want to directly contact the chair of a specific committee, the committee chair names and e-mail addresses are listed on each committee web site.
Chair, Membership Committee
Vice-Chair, Membership Committee