November 01, 2020 The Leadership Issue

The Rewards of Bar Service: Advancing Your Career While Serving the Bar

Bar service makes better lawyers.

Patricia Lee Refo
An illustration of colleagues gathering around a chain of oversized puzzle pieces.

An illustration of colleagues gathering around a chain of oversized puzzle pieces.

via alisarut / iStock

The organized bar has led our legal profession through America’s complex history, from world wars to transformative social movements. As I write this article in summer 2020, our nation’s streets are filling with people demanding racial equity from our police, our justice system and our government, and we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, the organized bar is called upon to serve, and that means asking every lawyer to be engaged. And yes, that means you.

If “bar junkie” means someone who joins and actively participates in bar associations, I definitely qualify. I love being a lawyer and I love being around lawyers. Lawyers are leaders. Lawyers are doers. Lawyers are engaged citizens who care about our communities and our nation. Lawyers want to make our democracy “a more perfect union.”

Power of the Organized Bar

The organized bar allows us to make our individual voices louder by joining other lawyer leaders in our communities, in our states and territories, and on the national level. In the organized bar, we come together to eradicate biases and strive for equity for all persons in our profession and our justice system. We sit together to write and implement the ethical rules by which we will be governed. We give our time through our bar associations to advance legal education, support our law schools, establish rules for admission to the bar, and raise up, mentor and train the next generation of lawyers. These are all hallmarks of being part of a self-governing profession. Too often, we take it for granted that lawyers get to decide what happens in the legal profession. It is volunteer lawyers in the organized bar, working together with our professional bar and ethics colleagues, who make all of this happen. Their devoted work protects the public, serves the profession and advances justice.

Premium Content For:
  • Law Practice Division
Join - Now