The rewards I reaped from the organized bar did not end there. It was through the ABA, and my local and state bar associations, that I began a lifelong commitment to public and community service—something that I emphatically urge every lawyer to do.
Through the opportunities made available to me by the organized bar, I had a chance to participate as a leader in my community. In turn, numerous professional opportunities opened up for me. While the pro bono work in which I participated did not provide a financial return, the networks I was able to build as a result of that work have paid dividends throughout my career.
My involvement in the organized bar has continually reminded me that, as a lawyer, I have a special responsibility to protect those who most need protection and to insist on a fair and impartial justice system that is responsive to all of the members of our society, not just to those with power, money, and privilege.
Knowing what I do now, I would have joined the ABA as a law student. Particularly now, as law students and young lawyers face an increasingly competitive job market, it is important to realize that you don’t have to go it alone. The ABA and other elements of the organized bar provide a life raft of camaraderie, networking, professional development, and support that is so essential to a successful legal career.
So my advice to you is: Join me—as a member of the ABA or any state, local, or specialty bar. You will be glad you did.