As a credit card company once said: “Membership has its privileges.” If you are reading this, you are likely already a member of the Section and know many of the privileges of that membership, including access to life-altering columns like this one. If you are not a member, you should be; and, if you are, you can benefit even more by explaining to your friends and colleagues why they should join the Section.
More Section members means more benefits for all of us. First, more members mean more diversity, in all senses of the word. The Section can provide more and better content as we increase the diversity of our membership and, in so doing, our diversity of viewpoints — an increase in different employers, backgrounds, and experiences means more complete insights and perspectives in our committee discussions, presentations and programs, networking, and publications.
Second, more members mean more Section resources. More members mean not only more dues but also more expertise to provide the best in government contracts programming and publications, which in turn provides more non-dues revenue as well. More revenue means greater Section ability both to offer great in-person programs and webinars at lower prices and to afford more scholarships and subsidies for speakers and attendees, particularly from government, nonprofits, and academia, who may not otherwise be able to join us.
For all of these reasons, the Section is emphasizing membership this year, and our Membership, Diversity and Outreach Division and its many active committees are leading the way. The Division, under the outstanding leadership of co-chairs Jennifer Dauer and Heather Weiner, oversee the many important projects of the Division committees: Diversity; Federal, State & Local Government Attorneys; Membership; Scholarship; and Young Lawyers. One initiative in the Membership Committee is to improve our outreach to members and nonmembers alike by revamping the Section’s profile on social media, including LinkedIn, and to integrate into those media the activities of our many substantive committees in the Section’s Procurement Division. We always can use more help in these committees’ vital work, so please let Jennifer, Heather, a Section officer, or a committee co-chair know if you would like to pitch in.
The Division also coordinates the efforts of the Section’s Liaison Board, led by Section officers Linda Maramba and Susan Warshaw Ebner. The Board includes Section representatives with other groups both in and outside the ABA. Within the ABA, we are working with the Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and on Women in the Profession; the Cybersecurity Legal Task Force; the Standing Committees on Law and National Security, Legal Assistance for Military Personnel, and Armed Forces Law; and other ABA Divisions (Government and Public Sector Lawyers, Young Lawyers, Law Students) and Sections (International Law and Dispute Resolution). Through the Liaison Board, we also are working with industry and bar groups outside the ABA, including the IT Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS), National Association of State Purchasing Officers (NASPO), Professional Services Council (PSC), National Construction Disputes Resolution Committee (NCDRC), National Contract Management Association (NCMA), National Institute for Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and other bar and bench associations, like the Court of Federal Claims Bar Association, Federal Circuit Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Board of Contract Appeals Bar Association, and Board of Contract Appeals Judges Association. If you are active with any of these groups, or others we should be working with, we could use your help. Let Linda, Susan, or any other Section officer know if you are interested in working on this with us.
Section members, you know the privileges of being a card-carrying Section member. Members have access to our unparalleled committees, FAR comments, white papers, and periodicals &mdas; The Procurement Lawyer and Public Contract Law Journal. They enjoy deep discounts on Section programs like the Federal Procurement Institute and State and Local Procurement Symposium; Section webinars like those this spring on the State and Local Model Procurement Code, Debarment and Suspension, and Ethics, Compliance and Professional Responsibility; and Section books like The False Claims Act and Government Contracts: The Intersection of Federal Government Contracts, Administrative Law, and Civil Fraud and our latest, Suspension & Debarment Manual.
Section membership makes you a better government contracts lawyer and gives you opportunities for professional development and networking. Help your organization by letting your colleagues know that they should join and enjoy these benefits too, and increase the benefits you and your colleagues enjoy by telling other government contracts professionals you know about the Section and why they should join — the more agencies, contractors, and firms we represent, the better services we can provide to our members, the bar, and the contracting community we serve. Tell them all: “The American Bar Association Public Contract Law Section Card: Don’t Leave Home Without It.”