As an attorney, your professional growth and success are not solely dependent on your legal expertise but also on the valuable resources and networking opportunities available through professional associations. Being part of an association tailored to your field can provide you with a plethora of benefits that go beyond just access to legal research and CLE programs. In this blog, we will explore various strategies to show you how attorneys can maximize their member benefits within associations.
Choosing the Right Association
Before we dive into maximizing your association’s benefits, it is crucial to choose the right association that aligns with your legal practice areas and career goals. Consider factors such as the association’s reputation, the range of services offered, and the networking opportunities it provides. Look for associations that offer tailored support for your specific practice areas to ensure you receive relevant resources and connections. You can tell a lot just by looking at their website, for instance, how frequently they update their website, their events page, etc.
Many professional associations offer their members the opportunity to create a personal profile, and it never ceases to surprise me how often I come across attorneys with incomplete or entirely blank profiles. When working with attorneys to maximize their membership benefits, one of the first things we address is ensuring their profile is robust and up-to-date. It is paramount that you take the time to thoroughly fill out your profile, including your legal services, target clients, updated contact information, and all relevant links (such as your website and social media handles). A professional headshot against a clean background is a must to present yourself in the best possible light. So, as you embark on your association membership journey, make it a priority to complete your profile to make the most out of your membership experience.
Attending Workshops, Seminars, and Conferences
Associations often host workshops, seminars, and conferences that cover a wide range of legal topics and provide valuable insights from industry experts. Participate in these events to stay updated with the latest legal trends, refine your skills, and gain a competitive edge. These gatherings also offer excellent networking opportunities, allowing you to connect with fellow attorneys and potential clients. Take a look at their events calendar. Find the events that interest you the most and then evaluate how this could help the visibility of your practice. Ask yourself, “Will this put me in front of the right people?”, “Will I be able to start establishing a few good relationships out of this event?” If the answer is “yes”, then add this event to your calendar and commit yourself to attending.
Tip: Download the “blinq” app or visit blinq.me. Blinq allows you to create a digital business card and a digital business card can go much further than a paper card, simply because your information can immediately be added to the other person’s phone. It allows you to add your website, email, logo, title…all your business information they should have….and there is no chance of them losing your physical business card.
Utilizing Online Resources
Many associations offer online platforms and resources that can significantly benefit your legal practice. Make use of these resources, such as research databases, practice guides, and legal templates, to streamline your work and enhance your efficiency. Online forums and discussion groups can also be valuable spaces to seek advice from peers and share your expertise.
Networking and Building Connections
Networking is a fundamental aspect of professional growth for attorneys. Association events, conferences, and online forums provide an ideal platform to build meaningful connections with other legal professionals. Engage actively in networking opportunities to expand your professional circle, exchange ideas, and potentially gain referrals. Remember, networking is a two-way street, so be willing to offer your assistance and insights to others as well.
Joining Committees and Leadership Roles
Many associations have committees and leadership positions that you can join. Volunteering for these roles not only allows you to contribute to the legal community but also helps you establish yourself as an influential figure within the association. Leadership roles can lead to increased visibility, additional networking opportunities, and a chance to shape the association’s direction.
Tip: Consider joining the “membership committee”. This will automatically put you front and center of all new members of the organization and current members. For example, if you join the membership committee, this gives you an excellent opportunity to call the members and introduce yourself. (ex: Hi, I’m ______. I am just giving you a call to let you know I am the newest member of the membership committee, and I just wanted to introduce myself.” Then you can go straight into learning about what they do as well as what services you offer. That person just might become a referral source for you.
Accessing Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Programs
Associations often offer CLE programs, which are vital for maintaining and enhancing your legal expertise. Take advantage of these programs to stay up-to-date with changes in laws and regulations, gain new skills, and maintain your professional certifications. Additionally, some associations offer discounts or even free CLE courses as a member benefit.
Leveraging Public Relations and Marketing Support
Some associations offer public relations and marketing support for their members. Collaborate with the association’s communications team to highlight your achievements, publish articles in association journals, or even contribute to their blogs. These efforts can enhance your reputation, increase your visibility, and attract potential clients.
Accessing Professional Development Opportunities
Apart from CLE programs, associations often provide other professional development opportunities, such as mentoring programs, career coaching, and webinars on legal practice management. Participating in such initiatives can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in your legal career. Next, identify the places where you can offer development opportunities to other members of the association. Offering a webinar or a workshop for current members is a great way to maximize your opportunity within an association.
Being a member of a professional association as an attorney can offer you a wide array of benefits that extend far beyond legal research and education. By actively engaging with your association and maximizing the resources and networking opportunities it provides, you can enhance your legal expertise, build a robust professional network, and pave the way for long-term success in your legal career. Embrace the potential of your association membership and watch how it propels your growth and opportunities to new heights.