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When a Bar is Not For Drinking

Date Added: March 04, 2010 07:54:12 PM
Author: Administrator
Category: Bar Associations

"Passing the Bar" in the legal profession means something different from walking by a drinking establishment. The Bar Association is the central regulating body by which we can be assured that the legal profession is living up to the highest of ethical and legal standards.

For those of us on the outside of the legal profession, the word "lawyer" often evokes a series of the latest lawyer jokes we got off the internet. The legal profession has taken it on the chin with such low jokes and under the breath implications that lawyers are unethical or greedy. This is strange because of all of the professions, the legal world is one that is held to a high standard of education and continuous performance of service and that is held in continuous scrutiny by their own internal police known as the Bar Association.

For a new law student, the Bar Association lies ahead as a daunting challenge that lies between them and a lucrative career as a lawyer. The Bar Exam is renowned for being exacting, difficult and taxing on a prospective lawyer. It is such a huge accomplishment to pass "The Bar" that it is very common for the prospective lawyer to take a few months or a year off to prepare for the exam and/or to have to take it several times before finally passing the test.

Once the student passes The Bar and has achieved that status of being able to conduct law legally, there is a lot that the Bar Association does for its membership. It isn't easy to get a practice stated so the Bar Association can provide valuable advice, contacts in the legal world and even contacts for financing so a lawyer just out of law school can ìhang out their shingleî and get their practice going.

The national Bar Association is responsible for the larger issues of certification, relationships with the government and what it means to be a "Bar certified" lawyer in this country. But on top of those services, there are local Bar Associations that lawyers in every community can join that offer many valuable services to their members.

Sometimes lawyers look at the local Bar Association with distain. This might be because the idea of associating with a lot of other lawyers doesn't seem to make much sense. After all, they will not be your prospective customers. Moreover, that is the competition and you don't want to spill your guts to the competition.

However, in practice is a brotherhood in the local legal professions that benefits everyone. By associating with other lawyers, legal firms and professionals associated with the legal world, there is a lot of value you can get just from attending the local Bar Association meetings.

Probably the greatest advantage to becoming an active member of your local Bar Association is the networking you will get done. On any given evening, you might find yourself networking with some of the judges you may be working with in court this year, with partners in your firm or competition firms who may have some valuable tips on upcoming cases or who may be looking for a bright attorney like yourself to recruit.

One the best ways to build your practice is to begin to pull in a roster of solid clients that can be the source of your long-term success as a lawyer. While we do see lawyers going on television to advertise for customers, the best way to find new clients is through pro bono work and through networking. Your local Bar Association offers a lot of community services to new businesses just getting started and to the local small business association. There is a method to this madness. These are the organizations future clients will come to with legal questions and problems. So if you are well known to your local Bar Association officers and members and they know what you can do for clients, they can give you as a reference, which can mean new customers for your practice.

You can make a lot of contacts this way and eventually connect with that "core client" who may be the ticket to your long-term success. These breakthroughs wonít happen by sitting in your office waiting for the phone to ring. Get out there and network and the best place in town to do that is at your local Bar Association meetings.

About the AuthorCharles Adam Kinser graduated from University of Richmond, J.D. in 2005 and currently practices law with H. Ronnie Montgomery at Montgomery Kinser Law in Jonesville, Virginia.

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