At a recent House of Delegates meeting, MBA's leadership reported that it had instructed MBA staff to redouble its efforts to support our members in combating the ever-present negative image of lawyers held by many members of the public.
This specific recommitment followed on the heels of a very spirited discussion of the public-image issue in the preceding HOD meeting.
The MBA wants to do a better job of telling your stories, because they are wonderful and they are important. We want to hear from you about the work you do in your community. Or if you know of an attorney whom you consider to be a real community leader, let us know.
Sharing these individual stories more widely is one important way to help the public understand the central role that attorneys play in our communities. If you have a suggestion for a story, call Carla Del Bove, a member of the MBA's communications staff, who will be focusing on spreading the word. She can be reached at (617) 338-0678.
Get Involved … in 'Conversations'
Of at least equal importance, if you have been looking for the right opportunity to commit some of your valuable time to a community project, join one of the MBA's community services programs. GET INVOLVED! The MBA has a vast array of programs that involve your working one-on-one with members of your community, often students. For example, I am pleased to confirm that the MBA will again offer the high school program "Conversations on Law & Liberty in Times of Crisis" during the coming school year.
The MBA offered this program in nearly 100 schools last year. Check our Web site for more detailed information about the program.
If you want to volunteer and have not yet contacted us, or if you want to find out more about this program, please contact Ed Hermann at (617) 338-0565.
Meanwhile, those of you who volunteered last year will be hearing from us soon to determine your continued interest in leading this program and so we can share with you some additional refinements to the material to keep it current.
Get Involved … in Mock Trial
The MBA also has an extensive mock trial program. Last year, teams from more than 130 high schools in Massachusetts participated. Although new attorney coaches are always welcomed, the MBA has a specific need for additional attorneys to serve as "judges" for the mock trial competition. If this is a role that interests you, you should also contact Ed Hermann.
This year we are planning to conduct our training of judges in September, so we need to hear from you soon.
Get Involved … and set an example
Why do I mention all of this in the context of the public image campaign?
Of course I want to underscore the intrinsic value and stimulation that comes from working with young people in the community. It also has been the experience of the MBA leadership (and we hear the same thing from bar leaders across the country) that working with people one-on-one, giving them the opportunity to get to know our members outside the context of court, is an important grassroots method of combating our image issues.
Only through these kinds of interchanges can our young people have the same opportunity to experience a close personal relationship with a lawyer that they may already have with a personal physician, a teacher or some other professional. I've seen it make a difference. We need your help!
New tool in the Toolbox
On a very different note, I want to share with you news of yet an additional tool in the MBA Legal Tech Toolbox of benefits that we are committed to providing for you.
By now, I hope you all are familiar with the MBA's Casemaker online legal research tool. I am pleased to announce that the MBA is also once again offering discounted service on Lexis-Nexis for those of you who may need a tool more robust than Casemaker.
Lexis-Nexis has created three flexible member platforms to choose from - for new attorneys, established attorneys or through a pay-as-you-go plan on www.lexisONE.com. All of these programs have gone through significant changes, with even better discounts available through each platform. Click on Member Benefits in the Member Information section of MassBar.org for specific program details.