The Association: Ready to Assist Its Members
One of the principal purposes of any professional organization, and certainly this one, is to provide assistance to its members. In 1870, when the Association was born, that assistance took the form of a law library. Today, in addition to a world-renowned library (and a related Technology Center), assistance includes continuing legal education courses, career counseling to both junior and senior lawyers, a Legal Referral Service, an ethics hot line, and a wide range of member benefits. (Listed on our Web Site at http://www.abcny.org.) I urge you to take advantage of this available help, which is described more fully below, and to work with us in exploring additional ways in which we can be of assistance.
Citybar Public Service Network
Our newest “member benefit?offers help to the attorney facing retirement or part-time work. The Citybar Public Service Network (Madeline C. Stoller, Chair), with a full-time staff director (Miriam Buhl) eases the lawyer’s transition to public service and strengthens the link between the legal and non-profit communities. The program is designed to help the semi- or fully-retired lawyer who would like to: “give something back?to the community but doesn’t know how to do it; find the “right?and satisfying volunteer position; transfer his or her lawyering skills to a meaningful public service activity. For more information please call Miriam Buhl at (212) 221-3880.
Lawyers in Transition
For lawyers facing career changes, needing help in discovering new legal positions or innovative ways in which to practice, or wanting to learn how to manage their careers and benefit from networking, the Lawyers in Transition Committee (Jennie L. Pettit, Chair) offers a wide variety of activities.
One set of programs focuses on how to conduct a successful job search, while another series of programs explores career alternatives, such as “Opportunities as an In-House Counsel,?“A Career in Entertainment Law?and “Becoming an Entrepreneur.?A third set of programs deals with lawering in the 21st century and includes programs on part-time opportunities, contract lawyering and telecommuting. The Committee also sponsors programs on networking for client development. (For more information watch for the announcements in 44th Street Notes or call Staff Coordinator Mindy Bass at (212) 382-6657.)
Continuing Legal Education
In a development about which many members of the bar are surprisingly unaware, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye has recently announced that New York has joined the majority of other states and now requires continuing legal education. While all of the parameters have not yet been determined, we do know that 1997 and later law graduates will have to take a certain number of “Bridge the Gap?courses—dealing with professionalism, ethics and the “how to’s?of various aspects of the practice (see article on page 20).
In anticipation of this development, the Association has expanded its traditional program of lectures and symposia to include more targeted continuing legal education offerings. This year, the Citibar Center for Continuing Legal Education Center, headed by Staff Director Karen Greve Milton, will offer more than 50 CLE programs. On November 15, 1997 we will hold a day-long “Bridge the Gap?Program?Practical Lessons Law School Never Taught You?that will allow recently graduated attorneys to obtain some of their necessary CLE credits. This Bridge the Gap program will be followed by a number of shorter programs in various sub-specialties for the benefit of the junior attorney, ranging from “Introduction to the Deal,?to “What Do I Do When I Get to Court??
Programs for the more experienced practitioner also have been planned by the Citibar Center, whose overall program is coordinated by the Committee on Continuing Legal Education (Hon. E. Leo Milonas, Chair). (For a complete catalogue of this year’s programs call (212) 382-6619, watch 44th Street Notes, or review the CLE listings on our web site.)
Other Ways in Which the Association Helps its Members
Of course, the Association does much more for its members than the few activities described above. In the area of pro bono activities, participants can utilize the excellent training programs available through the Robert B. McKay Community Outreach Law Program to expand their professional skills and marketability. Also, those considering career changes can use this training and pro bono work as a way to test their options.
The Association has an ethics hotline, (212) 382-6624, maintained by the Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics (Mary C. Daly, Chair), allowing a member to call for confidential and immediate advice on an ethical problem with which the member may be faced. The Committee can provide an informal written opinion if the ethical issue is complex or there is need for written guidance.
Assistance of a different kind is offered to attorneys who need help dealing with alcoholism or substance abuse through the Association’s Special Committee on this subject (Daniel J. Keenaghan, Chair), which provides information and assistance through counseling, intervention, referral and support. The Committee shares a toll-free confidential helpline maintained by the New York State Bar Association, (800) 255-0569.
The Committee has been studying the possible development of a Lawyer Assistance Program for Association members that will offer more extensive help to impaired attorneys. (For more information about the work of the Committee call Daniel Keenaghan at 455-2000.)
While the work of these committees goes forward we are exploring other ways in which we can be of assistance to our members. For example, the Committee on Small Law Firm Management (Joseph J. Handlin, Chair) conducts a wide range of programs and is considering the potential establishment of a small firm resource center to provide assistance.
The Association also offers a wide range of insurance products, discounts on services and affinity arrangements. For more information, please call Robin Gorsline at (212) 382-6689.
If you have suggestions of other ways in which the Association should reach out to help its members please let us know.