June 2019 Bar Bulletin
Please Join Us
We’re asked to join things a lot in our lives. It begins at an early age with sports teams, arts activities, school clubs, religious groups, and as we mature it just keeps expanding from there to include alumni groups, homeowners associations, nonprofit causes, and so much more. But our available time does not expand, it contracts. We begin making choices as we realize there are far more options than bandwidth to belong and participate in “extracurricular” activities and organizations.
That said, not all opportunities to “join” an organization need to include a time commitment or draw on limited bandwidth that so many of us must accept in our lives. Sometimes it comes down to identifying an organization that does important work that you believe deserves your financial support.
This month I write to make the case that every lawyer reading these words should commit to being a dues-paying member of the King County Bar Association.
As I begin, I want to note that we start out with about 5,600 of you who already have made that commitment. Thank you for demonstrating your understanding of why KCBA membership makes a difference. You can confirm your membership status by checking out the mailing label on the first page of this newspaper.
I suspect most of you are aware of what KCBA provides its members, but for those who aren’t sure I see three main activities of the bar. The first category includes the core services that help lawyers in their profession: a monthly newspaper with announcements, analysis, and articles that deep dive into both national and local practice issues, complimentary continuing legal education courses online, and listservs to discuss law practice issues. Core services for member lawyers.
The second category relates to the bar’s integral role in advancing the rule of law in society. We do this through frequent liaison with the bench (locally, statewide and nationally). We regularly feature judicial officers as faculty at our CLE programs, conduct judicial performance surveys and issue ratings for appointment/election to the bench, and initiate and respond to court rule proposals.
The third category consists of the bar’s collective work to deliver pro bono legal services to the indigent, financially support diversity in our law schools, and speak out on public policy concerns. This category is the one that allows the profession to be more than “just” a professional society of lawyers and judges, but instead aspire to a better future while still serving the bar’s immediate needs.
Your member dues of 71 cents a day give KCBA the resources to organize and train almost 1,000 lawyers each year to serve our vulnerable and financially at-risk neighbors.
Your member dues of $22 a month give KCBA the resources to advocate in Olympia for eviction-reform legislation that protects both tenants and landlords.
Your member dues of $260 a year give KCBA the resources to provide free networking for young lawyers starting out and a professional monthly newspaper and access to a free CLE online library.
I’m not asking today that you pledge to participate actively in KCBA’s work as a volunteer yourself with pro bono programs or bar committees (though I won’t turn down your interest either!). But I am asking that you choose to join 5,600 of your fellow lawyers and judges who voluntarily signup through annual renewals to support the profession to which I know that each of you is proud to belong.
And if you need one more reason, I dare you to read the sidebar “KCBA Superhero Origin Story” and not want to add your name to our roster!
Please join KCBA when you receive the dues renewal notice in the next couple weeks, or signup online at www.kcba.org/join.
Andrew Prazuch is KCBA’s executive director. He can be reached by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (206-267-7061).