My relationship with the King County Bar Association began in 1983 when I joined Karr Tuttle Campbell Maurer and Morrow as a fresh-out-of-law-school associate in the firm's Litigation Department. KCBA membership was a benefit of my employment; one I did not appreciate as much as I should have.
Today, I am a public sector attorney working in the Office of the Attorney General under Bob Ferguson's leadership. As a government lawyer, I am responsible for maintaining my KCBA membership and covering all of the costs associated with being actively engaged in the bar's mission. For me the choice to belong is an easy one and here are some of the reasons why.
KCBA membership helps new attorneys from diverse backgrounds build a professional network and develop a successful practice. Obvious programs include the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and Building a Book of Business. Membership in KCBA provides access to continuing legal education programs at nominal or no cost.
Volunteering in the bar's Pro Bono Legal Services programs provides opportunities for training and mentoring in specialty practice areas, such as family law and housing justice, while fulfilling a professional obligation to give back to the community. By engaging in bar activities, new lawyers come in contact with more-experienced attorneys who willingly help open doors to a wide array of professional development opportunities.
As KCBA members gain experience and confidence, they can turn to the bar for leadership opportunities through service on a variety of committees, including the YLD board, the KCBA board and the King County Bar Foundation (KCBF) board. They can demonstrate their substantive legal expertise by participating as faculty in KCBA-sponsored CLEs or by joining one of KCBA's specialty practice area sections.
Members on the judicial screening and judicial evaluation committees directly influence the quality and caliber of judges who are appointed and/or elected to our King County Superior Court. Many of those judges move on to our higher-level state courts and federal district and appellate courts.
KCBA members on the Public Policy Committee can shape public policy and legislation, with recent work influencing drug policy as one notable example. Members of KCBA's Diversity Committee work to advance the bar's longstanding commitment to promoting and protecting diversity throughout the legal profession. This committee oversees the Future of the Law Institute (FLI) and a very successful scholarship program that directly promotes diversity in our local law schools.
Personally, KCBA's dedication to equal and effective access to justice is the most compelling reason to maintain membership in one of the only voluntary bar associations in the United States that directly provides pro bono civil legal services. KCBA created the Legal Aid Bureau in 1938 and since that time has continuously provided pro bono legal services through an actively engaged, well-trained network of volunteer attorneys.
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