In the fall of 2010, as one of the 625 newest lawyers in the state, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Looking for ways to give back to the general community, connect to the legal community, improve myself as a lawyer and increase my odds of making a few dollars along the way, I found the King County Bar Association, which helps to serve all of these needs.
What initially convinced me to spend my (limited) resources on KCBA membership, instead of joining another organization, were KCBA's Pro Bono Services programs. Countless people told me that volunteering was a great way to make connections and learn another area of law.
I considered a number of volunteer opportunities that sounded interesting, but many programs held the same roadblock - without my own malpractice insurance, they could not use my help. KCBA provides limited liability insurance to its volunteers, demonstrating a commitment to both serving and utilizing its newest, most energetic members.
After exploring my pro bono options, I decided that volunteering at KCBA's Housing Justice Project (HJP) assisting low-income tenants facing eviction was the perfect fit. After more than three years at the HJP, I can say that my pro bono work has given me more than I could have expected: knowledge of landlord-tenant law; an instant gratification that is not available in the course of most lawyers' regular practices; and a new cast of friends.
As a new HJP volunteer, I attended a full-day CLE, received a two-inch-thick training notebook and shadowed experienced volunteers before taking on my own clients. Now I provide counsel and advice, negotiate with property owners and their attorneys, and appear at hearings. Consultations with HJP staff attorneys give me continued confidence in my ability to serve clients.
Membership in the King County Bar Association and my volunteer work at the HJP have introduced me to many people who I now consider friends. I look forward to seeing these friends when I volunteer, when we attend happy hours or when we play bocce ball in the park across the street from my house.
Aside from the many volunteering opportunities, KCBA also provides excellent CLEs for its members and volunteers. Additionally, KCBA committee membership offers access to experienced members of the bar who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences on matters legal, business and otherwise.
I would love to do more than just mention the lawyer referral program and other great services KCBA provides, but suffice it to say that I believe the rewards of KCBA membership are well worth the cost.
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