Bar News - August 11, 2006
New Lawyers Committee Not Just for Recent Admittees
By: Jaye Rancourt
You’ve been a lawyer for two to three years and you are starting to get the hang of
things, so why would you want to come to a new lawyer function hosted by the
New Lawyers’ Committee of the New Hampshire Bar Association (NHBA)? Appearing in court no longer causes you angst, meeting with the senior partners on a new project is more exciting than nerve-racking, and you are confident preparing any form of legal motion or memorandum. In short, you no longer feel like a new lawyer. So why does the New Lawyers’ Committee still send you mailings and call you inviting you to its functions?
The New Lawyers’ Committee attempts to include and provide services for those lawyers practicing law in New Hampshire for five years or less. These guidelines are actually more restrictive than the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD). The ABA YLD defines a “young” lawyer as one 35 years of age and younger, or those that have been practicing law for 10 years or less. Come on, who doesn’t want to be considered young?
Other than helping you feel young, attending functions sponsored by the New Lawyers’ Committee provides networking opportunities, practical advice, and can serve as a conduit between you as a “newer” lawyer and the Association.
Whether you are brand new to the practice of law or three to five years into your legal career, networking is always useful and beneficial for your legal career. This holds true for those lawyers practicing in private firms, as well as public sector attorneys and in-house counsel. As a practicing attorney, you will inevitably be faced with legal questions in areas of law that you are not familiar with. Think how efficient it would be to simply pick up the phone and call that lawyer you met at the new lawyer function and get a quick answer to your legal quandary, rather than spending hours conducting research in an area of the law you may never confront again. Networking assists both you and your client in getting quick answers to questions without expending precious time. As a private firm practitioner, networking may help to drum up referrals (which is always a good thing).
This can be an isolating and, at times, unfriendly business. Networking helps us, as a profession, to build personal relationships which serve us well in the long run. Meeting each other in a social setting allows us to keep things in perspective. We are all human beings with our own unique pressures and emotions. We are all trying to do the best thing for our clients. It’s easier to keep this in perspective when you can put a face to the voice on the other end of the phone or the fingers at the other end of the keyboard.
The New Lawyers’ Committee attempts to sponsor events and create opportunities for you to meet and garner practical advice from other new lawyers, senior members of the NH Bar, and members of the Judiciary Branch. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been practicing law, good practical advice is always welcome and helpful. Who doesn’t want to know what members of the judiciary like to see—and, for that matter, hate to see—in their courtrooms? That type of advice is invaluable.
We learn from each other every day. Even the most senior members of the bar learn from each other and learn from newer lawyers. We, as a profession, grow stronger and smarter by learning from each other’s failures and victories.
Conduit between You and the Association
We understand that it is intimidating to attend your first NHBA function. A few years ago, a member of the New Lawyers’ Committee conducted an experiment. He attended a regional bar function which he had never attended before. He knew no one in the room. He stood in the room and waited for someone to approach him and make introductions. No one did. This can be a lonely and intimidating experience.
The New Lawyers’ Committee attempts to bridge that gap by introducing newer lawyers to more senior members of the bar and to each other. The first time you attend a new lawyer function you will inevitably meet members of the New Lawyers’ Committee. The committee consists of newer lawyers as well as more senior members of the bar. We invite members of the NHBA Board of Governors to most of our events and members of the judiciary to others. Committee members try to make introductions and facilitate a friendly, comfortable atmosphere. Our goal is to introduce you to the NHBA and all it has to offer.
The next time you are tempted to attend an NHBA function, go ahead; you are bound to recognize at least one face in the crowd and then these functions may not seem so intimidating to you. A familiar friendly face in the crowd can make a world of difference.
The New Lawyers’ Committee is always striving to improve the experience of “newer” attorneys practicing law in New Hampshire. If there is more that we can do to improve your experience, let us know. You can contact me anytime at 603-668-8300 or e-mail me at email@example.com. I would be happy to hear suggestions on how to improve the services we provide.
Jaye Rancourt is an associate with Brennan Caron Lenehan & Iacopino in Manchester. Her practice areas include criminal defense, civil litigation, and business law. In addition to being the chair of the New Lawyers Committee, she is a member of the Law-Related Education Committee.