Bar News - April 15, 2015
Help Wanted: Bar Association Committees
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
- John F. Kennedy
Discuss ethical issues; develop content for continuing legal education programs; talk with judges, clerks and fellow lawyers about improvements in the court system;
evaluate the potential consequences of proposed legislation; plan a new twist on new lawyers’ events; and help with planning and creating content for Bar News and Bar Journal.
These are just a few of the activities that Bar members do as members of Bar Association committees. Starting next month, incoming Bar President Mary Tenn will be asking members to express their preferences for appointment to a Bar Association committee through an online form. The form also contains links to descriptions and sample activities of the various committees.
Members also are encouraged to put down more than one committee selection, as each committee’s membership is limited in number. Lawyers who are new to the practice or new to the state are encouraged to apply, as the Bar Association is seeking to diversify its committee membership and bring new voices and new perspectives onto the committees. Several of the committees have undertaken informal mentoring initiatives to overcome the inertia of familiar names and faces out in front of bar activities.
A couple of the committees are especially large, in an attempt to include members from a broad variety of practice settings and personal backgrounds. And while many committees rely on stalwarts who possess valuable institutional knowledge, diversity and new voices are needed.
Adam Hamel, chair of the NHBA Ethics Committee, says that the writing of an opinion is initially delegated to a subcommittee of two members with different levels of experience, and then their draft is critiqued and eventually approved by the entire committee. This ensures that the veteran members’ knowledge is tapped while also enabling newer perspectives to shape the discussion.
All current members of committees must return the online form to be considered for reappointment. Those who have applied for committee membership in the past but have not been appointed are encouraged to apply again when they receive the email May 1.
The coming year is especially important for committees as the Bar Association will be asking committee chairs to examine what activities they undertake in conjunction with the new strategic plan that the NHBA has adopted. (See related article.)