“$20.00 Section dues.” Does this look familiar?
When we were in law school, we attended as many lunch seminars as possible to take advantage of free lunches. Graduation and bar passage came with real-life financial obligations, ranging from the Bar membership dues to the malpractice insurance and the CLE costs. So many young lawyers glance over the “$20.00 Section dues” over the required Bar membership dues, and miss out on the myriad of advantages of joining a practice section. I invite a young lawyer to consider this $20.00 monetary value as one important business lunch cost that can take the young attorney a long way towards further success—from making invaluable connections with experienced mentors to sharing important changes and updates in the specific practice areas.
There are twenty sections of the Virginia State Bar, with each section devoted to improving the practice of law in particular specialty practice. From “General Practice” and “Criminal Law” Sections to “International Practice” and “Education of Lawyers” Sections, the sections often collaborate with each other to present a CLE that bridges diverse practice areas and cross-shares expertise.
As a young lawyer liaison to the Family Law Section Board of Governors, I have been privileged to attend the Board of Governors meetings to report outstanding jobs of the YLC committees working on family law-related issues, to plan CLEs and special projects, and to create and implement the Family Law Section Mentor Directory (https://www.vsb.org/site/sections/family/mentor_directory) to assist young and experienced family law practitioners dealing with specific legal and ethical issues within the family law practice. Apart from devoting my time as a young lawyer liaison, just being a Family Law Section member brought great advantages in my personal life and professional life. These are some advantages of joining the practice area sections to advance a young lawyer’s career and enrich professional and personal experiences:
1) Access Member-only Resources: The sections’ member pages contain invaluable resources on important legislative updates and articles and practice tips written by experienced practitioners on contemporaneous topics.
2) Connect with Mentors: Becoming a section member opens up a sea of opportunities to connect with colleagues and mentors, and seek advice of more experienced practitioners within the same practice area.
3) Be on Top of your Game: While CLEs instruct practitioners on important legislative changes, most sections publish magazines or Quarterly newsletters that compile important legislative updates, hot topics, and cases. These are mandatory resources to stay competent as required by Rule 1.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
4) Become Involved: YLC members have an opportunity to represent young lawyers’ accomplishments, concerns, and views to the Section Board of Governors by becoming a YLC liaison to the Section. The boards truly value and appreciate the voice of young lawyer section members. Furthermore, active involvement as a section member can increase a young lawyer’s standing to become further involved with the Section and its Board of Governors.
Section dues range from $10.00 to $30.00. Save a cup of coffee (or two), and share your expertise and grow your professional network with your colleagues and mentors. You can join a practice section by filling out the Section Registration Form at: https://www.vsb.org/docs/VSB-Section-Reg.pdf.
About the Author:
Ra Hee Jeon is a family law and immigration law attorney at Pender & Coward, P.C. in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is the District 2 Representative for the VSB Young Lawyers Conference, and the Young Lawyer Liaison to the VSB Family Law Section Board of Governors.