November 21, 2014

Five Reasons to Become an Active Member of the Colorado Bar Association

Deanna[This article is directed primarily to new attorneys, but if you are an experienced attorney who has not been active in the Bar, this is for you too!]

As you start your practice, you will be faced with many new challenges. First, there really are only 24 hours in the day. Second, if you are fortunate enough to have a legal job, your employer would like you to commit the first 23 hours each day to them. Meanwhile, you desire to have some balance in your life. Finally, the Bar Association keeps asking you to join.

Your time at the Bar Association is not billable. It is not guaranteed to lead to a better job offer or new clients. However, it is one of the most valuable investments you can make in your career. In no specific order, here are my five top reasons for being active in the Colorado Bar Association:

  1. Networking: My favorite part about being an active member of the Bar is networking. I used to think networking meant meeting people and figuring out how they could help me in my professional career. While that is still part of networking, I have embraced a larger definition that includes finding ways to spend time with amazing people and, sometimes, improve our society along the way.
  2. Opportunities: Many of my relationships that were started at the Colorado Bar Association offices have led to opportunities. These opportunities have often been unpaid, such as serving on a committee, writing an article, or teaching a seminar. In addition to aiding in my education and professional development, these opportunities have been incredibly enjoyable.
  3. Resources: Because I have served in many roles at the Bar Association, I now know attorneys who are experts in diverse areas of practice who return my phone calls willingly. When I don’t know who to call, the Bar Association will provide me with names of experts who are likely to be willing to discuss a novel legal issue with me.
  4. Legislative Collaboration: I spend time with smart, caring people working on important issues that affect all Coloradans. The attorneys who serve on the various Bar committees check their personal politics at the door and work hard to obtain results that provide real benefits to Colorado.
  5. Continuing Education: I started attending Bankruptcy Subsection meetings because I learned a lot at the case law updates, without much effort. I also met a lot of people who were also interested in bankruptcy. I continue to learn from case law updates, meetings, and sponsored lectures. Learning in a social, interactive setting is more enjoyable and more interesting than reading cases in my office.
  6. A Bonus—Sense of Satisfaction and Fulfillment: When I reflect upon my experiences as a lawyer, many of the most fulfilling happened at Bar Association functions. Practicing law is hard, but it can also be satisfying. For me, the Bar Association is a place to reach beyond the day to day practice and engage in the greater legal community.

I highly recommend taking the time to attend Bar functions and find your own niche in the Colorado Bar Association. There is room for all of us.

If you would like to join the CBA or the Business Law Section, you can send an email to membership@cobar.org or go to http://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/767/dpmem/Membership-Applications/.
You can also contact Jill Lafrenz to become more involved in the Section.

DEANNA L. WESTFALL is the Managing Attorney for the bankruptcy department in the Colorado office of Castle Stawiarski, LLC.  Ms. Westfall is Chair of the Business Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association.  In addition, she is Chair of the Bankruptcy Section of the USFN. Ms. Westfall is a member of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations.  She is a frequent speaker on bankruptcy and creditors’ rights for CLE Colorado and other organizations. Additionally, she serves as a board member of CLE Colorado.

The opinions and views expressed by Featured Bloggers on CBA-CLE Legal Connection do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of the Colorado Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, or CBA-CLE, and should not be construed as such.

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