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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Apr. 4, 201902:53 PM EST

From the President: Join us for the Inagural CommUNITY Day

Law organizations to volunteer at Feeding Northeast Florida.
Katie Dearing

By Katie Dearing, JBA President

Are you looking for an easy way to give back to our community and expand your network? If so, we have the event for you. (If not, do it anyway; it’s good for you.)

Members of the Jacksonville Bar Association, D.W. Perkins Bar Association and the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association, along with members of other local voluntary Bar associations, will come together from noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Feeding Northeast Florida for an afternoon of unity and service. 

At the inaugural Unity Day luncheon last year, our associations discussed methods to bridge gaps between groups, strengthen and unite as members of The Florida Bar and encourage cooperation between various local Bar associations.

We will put those plans into action with the first CommUNITY Day at the food bank. 

We know your lives are busy, the demands on your time, and how many options you have for how to spend your precious free time.

It is hard to carve out time for giving back, but doing community service with your colleagues and with the new friends you will make is good for you, and good for your practice.

First, it gives you perspective about your community, which you can bring to your life and practice.

Second, it creates a better work-life balance when your volunteer work isn’t related to law.

With due respect to the immense import of pro bono services, doing volunteer work unrelated to law will feel less like “work” and will give your mind a break. It also helps you meet new people; in this case, people at the nonprofit and members of other Bar associations with whom you are serving. 

Not convinced yet? Community service also is good for business.

How many times has each of us been told, at all varieties of marketing seminars, career development mentorship circles, coffee dates, etc., that the best way to expand your network and bring in clients is to be “out there,” be seen, be someone that people think of when their issue or their need comes up.

By being out in our city, you will develop a sense of how industries function and you will become more familiar with the attitudes and values of our community.

The people that you serve with, and often the people who are the recipients of the service, are your future potential clients. They are sources of business, referrals, resources for information and your friends.

The most active and engaged professionals that I know, lawyers or not, also are the ones who respond to my queries for assistance with “I know a guy who ….” 

How do they always know a guy? Because they are present and engaged; they are out there.

Being involved with the community is an easy and genuine way for you to engage.

This is your chance to give back to this great city and broaden your network at the same time. Together, we can help build unity and fight hunger in our community by assisting in sorting food for distribution to families in need.

According to Feeding Northeast Florida, more than 230,000 people in Northeast Florida struggle to put food on the table, and more than 81,000 of them are children.

The nonprofit works to provide food for those children, families, veterans and seniors so they can focus on building a foundation for a stronger tomorrow and do not have to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries.  

Please join our fellow local Bar associations Saturday in giving back. 

For more information or to sign up, visit or call (904) 399-4486.  

Katie Dearing is a 4th Judicial Circuit judge and president of the Jacksonville Bar Association. 

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