But Why?

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  • | 12:00 p.m. September 7, 2009
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JBA President-Elect Courtney Grimm

I know, I know…You are busy; you work hard; you don’t have time for more meetings or commitments. As a wife, a mother of three girls, a full-time practicing attorney and one with an insane passion for horseback riding, I know what limited time is. But, in addition to those commitments, I make time to be an active member of our Jacksonville Bar Association (JBA). To which I hear many say, “why?”

I joined the JBA as soon as I passed the bar and began practicing in Jacksonville. I did so, because that is what you do — right? I was not only new to Jacksonville, moving here from my hometown of Aiken, S.C., but was new to the legal profession. I did not know one lawyer in town, except the six lawyers I had just met and was about to begin practicing with at the then Bledsoe, Schmidt, Lippes & Adams firm. The firm encouraged membership as well as participation and I followed the recommendation.

What a great recommendation and one that all lawyers should follow. Through the Young Lawyers Section and service on committees, I was able to meet colleagues, develop friendships and get to know the legal community. Due to the excellent bench/bar relations and incredible participation and support of the bar’s judges, I was also fortunate to be able to meet our judges. How else could I have had these opportunities, which helped me start off on the right foot?

Additionally, membership has provided me a means to provide support and service to fellow members and to our community — assisting with CLEs, serving as an intermediary to resolve client/lawyer disputes, volunteering as a mentor, speaking in schools, providing pro bono service, to name a few. In these hectic and demanding times, with the public perception of lawyers disheartening and the professionalism among lawyers threatened, support and service for each other and our community are ever more important. Through bar association work, lawyers have a chance to be seen in positive settings — such as providing assistance during the foreclosure crisis, delivering gifts for senior citizens during the holidays and helping with Special Olympic events — and have the means to keep us connected so that our values of professionalism and duty remain high. As you can see, the opportunities provided through membership are endless and the rewards unquantifiable.

My JBA membership has not only been rewarding but a true enhancement to my practice and even to my personal life. That is why I have, through the years, made membership and participation in the JBA a priority, even when there seemed so little time to fit it in between work, my girls’ homework and extracurricular activities, and my own horse competitions. I wouldn’t go a day without it and neither should you. Whether you are a new attorney, one at the peak of your career, or one retiring from practice, joining and being a part of The Jacksonville Bar Association is the right thing to do. After all, it’s a great day to be a Jacksonville lawyer and even a better day to be a part of the Jacksonville Bar Association.



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