By Jamie Karpman and Leah Goryl
Transactional Law Section co-chairs
You know there is huge value in your Jacksonville Bar Association membership, but are you taking advantage of all that JBA has to offer? Are you helping your peers and colleagues see that benefit too?
It’s a new year, another opportunity to take stock of your personal and professional life. This year is your chance to get more engaged.
By getting involved and getting others involved, you will build your network and reputation, improve the image of our profession in the local community, develop mentors and make friends. Jacksonville is a great place to practice law, and The JBA is a big part of the reason why.
There is a place for you
The association has six substantive sections: Community Outreach, Family and Children, Litigation, Member Services, Practicing with Professionalism and Transactional Law and the Young Lawyers Section for lawyers 35 years old or younger or who have been practicing less than five years.
Each section includes committees catering to all interests and practice areas.
In addition to the expansive substantive programming and content available to members, such as free and discounted live and recorded continuing legal education seminars, JBA offers its members opportunities to provide pro bono service and participate in community service and charity fundraisers, mentoring for young lawyers, a lawyer referral service, professionalism resources and more.
The organization also wants its members to have fun. There are opportunities for members to gather with other attorneys and judges informally through participation in The JBA Sports League, at the annual Bench & Bar Holiday Party, section happy hours and many other social and community events.
How to get involved
Whether you are a law student, new lawyer, young lawyer or seasoned lawyer, it is easy to get involved with JBA.
The first step is, of course, to join. Next, get to know the organization. Read the e-newsletters and the Bar Bulletin in the Daily Record, check out jaxbar.org, join committees on your profile page and attend the monthly luncheons and other events. It may seem overwhelming at first because JBA offers so much, but select one or two events or committees that interest you and just attend.
Introduce yourself and get to know the other members. Ask questions. Start developing personal and professional relationships and you will begin to see value immediately.
Want to really get engaged? Be a future leader? Speak up and volunteer. Donate your time and energy. There are many opportunities, but JBA leaders, including committee chairs and vice chairs, need to know that you are willing and able to help.
You can take on a small role, such as buying a gift for a low-income senior as part of the Holiday Project, or a large role like volunteering to serve as a committee chair. Plan a lunch-and-learn CLE for a substantive committee, serve on a committee for a charity fundraiser with the Young Lawyers Section, or volunteer for a community service or pro bono project. There is no shortage of opportunities.
How to help others get involved
If you are part of JBA leadership, be on the lookout for members seeking to be more engaged in the new year. If someone volunteers, find an opportunity for that person to help. Do not miss an opportunity to develop future JBA leaders.
All members can help spread the word. Tell others about the events you attend and the committees in which you are involved. Share this wealth of opportunities with your colleagues and friends.
Many events are open to nonmembers, so check the event calendar on The JBA website. Encouraging others to get involved will help you get more out of your membership by building connections, and it improves the depth and breadth of offerings JBA is able to provide to all of its members and our community. New faces and ideas are welcome at JBA. Maybe a close colleague has been involved in another professional organization for years and has a great idea of how the interests of its members and JBA intersect, leading to a cross-organizational event where members of both organizations can learn and network with each other. There are lots of opportunities to take advantage of your JBA membership in 2018.
Leah Goryl works as leasing counsel for Regency Centers focusing on retail leasing and related transactional matters.
Jamie Karpman is an attorney whose practice focuses on real estate, housing, and government.