From the President: Size does matter: Being good at being small

Gathering for a common purpose, in a smaller context, is key to reaping the most value from your membership.

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  • | 1:20 a.m. December 7, 2023
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Blane McCarthy

In August, the Jacksonville Bar Association held its annual committee leadership orientation. I was encouraged to have more than 40 lawyers and judges attend the meeting and agree to serve. 

My remarks to the group emphasized this year’s theme that the JBA builds community so you can better enjoy being a lawyer. I also drew a parallel to my personal experience as the director of adult ministries at San Jose Baptist Church.

In contrast with the JBA, our church has only a few hundred members. Yet, both organizations prudently emphasize small groups.

As fellow JBA Governor Amber Donley wrote in last month’s Bar Bulletin, the small group experience at a committee meeting differs vastly from the large group experience at our membership luncheons. 

Both events are important, and both contribute to community. Yet, one can more easily feel unknown and detached in the larger luncheon setting.

To help reduce this phenomenon, I challenge attendees to sit at tables with less familiar faces and meet at least two fellow members. This simple intentionality should make our luncheons more enjoyable for all.

I believe that the strength and vitality of this great organization is established at the committee level. Whether based on areas of practice, service projects or other commonalities, the JBA’s 27 standing committees are numerous and varied.

Thinking back to the meeting in August, I was impressed with the energy and readiness of the committee leadership team. The group showed great promise.

Indeed it has delivered. By the time this article is published, there will have been nearly 50 committee events, and that during the traditionally slower first half of the Bar’s fiscal year.

Participating in JBA committees will give you the best opportunity to meaningfully connect with people. Gathering for a common purpose, in a smaller context, is key to reaping the most value from your membership.

I thank our volunteer leadership team for helping the JBA be good at being small. Size does matter.

Blane McCarthy is a certified circuit mediator at Miles Mediation & Arbitration in Jacksonville.



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