Commentary: More than a seat at the table: The power of JBA membership

This organization is only as strong and vibrant as its active members.

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  • | 1:00 a.m. May 2, 2024
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In 2017, I made one of the best decisions of my legal career.

Contrary to what one may think, it had nothing to do with where I went to law school or where I was working at the time. It did not even have anything to do with a big case I was handling at the time or an important hearing coming up.

It was simply reading an email from the Jacksonville Bar Association about a Young Lawyer’s Section judicial breakfast and deciding to attend.

Tim Miller

Before that, I had not attended a single JBA event let alone a luncheon or meeting. As is the case often when we are going to a new place to meet people we have never met the nerves ran a little high and I did not know quite what to expect.

By taking that small chance and attending that breakfast about seven years ago I was lucky enough to meet folks that I am still close with to this day.

This opportunity to cross paths never would have taken place as part of the natural path of the area where I was practicing.

So often in our areas of practice, we see the same folks again and again.

While this can certainly be beneficial and aid in having an effective practice, if we are not careful we can miss out on the tremendous opportunities of forging lifelong friendships with people we otherwise would have never met.

I cannot count the number of times that I have been able to reach out to colleagues that I have met through activity in the JBA and seek guidance for clients or friends in areas of practice that I otherwise would have no connection.

I encourage those of you who might be on the fence about coming to your first JBA event or meeting to take that leap and give the possibilities of what you might experience a chance.

Career, family and endless lists of commitments often seem overwhelming and it sometimes seems insurmountable to fit anything else into what it is going on.

Give it a try. Feel free to reach out to anyone on the JBA board of governors or anyone you know who is involved with our group. We would love to speak with you about the benefits of membership or ways you can enhance your experience if you are already a member.

The body of this organization is only as strong and vibrant as its active members. It is vital that we have participants from all areas of practice, walks of life and divergent ideas.

It is our duty as an organization to ensure that each and every member has an experience that enhances their practice and more importantly their lives.

The practice of law has always been about people and it is vital that we as an organization maximize the difference we can make.

Take that risk, attend your first meeting or get back in the flow of attending any committee meetings or general meetings you might not have been to in a while. Your ideas and your perspective matter.

We often hear about bringing folks to the table and making sure they have a seat. I believe it is vital that we not only offer a seat at the table but allow people to help cook the meal. It is only through this active participation that we can benefit from the abundance of ideas and excellent leadership we have in our legal community.

I hope to see you at an event soon.

Tim Miller is a partner at Harris Guidi Rossner. He practices criminal defense, civil litigation and family law including injunctions for protection.



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