Making the Most of City Bar Membership: Ten ‘Hacks’ and Hidden Jewels – Bret I. Parker

Bret I. Parker

Winter 2017 

People join the New York City Bar Association for all sorts of obvious reasons, such as getting involved in a committee, free or discounted attendance at CLE and non-CLE programs, use of the library, networking, pro bono opportunities, and discounts with various vendors and companies. But there are many benefits of membership that are under the radar for people, even though they are highlighted in the weekly eNews, on our website, or through our emails to members. Here are some of my personal favorites:
1 – Bloomberg Terminal in the Library. Use of this business information software and database resource can cost thousands of dollars per user, but members of the City Bar can walk into the library and use it for free.
2 – SoFi Student Loan Refinancing. The City Bar has partnered with SoFi, the largest provider of student loan refinancing. SoFi saves the average attorney $31K, plus City Bar members get a $300 welcome bonus.
3 – Bar@theBar. These bi-monthly casual happy hours feature an open bar and snacks for only $20 per member. It’s hard to beat a deal like that in midtown Manhattan.
4 – Entertainment. The Chamber Music Committee presents one recital per month on a Friday night at 6:30 p.m. (there is a small suggested donation). The Entertainment Committee produces and performs entertainment and cultural events at the Association, including the well-known “Twelfth Night,” an original musical comedy honoring a prominent member of the bench or bar, and a tradition at the City Bar for more than 50 years. The Committee also performs original plays and musicals covering various legal themes, and presents other events such as Gilbert & Sullivan concerts by The Blue Hill Troupe, karaoke nights, and talent nights. Finally, the City Bar Chorus presents numerous events including its 2017 Benefit Concert to be held on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. If you have any musical ability, consider channeling your inner performer by auditioning for these groups. We also provide discounts
for Knicks and Rangers tickets and other events.
5 – Member Directory. This password-protected searchable database is available to members only and is a great way to connect and find people from a particular school, a certain practice area, or on a committee.
6 – Dewey and Stimson Award Ceremonies. Each year, we honor Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Southern District and in the Eastern District of New York (the Henry L. Stimson Medal) and an assistant district attorney in each of the City’s District Attorney’s offices and in the Office of the City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor (the Thomas E. Dewey medal). The awards ceremonies are free and feature inspiring remarks from the recipients and honorary speakers, not to mention a networking reception afterwards where you can chat with federal prosecutors and city DAs.
7 – Lawyer Assistance Program. This is a free, confidential service, available to attorneys, judges, law students, and their family members in New York City, who are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as other addictions and mental health issues. We host lawyer Alcoholics Anonymous meetings every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Gamblers Anonymous meetings on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m.
8 – Free Conference Rooms. City Bar members can get access to conference rooms for meetings or depositions.
9 – Party Space. With our new catering service offering a wider selection of menu options, the New York City Bar Association can be rented for weddings, work receptions, and other personal and professional events. This unique space is the perfect venue for a wide variety of occasions. 
10 – 44th Street eNews. It’s worth getting into the habit of investing a few minutes to look at the 44th Street eNews, sent to your inbox most Mondays, because there’s no better or quicker way to stay up to speed on what’s new and interesting at the City Bar. In the ‘City Bar Speaks’ section are carefully crafted one-paragraph summaries of the latest reports and statements from our committees. The ‘In Case You Missed It’ section features photos and recaps of events from the previous week. ‘Member Moves & News’ shows who is moving to which firms, valuable info for those seeking clients or job leads. You can also see at a glance the events coming up for the week, read summaries of how the City Bar made news the previous week, and find out about the latest member benefits.