The New Lawyers Council – Carey R. Dunne

 Carey Dunne

President’s Column, February 2014

This is the time of year when we invite our members to apply to serve on one of our 150 committees. It’s through the work of our committees that the New York City Bar Association makes its voice heard through reports and statements, and is able to produce hundreds of events per year. For our members, committee service is vital for gaining experience, learning about substantive legal issues, building a resume and developing relationships with colleagues.

With 24,000 members in the City Bar, and with committee rosters generally limited to 39 people, the math says that not all members can serve on a committee at the same time. But if members are persistent and apply to more than one committee (understanding that some committees are in greater demand than others), they are likely to find a spot on a committee before too long.

There’s a perception among some that committee service is reserved for the most senior members of the profession. This is definitely not true. While many committees are weighted toward more experienced lawyers who possess the know-how to guide the drafting of reports and the planning of events, we encourage newer lawyers, and law students, to apply to any committee. In fact, we can think of no better way than committee service to help new lawyers advance their careers, and no better way to ensure that the City Bar remains a place where new lawyers want to be.

For these reasons, we are pleased to announce the New Lawyers Council, an initiative designed to increase committee opportunities for our members who have been practicing for less than ten years. The New Lawyers Council will be made up of four committees, each with room for 39 members and a chair.

The Public Service Committee will develop new programs to provide service to the public.  We envision that these activities would include community education on legal issues as well as non-legal activities such as clothing drives or other public-spirited projects.

The Social Events and Networking Committee will develop networking opportunities and social events for newer lawyers in the Association. It’s anticipated that they will work closely with our Membership Department, which produces “Lawyers Connect First Thursdays” and other events to appeal to newer lawyers.

The New Lawyer Practice and Skills Committee will focus on professional development materials and programming tailored to junior associates and their in-house and nonprofit counterparts. This committee will also help develop mentoring programs.

And the National Moot Court Competition Committee will continue the work of managing the highly-regarded annual competition among law schools. Over 190 law-school teams from 15 regions participated in the most recent competition, leading to the final rounds held at the City Bar.

Each committee will meet regularly throughout the year, and the Council will meet two to three times per year.

While service on the New Lawyers Council would not be a requirement for selection to other committees, experience on the Council will certainly be excellent preparation for further committee service. We look forward to welcoming the first members of the New Lawyers Council, and to their contributions in shaping the City Bar for years to come.