By Oyango A. Snell
CEO and Executive Director
Volunteers are the backbone of professional membership associations and nonprofit organizations. The California Lawyers Association (CLA) would not be the premier statewide voluntary bar association without its dedicated, passionate volunteers. However, some members have shared with us that they don’t know where to begin when it comes to getting involved and engaged in volunteer opportunities with CLA. Here are five easy ways to ramp up your engagement, increase your visibility, and build long-lasting relationships with legal professionals across the State of California.
Activate Your Section Membership and Get Involved
CLA is home to 18 Sections, including Solo and Small Firms, Law Practice Management and Technology, New Lawyers, and 15 substantive legal practice areas. Many of our CLA Sections are engaged in pro bono projects and community engagement and outreach initiatives. Additionally, leadership opportunities to serve on a Section’s Executive Committee open annually. Activate your section membership by getting involved in Section activities, educational course offerings, networking and relationship building, and professional development opportunities.
Volunteer on a CLA Committee
CLA has over a dozen committees that work to advance the mission and work of the association. Aside from our traditional Committees like Governance, Audit, Ethics, Budget and Finance, and Governmental Affairs, members can increase their engagement with the Health and Wellness Committee, which aims to develop programming and procure resources to promote attorney health and well-being; the Membership Engagement Committee, which works to enhance service and communications with CLA’s members regarding a spectrum of practice areas that don’t fit neatly in a particular section (i.e., cannabis, Indian Law, health care, etc.); the Diversity Outreach Advisory Committee, which works to advance the association’s and the California Lawyers Foundation pathway projects to diversify the legal profession; or the Civics Engagement and Outreach, which aims to connect lawyers and other legal professionals to volunteer opportunities that promote civics education, including programs that highlight the legal profession and the role of the courts. In fact, civic engagement volunteers are needed right now to visit kindergarten through high school classes (virtually). See Opportunities to get involved here.
You are just a click away from ramping up your engagement. Please click on the following link to learn more about CLA’s committees https://calawyers.org/cla/committees/ or contact Brianna Hollingsworth (email@example.com) or Lauren Oakley (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Turn Your Voice into Advocacy
One of CLA’s greatest opportunities lies in its ability to serve as the voice of the California legal community and advocate for causes that advance our mission: Promoting excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. While CLA has consistently advocated on behalf of the legal profession, your voice and expertise on policy issues that impact the profession are welcome.
You can ramp up your engagement by joining CLA’s Amicus Committee, which reviews applications to file or participate in an amicus brief, and potentially write an amicus brief. You can lend your voice and expertise to address policy issues contemplated by the California Legislature, State Bar of California, the Judiciary, and U.S. Congress. No matter your craving for change through the development and implementation of policies, CLA has a place for you!
Please contact Saul Bercovitch (email@example.com) to learn more about CLA’s advocacy opportunities.
Leverage Your Expertise by Speaking and Writing
CLA continues to search for speakers to facilitate live and on-demand webinars and workshops, in addition to meetings and events at our premier conferences. As a proud provider of continuing legal education, we customize our programs to our members specialized areas of practice covering the most relevant topics and all of the MCLE subcategories (Legal Ethics, Competency Issues, and Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society). Leverage your expertise to speak and facilitate a live or on-demand webinar or participate at one of our premier conferences.
You can also write articles that are featured in CLA or any of its 18 Section publications. Share your legal knowledge and expand your network. Leveraging your expertise also helps to increase your visibility regarding your practice area. You will gain access to legal professionals across the State of California, make connections, and exchange industry insights.
Contact Tricia Horan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about opportunities to speak and facilitate a live or on-demand webinar or workshop.
Enhance Your Pro Bono Opportunities
Volunteers are needed to join California’s Free Legal Answers platform, a virtual legal advice clinic that was designed to answer questions from low-income Californians on a variety of employment, housing and family issues caused by COVID-19 and wildfires. Free Legal Answers California provides lawyers with an opportunity to do brief pro bono at a time that works for their schedule – before breakfast, when the baby is falling asleep, during a break between meetings, or on the weekend. We provide training, expert oversight and malpractice insurance, so you make a real difference. We are actively recruiting volunteers to staff the Wildfire Disaster Hotline, calling back clients who leave messages asking for legal advice during one of the most difficult and tumultuous times in their lives.
Click on the following link to learn more information about pro bono opportunities with Free Legal Answers and the Wildfire Disaster Hotline https://calawyers.org/cla/volunteer-opportunities/ or contact Lauren Oakley (email@example.com).