A few weeks ago, I was attending the Fall conference for the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML), of which I am a Fellow. Buenos Aires is an exciting city, and between the very engaging CLE and meeting matrimonial lawyers from around the world, it was a great experience.
I am a 1982 graduate of Cardozo, and my career and development as a person and professional has been enhanced by my participation with various bar associations and professional organizations. I am a member of the American, New York and Connecticut Bar Associations (family law sections), and in addition to the IAML, I am a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (and I serve as Treasurer and a member of the Board of Managers of the Connecticut Chapter).
Through my involvement with the above referenced professional groups I have been well-travelled. I have been to Canada, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Canada, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and numerous other places. While the travel would be enough of an inducement for some people to join, for me the travel has just been an additional benefit. The payoff for me has been the people I have met and the opportunities I have had within these organizations.
In terms of the people, I have made long lasting relationships that but for my participation with these organizations would not have happened. I now have friends and colleagues throughout the United States and the world that have added value to me as a person and as a lawyer. While the thought of spending time with lawyers more than you have to may not seem like the best idea, you would be surprised how different they can be when they are not working.
Most of these organizations are very welcoming. They look for people who want to make a difference and do something. For two of the organizations, I have created a Committee for Public Service and Education and produced informational videos on the divorce process which have helped countless individuals. I have developed leadership and other skills as a result of my involvement.
The other component about being involved with Bar and professional organizations is answering the call to enhance the practice of law and to help the public. While our profession is not easy, and has become more difficult over the years, we are still lucky that we are able to do this work and for the most part live better than a substantial part of the world. We need to give back and involvement like I have described above is one way to do it.
When I look back at my career someday, I will forever be grateful for the time I have spent away from the office in some far and some close locations with fellow lawyers. If not for yourself, participate for the next generation of lawyers and for the public that we are meant to serve.