Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 30, 2015

Are you the missing piece of the CBA puzzle?

Raising The Bar

Lynda Minks Hood

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s all about who you know?” With tightening budgets and stagnant job availabilities, key relationships are becoming more and more important to professional success. Bar Associations are usually the first place people turn to when seeking a lawyer.

For example, here’s a common statement from some of our callers: “I want to hire a certain attorney. Is he or she a member of the Chattanooga Bar Association?” What a powerful question! It’s interesting, but true, that the public gauges attorneys based on their professional association affiliations.

Being an active member in the Chattanooga Bar Association can be valuable both personally and professionally. In fact, annual membership dues will probably be the safest investment you make in yourself and career. You have the opportunity to establish relationships and share your skills and knowledge, which one day might pay off as a referral. 

Your Bar Association is a place to ...

Network: It’s a great place to get to know people and be known. Through our social events, we offer opportunities for camaraderie with your fellow practitioners. Some of our social events we provide are: robing ceremonies for new judges; portrait unveilings for retiring judges; an annual golf tournament, an annual Law Day celebration, an annual meeting; and an annual Memorial Service for attorneys who passed during the previous year.

Find professional development: We offer low-cost continuing legal education seminars on many topics. Last year, we offered over 22 seminars that provided the opportunity for over 60 hours of professional hours – all at a discounted member price.

Give back and have an impact in the legal community: This could range from responding as an association to legislation, to making comments about proposed changes in the rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court, to being the voice on judicial bar polls. We are the collective voice of the legal community, and no one serves Chattanooga attorneys better than the Chattanooga Bar Association!

Other ways to be involved in your association is to volunteer for the Annual High School Mock Trial Competition, or help the young lawyers division with its CASA project.

We always need committee members to serve as panel members in fee dispute arbitrations, or assist the attorneys-in-crisis committee with the distribution of their client files due to requests from the Board of Professional Responsibility.

If you’re a young attorney and would like a mentor, our mentor program is made up of our past presidents, and they are willing to help. There are even some older members who are willing to sponsor a new attorney by paying half of their dues for 2015.

As a member, you also have the opportunity to join the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) of the CBA. Through the LRS, we connect consumers to local attorneys in a straightforward and friendly manner. Some of the comments I’ve received from participating attorneys are: “LRS (or CLIPS, as it was previously known) has provided the extra income to pay private high school tuitions for my children.”

Another attorney said the LRS helped to boost their income well into six figures. And several have said it’s an excellent way to obtain potential clients to grow their practice.

As you can see, we are an active and strong association! So, will you help us complete the CBA Puzzle? If you know an attorney who’s not a member, ask them to join! The cost of a membership is minimal but the benefits are many!