Elevating Your Voluntary Bar Association to the Next Level: How to Hire, Fund, and Maintain Professional Bar Staff (06/21/22)

Most bar associations begin as a collective of lawyers who coalesce out of a shared interest or common sense of identity. The work of these associations is done by the lawyer members as volunteers. Working together is a wonderful way to create camaraderie, forge bonds, and build professional and personal friendships that can last lifetimes. But sooner or later, as the members who run it (and thereby do most of the volunteer work) get busier with their practices, struggle with work/life/wellbeing balance, and desire to see their bar association grow – in terms of size, impact, and influence – there comes a realization that in order to attain the next level of growth, the bar association needs staff. 

Some bar associations initially choose to begin by hiring an administrative staff person, part-time or full-time, to handle duties that may range from responding to emails, to maintaining membership rolls, to filing, to organizing meetings or social events, and helping to coordinate CLE programs. But sooner or later, many bar associations find that they need more than that. They need professional bar association staff.

Join us as we:
• Discuss how small, voluntary bar associations can fund the hiring of an Executive Director and then maintain that funding; 
• Explore what small bar associations should consider as they draft the job description(s) for their new staff, and what are reasonable expectations from professional bar association staff; and,
• Consider the appropriate division of duties and responsibilities between the bar association’s board and its staff, including some of the potential challenges and tensions that can arise as an organization begins to make the transition from an all-volunteer-run working board to a hybrid organization with a working/governing board, and, eventually to a governing board with a professional staff that runs operations.

Come prepared with questions for a very candid conversation about who, what, where, when, why, and how to fund, hire, and benefit from the services of professional staff for your bar association.

Yang Chen, Executive Director, Asian American Bar Association of New York
E. Lynn Grayson, 2021-2022 CBA President & Partner, Nijman & Franzetti 

No MCLE Credit

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