Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association’s young lawyers committee off to a good start
Young lawyers committees are a great tool for bar associations to attract new and younger members and to help those new members grow their networks and become better attorneys. Sometimes that process starts with a little bit of fun.
The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association celebrated its 100th anniversary this past year. On Wednesday, it will celebrate the one year anniversary of its Young Lawyers Committee.
Created by Michele Mirman after she was installed as president a little more than a year ago, the BWBA’s Young Lawyers Committee is off to a good start even if it was a little slow going at first.
“It has been both really exciting and nerve wracking because it’s new and you don’t know if people really want to participate,” said Natoya McGhie. “It’s been challenging too because sometimes you mention young lawyers and people think, ‘Well I’m not young,’ and they don’t want to come. But it’s really for anyone who is looking to start a network or looking to find a mentor.”
Young lawyers committees are fairly common among bar associations — the Brooklyn Bar Association has one and the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association is working on creating one. They’re often social groups, but they have become essential tools for attracting newer and younger attorneys and molding them into great ones.
“We recently had the paint-and-sip event that turned out to be a lot of fun,” said Justice Edwards. “It was relaxing and fun, but it gives us a chance to invite new people into the group and talk to them about joining. I think we got at least two new members from that event.”
McGhie and Justice Edwards were put in charge of the group, along with Co-chair Hon. Lillilan Wan. None from the group had ever participated in such a committee so it was learn-as-you-go, but according to BWBA President Carrie Anne Cavallo, the group has achieved success because of the hard work it has put into it.
“They’re doing such a great job,” Cavallo said. “They work so hard. There were concerns about how the paint and sip would go because it was in July. There were reservations about whether it would be successful or not because it hasn’t been done before. We not only had a fantastic turnout, but we had new members sign up at the event. These ladies are so zealous about this program and committee that it translates into successful programs that bring in new members.”
The group tries to attract new members by hosting fun events, like the battle of the bar associations trivia contest it entered this year. But it also tries to provide services that will benefit younger attorneys like its speed networking event or its how-to-negotiate-contracts event. It is also working on a mentorship program.
“When I was in law school, the only bar association I even knew about was the New York County Lawyers Association because they had free events for students,” McGhie said. “We try to attract people with stuff they want to come to and also to provide ways to bridge that gap between law school and private practice.”
McGhie said that she felt compelled to help with the group because she was lucky and had great mentors right out of law school and realizes that not everyone is as lucky.
The next year is all about building off the first — coming up with regular events that not only members will want to attend, but ones that will attract new members as well. It also wants to foster a community where people feel comfortable asking each other for help when needed.
BWBA encourages anyone interested in joining its Young Lawyers Committee. tThere is no age limit to attend its membership party on Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at Borough Hall. It also has tentative plans to host a speed networking event on Remsen Street at the Brooklyn Bar Association on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
For more information about these events and the committee, go to www.BrooklynWomensBar.org.
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