As you may be aware, a new DBA initiative is dedicated to growing the Young Lawyer Divisions of the DBA and CBA by 15% before July 1, 2015.
Members of the initiative, known as “15 x 15,” have worked tirelessly to develop and to market programs to meet that goal. Among those programs is a focus and development group known as the “Group of 33.” That group of members and non-members that formed in the early fall has helped to develop marketing materials (known as “iBelong”), formed the core of a telephone bank to call each new member of the bar to welcome them to the Denver brother and sisterhood of practicing lawyers, and helped the Board of Trustees to focus our resources to meet our membership goals and to make the bar more relevant to young and old alike.
Other programs are now being implemented. Last month, this article focused on the Bar Ambassador program, which kicked off Nov. 13, to identify members of the legal community to serve as Bar Ambassadors in each law firm in town and who will take responsibility for mentoring young lawyers within their firm about the value of membership in the bar—for example, leadership opportunities, networking, CLE, Casemaker (free legal research tool), Stratum (free office and meeting space for lawyers in the Bar offices, mentors, affiliation with others in your practice area, etc.). These ambassadors will recruit new members, and generally be responsible for communicating bar news to members of their firm.
We at the DBA believe that the Bar Ambassador program will materially improve our ability to communicate with members and non-members about the advantages of bar membership.
Another important part of the 15 x 15 initiative was a reception at the recent swearing-in ceremony for out-of-state admittees. While CU and DU have always hosted wonderful receptions for graduates following their swearing-in, graduates from out-of-state law firms have been overlooked. They simply had no place to take their families to help share their pride of accomplishment. 15 x 15 addressed the problem. This year’s out-of-state graduates who had just joined the Colorado Bar Association met at a restaurant near Boettcher Hall to celebrate an important event in their lives. And the DBA and CBA were there to make it happen.
Back to the party at Union Station. On November 13, 15 x 15 and the DBA and CBA hosted an incredible party. Promoted as “Come Belong to the Bar,” we booked the Gallery Space in Union Station and hosted well over 240 lawyers for a cocktail reception that sold out in advance of the night’s activities—even with outside temperatures near zero. Sold Out! That is, we actually had to turn away members and non-members who wanted to join in on the fun. According to Chuck Turner, the retiring Executive Director of the CBA/DBA who has presided over the bar associations for 34 years (including lots of parties), it was the most well-attended reception in the history of the bar—a bar that dates to 1890.
More than 150 members under 40 years old were among the 240-plus attendees. As I wandered through the party, I heard many voices saying a variation of the same thing: “I didn’t know the bar was this much fun!” Really? Why now? The answer is that the bar is highly relevant again. And we are fun. We are focused on the needs of younger members, including law students.
More than that, we are about developing personal relationships. Come join the bar and we will introduce you to 9,000 members in the Denver legal community—9,000 people who will mentor you, support you, hire you and help your career be as meaningful as you have dreamed. That is what we are about.
But you have to make the next move. Join our ranks. Participate in our activities. Become a leader—maybe even the President. After all, the most important criteria is a desire to serve and an expression of interest.
Come Belong to the Bar. Tell your friends “iBelong.” Our parties are the best!
By John M. Vaught
President, Denver Bar Association