President's Message: Get involved – it’s good for your practice, and for society
Thursday, March 21, 2019
By Eric Nord
The legal profession is fundamental to the operation of our society. Whether it is in our immediate communities, or at the state or national levels, attorneys provide the guidance and expertise upon which our system is based. Attorneys are fundamental to the creation of laws, the interpretation of laws, and the enforcement of laws. We form and advise the entities that are the economic engine of our country. When there is an issue of national, or even international, importance, attorneys are consulted to provide expertise and guidance.
When I meet with leaders from other bar associations, I am always proud to inform them that the attorneys within our Bar are extremely involved in civic activities, pro bono matters, and volunteering, generally, for the benefit of our society. It is one of the hallmarks of our Bar that we share our expertise willingly for the benefit of our communities whether we are paid for it or not.
Expertise comes from both education and experience. The State Bar of Montana provides opportunities for both to its membership. One of the best ways to gain both knowledge and experience is involvement in specific sections and committees of the Bar. Whether one is interested in business law, Indian law, nonprofit law, judicial relations, ethics, or federal practice, there are specific organizations within the Bar where participation can enhance a member’s expertise, skills, and relationships. In these sections and committees, members share information with each other and create networking relationships that are beneficial to all.
Beyond just the benefits to their members, bar sections and committees provide benefits to the wider Bar community. Sections often put on continuing legal education seminars to all Bar members. These seminars provide a platform for members to share expertise and promote their skills. As recognized experts, section members can be a great resource to those attorneys who are not members of the section, and referrals often get made to the section members since they are recognized as experts in their field.
For the benefit of your own practice as well as other members of the Bar, and the general public, consider membership in either a Bar section or committee. Also, consider promoting the legal profession through presentations or written articles on legal topics to the general public as well as involvement in Law Day on May 1.
President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958 to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. In 1961, Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day, which is subsequently codified (U.S. Code, Title 36, Section 113). Every president since then has issued a Law Day proclamation on May 1 to celebrate the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. This year, Law Day offers the opportunity to explore free speech and free press through the theme of Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society. This theme focuses on these cornerstones of representative government and calls on us to understand and protect these rights to ensure, as the U.S. Constitution proposes, “the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.”
Your involvement in the Bar and the promotion of the rule of law is fundamental to our society. Thank you for your continued involvement in all aspects of the Bar and our judicial system.
Eric Nord is a partner at Crist, Krogh and Nord in Billings.