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Communities Debuts; Join Us

By Jeffery Leon

July 7, 2017

D.C. Bar Communities taxation event

D.C. Bar Communities has launched. Debuting July 1, members can take part in a new experience offering benefits in fostering career and professional development, promoting community and connections, and engaging events and content. Thanks to Communities, the ways members can participate has grown exponentially. Now, members can take part and make a positive impact, without overloading their schedules.

“We’re a community, and we’re only as good as all of our members,” says Catherine Bertram, a member of the D.C. Bar Communities Committee. “There’s a saying: ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ We’re each a boat and we’ve got to rise together.”

In the push to re-envision Sections, a prominent goal was to make the experience more efficient and flexible for members, allowing them to focus on their interests and expertise without being bogged down by administrative overhead.

“We’re allowing lawyers to do what they do best, which is focusing on programming,” Bertram says. “In the background, you have wonderful D.C. Bar staff, with their experience and resources, to help them do it better.”

Communities provides a rewarding experience for volunteers at every level of involvement, and it won’t be hard for members to find a role within their community that best suits them. Communities volunteers can assist in creating and presenting programming, write for their communities, organize social events and networking opportunities, work on producing and editing the District of Columbia Practice Manual, identify special speakers and groups for community events, and more. Another goal of Communities is to ensure programs are balanced.

“We need volunteers to identify others who provide different and varied perspectives to help make the programming the best it can be,” Bertram says.

Communities Committee member Edgar Ndjatou believes that volunteers are the greatest asset, and the structural changes Communities introduces will allow them to flourish.

“Attorneys crave meeting other attorneys, and we’ve built in more time and opportunities for attorneys to network and collaborate. I look forward to seeing how Communities grows,” Ndjatou says.

Bertram expresses a similar mindset in discussing the major benefits of taking an active role in Communities.

“As lawyers, we’re very busy. We have different sections of our lives: Our home responsibilities, our work responsibilities, and community responsibilities . . . but they’re not little silos, they all interact, and participating and volunteering at the Bar is benefiting all three of your main silos,” Bertram says. “You’re helping D.C. and the greater community, you’re becoming a better lawyer both personally and for the entity you work for, and you’re also giving back to the community. It’s good karma and paying it forward, and we all have that responsibility. Most importantly, you’re going to love it.”