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Find the Right Communities for You

By Jeffery Leon

July 12, 2017

D.C. Bar Communities

How does the new D.C. Bar Communities benefit you and your career? One of its most notable features allows Bar members to join three communities at one low price of $79 (a $165 value), providing attorneys more opportunities to explore new practice areas, meet and connect with different practitioners, and take part in engaging content and events. But which community is right for you?

Alexander L. Reid, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and a member of the Communities Committee, says that by joining multiple communities, Bar members can explore different areas of the law they may be interested in, as well as interact with professionals they may not encounter in their day-to-day practice. Networking outside of your legal sphere is valuable, says Reid.

“All of the communities have something to offer, and it’s helpful to get exposure to each of them,” he says. “Your greatest risk as a practitioner are the unknown unknowns . . . How do you know what you don't know unless you expose yourself to areas of the law that you don't practice, and how do you know who to call if you have no connection to that professional network?”

D.C. Bar Communities addresses this concern by allowing for ideas and practices to cross-pollinate. “Say you’re a corporate attorney whose work touches on tax law every once in a while. You can become a member of the Tax Community as a secondary or tertiary community in addition to your main practice area and add depth and dimension to your non-tax practice,” says Reid.

The Communities model also adds value to your current practice, says Reid. “Interested in developing your business or practice? It might help to join a community and get to know different attorneys who can refer clients to you,” he says.

Reid offers the following tips on finding the right communities: 

  • Ask questions! Speak to community chairs and members to find out more about what they offer.
  • Attend community events.
  • If you don’t see what you’re looking for, suggest a potential new practice area community to the Communities Committee.

“I encourage everyone to broaden their horizons,” says Reid. “It’s good for them, good for the D.C. Bar, and good for the D.C. professional legal community. We are one community, so it’s good to get a sense of what your colleagues are doing and strengthen our professional network.”