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Spare some time outside of the office

I attended the Baltimore County Bar Association’s Bowling Bash at Hillendale Bowling Center over the weekend. The event featured duckpin bowling, beer and food. Participants included judges, assistant state’s attorneys, lawyers in private practice, court reporters and family and friends of the legal community. Laughter and excited shouts echoed throughout the lanes;  it was a welcome diversion from the daily legal grind for most of us.

My firm encourages its associates to join committees and associations and to take on leadership roles in local and state bar associations. We are encouraged to attend the events put on by the bar associations — for instance, we had 18 lawyers and family members signed up to bowl.

But, as a young lawyer, I often struggle with striking the balance between a busy practice and all of the “extracurriculars.” There never seems to be enough time to do everything.

I still am not clear on how to “do it all,” but there have been no regrets thus far when I’ve put the red well aside for a bit to attend a bar association meeting or event. I have never left an event, meeting or presentation wishing I hadn’t attended and stayed at the office instead. There is something that goes on when we connect with our colleagues outside of the court room that is incredibly refreshing.

Plus, I’ve noticed (and experienced first-hand) that attorneys who know each other on a personal level from bar association interactions tend to be more civil and willing to work out their differences when they are opponents in court.

So, my humble advice is to get involved. Set aside time to join a committee or section of a bar association. Attend both substantive events and the just-for-fun events. Participate in the volunteer opportunities hosted by the bar associations.  The balance is important, and you never know when the connections you make at a bar association event are going to be advantageous.

(Photo by Sam Holden/Urbanite)