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Networking and plunging into the deep

Polar Bear PlungeThe opportunity to network with other lawyers and jurists can come up in the most random of situations. Obviously, there are networking events, such as happy hours. There are some events, however, that are not designed to be networking events but, because of the activity, automatically builds a sense of camaraderie.

The Maryland State Bar Association has a number of these type of events, such as volunteering at Habitat for Humanity with the Public Awareness Committee or providing pro bono service through Wills for Heroes with the Young Lawyers Section. And every year around this time, the MSBA organizes a team for the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Maryland.

This annual tradition of plunging into the chilly waters off of Sandy Point State Park as part of a team may not seem like a networking event (usually people call it “crazy” or “ridiculous”). But after you have spent 8-to-15 seconds in the Chesapeake in late January with 20 to 25 other attorneys, it is a bonding experience. And this bonding experience is a networking opportunity.

The MSBA Young Lawyers Section and Public Awareness Committee has organized a plunge team for the past few years, providing an opportunity to meet and network with other lawyers, albeit in a very non-traditional way.

This year, the MSBA executive board will be participating in the event, which includes President John Kudel and Executive Director Paul Carlin. We will have a judge on our team, as well as a couple of state’s attorneys and a state delegate.

So if you are willing to brave a few seconds of discomfort, this is a great opportunity to meet others in our profession. If not, you can just come for the tailgate. To join the team or contribute in some way, check out this link.

For those of you that can’t make it (or don’t want to subject yourself to the plunge), remember that networking opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. As attorneys, it is helpful to meet other attorneys, judges and people in the legal community. You never know if that person will be co-counsel on a matter, opposing counsel on a case, or the judge that will be hearing your motion.

(Photo: Special Olympics Maryland)