Professional associations like the American Bar Association are seeing memberships drop in recent years. I believe that one of the reasons is that students do not see the value. Combine this with the increasing debt load that students carry after school, and students are less likely to see the need for an association-particularly in a day where one can find instructions on almost anything online. I believe one of the ways to combat this problem is to invite the students to get involved while they are in school. Hear my thoughts in today’s video:
Last fall, I and several other students were able to attend an e-discovery conference thanks to the generosity of the Detroit Chapter of ACEDS who made it affordable for students. The membership made us feel so welcome and I believe we all left with a positive view of the benefits of joining the organization. For many of us, it was a highlight of the semester and helped us to understand the bigger picture of what was being taught in the classroom.
Next month, the Michigan Lean Consortium has invited Michigan State College of Law students to their Lean in Legal workshop. I am looking forward to attending and hope that many of my fellow students will do so as well.
Beyond the knowledge available at these events, the chance to talk with professionals and get their insight and advice is invaluable to students. I believe the groups also benefit because they get a fresh perspective from students who haven’t been jaded or frustrated by roadblocks to progress.
What is frustrating to me is that state bar associations often limit student membership to students going to school in that state. For many students who go to school in a state other than where they will practice, this is a difficult situation. We will be expected to know state rules on the bar exam, but the organization that is most able to provide that information blocks the way. Yet, once admitted to practice, that same organization will want us to join. Why not open membership for all students who believe they will practice in the state?
In the future, I hope to see more groups reaching out to students. I also hope more students will take advantage of these opportunities, but that is a subject or another day.
See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.