Looking for another reason to volunteer?
Here’s one: the top lawyers in the state – those you’d love to work for – are paying attention to who’s doing it.
Like Ronald Gibson of Charlotte, the President of the State Bar. In his column in the Spring 2015 issue of the Bar Journal, he doesn’t tell war stories. He doesn’t talk about himself or his own considerable accomplishments.
What he does is praise North Carolina lawyers who volunteer their time and talents:
“When I think of how so many lawyers volunteer in our profession and in our communities across the state, I am reminded of the quote by former NFL coach Bum Phillips, referring to Heisman Trophy winner and Hall of Fame player Earl Campbell: ‘I don’t know if he’s in a class by himself, but I do know that when that class gets together, it sure don’t take long to call the roll.’
Paying It Forward
For lawyers, Gibson says “paying it forward” is not just a catchy slogan. It’s a core value.
“This dedication to serve outside of the office … exists throughout our profession. Lawyers volunteer their time in many ways, both for our profession and for our communities. Lawyers volunteer within our profession as State Bar councilors and on numerous statewide boards and committees. Lawyers volunteer within district bars, including serving on local grievance committees and as trustees to close practices of lawyers who become disabled or die without a transition plan. A long article could be written about the pro bono legal services provided by lawyers in any location around the state. The North Carolina Bar Association has volunteer service engrained in its culture. The list of NCBA volunteer programs and initiatives over the years would fill many pages.”
“In our communities, lawyers serve on every imaginable board and committee. We help raise money, we coach kids’ athletic teams, and we adopt schools and mentor kids at all levels. Look closely at any local community activity and you will find that lawyers are almost always involved, frequently in leadership roles. I can look within my own small firm and see the roles my partners play in their churches, with the Boy Scouts, with the Salvation Army, with the Optimist Club sponsoring youth football and cheerleading, and with Habitat for Humanity.”
What’s Good For Others Is Good For You
Lest you think volunteering is all about career enhancement, consider these other proven benefits:
- It connects you to others.
- It teaches communication skills.
- It builds self-confidence.
- It improves physical fitness.
- It opens personal and professional doors you might not even know were there.
- It’s fun.
“If you are not experiencing the personal satisfaction of getting out of the office and volunteering in some capacity, consider joining the ranks of the thousands of lawyers across the state who volunteer,” writes Gibson. “Our profession and our communities need you.”
- N.C. State Bar Journal http://www.ncbar.com/journal/archive/journal_20,1.pdf
- HelpGuide http://www.helpguide.org/articles/work-career/volunteering-and-its surprising-benefits.htm
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney who has practiced North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org