My President’s Column for the March issue of NWLawyer asks you to sit back a moment and think about what benefits you would like the WSBA to provide. Imagine for a minute if you owned this Bar. What benefits would you like to offer and receive? Obviously none of us own the Bar, but we are all members and we all have a voice in the way the Bar is run and a voice in what benefits we believe to be most beneficial. So this is your chance. I invite you to have this conversation with me and tell me what programs need to be created, advanced or grown.
In the article, I provided a couple of starter “what ifs.” I raised the possibility of creating two new sets of benefits: the first to change the lawyer directory, and the second to change the way we offer pro bono services. Here is what I said:
What if WSBA was able to retool its lawyer directory to serve a greater purpose? Imagine typing in your name and seeing your page; a page where you could add content or link to another page where you could add content. What if you could highlight your accomplishments, your articles, your blog, your website, your appellate decisions, your philosophy, your mission, your education, your firm information, your picture, your social media connections and whatever else would be of value to people trying to find you and to find out about you?
If the Lawyer Directory had more, or linked to more information about you, then everyone else could find you and see what you bring to the table. We could all find you, talk to you, share ideas, refer clients or just check you out. If potential clients could find you with greater ease, what would that mean for your business? And what if it improved your visibility in a Google search? What would that be worth?
What if there was a way to make pro bono feasible for all lawyers and truly accessible to all those in need? What if citizens could get answers to their questions online? If there was a site that invited questions from citizens on any and all legal matters for you to answer, it might serve a number of necessary purposes. First, as a profession, we could provide citizens free answers from a body of 36,000 lawyers, and free access and free resources on any and all legal topics. Second, we could create opportunities for lawyers to be seen, to exhibit their expertise, and to actively participate in pro bono work that only required a few minutes’ effort. Everyone wins. Everyone benefits. That’s the power of unity.
So, I am listening. If you were writing “what ifs” today, what would be on your list? Please add your thoughts and ideas in the comments.