Help Wanted: Bar News Celebrates the Volunteers Who Power the Bar

Cover of Bar News April-May 2023

Every year, we at the state Bar put our heads together to think up new ways to spread the word about volunteering. Particularly in recent years, we have experienced both sides of what WSBA Executive Director Terra Nevitt calls the “volunteerism tug-of-war.”

“Volunteers are the backbone of our work, and they, by and large, express satisfaction from their ability to shape and guide the profession through their work with the WSBA,” Nevitt writes in the new issue of Washington State Bar News, noting that a AmeriCorps/U.S. Census survey reveals how formal volunteerism with organizations dropped 7 percentage points from 2019 to 2021. “Simultaneously, engaging new volunteers and filling our many volunteer roles has become a heavier lift in recent years.”

As evidence of this tug-of-war, the newest issue of Bar News is replete with information about unfilled volunteer opportunities, but also words of encouragement from the many, many volunteers who collectively drive the foundational work of the WSBA and Washington’s legal profession as a whole.

“The volunteer work can illuminate one’s ‘day job’ and provide a way to channel energy and skill for real change,” writes Robert C. Boruchowitz, director of the Seattle University School of Law Defender Initiative, who for four decades has volunteered with state, local, and national committees related to public defense.

This issue of Bar News is packed with similar sentiments from other WSBA volunteers, as well as extensive resources to help you decide which opportunity is right for you. WSBA Volunteer Engagement Advisor Paris A. Eriksen details the different ways to volunteer with committees, boards, and councils, and explains how to learn more and get started with WSBA volunteering.

Though the need for volunteers is high, fortunately it has never been easier to contribute without even leaving home; Allison R. Foreman outlines the abundance of remote opportunities for those who want to reap the benefits of volunteering without the hassle of long commutes and traffic.

If you want to learn more from people who live the life of a WSBA volunteer, read these Q&As with volunteers from around the state representing a wide range of practice areas. Still want more? Then see what roles are available by looking over 24 ways to give back.

And, as always, this issue features the regular offering of opinions, news, and resources for Washington’s legal community. Check it out, and thank you to all our volunteers—past, present, and future!