Make Your Connections At The Bar Association
Steven J. EismanWhen I began practicing law approximately thirty five years ago, I had virtually no contacts in the legal community, bench or bar, notwithstanding the fact that I was born and raised on Long Island.

In an effort to address this challenge, I joined everything. I joined bar associations, public service organizations, political groups - basically any group or organization available to me so that I could start making connections and network with my peers, colleagues, Judges and potential clients.

As we embark on what will hopefully be a tremendously successful year at the Nassau County Bar Association, our focus should be on partaking in the numerous opportunities available to us through the bar association and encouraging our new and younger members of the bar association to join us. The purpose is to make connections with new members of our association, strengthen formed relationships with colleagues and longtime friends, and make Domus an inviting place for all judges and attorneys in the legal community, members and non-members alike. In other words, utilization of the great resource that is our Bar Association to expand our personal network.
The members of the Task Force I appointed to enhance the relationships between the new lawyers and law students with the experienced bar and the Judiciary have been active this summer. They already participated in events at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. By the time this is published, they will also have had an event at St. John's University School of Law, and there are future events in the works to ensure that the bar association and the local law schools have regular and ongoing interaction. The purpose of these events is to introduce the law school students to the benefits of our wonderful association and allow members of the Young Lawyers Committee to share their experiences with the law school students.
I mention the Task Force because one of the primary focuses for the law schools, particularly at Hofstra, is "making connections" as opposed to "networking". I think we can all agree that at various times in our respective careers, the concept of networking has been daunting and somewhat nebulous. What does it mean to network, how does one network, what is the real reason one networks, etc. By changing the perspective to making connections, it allows for meaningful interaction, and in relation to the bar association, being an active and contributing member.
I recently attended a lunch at the invitation of Hofstra's Dean, Eric Lane to discuss the best way to connect the bar with his law students. Dean Lane invited several members of his administration and a young Hostra Law alumnus, from my firm, to discuss this concept in greater detail - and I believe that we all came away from that meeting with the outline of a solid plan.
I am mindful that it is a challenge of great proportions, particularly for the younger members of the bar association, and even the lawyers who are not presently members, to become involved in an organization when your connections to that organization are minimal, if not non-existent. We not only want new members to feel welcomed, but we want our members to be active and involved, so our Task Force and Young Lawyers Committee are hard at work as our "welcoming committee" to the law school students and our new generation of members.
Whether you recently joined the bar association or are a veteran member, we can all benefit from staying active and strengthening our bond with other members of this association. The greatest asset we have is our members and the ways in which we can all be involved and interact with one another.
As members of this association, we have the opportunity to attend unlimited committee meetings, both substantive and non-substantive. For our newly admitted and younger attorneys, this includes the Young Lawyers Committee. We have the opportunity to attend events open to the entire bar association, such as Barbeque at the Bar on September 10, 2015 (formerly Domus on the Lawn), Judiciary Night, October 15, 2015, and the annual Holiday Celebration in December (formerly known as the Wassail Bowl).
Not only are there countless programs offered by our Academy of Law to help us fulfill our CLE requirements and stay current in our areas of practice, but we also have the opportunity to partake in unlimited CLE courses through the Academy, by becoming members of the Domus Scholar Circle.
And if you are up to date on your CLE, I am pleased to report that Secretary Rick Collins has taken on the task of scheduling some new social events at Domus, beginning with Oktoberfest, October 28th. This is a first of its kind event for us - a fun-filled night featuring tastings of some amazing beers. Be on the lookout for more information shortly.
In addition to committee meetings, social events and continuing legal education options, we also have a deep commitment to charity and giving back to the local community through We Care. We Care sponsors great events such as the annual Stephen J. Schlissel Golf and Tennis Classic, Mets game tickets to benefit underprivileged children, and Dressed to a Tea, to name but a few.
It is clear that the bar association has something to offer every member regardless of your practice area, whether you work in the public or private sector, are a new member or an old member, and so on. All you have to do is avail yourself of the opportunities waiting for you at Domus. I firmly believe that if you make a commitment to becoming an active member of this bar association, it will be equally rewarding for you as it has been for me. I look forward to seeing each of you at Domus in the coming year and to hearing your success stories as you make new connections with your fellow members.
And yes, after thirty five years, I have succeeded in meeting lawyers, Judges and clients through networking - and you can too.

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