As the great legal scholar George Costanza said, “[We’re] back, baby.” As President, one of my jobs this year is to get our members back to Domus. To that end, I will propose to the Board of Directors several ideas to increase the participation of members here at Domus.
I believe that the networking function of the Nassau County Bar Association will be the main catalyst to getting members back in our home. Zoom is great, and will still be available, but you cannot really network on a Zoom call. To that end, starting in August:
NCBA Committee meetings will once again be in person here at Domus. Zoom has been a great catalyst for many of the committees and for some, it is the only way they can be here. So, we will not end the Zoom committee meetings, but will combine in-person and Zoom. With that in mind, I have assembled a panel of technologically savvy members, led by Tom Foley and Hector Herrera, to recommend the hardware, software, bandwidth and procedures to allow us to have up to four in-person committee meetings during lunch, while still having those meetings on Zoom—this way, those of us who wish to meet here, network, and enjoy each other, as committees have done for decades, can, while those who are more comfortable on Zoom will still have that option. It is my hope that as members see us congregating at the in-person committees, they will venture back to Domus.
The Committee on Committees, which is normally a once-a-year meeting of all the committee chairs and vice-chairs, will now meet more often as a networking cocktail hour at Domus. This will allow attorneys to mingle with other attorneys who do not practice the same type of law as each other. Extensive networking can be done with attorneys who handle different aspects of law. Further, this will be an additional perk for putting in the time and effort as a committee chair. It will kick off on August 18.
We are planning some targeted networking events as well. For example, there are many affinity bar associations here in New York, such as Amistad, the Asian American Bar Association of New York, Jewish Lawyers Association, Long Island Hispanic Bar Association and Columbia Lawyers, just to name a few. I have asked two former Presidents of those associations— Maxine S. Broderick and Margaret Ling—to form a panel to organize networking meetings with members of these associations here at Domus. Not only will this have the hoped-for effect of getting more people to attend events at Domus, but it will also help with another issue very important to me, increasing the diversity of the Nassau County Bar Association. Hopefully, when those Bars’ members see this beautiful building, meet our wonderful members, and hear about our cutting-edge programs and networking opportunities, they will consider becoming members here as well.
Our inhouse caterer, The Esquire at the Nassau County Bar Association, is so excited to be reopening for lunch in August and is already open for private events. To book an event, contact (516) 414-0879 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will create the “President’s Table” at lunch. Every Wednesday at 12:30 PM, I will have lunch at Domus and any member may come to Domus and have lunch with the President of the Bar. There will be no agenda. Just join me to discuss any or no topic. If you do not have a lunch companion, or even if you do, I would be honored to have you at the President’s Table.
We will kick it all off with the Annual Dinner Gala and Honoree VIP Reception night at Domus on August 3 and 4 with former NCBA President Chris McGrath, “Mr. Everything” Hector Herrera, the Honorable Norman St. George, and the 50-, 60- and 70-year members being honored at these events.
BBQ at the Bar will be back on September 9, 2021.
Additionally, I have asked a blue-ribbon panel of members led by Ira Slavit, Marcus Monteiro, and Michael DeFalco to brainstorm ways to get members back into Domus and increase membership. They have some fun ideas planned already!
These are just some of the ideas I have had for networking, but this is not all that this Bar is about. WE CARE will be getting back to their wonderful work with the Mets/Yankees game on September 11, the Golf Outing on September 20, the Tunnels to Towers Walk, and my personal favorite—Las Vegas Night in October—among many others too numerous to name all of them here.
Further, with the help of Adam D’Antonio and Pat Carbonaro, we will make the Lawyer Referral Information Service (LRIS) into the best referral service in the state. We have been discussing with Judge St. George the possibility of adding signs at Nassau County courthouses to inform people that if they need a lawyer to call the Nassau County Bar Association. We will update our website to allow inquiries over the internet and are looking into raising our profile on Google. With the increase in inquiries this will bring, we will multiply the number of calls the members of the Lawyer Referral Information Service panelists will receive, thereby increasing our members’ income and the Bar’s revenue. Get on the lawyer referral panel for your areas of expertise as soon as possible. It will be the best $250 you will ever spend.
Do you know that we are one of only two bar associations in New York State that has a licensed clinical social worker on staff to help our members in time of need? That’s right—our Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) is like no other, with Beth Eckhardt and others working so hard for the mental health of our members. As we come out of this crazy time, please do not feel like you are alone. Believe me, many of us are having the same feelings and emotions as we get back to normal. We are here to help and it’s all confidential. LAP will be back with its retreat and its other events. Look for them, but use the service if you need it.
There is so much more that your magnificent Bar Association does, but none of it can be done without you. The state is reopening, the country is reopening, and the Nassau County Bar Association is reopening. The caterer is ready, the Board is ready, the staff is ready, and I am ready. As Bob Barker has said, “Come on Down” to the Nassau Bar. See your colleagues, have lunch with your friends, and learn about the new developments in the law that being at home you may have missed. It is all right here, under this roof.
I’ll leave you with this quote by Michael Jordan, “Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” We have an opportunity here to turn the negative last year into a real positive not only for this Bar, but for our profession and ourselves—but we can only do it together. Together, that is what this Bar Association is. Us working together. Be a part of it.