Illinois Bar Journal

November 2013Volume 101Number 11Page 552

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President's Page

Welcome to the Profession

Real law careers begin with the ISBA, where we have what you need to get off to a great start.

On October 31, about 2,000 new lawyers joined the ranks of our profession in Illinois. We are delighted to welcome them as our colleagues and fellow members of the Illinois State Bar Association. We congratulate them on completing three years of law school and passing the bar. After inspiring ceremonies with justices of the Illinois Supreme Court and bar presidents and hugs from family, it's time to actually start your law career.

And real law careers start with the ISBA. As new lawyers smart enough to make it this far, your next smart move is taking advantage of what ISBA has to offer. For one thing, first year dues for new lawyers are free. Free is smart. And ISBA membership is more than a little plastic card with a number on it, it's a ticket for real stuff you can use now. It's better than any Groupon deal.

Here's some of the real stuff.

Free CLE. Need to meet your Illinois MCLE requirement under Rule 793? You could pay $125 for a CLE passport or much more someplace else, but ISBA membership includes 15 hours of free online MCLE, enough to satisfy your requirement. Again, free is better.

E-Clips. Need summaries of Illinois and seventh circuit opinions and your Twitter feeds don't cover that? The ISBA's mobile friendly E-Clips delivers news and case digests right to your email inbox. And it can be set to your preference for daily or weekly delivery. You could hire an assistant or try to do it yourself, or you could join the ISBA and it's free.

Fastcase. Need to find a case on point for a new matter and can't afford a law library? ISBA gives you the Fastcase Premium Plan. Fastcase is the leading next generation legal research service. You could order a subscription on your own for $995 a year, but why bother when it's free with your ISBA membership? And don't worry about being stuck behind a desk to do the research. Download Fastcase to your iPad, iPhone, or Android device.

Add up the value of these three services alone and it's more than $1,500. Thanks to the ISBA Mutual, by the way, for sponsoring Fastcase and free CLE.

And these are just three of the tangible benefits, so let's talk about the intangibles.

Make connections. Do you want to establish a network of relationships with lawyers and judges for mentoring, professional development or referrals? ISBA offers different events and lots of social media connections. You can connect with other lawyers playing in a bags tournament, watching the ponies at Arlington, running in Race Judicata, supporting legal aid causes, chatting at social receptions, getting advice at professional development lunches or learning at CLE programs. Or find the ISBA on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or connect with your peers on our discussion groups.

Join a section. Do you want to gain expertise in a subject matter area? We have more than 40 sections dealing with different areas of law. They range from emerging areas like animal law to the more traditional but always evolving subjects like criminal justice, civil practice, family law, and torts.

Each section produces a quarterly newsletter - some publish monthly - and most host a discussion group. Membership is only $25, and new admittees can join two substantive law sections for free.

Nominate yourself for leadership. Do you want an opportunity to develop leadership skills? Nominate yourself for a section council or committee appointment. Section councils and committees help shape the law in Illinois.

In addition to publishing newsletters, councils also organize and present relevant CLE programs on cutting edge issues facing our members. And we have more than 30 standing committees and task forces. Not everyone is chosen to serve, but all who throw their hats in the ring will be considered. Nominate yourself with the online form at

Do you want to contribute in a meaningful way to your community? The ISBA provides you with so many ways to give back.

Law & Leadership Institute. In 2011, we created this summer legal immersion program for minority high school students. Now in its third year, we have partnered with the nationally acclaimed Just the Beginning Foundation and expanded to sites in Chicago and Carbondale. There is no cost to students and the program is supported by ISBA volunteers and member contributions.

ISBA YLD. The ISBA Young Lawyers Division raises money that goes in part to fund children's waiting rooms at courthouses around the state.

IBF. The Illinois Bar Foundation is the charitable arm of the ISBA and provides thousands of dollars in grants to legal aid agencies. Last year, the ISBA project Lawyers Feeding Illinois provided more than 3 million meals to hungry people in Illinois.

The ISBA is the one bar association young lawyers need to start and maintain their career - visit and find out more. We welcome you and congratulate you on another smart decision.

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