I recently wrote an article for Bar Leader on how Bar Foundations are trying to attract, new, younger members to get involved in leadership roles. It’s a common issue for most membership-based groups these days. “How do we get the next generation of leaders to become more active?”
At the Orange County (Calif.) Bar Foundation, they solved that problem by creating a second “junior” board, composed of younger attorneys.
“By bringing in these young professionals, they get mentored by the ‘big board,’” said Karen Ruan, the foundation’s executive director. “They learn how to be on the board of a nonprofit, and learn how to raise funds. They network with board members who tend to be more established in their law firms, and they get a chance to perform community and volunteer work.”
The District of Columbia Bar Foundation has a Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council, which allows members of the bar under age 40 to learn about how to work on a nonprofit board, and meet with more experienced attorneys who can mentor them, said Kirra L. Jarratt, the foundation’s executive director. The group meets six times a year and hears from senior board members who talk about the importance of legal aid, and career paths that younger lawyers can follow if they are interested in working in the legal services wing of the profession. The members also learn about how to raise funds.
Demystifying the process of leadership goes a long way to getting more people to explore serving at higher levels.