I joined DRI to show my firm that I was interested in “business development.” I was a new associate at my current firm, practicing in the field of employment litigation, and I wanted to prove that I was game for anything. The very first DRI event I attended was the Annual Meeting in San Francisco (2006). I attended for free because DRI gives “young lawyers” who sign up as members the opportunity to attend any seminar (including the Annual Meeting) without charge. I was stunned at the throngs of people in attendance at the opening night reception, and recall thinking that I must be the only one there who did not know a single other attendee. But then, an amazing thing happened. I met people. I met people at the reception, and I met people the following day during the substantive CLE presentations. I met people at the Thursday night event, where DRI members ate and danced on the green grass of the then-PacBell Park (now AT&T Park). It was incredible.
All of DRI’s Substantive Law Committees (SLCs) hold Business Meetings at the Annual Meeting. Everyone is invited. I attended the Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics (LPEC) Business Meeting; I had joined this SLC at the invitation of a current DRI member and LPEC leader (who sent out letters to all new DRI members asking them to join), and I had been told that I should attend the LPEC Business Meeting. So I did.
The Business Meeting was run by the current leaders of the LPEC, a smart, charismatic and fun group who by the end of the meeting had convinced most of us in attendance that we should be more involved. Well, I fell for it, and eight years later I am now its Vice Chair. Since I first joined, I have published articles in LPEC’s newsletter, Professionalism Perspectives, and also contributed to the Committee’s regular column for DRI’s weekly monthly periodical, For the Defense. LPEC also sponsors webcasts, in which it partners with other Substantive Law Committees on topics that range in substance and in which LPEC members are featured speakers. I have both planned such webcasts and been a featured speaker. My involvement in all of these aspects of LPEC led to my appointment as Vice Chair this year. As an SLC leader, I had the privilege of attending DRI’s leadership conference in Chicago for the first time this past January, where I took part in seminars and discussions which provided me with tools and tips that have made me a better leader within DRI and beyond.
The people I have served with as leaders of LPEC have become some of the most meaningful friends and mentors that I have met in my professional life. These relationships have expanded my practice in ways I could not imagine back when I attended my first Annual Meeting.
If you are looking for a way to become more involved in DRI, you should join an SLC. Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics is always looking for new members, and if you are interested, please contact me or our Membership Chair, Thom Gilligan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be looking for you at our Business Meeting at the DRI Annual Meeting in San Francisco this October!
M. Amy Carlin – Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP, Boston, MA 02109