Whether you’re a trial lawyer, a settlement planner like me, a paralegal, marketing professional, or another member of the civil justice community, you’re doing important work to ensure Americans have fair and equal access to justice. Extending and enhancing those concepts are a variety of organizations, associations, conferences, forums and other groups, which offer opportunities to make change, learn, and be a bigger part of the community that protects citizens and their families. If you’re just starting out in the industry or have not yet joined the extracurricular side of civil justice, consider the reasons below for getting started.
Give a Voice to the Voiceless
National organizations such as the American Association for Justice (AAJ) organize grassroots campaigns that influence change on a massive scale. Take Justice Back, for example, fights to hold corporations accountable when they cause harm.
Our organization, the Bairs Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to helping plaintiffs who are struggling to cover their basic living expenses while they go through litigation. The foundation provides pre-settlement advances at a fair interest rate to help individuals and families make ends meet while they pursue justice. Its model is a stark contrast to the for-profit plaintiff funding industry, which is known to charge astronomical interest rates and prey upon people who are at the end of their financial rope.
Statewide trial lawyer associations, like the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA), promote a safer and healthier society, assure access to the civil justice system by those who are wrongfully injured, andadvance representation of the public by ethical, well-trained lawyers.
Another civil justice organization, The Injury Board, has recruited attorneys from all over the country to serve as a network and support system. This group also encourages taking action in different initiatives founded by IB members, such as End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) and Lawyers Against Hunger. Injury Board has used its network to recruit participants in these campaigns, which in turn have benefited hundreds of thousands of people.
Gain Access to Networking Forums
Civil justice organizations do a great job of coordinating conferences where attorneys and business partners can network and share ideas that not only relate to the courtroom, but also strategies for building their businesses and serving their clients.
The Radius of Influence (ROI) Annual Conference, created by Injury Board founders, provides an opportunity for attorneys and other law-related professionals to brainstorm and improve their word-of-mouth marketing.
In addition, Women en Mass gathers the country’s brightest female mass tort attorneys. The group serves as a network and support system and holds an annual conference highlighting issues that affect women from the boardroom to the courtroom and in everyday life.
Receive More Education Opportunities
Many civil justice associations regularly release publications that keep members abreast of important issues, innovative concepts for their practices, and more. The Pennsylvania Association for Justice’s (PAJ) PA Justice News offers columns by association leaders, members, and business partners, as well as case notes of recent court decisions and news about members. There are many associations with robust CLE schedules.
In addition, there’s a full calendar of seminars and conferences throughout the year that offer opportunities to gather and learn about and discuss issues that apply to the civil justice community. Mass Torts Made Perfect is a recurring legal seminar created to provide ambitious, goal-oriented plaintiff attorneys with the knowledge and methods needed to attract mass tort clients, take cases to the courtroom, and win against the most formidable competition.
Civil justice organizations provide societal benefits in addition to their inherent individual benefits. They bring together groups of individuals who are committed to protecting the rights of their clients and the civil justice system as a whole.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).