By David Brand
For a new generation of lawyers, the digital space can make networking seem like breeze. LinkedIn enables students to connect with employers with the click of a mouse and online trainings allow attorneys to earn continuing legal education credits from behind their laptops.
But any sense of real connection is illusory, says Queens County Bar Association President Hilary Gingold. Online services are certainly useful, but they can prevent people, especially new lawyers, from forging meaningful and lucrative connections, she said.
That’s why the QCBA is championing its Student Ambassadorship Program to engage the next generation of attorneys.
“We want to cultivate, develop and mentor the new generation of lawyers because bar membership is integral for making a living,” Gingold said.
Gingold said the first goal of the Student Ambassadorship Program is to connect with students at CUNY Law and St. John’s University as well as Queens residents at other law schools. Involvement in the program will enable young people to build connections and learn from established lawyers and judges as they begin their legal careers.
“We have to demonstrate how the bar association delivers real, comprehensive value to our members,” she said. “Networking is money.”
As a member of several bar associations, Gingold knows firsthand the power of membership. It’s a foot in the door with many employers, a crucial resource for solo practitioners and a vital network throughout one’s legal career.
She said established attorneys would be impressed to see a young members’ participation in the bar association’s student ambassador program, similar to how alumni from the same university have an immediate connection.
“The Student Ambassadors will learn about community service, public service and giving back,” Gingold said. “But bar associations are not just about the public good. We give them value.”
The School Student Ambassadorship program currently accepts applications from 2Ls and 3Ls. For more information, visit qcba.org.