By David Brand
For nearly six years, Kristen Dubowski Barba has made it her mission to welcome young lawyers, newly minted attorneys and lawyers returning to practice after professional breaks into the Queens County Bar Association fold.
Dubowski Barba serves as chair of the Young Lawyers Committee and co-chair of the Professional Development Committee at the QCBA. Through her roles, she organizes events and programs designed to foster engagement among young people and helps connect established attorneys with the next generation of legal professionals.
“I’m relatively young myself and I think that some of these events can be intimidating when you see a lot of attorneys who know each other very well and flock to each other,” Dubowski Barba said. “As I got to know the attorneys, they were no longer intimidating.”
Dubowski Barba works as a staff attorney at the Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project. She said attending bar association events enabled her to make vital connections and illustrated the importance of networking, especially for young people breaking into the profession.
To overcome the intimidation that new lawyers may experience, the Young Lawyers Committee has organized “speed networking” events that work similar to speed dating and give new lawyers a chance to meet with and become familiar with established QCBA members. They have also arranged happy hours and other social activities.
“It’s a great opportunity for newer practitioners who may be intimidated to approach more established attorney and talk,” she said. “They really speak about anything they want and hopefully grow some relationships from that.”
To better engage and educate new attorneys, The Young Lawyers Committee also helped organize foundational Continuing Legal Education events.
“When I first became a member of the bar association, they had really great advanced training CLEs, but as new practitioners the advance trainings don’t help if you don’t have basic knowledge [about the topic],” she said. “I wanted to make some programs targeted to newer practitioners.”
She said the committee also continues to engage students at local law schools and seek feedback about what work activities and training sessions work best for young lawyers.
“I want younger attorneys to know that the [QCBA] is a welcoming place,” she said.