February 2014 Dicta
by Jodi McShan, Withers & Withers
Many people start off the new year with a number of resolutions: get in shape, get out of debt, get… Some (and I hope many) of you resolved to network more and become more involved in the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. Now you have your goal. How do you get there?
While it may seem a bit cliché, DAYL’s monthly socials and other special events are a great way to network. Many of our events have a wide range of attendees – from law students to judges. The biggest tip for socials? Be yourself. You are not there to sell yourself. You are there to meet up with old friends and make new friends. People who know you will know you are looking for a job or know what types of cases you handle in case of future referrals. As a friend of mine says, “Make friends first, and the business will follow.” You give referrals to people you know and respect. The first step is getting out there, so people will know you.
This DAYL program is a great way to get involved in DAYL as well as the community. Once a month, DAYL organizes a community service project throughout Dallas. Members and friends come together to give back to our community and show Dallas that lawyers do care. When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to give back to the community as well as meet new people. We have found that our members form strong bonds while working together on these projects together, and you never know. Your work buddy may end up as your new best friend and/or referral.
Everyone has to have CLE credit, so you can meet a wide range of people at our continuing legal education courses. With our CLE committee and special interest committees, our programming covers a wide range of topics that should (hopefully) appeal to everyone at some point. These lunchtime meetings allow you to get your mandatory CLE in while meeting other young attorneys. Keep your eyes open for upcoming CLEs as we have a few each month.
Special Interest Committees
DAYL also has a number of special interest committees – ranging from Animal Welfare to Judiciary Committee. Each committee meets about once a month to plan events. Depending on the committee, you may be organizing a benefit or a happy hour or calling judges to get speakers for a panel. Our committees take pride in bringing quality programs to benefit each committee’s purpose and enhance the value of your DAYL membership. If there is an interest you do not see represented, we are happy to help you find a committee that addresses your interest or start a new committee.
And I don’t just mean sports! While we have flag football, softball, and basketball leagues, we also have regular trivia competitions. You can come flex your muscles and/or your brain, depending on what you want to get involved in. These are a great way to interact with other attorneys while not discussing or even thinking about the law – well… until trivia decides to ask about the occasional Supreme Court Justice. You can sign up for the sports leagues through your firm – get a team together and come out to play. Trivia is new each time. Grab some friends and come out for a fun evening of seeing who knows the most random “useless” facts that may not be as useless as you once thought!
DAYL also provides great avenues for you to grow as a leader. You went to the socials, you have your CLE, and you have passion. You can become more involved by joining committees to help plan programming and events. Our committee chairs are happy to have more people on board to bring new ideas and help contact speakers, venues, and sponsors. If you are interested in joining a committee, you can attend the monthly meeting or email Cherie Harris to get on the committee’s listserv.
Each year DAYL has a leadership class. For this year’s class, applications will become available in April, and the selected class will embark on a year-long journey of growth and giving back to the community. You attend a leadership retreat, have monthly meetings that help you learn about the Dallas community and the role we play as lawyers. The year culminates in a class project, which has been everything from the founding of the Freedom Run to a professionalism program for a local charter school to a benefit concert. The class selects the project and the class is responsible for working together to budget, plan, and execute the selected event. It is a great experience, and anyone interested in learning how to become a better leader should strongly consider applying.
So now you know how to get involved. Get up, get out, and get involved because who doesn’t like checking something off of the to do list?