As a new employee of a bar association with a background in marketing and communications, I believed I was fully equipped to tackle the “CLE World.” What I didn’t realize is helping volunteer attorneys foster the development and presentation of high quality, cost-effective continuing legal education programs requires tenacity, which I have. But I learned quickly that more is required to ensure our volunteers have everything they need to provide compelling CLE topics that interest our members, including millennials, so they register for programs and join the Atlanta Bar Association. Sometimes it feels like I’m “herding cats” to keep everyone on point with deadlines as we work together to develop engaging presentations. But that’s okay with me because in the end, we always seem to produce good, quality programs.
Two “out of the box” tactics that help me be more efficient include:
- Seeking the assistance of law students, which exposes them to our Association, helps with logistics, and offers them opportunities to network with speakers. Perhaps in the future providing opportunities to connect via an online portal where they could ask questions and get answers could be beneficial. This could also be of value to others if they were able to view the exchanges.
- Making notes about speakers and using the information to write personalized thank you cards and taking pictures and sending them to speakers (along with a line or two of text from their presentation) to use in company newsletters and social media marketing has been well received.
It’s no secret that memberships in associations are down and reversing the decline requires additional out-of-the-box thinking, particularly when it comes to engaging millennials. Is it a generational shift that requires different marketing strategies for millennials in order to increase registrations and memberships? Probably.
I think we all should be thinking about putting more emphasis on marketing via social media since millennials generally don’t respond as well to traditional marketing. According to the Pew Research Center, they are more attached to networks of friends and colleagues through social media and represent 35% of this country’s workforce.
With the above information in mind, perhaps we need to focus on engaging young lawyers through new social media strategies and offering additional CLEs that have a social media component, including addressing corporate risks and ethical obligations. Maybe even consider increasing our website engagement by blending together the power of technology with interactive conversations on hot topic industry-related questions. These tactics could increase engagement, registrations, and interest in our Associations.
What follows are steps to consider to increase membership and engagement among young lawyers:
- Add more social media content that provides links to hot topics like essential cloud- based tech tools for lawyers, mistakes lawyers make with technology, global cybersecurity laws for lawyers, and how pro bono work can boost your profile and career, to name a few.
- Increase networking and mentoring opportunities that provide avenues to develop young lawyers into future leaders.
- As previously mentioned, provide a mechanism for inexperienced attorneys to ask hot topic/industry-related questions and request answers from seasoned attorneys.
We all need committed and engaged members, and doing business a little differently when we think “out of the box” could be the best way to harness the energy of young lawyers. It’s certainly a way for them to see our Associations as providing added value that enhances career growth.