As consumers we are constantly looking for greater value. For those of you who like good news, I have good news and better news! Your Bar Association membership now has become an even greater value. We now offer a discount plan to increase your savings while supporting our local restaurants and merchants. By going to the Bar Association website Members Center page, under Membership Services, you will find the names of the restaurants (many of the restaurants now offer up to 20% savings!) and businesses offering discounts, a link to their website, and an explanation of any restrictions and limitations. Simply present your current membership card when ordering (see the membership card download directions at the end of this column).
Some of the initial restaurant participants include:
Mamma Lucia's Markhams Bar and Grille
Bar Louie The Woodside Deli
American Tap Room 82 Steak Out
Cesco Osteria La Tasca
What is really exciting is that we have only begun to contact local merchants and the response has overwhelmingly positive. The plan works for most businesses and will confer a mutual benefit to all. You can help. Should any of the businesses you represent or utilize wish to participate, please contact Cindy at Cindy@barmont.org for plan documents to sign up. The business should submit its logo and a website with pull down menus for restaurants or pricing information and an explanation of discounts for merchants of goods or services.
The possibilities are limitless. It is our goal to expand into services for law firms such as process service, shredding, office supplies, equipment and software in the coming months. We will also make efforts to include businesses such as dry cleaners, sports, leisure, recreational activities and travel.
This discount program is only part of our overall plan to provide new and improved services and benefits to attract new members and serve our current members. Increasing and retaining membership is the lifeblood of any group. As a voluntary bar association, we need to reach out to the sizable group of Maryland attorneys who are unaware of the multiple advantages of joining our association.
Some of our most popular current membership benefits include:
• Law Practice Management programs with materials and the latest technologies to assist in the day to day practice of law
• Fee Dispute Resolution Committee to assist in resolving attorney fee disputes
• Sections covering over 20 Substantive areas of law, facilitating networking and the sharing of information and the development of skills within the practice area
• Ethics hotline to assist attorneys with how to deal with potential problems and conflicts
• Bench/Bar Committees to provide access and input to the bench and court staff to identify and workout problems
• Judicial Selections Committee to assist in to the selection process
• Bar Newsletter – 32 pages of monthly up to date information
• Legal Desk Reference – Provides a directory of attorneys, judges, court personnel and county agencies
• Mentor- Mentee Program, Bridge the Gap Educational Programs and the Leadership Academy
• Employment Services including a secretarial list and online legal job postings
• Charitable service to the community – Special Olympics, Samaritan House soup kitchen, Adult Drug Court, and other charities
• Free Lunch! Even in these times, our monthly Bar luncheon is free
We are in the process of revamping and improving many of our services. The Lawyer to Lawyer committee is now known as the Lawyer Assistance Program. We have expanded our outside resources to include referrals to drug, alcohol and mental health providers. Assistance is provided on a confidential basis in an attempt to protect the attorney and clients and prevent the need for the grievance process. On the social front, we have initiated a Spring and Fall Bar Bash (Oct. 2nd) with music provided by bands consisting of Judges and Lawyers and with food and drink courtesy of our local sponsors. We also provided for the first time, a Crab Feast in July and Wine Stomp (Oct. 11th) with free bus transportation to the event.
Our CLE offerings continue to reach out to multiple and varied practice areas and our new Learning for Life Programs offer essential non-legal related information. These programs include Investment for Retirement Planning (Oct. 23rd), tax planning and stress reduction and relaxation techniques.
Our goal in expanding and improving our programs, services and the vendor discounts is to create greater value such that non-members will see the importance of joining our association and current members receive even more than in the past. Please let attorneys who are yet to join our ranks know of these changes as well as the overall satisfaction and reward of helping each other.
To print your membership card, access the "Print My Membership Card" link in the Quick Links section of the BAMC website (www.montbar.org). Once you log in, your membership card will open and you will have the opportunity to print it.