To better equip MSBA members with the practical skills and services they need to weather the economic storm, MSBA recently unveiled its new online Economic Resource Guide. This effective electronic toolkit offers such things as information on what to do if you lose your job, critical guidance on finances, legal employment updates, health-related issues and law practice management tips. The Association is offering this comprehensive online support service to help members experiencing difficulties in today’s tough economic market.
The online guide is part of MSBA President Thomas C. Cardaro’s multifaceted “Year of the Member” presidential initiative. This year, MSBA is assuming a proactive role, tackling the economic challenges that face members to, in turn, keep them proactive and moving forward. Under Cardaro’s leadership, MSBA is developing tools like the online economic guide and practical, skills-oriented programs to give lawyers the critical knowledge, tools and resources they need now.
MSBA’s Economic Resource Guide is a support network designed to sustain attorneys who may be struggling with employment issues, financial issues, career changes, stress and mental health concerns, or a general need for support services in times of crisis. The toolkit also focuses on basic business and law practice information plus tips to help all attorneys, especially those hanging out a shingle and going it on alone, either by choice or necessity. (www.msba.org/departments/membership/newmemben/empresources/default.asp)
First, this guide reinforces the concept that attorneys experiencing difficulties are not alone; this recession has hit many lawyers hard, and no segment of the Bar is immune. However, solo practitioners and recent law school graduates entering the practice of law with no job and astronomical student loans have probably been hit the hardest. Many are hanging out a shingle for the first time and struggling to learn the basics of the business of law practice in recessionary times, which is a challenge for all solos today.
Therefore, MSBA’s service is advantageous to many MSBA members. It includes a checklist of the steps you take if you lose your job with details about special MSBA services to help you. These include career information, legal job resources, MSBA’s popular career center and guidance on financial management and trimming expenses. The toolkit also contains valuable information on health insurance, COBRA and MSBA’s Lawyer Assistance Program’s support services, plus advice on the office basics, like how to get access to the Internet, copiers and fax machines.
“In these tough economic times our Economic Resource Guide is quite a valuable tool,” Cardaro emphasizes, “and it is but one of many worthy benefits MSBA provides to our members.”
The online toolkit is part of MSBA’s Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMA), which caters to the law practice needs of lawyers. LOMA provides technological assistance, business and accounting resources, marketing, office management skills and client relations support to equip attorneys with the necessary tools they need to efficiently practice law and represent clients. It presents MSBA’s Annual Solo Conference, Solo Day at the Annual Meeting and many other educational and training opportunities for members.
In addition, MSBA’s website, www.msba.org, offers a wealth of information for Maryland lawyers on everything from legal careers, job training, re-training, targeted videos, CLE updates and mentoring opportunities. Its 27 Sections (www.msba.org/sec_comm/index.htm) also provide special publications and programming and provide a forum for networking and mentoring opportunities with colleagues in similar law fields. MSBA’s plethora of membership benefits and services may be found at www.msba.org/departments/membership/benefit.asp.
The American Bar Association offers a similar entity, an Economic Recovery Resource, which provides timely information on ways to get through the economic downturn. The ABA’s Economic Recovery Resources portal presents resources and tips on a variety of topics, including job searching, practice management and professional development. (new.abanet.org/economicrecovery/default.aspx)