Volunteer to build credibility -- and your business

Issue September 2013 By Damian J. Turco

"That attorney really knows his/her stuff." Isn't that what we want our clients, colleagues and referral sources to think about us? There's a lot that goes into people's perceptions of us and our practices, but there is one tried and true way to improve our image: volunteer.

Wait! Hear me out, and consider this proposition. If I told you that by devoting about two hours a month to interact with like-minded colleagues and brainstorm, plan and/or help others with simple legal issues, you would gain credibility, establish an interesting conversation starter for all future networking opportunities and position yourself as a leader in the community, wouldn't you be interested?

We are all familiar with the commonly cited rationales for avoiding volunteerism: "There's not enough time," "My firm doesn't let me participate in those things," or "I'm too new to provide any meaningful contribution." Hogwash. The truth is, volunteering is easy. Volunteerism can be an efficient way to build credibility and, accordingly, build business.

It doesn't take that much of your time for you make a meaningful impact. The majority of the most involved attorneys volunteer one evening a month for nine months out of the year. If you take on a more ambitious project, like chairing a CLE, you'll spend more time on the project, but the responsibility will conclude after the date of the presentation. Too much? Write an article or sign up for the Dial-A-Lawyer program. The most important attribute in a good volunteer is the willingness to help others. You already have that - you're an attorney. Regardless of your limitations, the organization for which you seek to volunteer will welcome you with open arms, readily tailoring a role to match your interest and time contribution.
If I have I convinced you to give it a try, consider volunteering for our Law Student Mock Interview Program, which will be piloted next month with Suffolk University Law School. Fellow LPM Section Council Member Susan Letterman-White and I are chairing this impactful new program. Participating law students and recent grads will get valuable practice interviewing for employment, while we grow the MBA's relationship with both prospective members and the law schools. It's a great program and a great opportunity for you to get involved with minimal time contribution.

Volunteers will devote a total of 30-45 minutes conducting a mock interview and giving feedback. The interviewee will come to your office, and we'll give you an interview outline as a guide. All interviews will be conducted the second half of September; you will set the interview time and date within that parameter. Interested? E-mail me at [e-mail dturco], or call me at (617) 657-4878, and we'll get you signed up.

If not, try something else. Get involved and build your business!

Damian J. Turco is an attorney licensed in Massachusetts and Florida and the owner of Mass Injury Firm. He serves as the vice chair of the MBA's Law Practice Management Section Council, is a member of the Boston Inns of Court and practices primarily in Boston.