Learn about the important, varied, and integral work carried out by some of the people and groups that make up the WSBA’s volunteer community.
By Paris A. Eriksen
The goal of this volunteer-dedicated issue of Bar News is threefold: (1) to educate members about WSBA volunteerism and encourage participation, (2) to showcase specific groups and individual volunteers, and (3) to demonstrate the clear impact volunteering has on the volunteer and on the profession.
The WSBA’s volunteer opportunities can be categorized in the following ways:
The WSBA’s volunteering opportunities are predominantly multi-year commitments to serve on a committee, board, or council. Some boards were created by court rule and are administered by the WSBA; volunteers on these boards are nominated by the WSBA Board of Governors and appointed by the Washington Supreme Court. Other boards and committees were created by the WSBA Board of Governors, which also makes the final appointments. WSBA sections are created by the Board of Governors, but volunteers, elected by section members, comprise sections’ executive committees.
Long-term service presents a unique opportunity to immerse yourself more fully in the work, significantly enhance your skills, and strengthen your knowledge of the subject matter. You get to know the work and the individuals doing that work in a real and meaningful way.
Occasionally, the WSBA will create (or be asked to administer) an ad hoc group such as a task force, work group, focus group, or advisory group. These groups generally are focused on a specific topic with a clear question to answer or desired outcome to reach. These groups generally last between 12 and 18 months, until the work is concluded. These shorter-term opportunities allow volunteers to immerse themselves in a topic of interest in a time-limited manner—which can be a convenient way to volunteer while also balancing numerous other short-term and long-term commitments.
Project-based volunteer opportunities primarily consist of helping to develop WSBA CLEs and writing articles for Washington State Bar News, NWSidebar, and other WSBA publications. These opportunities allow your subject matter expertise and passion for a topic to shine on a platform with statewide exposure.
If you find a WSBA volunteer opportunity that looks interesting to you, take a moment to apply. Once you become a volunteer, you will be connected to an active and committed community. Through the initial orientation process, you’ll receive the information and guidance to be supported and successful in your role. So please read through this special issue and consider where best to apply your time, talent, and passions. I hope we are the volunteer community you’ve been looking for. If not, I hope that you find your volunteer community and get the opportunity to experience the benefits and impact of volunteering firsthand, wherever that might be.
- If you’re not sure where you’d like to volunteer, complete the Volunteer Interest Form (www.wsba.org/volunteer).
- Have a current résumé and cover letter explaining your interest and qualifications ready to upload with your application. Some opportunities also ask for a writing sample.
- Every effort is made to ensure that each applicant is matched with one of their top three choices. If no match is made, you will hear from staff about other available opportunities.
- When completing your application, please consider providing the optional demographic information. This vital data is used to identify trends, gaps, and areas to celebrate within our volunteer community. Notably, the WSBA volunteer community has been consistently more diverse than the WSBA membership, with a greater percentage of representation of women and BIPOC individuals.
- If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.