Kara Hart-Negrich is incoming Chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan.
Robert Mathis is the pro bono service counsel for the State Bar of Michigan. Mathis’s past experience also includes...
No matter your age, if you’ve just passed the bar in Michigan, you’re now a member of the Young Lawyers Section. Host Rob Mathis talks with Kara Hart-Negrich, the incoming chair to the section, about upcoming plans and events for the next year. The variety of trainings, public interest events, and networking opportunities can be very valuable experiences for new lawyers in Michigan.
Kara Hart-Negrich is incoming Chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan.
State Bar of Michigan: On Balance Podcast
State Bar of Michigan NEXT Conference 2018: Young Lawyers Section Updates
Intro: Welcome to State Bar of Michigan’s On Balance Podcast, where we talk about practice management and lawyer wellness for a thriving law practice, with your hosts JoAnn Hathaway and Tish Vincent, here on Legal Talk Network.
Take it away ladies.
Robert Mathis: Hello and welcome to another edition of the State Bar of Michigan’s On Balance Podcast on Legal Talk Network. I am Robert Mathis, Pro Bono Service & Justice Initiatives Counsel with the State Bar of Michigan, sitting in today for your regular hosts JoAnn Hathaway and Tish Vincent.
We are live from the State Bar of Michigan’s NEXT Conference 2018 and joining me today I have Kara Hart-Negrich from the Young Lawyers Section. Welcome to the show.
Kara Hart-Negrich: Thank you.
Robert Mathis: All right, before we get started, please tell us about yourself.
Kara Hart-Negrich: Well, I am the incoming Chair to the Young Lawyers Section, which is the State Bar of Michigan’s largest Section. We are a mandated membership Section.
Robert Mathis: How many members approximately do you have?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Well, first I would like to say that I am speaking here on behalf of the Young Lawyers Section and not as an attorney for the State of Michigan, but now that said, we have about 8,000 members throughout the State of Michigan in the Young Lawyers Section.
Robert Mathis: All right, awesome. So you want to tell us about the membership base of the Young Lawyers Section.
Kara Hart-Negrich: Yeah, the membership base is, it’s an automatic membership, where if you pass the bar in Michigan, you are automatically a member of the Young Lawyers Section and not a lot of people are aware of that when they first become lawyers. So that’s something that I am hoping to make more apparent to everyone and have more people be involved in the Section.
Robert Mathis: So as far as the membership of the Young Lawyers Section, so it’s a range of ages.
Kara Hart-Negrich: Yes. It does not matter how old you are, if you have just passed the bar and you are 75, you are still a member of the Young Lawyers Section for, I believe, it’s five to ten years, I should get that right, but off the top of my head I don’t know.
Robert Mathis: Right, right. So what kind of events does the Young Lawyers Section have coming up over the next year?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Well, we do both educational events for our members, so we will have trainings and get to know judges, that kind of thing, and we also do public interest events. So we will do things like helping out in soup kitchens or expungement projects, which is kind of both an educational and a public service event.
But we also have networking events for our members. Because of the Keller ruling, we actually can’t have simply networking events, we do actually have to have some sort of a legal training in the event basis, so that can complicate our process.
Robert Mathis: So usually in July or August of each year the Young Lawyers Section puts on a young lawyers orientation.
Kara Hart-Negrich: We do. That’s something that started four or five years ago. At first it was connected to our Summit, which is our annual big event that we put on. It was really popular about five years ago when we had it the day before the Summit and got the word out about the Summit as well. But yes, so the orientation is something that we put on for the newest lawyers and just go over what it means having your P number now, yeah.
Robert Mathis: So Kara, would you like to share some of your plans for the upcoming bar year?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Yeah. Well, one of the big things that I want to do is to create a committee that will both revise our bylaws, because it’s been seven or eight years since the latest bylaws had been put into place, and I would also like to change the name from Young Lawyers Section to the New Lawyers Section or some other form of that, just so that we can have more inclusion in the Section. Because of the name currently a lot of people that maybe didn’t go straight into law school after undergrad aren’t comfortable being part of the Section, even though they automatically are.
Robert Mathis: So obviously the Young Lawyers Section, as it is now named, covers the entire State of Michigan, which is the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.
Kara Hart-Negrich: Yes, yeah.
Robert Mathis: So what plans do you have for reaching those up in the UP?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Well, right now we have one councilmember who is from Marquette; she does drive the seven hours to our meetings often. And so Mark Jane actually, who was the Past Chair, he started a UP Committee. So last year we had an event up in the UP that drew quite a few people. And so I would like to continue with that UP Committee and get more people, more young and any aged lawyers from Northern Michigan and the UP to be more involved and tend to know that we as a Section are working for them and have them in mind too.
Robert Mathis: So Kara, if I was a member of the Young Lawyers Section, as it is currently named, and there was an event coming up and I wasn’t really sure why I should attend, what are some of the benefits of attending?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Well, it’s a great experience. You can often learn something about a different area of law. We do training, so if you are not familiar with say probate, we could do a training on that. So you will learn about new areas of the law, but you will also meet other practitioners of the law and other newer lawyers as well as more seasoned lawyers who help with networking. You can find jobs through various members. It’s been useful to me that way as well and I know that a lot of others have had that experience.
Robert Mathis: So a lot of people say, you should network, so as far as the Young Lawyers Section goes, what does networking really mean? Does it just mean just talk with other attorneys or what are the benefits maybe that maybe aren’t as obvious?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Well, I think that we have actually had sort of a mentor-mentee situation a lot of times with council members, so not just networking, but also gaining that knowledge from someone who is more experienced, even though they are still technically a young lawyer and getting friendships and other professional relationships can be very useful.
Robert Mathis: So as you know, the State Bar of Michigan has a Master Lawyers Section.
Kara Hart-Negrich: Yes.
Robert Mathis: So has it been your experience that the Master Lawyers have been willing to become mentors and reach out and bridge that gap with the Young Lawyers Section to provide mentorships if asked?
Kara Hart-Negrich: You know, I actually am not familiar with specifically the Master Lawyers Section reaching out and doing that. I mean we are partnering with the Master Lawyers Section for the Limited Scope Representation Program, but every other section of the State Bar has been very interested in working with the Young Lawyers Section.
Each Section comes to us numerous times a year asking for either representation at one of our events or to be able to come to our meetings and speak with the Young Lawyers Section, they all want a piece of us, yeah.
Robert Mathis: So if you had some young lawyers that you were speaking to and they were on the fence about attending a Young Lawyers Section event, what would be the top few favorite reasons for participating in an event?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Well, I think, A, networking and then, B, education and training. I think that it can be very useful for other young lawyers to get to know others in their profession. So yeah, that’s about it.
Robert Mathis: All right, so before we close the podcast out today, would you like to provide your contact information so that some of our listeners could follow up?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Sure. You can contact me at [email protected], that’s my last name, but no dash there and my — the first initial of my first name at Michigan all spelled out.
Robert Mathis: You want to just spell that out for us, for our listeners?
Kara Hart-Negrich: Would you like me to?
Robert Mathis: Please, please.
Kara Hart-Negrich: Okay, let’s do this, [email protected].
Robert Mathis: Thank you.
Kara Hart-Negrich: No problem.
Robert Mathis: Well, that’s all the time we have for this program. Thank you Kara for joining us today.
Kara Hart-Negrich: Yeah, thank you for having me.
Robert Mathis: I also want to thank our listeners for tuning in.
If you like what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts. I am Robert Mathis from the State Bar of Michigan. We will see you next time for another episode of the State Bar of Michigan’s On Balance Podcast on Legal Talk Network.
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