I have always enjoyed volunteering my time to various local and state family law organizations or courts. Volunteering not only benefits the organization to which I am donating my time, but also personally increases my enjoyment of the practice of family law. The feeling of involvement in these various organizations and volunteer capacities gives one a sense of working toward a greater good—the improvement of family law. The improvement of family law does not just concern the improvement of the laws regulating the practice. Among other things, it can mean improving the process itself and the experience of the process.
Not everyone feels the same compulsion or finds the same joy from volunteering. Some people would volunteer, but for the other pressures of life. There are others, though, who could volunteer but just can’t seem to find the right opportunity or just keep putting it off for reasons of timing.
There are many in our organization who already generously give their time to a variety of family law endeavors. These are the people who are influencing legislation and appellate decisions and educating family law attorneys and the public. Many of our members serve as settlement conference judges, which results in the reduction of court calendars and increases the ability to obtain a trial or court hearing for those who need a judicial decision. There are people who are donating time to the local family law clinic, one day divorce clinic, or domestic violence workshop. There are individuals who are mentoring newer family law attorneys. There are the attorneys who serve as minor’s counsel. There is much more that many people do, day in and day out in our system, and it all generally works toward improving the process for all—families in our courts, attorneys, and the family law judicial officers. To those of you who have donated your time or are currently donating your time, it is greatly appreciated.
I encourage those of you who are not currently volunteering to consider doing so. Although there are ample committees within ACFLS that could benefit from more volunteers, there are many other family law entities, organizations, committees, court panels, etc. to which one could consider donating his or her time. Every little bit really does help. ■