October 22, 2010
Searching for Success?
~ written by Jamie Zitesman, Small Firm / Solo Practitioners Committee Chair
Looking back over 17 years, I find it comes from my involvement with the Columbus Bar. I believe that I have talents and attributes that contribute to success, but it has been the CBA where I found so many opportunities, all starting from attendance at committee meetings. As you probably know, the Columbus Bar has a wide variety of committees with something for everyone. Joining a committee is easy. All you have to do is sign up and show up. You are always welcome. The challenge is to actually do it.
As Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I could not agree more. I have always made it a priority to show up at committee meetings. You just don’t know what opportunity waits for you there. I believe it was 2002 when I attended a Real Property Law meeting and had the chance to volunteer to represent the committee to the Columbus Board of Realtors Residential Standard Forms Committee. By showing up that day, a whole world of opportunity opened up to me. Had I not been there, my life and my career would undoubtedly be different.
I’m getting ready now to head downtown to the Common Pleas Court Committee meeting, and I feel like so many of you. I have a 1:30 meeting back at my office, a three o’clock scheduled after that, an Answer to draft, and a client who needs to discuss a contract – so how can I possibly take two hours out of my day to go to the Bar? It all comes down to priorities. Attending committee meetings is a top priority on my calendar. The Answer is not due today, and I can discuss the contract with my client later in the afternoon or tomorrow morning, it is not life or death. Sure, I will leave promptly at 1 pm to get back in time for the client meetings, but if I am a few minutes late, the client will wait.
To me, being an active part of the profession means being active at the Columbus Bar. As a sole practitioner, the CBA is my professional home. It is where I have developed my professional relationships. My involvement has greatly enhanced my bottom line, but that is not why I keep it as a top priority. I did not join and do not attend committees for the purpose of making money, but rather for the opportunity to be involved, to meet other attorneys who I would never otherwise meet, and most important, to learn and to stay informed.
If you have thought about attending a committee meeting but are too busy or don’t want to take the time out of your day, reconsider and show up. I cannot guarantee you the same opportunities I have had, but if you don’t show up you will never know. See you at the next meeting.