Open-Ended Comments


Breakdown of Open-Ended Comments and Answers to Bar-Wide Survey Questions

CLE CREDITS

Free/discounted CLE credits:

  • "Add more free CLE courses beyond the current six credits"
  • "CLE credits"
  • "Continue offering free CLE, also make it easier to identify the free CLEs"
  • "Continue with the 6 free CLE courses. I attended the last one and it was very informative"
  • "I think there is already a lot of value, but adding the CLE credits to membership fee seems like a good way to go"
  • "More free CLE"
  • "Offer additional CLE credits at a discount"
  • "You charge outrageous amounts for CLE's"
  • "The free CLE should offer more credits at one time – I work outside the city so I can't attend the free CLEs without spending too much travel time for less CLEs"
  • "The addition of CLE has been tremendous and the 6 free are a huge help to all of the members and much appreciated"
  • "More free CLEs"
  • "Make CLEs more affordable… The CLEs are overpriced even for members."
  • "PBI allows legal services attorneys to take 12 free CLE credits a year. The Bar Association should likewise offer free CLE credits to legal services attorneys"
  • "Grant CLE credits for committee involvement"
  • "Free CLEs – requirements are difficult to un and underemployed lawyers to afford"
  • "Free CLE programs across practice areas"

Clarify which CLE credits are free and provide more information:

  • "Make clear what CLE programs are free…"
  • "Although we are supposed to be able to get 6 free CLEs, I have never been able to figure out how to find those CLE programs, and have not been able to enjoy that privilege"
  • "Publicize free CLE credits more"
  • "More information regarding CLE"
  • "Make it easier to determine when the free CLE courses are scheduled"
  • "Let all public interest educations/CLE programs be advertised to the membership, whether or not PBA-sponsored"

Wider variety of CLE credits options:

  • "Allow the selection of 6 free CLE"
  • "Skype/remote participation in programs and CLE"
  • "By allowing me to choose which 6 free CLE credits I will take in the year rather than dictating a specific set of classes at specific times a year"
  • "Free CLE programs across practice areas"
  • "I'm a paralegal member…More CLE's geared to us and how we could assist our attorneys would be wonderful"
  • "I was unable to take advantage of all of the six CLE credits. There should be an end of the year video opportunity to receive those credits"
  • "I would like to see more activities and CLE directed towards owning and managing a law practice, particularly in business law or commercial litigation as opposed to the areas of the law (ie as opposed to personal injury or something like that)"
  • "Let members *choose* which free CLE credits to take. It's not a valuable service if I have to sit through something not relevant to my practice"
  • "Unless I have missed something, the free CLEs are too limited (topic, availability). You may have a better response by offering at least one of them as the member's choice, and if the user has a good experience, will be more apt to sign up (and pay) for the next Bar CLE"
  • "More options for free CLEs"
  • "More 'advanced' CLE courses"
  • "Provide free (or nearly so) CDs of CLE programs for those of us who cannot attend in person"
  • "Permit members to choose their own 6 free CLE credits"
  • "More live CLE opportunities would certainly be beneficial – especially ethics related"
  • "Provide more CLE programs"

MEMBERSHIP

Membership dues rate:

  • "Income-based membership dues"
  • "The membership fees are very expensive for solo and small practitioners. Perhaps there should be a sliding scale that reflects the number of members in firm instead of years in practice"
  • "Reduce dues"
  • "Perhaps offer lower rates for younger attorneys for a longer period of time given the market and difficulty for younger attorneys for find employment"
  • "Membership fee specials for govt-employed attorneys"
  • "Lower the cost of membership. Not all attorneys get it paid by their employers"
  • "Make membership fees more affordable for government lawyers who are paid only by a fraction of a first year associate's salary"

Discounts and membership perks:

  • "Promote discounted products and insurance"
  • "I wish I was more informed about the discounts available"
  • "Create a larger discount for Bar Members, especially for CLE's"
  • "Steeper discounts for younger or solo attorneys"
  • "Parking/Uber discounts"
  • "Give government lawyers a larger discount because many benefits don't apply to us"
  • "Discounts for members of affinity bars"
  • "For small firms (like mine), offer meeting space for occasional client meetings for a small fee"
  • "So far, I have not found the discounts useful. I find the car rental prices high than what I can get other ways"

Insurance:

  • "Better dental insurance Vendor resources for attorneys"
  • "Better insurance plans! Attorneys who are sole practitioners or in small firms need insurance plans"

EVENTS & PROGRAMMING

Topic & theme suggestions and improvements:

  • "Career and professional development opportunities, including programs and coaching"
  • "Continue to hold forums that discuss issues of timely significance (e.g., sugar tax, judicial retirement age) but that also address issues of social justice (e.g., Black Lives Matter)"
  • "Have better events for young people"
  • "The Philadelphia Bar Association should host more community forums in the neighborhoods"
  • "Provide leadership training for young lawyers"
  • "A mentor program"
  • "More informational seminars for young lawyers and practice area specific (with or without CLE Credit)"
  • "More community outreach program involving bar members"
  • "Think of a nice name for the experienced/middle-age group and try to run more programs for this group. Feels like a lot of programs are more entry level"
  • "Have programs directed to senior and retired lawyers, including pro bono opportunities"
  • "Have more events that don't involve judges and attorneys sitting at a desk talking at those in the audience"
  • "Focusing on programming that help attorney have better career opportunities and how to have a fulfilling legal career both emotionally and financially"
  • "Host more strictly social functions"
  • "Have events to allow friendships between attorneys"
  • "I would like a lot more assistance with law practice management, such as how to charge and bill for services. There are many of us, myself included, who because of the economy, have been forced to open out own solo practices. However, many of us are also recent graduate of law school and so we do how have a lot of experience with law practice management. I have spent hours and hours trying to get a billing system set up that works for my tech-averse cash-preferred client base, and I have had many questions on how to bill them with nowhere to turn. I would also love a new member mentorship program. Thank you for asking!"
  • "I would like more support with practice management issues: the business side of running a small practice"
  • "It seems like a very insular community. I am an assistant ADA and there does not seem to be a lot of programming for me&hellp;"
  • "Reduce the emphasis on social activism and the liberal agenda. Remember that although we are a profession we also practice a craft. I am more interested in having the Association help me improve my skills and raising the standard of professionalism than in social and political causes. I know what the causes are and I can pursue them somewhere if I am interested. I don't look to my Bar Association for that"

Timing:

  • "Provide more CLE and networking opportunities outside of the 9am-6pm, Mon-Thurs hours"
  • "Have more options for events, CLEs, and meetings after 5pm so it's more convenient to attend afterwork"

Networking Opportunities:

  • "Provide more opportunities to meet peers"
  • "Provide more opportunities for socializing with fellow attorneys"
  • "Offer more opportunities for targeted networking between related practice areas"
  • "More networking of young lawyers with more experienced lawyers"
  • "More networking events for young lawyers looking for jobs with established lawyers"
  • "More free networking events"
  • "Increase networking opportunities with lawyers in my practice areas"
  • "Networking with attorneys, judges and potential clients, and be more out there with the community"
  • "Add more networking events involving the whole organization"
  • "I think it would be great to have a program geared towards attorneys in between young lawyers and those out 25 years+ or the "more seasoned" attorneys/judges"
  • "I no longer practice in Philadelphia but continuing to offer networking opportunities and growth for young lawyers is critical"
  • "Introduce lawyers to, and help lawyers develop relationships with, in-house lawyers and business people who are in positions to send them business"

Committees:

  • "Committees should meet more regularly"
  • "I am a paralegal member – which wasn't an option on the first question. The Philadelphia Paralegal's Assoc. offers a joint membership with the Phila Bar and the Phila Paralegals. A Paralegal committee would be wonderful. More CLE's geared to us and how we could assist our attorneys would be wonderful"
  • "Monthly committee meetings with agendas in advance and minutes after"
  • "Offer strong substantive committees. The active State and Local Tax Committee is the reason for my long term membership"
  • "Reactivate Prof Responsibility Committee"

Other:

  • "Lower the charge for the Bench/Bar Conference; more it closer to Philadelphia, preferably in Pennsylvania to help the local economy…"

CULTURE

Inclusion:

  • "Be more inclusive – it has a very "clickish" feeling that many attorneys are turned away by. Stress the importance of staff to provide customer service to all members of the Association, not just a select few"
  • "Encourage the leaders of the various groups to be more inclusive. In every group I'm in, I feel like an outsider because most people interact with the people they know by name and leave others to their own devices"
  • "Encourage more interaction between members of the bench and the bar"
  • "Be more welcoming"

Personal values:

  • "Consider and set out points of individuals who are more conservative in their views. This is a very liberal organization which does NOT reflect the opinions of all of its members"
  • "It should not be assumed that everyone works for a firm, cares about the needs of private clients (especially big corporations), or has access to (or interest in) the perks of firm practice. Not everyone is concerned about law-firm-related issues, which seem to be what the Bar Association routinely stresses."
  • "Allow retired lawyers to do something of use rather that consigning us to the ashcan"

Leadership:

  • "Clean the house and add new people to the Bar Leadership. Maybe this would increase interest of bar as a whole"
  • "Become relevant again. Have better leaders. Attract a more diverse group of lawyers to events rather than the same group of less than stellar practitioners"
  • "Run honest elections for Bd of Gov that is in compliance with resolutions i.e. no block voting"
  • "Staff seems miserable at events, Bar Association has become so irrelevant. People who lead seem disconnected"

Diversity:

  • "Continue efforts to increase diversity in the PBA"
  • "Come up with best practices for law firms and companies to more equally retain, pay, and promote women and minorities in the legal profession"

Other:

  • "Facilitate more progress on communicating norms and stand of practice, especially for young members"
  • "I know that the Association is already involved in "access to justice" issues, but I would like to see that involvement grow and become more visable"

OTHER

Publications:

  • "Allow viewpoints that are not politically correct in your publications and presentations"
  • "Draw on a wider audience by asking non bar leaders to write pieces"
  • "Drop the publication. It offers no value, its articles are meaningless and it's purpose seems to have devolved into a self-congratulatory member lists"
  • "Include information on state, national and international legal matters that might be of interest to Bar members in publications"
  • "Increase utilization of paralegals to write articles for the Bar Association publications and include paralegals in discussions regarding limited nonlawyer practice, pursuant to the resolution passed by the Bar. The first question of this survey didn't even have a classification of membership as a paralegal"
  • "Provide more practice tips in free presentations (such as at committee or section meetings) and in publications"
  • "Improve the quality of the Philadelphia Lawyer publication"

Miscellaneous:

  • "Help to get law firms to financially and otherwise support non-profit organizations"
  • "Help lawyers obtain employment opportunities. Change the "culture" of lawyering. Improve the image of lawyers"
  • "Help less fortunate lawyers in their practices. Years ago newer lawyers were given court appointments, masterships and otherwise helped financially. Perhaps programs to help setup practices, get business, mentors. The Bar Assoc. is eager to help those who are not lawyers. How about helping those lawyers who are struggling?"
  • "Improve and strengthen screening program for prospective judges"
  • "Include a portal to the ABA"
  • "Include associate members who have offices outside the give county region to be in the directory"
  • "Incorporate members of the YLD in voter registration and Election Day activities; more aggressively publicize the work/recommendations of the Comm. On Judicial Selection and Retention"
  • "Maybe start a retirees section"
  • "Membership Directory Do more to promote/support smaller firms"
  • "Reduce the number of awards given to each other"
  • "Reduce the amount of e-mails they send – I barley read them now because so many are sent"
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