The model of the national professional trade association will have to change. Or become a total anachronism.
The old model represented us before the Internet, before the marketplace became fragmented with so many smaller firms and specialized boutiques, and before we got savvy in networking. Today, many of us ask: What's in it for us to pay the membership and attend meetings. The answer increasingly is: Not enough.
I no longer am a member of the two leading trade associations in my field - The International Association of Business Communications and The Public Relations Society of America. With digital tools, I can be my own lobbyist, develop business for my boutique, network globally, and access the latest in communications thinking.
Currently, the ABA now only represents less than half of U.S. lawyers. Of course it recognizes that''s a problem. In THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL, Lynne Marek reports incoming ABA President Carolyn Lamm is addressing the issue at the annual meeting. There will a talk by ABA's marketing consultant Leo Burnett Company.
This will be a fascinating issue to follow: Why are fewer lawyers joining the ABA and can the ABA make itself a must-join again.