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How to get the most out of your TIPS membership

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How to get the most out of your TIPS membership

The Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) offers a variety of opportunities for you to get involved and to meet and work side-by-side with some of the best tort, trial and insurance lawyers in the country.  The TIPS Standing Committee on Outreach to Law Students (SCOLS) provides leadership and publishing opportunities and  conducts workshops focusing on developing your professional skills.  Your involvement with TIPS will help you gain exposure to the actual practice of law and enhance your career opportunities, so I wanted to offer a few helpful hints on how you might make the most of your TIPS membership.

Join our General Committees

The best way to get involved in TIPS is to join any of our general committees.  TIPS has over 30, each focused on an area of practice, ranging from Admiralty Law to Workers Compensation and Employers Liability. Glance through the list and select a couple that interest you.

In fact, I specifically joined TIPS for the purpose of being involved in the only national bar committee of lawyers focused on animal law, and it has been a very rewarding and educational experience.

The general committees publish newsletters that provide you access to substantive issues of interest and also an opportunity to publish. Writing a short article for a general committee newsletter develops your research and writing skills, gives you something of interest to discuss in interviews with prospective employers, and demonstrates to employers that you are motivated and productive.

In addition, many committees meet regularly via teleconference and address both business and substantive issues of interest to their members.  It is the best way to engage with lawyers doing the work that you may eventually want to do and will help open doors to potential job opportunities.  For the list of general committees, see the TIPS site.

Become a TIPS Student Leader

The Standing Committee on Outreach to Law Students (SCOLS) provides programming designed to meet your needs and opportunities to become a student leader in TIPS. SCOLS sponsors liaison and vice-chair programs providing students with an opportunity to take on leadership roles in the TIPS general and standing committees.  For more information, see our application form.

Win money, get published

SCOLS hosts an annual writing competition providing an opportunity for publication in the TIPS Journal a $1,500 cash prize and a free trip to the ABA annual meeting, which includes hotel and airfare. This page has information about the competition.

Come on out and attend a meeting

TIPS meets quarterly throughout the year.  Attending TIPS meetings is the best way to meet practicing lawyers and enhance employment prospects!  Although the large majority of TIPS student members told us that they joined TIPS to “network with practicing lawyers to enhance employment prospects,”  only 5% had attended a TIPS meeting in the past 2 years. When asked why, they reported: lack of knowledge of the meetings, travel costs, not knowing someone in TIPS, or lack of time.

I can help you remedy at least 3 of these!

First, you can find all meetings and other programming offered by TIPS easily here.

Second, TIPS has a scholarship fund for TIPS members that provides reimbursement to help offset travel costs to our meetings.

Third, although we have not met in person you now “know” ME (and I would love to meet you in person)!  And guess what – if you come to a meeting you will meet a bunch of other folks and have a great time.

Finally, as to time … I know that you are very busy, but I have found that the more I do, the more efficient I become. Moreover, the time spent getting active in TIPS and attending a meeting is valuable to your professional development and well worth the investment.   TIPS members are welcoming, fun-loving people, so please come join us.

For more information on these various opportunities, please visit: apps.americanbar.org/dch….

I look forward to meeting you at an upcoming TIPS meeting!

Joan Schaffner Joan Schaffner is a professor at the George Washington University Law School where she teaches civil procedure, sexuality and the law, and remedies and directs the animal law program. Joan has been a member of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section since 2005 and has served as chair of the Animal Law Committee and co-chair of the Standing Committee on Law Students. She currently serves on TIPS Council.