State Bar Matters

constitutionThe state bar is at its heart a trade organization for attorneys. They are able to stand up and speak out on issues that matter to attorneys, their practice and their clients. In a recent “casual conversation” with attorney Tom Prol who is the President Elect for the New Jersey State Bar Association, I was given an inside look at some of the duties and responsibilities of the officers of the bar association.

One of the main jobs of officers is to defend the constitution. They are available to offer counsel, wisdom and guidance, with a collective wisdom and knowledge that’s massive.

Additionally, they are very involved in court matters where necessary, on a host of issues. Particularly, where there’s a constitutional issues being addressed by the legislature or the courts, the State Bar tries to jump in and offer their guidance on those types of issues, because of the deep bench of experience among its members.

Another aspect of its officers is to simply be a steward of the organization  by helping attorneys advocate for their clients.  Attorneys who really lead the charge in making the world a better place; they have a reason and a passion and to ignite that, to help them do what they need to do, is an officers role.

The bar association also looks to cultivate new leaders, with particular attention on diversity matters and making sure that the bar going forward is reflective of the rich tapestry of people that make up society, and make up the bar. It is also important for officers to activate the process of having senior leaders of the bar interacting with younger attorneys to help them become the best they can be.

This would be one of the request I would like to see in the bar association.  I have personally noticed over the last ten years or so what used to be cases, or settlements that could be made with a handshake or an agreement could be worked out. I notice a lot of the younger attorneys in particular, are becoming very adversarial and I guess it could be a combination of it’s a different generation, and they have a different mindset. Or it could be the competitive nature that there are so many attorneys now and the job market does get a little bit tight. But I think that that outreach to younger attorneys is a very important thing to do, to let them know, ‘Hey we’re here for you, there’s no such thing as a dumb question, just a question not asked.’

Misconceptions About Attorneys

Tom believes that people sometimes perceive that attorneys are out for their own, they’re only looking to make a buck, and sort of work over a client. This is not the norm; there’s one or two out there, but as Tom shared, he finds that attorneys in general are passionate about helping their clients, about advocating for them, about getting them over the goal line where they want to be.  Good attorneys who are helping someone achieve a success or make a decision that’s going to change the trajectory of their life, that is what is important to them.  Attorneys like Tom do such fundamental important work for our democracy, that they help our society become and achieve a more perfect union, that’s in our Constitution. “Attorneys really pursue this mostly for the passion of helping people, of advocating, and I’m very proud to be a lawyer.”

Find out more about Thomas Prol by visiting his website


This is a transcript of a recorded live presentation. It is in spoken-word format. While we have cleaned up the transcript a bit for easier reading, it’s not in edited written-word format. 


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