I just received my state and local bar membership dues invoice, and I’m staring at the $528 price tag wondering whether I ought to renew.

I used to renew mainly because the bar-sponsored Fastcase membership paid for itself. But I’m doing transactional work, now, and rarely need to look up case law.

I’ve been involved with several bar sections and committees over the years, but I’m not sure they have delivered much benefit to me, to the profession, or to the public. Networking is always one of the justifications that I hear about, but most of the committees I have been involved with been poorly attended — although, in fairness, those who have attended have been worth knowing.

So I’m pretty sure bar membership is not something I need, at least not at this point in my career. The $528 itself isn’t a big deal (although my wife might disagree). I’m just not sure I’m getting anything for it.

On the other hand, I feel like there must be some benefit to bar membership that I am overlooking. Maybe it’s just a sense of obligation I can’t shake. Maybe I just need to join more committees.

Are you a dues-paying member of your state or local bar association? Why or why not?

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