Joe Cohen

Joseph D. Cohen

If you have been to a Midyear or Annual Meeting in the past four years, you have heard me say—probably more than once—that membership is the life blood of this organization. After serving for a number of years on the Membership Committee and the past two years as the Vice-Chair, I am honored to have been appointed the Membership Committee Chair, and I am going to work hard for this organization, but our success depends upon the entirety of the organization’s membership. I want to take this opportunity to tell you why, and to tell you exactly what the Membership Committee does.

Involvement of the membership is critical. Without every member’s involvement, we cannot meet or exceed our goals. Each year the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors set goals for this Committee. The primary goal is the number of new members. For myriad reasons—most of which have nothing to do with the organization itself—IADC loses a certain number of members each year. At a bare minimum, we must not lose more members than we gain. On average, each year, we lose between 180-200 members. In order to maintain our current active membership size near the 2,200 mark, we need to make sure we gain at least as many new members. But, we also want to grow the IADC beyond the 2,200 mark, so our goal is always higher than the average loss rate. However, no matter how high the goal is set, it will never be placed ahead of the Membership Committee’s mission to ensure that we stick to our mantra: Great lawyers; no jerks. While the use of that phrase may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the Membership Committee takes it seriously, which is why many of you may have heard it before. Because of this rule, the involvement of all members is critical.

Without nominations from all of our members, we cannot continue to grow. Please, when you are done reading this, think about a great lawyer who you know. Is that lawyer someone with whom you would trust your most valued client? Is that lawyer a great person who would enrich the IADC membership? Is that lawyer someone who would enjoy being involved in the IADC? If the answers to these questions are yes, then nominate that person! Nominations are quick and easy. You can obtain the form on the website, fill it out, and email it. You can submit nominations from your phone or tablet by going to the mobile site. You can email me at or our rock-star Membership Manager, Kelsey Smith, at, and we will email you the questions that need to be answered to start the nomination process. As long as you want to nominate a great lawyer who is not a jerk, let us know, and we will help you get it done quickly and easily.

Your Membership Committee works hard for you! The Membership Committee takes its job seriously. Once a nomination is completed and has the appropriate number of sponsorships, our duty is to vet each nominee to ensure that we stay true to our goal to ensure that only the finest lawyers who will add value to the organization are admitted. Each nomination is examined critically. If one of our members thinks enough of someone to nominate him or her for membership in IADC, we want to make sure that person is given full and fair consideration for membership. We reach out to individuals in the nominee’s city and state to learn more about the nominee. We conduct searches on them to learn about their career. We look for accolades to determine whether this is indeed someone with whom we could all consider entrusting our most important client. And, yes, we look for negative information too, hoping of course that we find none, but sometimes we do. When we do, we investigate the person further to ensure that a nominee is not simply being “blackballed,” but whether the nominee truly is someone from whom we need to steer clear. Then, after the vetting, the Membership Committee meets to discuss each nominee and the recommendation of the member who vetted the nominee. As a group, we vote on each nominee and then present our recommendations to the Board for its consideration and determination of whether to offer membership. Like all of you, we want to grow the IADC while ensuring that the IADC’s standards are not compromised.

Our new year has begun. Because IADC’s fiscal year ends each year on October 31st, our new membership year begins on November 1st.  Last year, under the direction of former Membership Chair (and now, Board Member), Michael Crim, for whom I served as Vice-Chair, we exceeded our goal of 225 and hit 268. That number was a net positive addition of 69 new members. Those are outstanding numbers, and I now have big shoes to fill. The Committee is up to the challenge, but we need your help. Please think of the great lawyers you know who are great people, who would add value to the IADC, and whose lives can be enriched by this organization in the same way that yours has. Then, NOMINATE THEM! 

I thank each of you, in advance, who submits a nomination this year. We cannot do it without you.

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