I Checked All 3 Boxes on My Online ISBA Membership Renewal

An eye-catching Indiana State Bar Association email occupied my inbox for a few weeks. I normally file email messages in my practice management system after I have read them to keep my inbox contents more manageable. In this case, I was inspired to keep the email in my inbox to avoid the consequence of ignoring this message,

Your membership with the Indiana State Bar Association is going to expire on 6/30/2015 12:00:00 AM.”

Can you imagine the embarrassment of the ISBA president losing membership for dues nonpayment? Ponder that for a moment while I explain the backstory behind the ISBA’s new website technology.

The ISBA is embracing technology just as most of our law firms are upgrading systems to serve clients more effectively and cut costs. The ISBA website features data integration that should appeal to any entrepreneurially minded member such as:

  • Online dues payment capability
  • Regularly updated calendar of events
  • Online CLE program registration
  • Public membership profile that each member can use to display a professional profile photograph and biographical information to the public
  • Private membership profile that members can update 24/7 and use to find and communicate with other members without requiring staff support
  • A rich private profile hyperlink structure that enables each member to connect quickly with ISBA resources, including committees, sections, and discussion forums
  • Discussion forums that section and committee members can use to communicate with each other about practice questions and issues
  • A website search engine (in the top right corner of the website) that allows members to connect with almost every available membership resource

You can update your MyISBA profile today at www.inbar.org to make sure we have your current email address (Note: As a member, your online profile has already been created for you). If you haven’t signed in to the new ISBA website yet, here’s what you need: Username: (your ISBA membership #); Password: inbar1896. Once you have signed in, you can update your contact information (to include your preferred email address), access member-exclusive pricing for CLE programs, utilize online discussion forums and more. ISBA members should update their profiles from time to time as their contact and biographical information changes.

The ISBA has begun invoicing membership dues electronically for 2015-2016. With the ISBA’s new website and membership database, dues notices and reminders are automatically sent to members’ email addresses. Members can also print their membership cards instantly! Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to pay dues online (to include how to print an invoice).

That brings me back to that intense email message about my membership expiration. I clicked on the www.inbar.org web link and signed into my membership profile (I bookmarked my profile and let my browser save the password to simplify subsequent logins). There on prominent display was a reminder to renew my membership online. When I clicked on the membership renewal link, it opened my profile and allowed me to update my profile information. All of my section memberships appeared on the profile with options to add new section memberships.

Just before I finished my membership renewal, I took 3 important steps that all ISBA members should consider carefully:

  1. I opted to contribute to the Indiana Bar Foundation by checking that box (on the old paper membership renewal forms, this contribution was already written in to the dues budget and members had to opt out of the contribution). The contribution value is relatively small, but the Indiana Bar Foundation counts on ISBA members to help support the Foundation’s mission.
  2. I checked the box to contribute to Barpac, a fund that helps ISBA leaders promote legislation on behalf of ISBA members. For example, a service taxation proposal rears its ugly head in almost every Indiana legislative session (for one of the most recent arguments promoting a service tax, see the article published on March 18, 2015, by IU Bloomington SPEA Chancellor’s Professor John L. Mikesell), and the ISBA leadership has always argued successfully against it.
  3. I also checked the box to become an ISBA sustaining member because I want my association to thrive as my association membership has contributed to my career. Specifically, even after opting into all 3 optional payments in addition to my annual membership and section dues, I still receive a net financial gain because my automatic ISBA membership subscription to the Casemaker research system has saved my law firm thousands of dollars per year in legal research costs.

ISBA membership is a bargain that I cannot afford to lose. Therefore, I renewed my membership online, I checked all 3 opt-in boxes, and I received a new message that says, “Your membership will now expire on: 7/1/2016.” That message is erroneous, however, because there is no way that I will let my ISBA membership expire. Run your own numbers and you will find that you cannot afford to let your membership expire either. Renew today and check the boxes.

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