By Josh McIntyre

On a chilly night in Durham last November, nearly 200 NCBA members and guests saw a side of President Kearns Davis that, until previously, only a handful of family members and the Duke football faithful might have known – that of Coach Kearns Davis.  The UNC vs. Duke football game last fall marked the first Member Event of this bar year, and as fans approached the tent, they were greeted with a slightly (25 years) younger life-size cutout of Davis from his days as an assistant Blue Devils coach in 1991. And while the archived picture was a surprise to Davis and his family, the popularity and success of this Member Event and others has come to be expected.

Since the formation of Member Events in 2015, nearly all experiences have been a sellout, including the 100 seats allotted for the Feb. 11 Charlotte Hornets vs. LA Clippers game. Member Events are designed to bring unique and high-demand educational and entertainment experiences at cost-conscious prices to NCBA members and guests. The next Member Event will be Irish I Were At March Madness! on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, when all members are invited to view the live NCAA tournament games on our new HD widescreen projector in the auditorium at the Bar Center in Cary. The event, which will include complimentary beer from Lonerider Brewing,  is free for members and guests, but registration is required.

But far beyond Member Events, it has been a busy year in the membership department.  From law school orientations to bar swearing-in ceremonies, we are partnering with schools and local bars to expand the message of member benefits and resources to our young members as they enter the legal profession.  For the first time ever, the executive and membership committee leadership and staff officially participated in six of the state’s seven law school orientation programs.  We also had representatives at all of the mass bar swearing-in ceremonies across the state, including in the mountains, Triad and Triangle areas.

And we’ve expanded our benefits that all members can enjoy. The most widely requested benefit was that of hotel savings, and, as of this summer, our partnership with Local Hospitality returns an average of 10 to 20 percent savings beyond what one can receive at publicly accessible discount websites.  Another issue facing our members is that of student debt, and our newest partner, SoFi, offers monetary incentives to members should they refinance their loans with this industry leader.

Yet even with the expansion of benefits, our recent surveys indicated that nearly 50 percent of members are unaware of these benefits. Therefore, the membership committee is exploring new ways to make access and awareness of membership benefits available, including print materials, website redesign and a potential mobile app.  So whether it’s a well-known benefit such as Fastcase legal research, CLE discounts or the NCBA Health Benefit Trust or a newer discount like special pricing on Clio, Citrix or Lenovo products, the vast majority of members will be aware of all the benefits their membership entails.

As you can tell, it’s an exciting time to be an NCBA member.  We are expanding our presence in communities and institutions across the state and increasing our responsiveness to our member needs and requests.  Your membership committee and department hope you will utilize your benefits and share your ideas for new partners and events. Visit us online at ncbar.org/members to read about all that your membership offers.