The UB Law Alumni Association is making life a little easier for your mail carrier—but it’s making a guest appearance in your email.
For the first time, says Ilene Fleischmann, vice dean for alumni and executive director of the association, the LAA is moving its dues system entirely online. No more paper invoices. Members will receive email reminders to bring their dues current, using a secure online payment portal.
It’s part of a new effort to make membership in the law school’s alumni group easier, and to draw new members into the family. That effort includes outreach by association’s leadership, who will be contacting their classmates directly, as well as a planned online survey later this year.
“The Law Alumni Association provides a wide range of benefits to its members, and if you have more members, you can provide more benefits,” says Frank Ewing ’12, who chairs the group’s membership committee. “With CLEs and networking and social interaction, there are a host of benefits that make an immediate impact on our alumni. It’s our job to spread the message and make sure everyone understands the benefits that come with membership.”
The planned survey, he says, will seek “to understand why folks are engaged and why they’re members, and why people might hesitate to join as well. Communication is very much a two-way street, and if we’re not meeting the particular needs of our market, maybe there are things we can do better.”
Anne Joynt ’05, Law Alumni Association president, notes that the group serves all the law school’s graduates. “We represent all our alumni, whether they pay dues or not,” she says. “That kind of inclusivity is expensive. Not only are we providing discounted CLEs and other programs to our alumni for free, but our main goal is also to support the law school and its students—acknowledging, embracing and forwarding that community.
“We try to support our students and offer networking opportunities for both students and alumni. We need our alums to step up and show we are appreciative for what the law school has done for us. Our time in law school was transformative. To hop online and pay a relatively nominal fee in appreciation—that’s a very sound investment.”
And an affordable one. Members who graduated prior to 2016 pay $75 a year in dues; more recent graduates are eligible for a discount. To make it simple, 120 alumni have chosen to become life members for a one-time fee of $1,200. (“Never pay dues again!” the website promises.)
Member benefits range widely. The Law Alumni Association provides multiple opportunities for continuing legal education on timely topics; since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has produced 15 CLE sessions on related issues, delivered online. Many members find their access to Hein Online a major benefit; many grow personally and professionally through the association’s networking and social events.
But Fleischmann stresses that the group is about more than self-interest. “It’s really important that we take care of our students,” she says. That includes providing scholarship assistance and a highly successful mentoring program in which every entering law student is matched with an alumni mentor, drawn from across the country. “This is important to the law school, and it’s one of our most successful programs,” Fleischmann says.