Scientists at the University of London concluded last year “that the key to happiness is having low expectations.”
But did it really take scientists to reach that conclusion? Among others, the late novelist Olivia Goldsmith previously cornered the sentiment when she wrote, “The secret to true happiness is a combination of low expectations and insensitivity.”
Nonetheless, such aphorisms are helpful particularly for State Bar of Arizona members managing their low expectation happiness with their mandatory membership Bar.
Indeed, when mentoring law students and especially new lawyers, my oft-used lawyer happiness advice remains, “Remember, the State Bar is not your friend.” How else to interpret the Bar’s chest-pounding proclamations that its primary mission is to protect the public from its members?
Low-value smiley-face offers.
But thanks to successive blast emails the past weeks announcing new member ‘benefits,’ Arizona lawyers continue confounded. When it’s not acting like the guardian of the public weal, the Bar plays at being a professional association pretending to represent and advance the interests of Arizona lawyers.
Just the same, the Bar’s latest emails announce commercial discounts that barely trip the excitement meter with conventional discounts off products or services.
Although addressed from the Bar’s well-paid CEO, they’re undoubtedly creatures of low-level administrative staff and pitch stuff like insurance; share filing software; and most recently, virtual receptionist services. Each email was trapped by my spam filter and relegated to the junk folder. But that’s not to say the low-value affinity marketing discounts weren’t bereft of low expectations.
Little or no value to members.
Its own member surveys continually affirm most Bar members find these commercial offers wanting. In fact, the latest Arizona Bar member survey results announced last November are consistent. As many as 75% of respondents regard the Bar’s member discounts as having little or no value.
Car rental and office supply discounts or reduced prices on overpriced hotels? Most impressive — said no one, ever.
And even when the discounts involve law-related products and services, they aren’t singularly exclusive to a compelled membership association. Virtually all voluntary, optional-membership state bar associations offer similar commercial discount ‘benefits.’ See, for instance, the long list of “Member Benefits” provided by the voluntary membership Iowa State Bar Association.
Sadly, cutting bar dues or offering free continuing legal education didn’t pass the membership benefit threshold. That’s totally understandable — not when the Arizona Bar can instead tilt our excitement meters with 5% discounts on long-term care insurance.
Truly the negotiations to wrest the tremendous discounts from the grip of marketers must have been mano a mano.
Not since its lame “finish the ballot” contest (without as far as I know, bothering to announce a winner) has the Arizona Bar stirred so many spittoons of salivated anticipation.
Still the State Bar of Arizona persists in acting like a munificent professional association with ever more ‘partnered’ commercial discounts that members didn’t ask for and don’t want. Then again it wouldn’t surprise if the Bar’s stubborn ceaselessness in the face of overwhelming member disinterest stems from self-interested economic incentives extended by its new ‘partners.’ Then again, I could be wrong. It might all be for the sake of benevolent appearances — said no one, ever.
Photo Credits: “Portrait of the Artist Looking Unimpressed” by Madison Scott-Clary at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution;”Dog played with his dog food,” by BuzzFarmers at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution; “Unimpressed” by Kirk Strauser at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution; “pfft!” by mat Walker at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution; Chicago courtroom scene with spittoon at Wikimedia Commons, public domain.