Frequently Asked Questions
Why Pakistan Lawyers Association?
At the end of the day it’s the law that creates a society. Pakistan is a large country with over 200 million people living in a diverse culture with many religions, languages, customs and practices. For us to live together as a society, we must have a very strong law and order system.
For us to become a successful society where everyone is literate, no one is poor, businesses prosper, Governments function, there must be fairness, equality, and speedy justice for all. Law is the neutralizing force. Enforced law unclogs the arteries of commerce. Law allows entrepreneurs to take risks because at the end of the day they will be treated fairly. Laws followed allows the poor and unfortunate to become human beings. Law allows all 200 million people of Pakistan to take care of their lives and become the caretakers to look after their society and surroundings and ultimately their country. It is law that keeps the branches of the government in check and functioning optimally.
Since law plays such an important role in our society, it is equally important that Pakistan’s lawyers have an organization that unifies them and provides a platform in every city where the members can network, exchange ideas, get a job or to hire someone, learn and teach, learn ways to create more wealth, and have a lot more fun in life.
How is PLA organized?
PLA is a society in Pakistan and has a professional board with a president, president-elect and many other board members. Each chapter of PLA has its own board, with a president, a president-elect and a dozen board members.
The lawyer members of PLA live by a shared values and beliefs as follows:
- Taking care of their clients is the first duty.
- Honesty and integrity before anything else. PLA members maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct and encourage other lawyers to do the same.
- Honest and transparent billing and charges to clients, with fee agreements in writing.
- Act pleasant and dignified, and refrain from all illegal and morally reprehensible conduct.
- Be respectful to judges, the courts, opposing counsel, and opposing parties. Every person should be treated with respect and dignity.
- Settling legal disputes as much as possible by using alternative dispute resolution methods before seeking the intervention of courts and clogging the Pakistani court system even more.
- Dedicating their life to learning and uplifting the profession of law
- Committing to a life of giving and sharing. To whom much is given much is expected in return.
- Rendering required legal services to those who cannot afford to pay.
What is the role of a Chapter President?
The PLA president’s term is of a short tenure. One year as president-elect and one year as president. The presidents come in and give their 110%, and step aside and make room for others to carry the torch. The president is responsible for overall supervision and control of all functions of the Chapter and ensure that the Chapter stays very active. One of the prized jobs in a nonprofit is that of a past president as they remain ambassadors of PLA and can do as much or as little as they want. A sign of a good organization is when all the past presidents are involved to ensure the continued success of the organization that they love.
The president leads the board which includes a president-elect, a secretary, treasurer, and a vice president for each one of the functions of PLA.
Throughout the year the various committees of each PLA chapter and PLA National function independently and focus on the substantive practice areas and carry on the mission of PLA.
The committees allow lawyers from each city that have common interest to work together to exchange ideas, to benefit from each other’s experiences, and enjoy the social and professional exchange.
The committees are self-governing autonomous bodies and decide their own rules, procedures, and methods of communication. They also learn from the procedures laid out by the committees of other PLA Chapters.
PLA Board Members
In PLA and its chapters, we get true professionals who want to help the legal profession of Pakistan. We need to uplift the image of lawyers, we want it to be a profession that youngsters want to join. We want it to be a profession of high ethics and morals. A profession that helps the society and upliftment of the country. PLA leaders are givers and donate their time and money to make the legal community of their city stronger. Anyone can apply and get on the board of the PLA Chapters. Best way to get on the board is to first give to the chapter: volunteer and help the chapter with raising money, finding speakers, arranging events, mentoring youngsters, doing pro bono work, and serving on the committees of the chapter.
PLA is a professional body representing the lawyers of Pakistan and is run in a professional manner with absolute integrity and honesty. PLA leadership reflects the mature character of PLA. Our leaders are good lawyers that care immensely for the legal profession in Pakistan. Our leaders believe in giving and contributing back to the society.
What kind of support can young lawyers get from PLA?
The younger members of the profession are huge fans of PLA because it is the only place in their city where they can rub shoulders with senior members of their profession. At PLA they can find mentors, get suggestions, learn from others who have blazed the trail before them, and find full time work or temporary assignments. They can find others to start their practice with. They can find motivation, and secrets of the trade.
PLA will work with the universities and law schools to coordinate mentoring of students. PLA will also work with law schools and help their students find internships. PLA also welcomes interns and young lawyers to participate in PLA on a volunteer basis.
How often will the Chapters meet?
The Chapters have full freedom to schedule their meetings as often as they would like. The only thing that PLA National requests of its chapters is that they must meet on the third Thursday of every month no matter what. Whether it’s three lawyers meeting or 300, whether it is at a hotel or restaurant or in the park or someone’s home or office, but a meeting must happen. Monthly meeting keeps the oxygen flowing for the organization and the most beautiful thing is that the lawyers of Pakistan know that on the third Thursday of every month at 6 PM in their city, a party will go on no matter what.
PLA Chapters do many more events besides monthly meetings. PLA Chapters capitalize on every opportunity to hold a meeting. The committees of the PLA chapters hold their own meetings. Some PLA Chapters do one-day conferences every quarter and annually.
One of the ways some nonprofit organizations become ultra-successful is that they do their monthly events on a fixed schedule. The success comes from the fact that the organizations that don’t do their meetings on a planned basis end up having a meeting to just decide when, where and how to do the next event, and then end up doing only two or three events a year with low attendance.
With PLA, we will do an event on the third Thursday of every month at 6 PM for the next 100 years. Every lawyer in Pakistan can put this monthly event on their calendar forever.
Third Thursday of Every Month
Business networking events are best done on weekdays and not weekends. Then it is the experience of most business organizations that the event not be done on Mondays and Fridays. Mondays because it’s a busy working day and Fridays because people start to have social commitments with their significant others and families.
That leaves us with Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. It’s our experience that Thursday is the best because people are generally already getting into the mode of a weekend and so the Thursday evenings are generally more pleasant and fun. The time of 6 PM was chosen because there are some people that would rather come early evening and be done before late evening and get home at a time that’s close to the time they generally get home. And those that want to come late can come later, and the meeting would still be going on.
PLA Membership Dues
PLA is a membership organization and each Chapter will decide its membership dues.
Ultimately, most PLA Chapters should have a membership fee. Each PLA Chapter needs to figure out what works for them because every city in Pakistan is so different. So, feel free to experiment, ask lawyers in your city, ask your board, and try a few different things.
To begin with maybe take it easy, and build up a database of a few lawyers, and maybe do the first year at no charge, or keep a reduced fee.
A lot of lawyers’ associations also have a lifetime fee. One flat amount and no more billing. Some have 2-year, 5-year fixed rates.
There are some arguments in favor of not having any membership dues in this new world. Some associations complain that the amount of money they collect on membership is not worth the effort it takes to have a membership fee, and then to invoice members, collect, process and to remind members to pay the invoices every year.
Also, the issue is that whenever the lawyers’ associations do an event, only 2-3-4-5% of the membership shows up. And if the membership is not large, then the events are not well attended, and if the events are not well attended, then the speakers are not happy. So, to drive attendance, have no membership fee; every lawyer in the city is a member by default; invite everyone and then make each event financially self-sustaining.
The PLA and its chapters will generate their revenue from membership dues, advertisements on their website, national sponsors, local sponsors, and monthly-quarterly-annual events, sponsorships of events, and the annual convention.
At times life is unfair, and bad things happen to everyone. The rich have access to law, lawyers, and the court system. The poor and illiterate do not even know about the protections of law, let alone have access to lawyers and the court system.
PLA changes all of this. All PLA Chapters have a pro bono division which informs the people of their city about the various laws and the protection the laws offer. And, each Chapter has an army of lawyers who are committed to make their city the best in the country by providing access to law to the poor and the unfortunate. Anyone who cannot afford a lawyer will be provided a lawyer through their local PLA chapter. We are extremely grateful to the hundreds of lawyers who have decided to donate and devote a part of their life to help the unfortunate members of their society.
PLA and Professional Development
The local chapters of PLA provide many continuing education opportunities. They do monthly, quarterly, and annual seminars providing learning in every area of law. Experienced lawyers, judges, motivational speakers, and guest speakers speak on a variety of topics related to every aspect of business.