I often tell lawyers that it is a great idea to join organizations and be active in your community. These activities can help you build your reputation and build your law practice. But I also caution them that they should not join organizations for the purpose of marketing their law practice. If you are committed to a cause or activity, the time invested is fun and beneficial. If you are just in the group to sell yourself, it becomes obvious to everyone much sooner than you might think. Lawyers tend to be busy people. So if you are not really committed, it can be easier to let a project or deadline slide. The last thing you would want is to invest your time in an organization and then for people in that organization to tell others that you did not get your assignments done. Demonstrating competency and helping with a worthy project will bring benefits to you. It is better never to have participated than to leave a bad impression.
I was reminded of this principle as I read a recent blog post by Rick Horowitz titled The Patch. This is not a marketing concept that most readers will specifically follow. Rick is a motorcycle rider. He's not a member of a motorcycle club, but as you see from his post, he knows a lot about the culture of motorcycle clubs. He participates in charity "poker runs," and when others learn he is a criminal defense lawyer, he is sometimes asked for business cards. He details how he decided to create a patch that would promote his practice when he was riding with groups. Of interest to me was his lawyer's attention to detail as he determined his plan. (And some of the considerations were quite serious!)
The point of this post is not to convince you to buy that shiny new motorcycle you have been lusting for. The point is for you to think about what is meaningful to you. For Rick, it is motorcycles. For you, it may be water gardening. There may be a service opportunity out there that will let you work on something you enjoy and also allow a whole new group of people to learn who you are and how competent you are. Thanks to Rick for sharing his "Patch" story with the rest of us.