New Phila. Bar Executive Director Prepares for Challenges
Mark A. Tarasiewicz, who is set to succeed retiring Philadelphia Bar Association Executive Director Kenneth Shear early next year, said he is optimistic about the future of the association as he prepares to take on the challenges of his new role, which will include involving more young lawyers in the bar association and maintaining the association's prosperity in a difficult economic climate.
On January 1, 2014, Tarasiewicz is set to take the day-to-day reins of the bar association after Shear ends his 37-year run as executive director December 31.
"Ken has left an indelibly positive mark on the bar association. Under his leadership, we've grown, thrived and won regional, statewide and national recognition. Our bar remains a model for many other associations. So these are big shoes to fill," Tarasiewicz told The Legal. "But I find challenges to be very exciting. I'm going to be listening carefully and soliciting views from all quarters. The bar association has a very bright future, and looking at our leadership now and on the horizon, we have a lot to look forward to."
Tarasiewicz is currently the associate executive director of the bar association, and responsible for the organization's communications. He joined the Philadelphia Bar Association in March 1995 as senior public relations associate.
Tarasiewicz also served as senior communications manager for Dechert and is a past president and chairman of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association. He was inducted into the Philadelphia Public Relations Hall of Fame in 2012 and is a three-time recipient of the National Association of Bar Executives Luminary Award, as well as the Philadelphia Public Relations Association Fast Track Award.
In terms of bringing younger attorneys to the association, Tarasiewicz said that the organization is doing well in terms of first-year law students, but, overall, he would like to see young attorney membership go up.
"I feel that we do need to get some younger attorneys involved in the bar association at an early opportunity so they can experience all the benefits of bar membership and see how valuable bar membership can be for networking, relationship building, and career advancement," he said.
One of the ways the bar association is recruiting younger attorneys, Tarasiewicz said, is with the cooperation of two Pennsylvania law schools.
"We have two law schools, Drexel and Villanova, which have agreed to automatically enroll all of their current [law] students in the bar association," Tarasiewicz said. "I feel that's because they recognize the value of bar association memberships and how it will serve future attorneys in their careers."
In addition, Tarasiewicz said the Philadelphia bar also offers a free one-year membership to all first-year attorneys. Government and public service attorneys are also extended a free one-year membership, regardless of when they've been admitted.