Compiled by Rachel E. Kopp
Rachel E. Kopp is the Editor of The Affiliate and practices in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office of Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P. C.
As the bar year kicks into high gear, affiliates are reaching out in their communities, giving back during the holiday season, and generally doing great things across their states.
The Illinois State Bar Association YLD (ISBA) continues to sponsor its “Lunch with a Judge” program. This program is provided for free to ISBA members who bring a sack lunch. The Lunch features guest judges who present on different law topics, courtroom etiquette, pet peeves that judges see with young lawyers, and related issues.
Once a month, the Hennepin County Bar Association New Lawyers Section ( Minnesota) also hosts a similar program called “Recess with Judges,” in which a judge talks about various topics in the practice of law including professionalism and motion practice.
Members of the Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association YLD ( Luzerne County, Pennsylvania) have been busy volunteering within the community. The YLD held a guest bartending event to support and raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association “Memory Walk.” In addition, YLD members volunteered at the St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre to serve some of the Soup Kitchen’s patrons. The Law & Library Association has also been volunteering at the SPCA of Luzerne County to help clean the facilities and bathe the animals housed there. Then, young lawyers took several of the animals to PetSmart to promote and encourage pet adoption.
For its public service project this year, the Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Section is developing a new project entitled “On Your Own” to educate high school students about the legal responsibilities associated with turning eighteen. The program will consist of a pamphlet and lesson plans for teachers, and KBA young lawyers plan to present the project in local schools throughout their communities. The KBA YLS also continues to implement the “Wills for Heroes” project, which it originally adopted in Kentucky two years ago. As part of its “Wills for Heroes” training, the KBA YLS conducts a CLE program to educate non-estate planning lawyers who volunteer for the project. Then, on a separate day, the affiliate holds its clinic for local first responders.
Members of the Indiana State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section recently volunteered their time to help the St. Luke’s Construction Ministry and the Second Presbyterian Church design, build, and assemble wheelchair ramps for Indianapolis families with special needs.
The 11th District Bar Association New Lawyers Section (Duluth, Minnesota) contributed their time and resources to the following community service projects last year: “Second Harvest,” which involves the collection and distribution of food for those in need; “Kids Voting,” which gives children the opportunity to “vote” and become engaged in the local political community; “Safe Haven Holiday Party,” which involved putting on a celebration at a local shelter, including putting together care packages and gifts for the shelter’s women and children; “Santa Brings a Lawsuit,” which involved collecting unwanted business attire during the holiday season and providing it to a local shelter so that people in need have professional clothing to wear to job interviews; and a discussion panel at the University of Minnesota–Duluth, in conjunction with the University’s Pre-Law Society, so that students interested in pursuing careers in the legal profession can ask new lawyers questions about their law school experiences and careers in the Duluth legal community.
Several members of the Minnesota State Bar Association New Lawyers Section donated their time to the “Spring Yard Cleanup for Seniors” program sponsored by the Hands On Twin Cities organization and the Neighborhood Involvement Program. The Cleanup provides seniors with assistance in performing various household activities so they can continue to live independently. Volunteers from the Minnesota NLS spent the morning trimming bushes, cleaning gardens, raking, and washing windows at the homes of participating seniors, who greatly appreciated the New Lawyers’ time and effort. In addition, from September through November, the Minnesota affiliate held its annual “God’s Pantry Thanksgiving Basket Drive.” Last year, the NLS collected over $10,000 from members of the local bar who donated to this wonderful cause.
The Fayette County Bar Association (FCBA) Young Lawyers Section is in the process of planning its annual pro bono bowl-a-thon. In the past, this event has raised hundreds of dollars for the local FCBA pro bono office and allows young lawyers the chance to mingle with judges and other attorneys in a fun and relaxing atmosphere.
To help out during the holiday season, young lawyers from the Sangamon County Bar Association Young Lawyers ( Illinois) supported a week of Toys for Tots and volunteered as bell ringers on behalf of the Salvation Army. The Sangamon Young Lawyers also sponsored an entire week dedicated to “Lawyers Giving Back to the Community.”
Young Lawyers Are Thriving in Illinois
Congratulations to Charles A. (Tony) Piccuta of Strellis & Field Chtd. and Carolyn E. Welch of Glenview, who won the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyer Section’s “Most Fit Young Lawyer” competition. The competition kicked off a new initiative of the CBA YLS called Life in the Balance. The initiative was conceived by YLS Chair William Oberts and is designed to help young lawyers achieve a healthy work-life balance. Each month, the CBA YLS plans to focus on a different theme of life balance and will send out helpful tips to young lawyers via e-mail. For Health Month, the YLS sponsored the “Most Fit Young Lawyer” competition and a cooking class to help lawyers cook healthier in a limited amount of time. To legitimize the competition, young lawyer participants tested themselves against a modified version of the Illinois Peace Officer Wellness Evaluation Report, the test that Illinois police academy applicants must pass. Competitors were evaluated on cardiovascular endurance (one-mile run), speed and agility (four-cone test), strength (chest press), and core strength (curl up test). Young lawyers worked with West Loop Gym, which hosted the competition, and its owner, Tim Allegretti, to benchmark contestants against each other for the competition. What a unique event—great idea, Chicago!
Nine years ago, with the help of the Illinois State Bar Foundation, the Illinois State Bar Association YLD founded the Children’s Assistance Fund, to sponsor children’s waiting rooms in courthouses throughout the state of Illinois. The waiting rooms provide an area apart from the usual business conducted in the courthouse to distract children from the often difficult reality of court activity, particularly in criminal cases involving a relative of the child. The waiting rooms are stocked with toys, televisions, DVD players, games, and movies. This year, the ISBA helped develop a DVD entitled “How to Guide to Setting up a Children’s Waiting Room,” which will be available to all counties in Illinois. The ISBA council also gives grants to various counties wanting to set up waiting rooms.
Since 2000, the ISBA YLD’s Children’s Assistance Fund has expanded its support for local children’s organizations to sponsor programs related to the law, including the Big Shoulders Fund, Horizons for Youth, Youth for Tomorrow Mentoring Program, the South Suburban Family Shelter, the West Humboldt Park Center for the Performing Arts, and the Women’s Treatment Center. To raise money for the Fund, the ISBA hosts an annual holiday party and the ISBA YLD Annual Golf Classic, which involves a fun-filled day of golf, CLE credit (“How to Build Your Client Base—Without Landing in an Ethics Sand Trap”), and silent auction. Annually, the ISBA YLD raises approximately $70,000 for the Fund.
Great Things Are Happening in Tennessee
The Tennessee Bar Association YLD (TBA YLD) has been quite active in the new bar year. It recently hosted its summer meeting to outline its agenda for the year and develop new ideas and projects for its members. The meeting held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was well attended with forty-three active board members present. The affiliate’s most ambitious project this year is to redesign and retool its CLE seminars. It has decided to reinstitute a one-day CLE program in all major cities across the state to assist young lawyers transition into the practice of law. The seminar will be titled, “The New Lawyer Experience: Bridging the Gap Between Preparation and Practice,” and will offer two tracks—litigation and entrepreneurial—for young attorneys. Senior attorneys throughout the state will provide CLE programming and share time with the new attorneys, formally welcoming them into the Tennessee Bar Association and the practice of law. The seminar will also include a writing workshop for lawyers, with a live presentation and a distance learning component through video conferencing.
In addition to this new initiative, the TBA YLD hosted trial practice seminars for young lawyers in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga in December. In March 2008, it will also hold a transactional practice seminar in Nashville with distance learning to other major outlets, and an ethics seminar is planned for May 2008. Recently, the TBA YLD also developed and implemented a mentoring program for young attorneys.
The TBA YLD continues to develop its partnership with CASA to provide assistance and resources to agencies throughout the state; the YLD presented an award to its CASA volunteer of the year at its midwinter convention in January. The affiliate also continues to produce the “Building Healthy Relationships” program for high school students throughout the state, which encourages students to become educated and make good choices regarding marriage and relationships.
While the TBA YLD’s district representatives are coordinating service projects for a public service day to be hosted in conjunction with Law Week this spring, the TBA YLD’s various committees are also busy planning programs for the YLD’s membership:
• The YLD has formed a Voter Awareness Committee that will prepare a pamphlet and CD presentation on voter’s rights to educate the public generally about the voting process. The materials will be available on the TBA YLD website and will be distributed in high schools throughout the state.
• The TBA YLD Membership Committee is working to assure that the YLD’s numbers remain strong and is currently contacting young lawyers individually across the state to urge them to renew their memberships. The Committee is also in the process of scheduling annual law student receptions at various law schools throughout the state to encourage students to participate in the bar association. In addition, the TBA YLD will host receptions and events throughout the year in each of the state’s major cities to encourage participation in the YLD. Finally, following the swearing in of new bar admittees in November, the Membership Committee conducted a membership drive for new lawyers to let them know about the benefits of joining the Tennessee Bar Association.
• The TBA YLD Disaster Relief Committee recently completed revisions to the TBA YLD’s disaster relief manual and published the updates on its website. This year, the Disaster Relief Committee is working to put together a network of contacts to ensure that the information and resources available through the disaster relief handbook can be easily distributed in the event that disaster does strike.
• The affiliate’s Mock Trial Committee is also hard at work developing this year’s mock trial problem and coordinating the statewide competition, which will take place in Nashville in March.
The Knoxville Barristers are diligently seeking out and volunteering with numerous ongoing public service and professional outreach projects, including a used cell phone drive to benefit victims of domestic violence, a clothing drive to benefit a local women’s shelter called Safe Haven, a school supplies drive to benefit Child Help, and mock job interviews at the Knox Area Rescue Ministries. In addition, the Barristers’ tireless Hunger and Poverty Relief Committee coordinates and staffs two Mobile Meals’ routes each week and coordinates and staffs one work-day per month at Knoxville’s Second Harvest Food Bank. The Volunteer Breakfast Committee prepares and serves breakfast at the Volunteer Ministry Center on the fourth Thursday of every month, and the Barristers’ Habitat for Humanity Committee volunteered for a day of roofing and preparing interior walls at a local Habitat house under construction. Upcoming projects include a coat drive and a Salvation Army Angel Tree.
To highlight the achievements and successes of your affiliate, please send updates of member service or public service projects and related pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to recognizing your projects in future editions of The Affiliate and may even use them to lay the foundation for national outreach!
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• Bert W. Levit Essay Contest submissions on lawyer professional liability due. Encourage your members to write for the contest, which features a $5,000 prize and is open to ABA YLD and LSD members. Visit www.abanet.org/legalservices/lpl/levit/levit.html for information.
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• Annual Meeting Program Proposals due. Guidelines and forms are located at www.abanet.org/yld/nosearch/ProgramProposalGuidelines.pdf.
• Application deadline for the ABA Fund for Justice and Education Legal Opportunity Scholarship. Encourage minorities in your area to attend law school by promoting the deadline. Visit www.abanet.org/fje/losfpage.html for information.
• Midyear Meeting Reimbursement forms due.
• Spring Meeting housing deadline. Visit www.abanet.org/yld/spring08 for information.
• Deadline to apply for ABA Bar Services Division Partnership Awards. The award recognizes efforts to increase the participation and advancement of lawyers of color and to attract students of color. Visit www.abanet.org/barserv/partnership.html for information.
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• Deadline for Child Advocacy Award nominations. Visit www.abanet.org/yld/awards.shtml for more information.