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By Francine Bailey
This year the ABA YLD’s Spring Conference was held in the U.S. Virgin Islands, on the island of St. Thomas. The conference was held jointly with the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division and The Virgin Islands Bar Association. Over the span of three days, the conference featured interesting and educational programming, excellent networking opportunities, and fun and entertaining social events. In three short days, the conference organizers packed in as much as an attendee could handle—and more.
Corporate Governance, CLEs, and the Affiliate Showcase
The conference kicked off with a morning plenary session, “Good Guys, Bad Guys, and the Corporate Governance Police: Should the Corporate Governance Movement Affect Legal Ethics?” Panelists included attorneys who practice in-house and as outside counsel. The panel discussion focused on how legal ethics impact corporate governance practices and the ethical duties attorneys face as they wear several hats within an organization.
After the plenary sessions, there were multiple classes of relevant programming—no matter an attorney’s area of practice. CLE presentations covered a wide variety of topics such as tax law, voting rights in the U.S. territories, intellectual property, criminal law, disability discrimination, and building a solo practice. Other learning opportunities included individual financial planning sessions, practical advice on starting and running your own practice, and the do’s and don’ts of international networking.
A showcase of outstanding young lawyer projects targeted affiliate leaders. The “Affiliate Showcase” is a compilation of projects for state and local affiliate organizations. It afforded affiliate leaders the chance to explore projects from across the nation and take away the tools and insider-tips on how to implement these projects back home at their own affiliates.
The Affiliate spoke to attendees about their thoughts on the event. Of the programming, conference attendees said that, overall, the conference was a success. First-time attendee, Attorney Tiffany Williams found that the conference sessions and CLEs were “practical and useful to [her] professional development.”
Fun in the Sun
No ABA YLD conference would be complete without social and networking events. This year’s Spring Conference was no different. Thursday night began with a “Welcome Reception” in a conference room overlooking the ocean. Young lawyers were able to meet and network with members of the GP, Solo and Small Firm Division, as well as leaders from each of the sponsoring entities.
On Friday night, conference participants were able to attend a Carnivale Gala, featuring a buffet and a bar overflowing with the flavors of the Caribbean. The featured entertainment included a performer who walked on broken glass barefoot, fire-breathing, and a trio of limbo dancers. The evening closed out with a conga line, led by a stilt-walker.
As all good things must, the conference came to an end on Saturday afternoon. Young lawyers had the opportunity to be sworn in to practice before the Supreme Court, as well as learn more about becoming an ABA author. Finally, the GP Solo Division raised funds for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Virgin Islands through the GP Solo Beach Olympics. The short three days included something for everyone, ranging from CLEs, individual education, social and professional networking, and public service.