Hear Ye, Hear Ye—Calling All Affiliates
By Rachel E. Kopp
Rachel E. Kopp is an assistant editor of The Affiliate and practices with the firm of Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
• Has your affiliate conducted an outstanding program this past bar year?
• Can other affiliate leaders and young lawyers benefit from the program?
• Should your affiliate be recognized for the success of its programs?
If your affiliate can answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you should make sure to submit an application for the ABA YLD’s annual Awards of Achievement Competition for the 2006–07bar year by June 8, 2007.
What Is the Awards of Achievement Program?
The Awards of Achievement program is a competition in which state and local young lawyers organizations submit their best projects to be evaluated and recognized by a jury of their peers. One of the goals of the Awards of Achievement (AOA) is to encourage project development by recognizing the time, effort, and skills necessary for young lawyer organizations to implement successful public service and bar service projects in their communities. The competition is designed to recognize affiliates’ outstanding programs and serves as a tool to encourage senior bar associations to increase their support for affiliated young lawyers divisions. It also provides a forum for ideas to be exchanged among affiliates and a way for the ABA YLD leadership to identify and reward innovative programs implemented by YLD affiliates nationwide.
In turn, affiliates benefit from applying for an Award by getting recognition from the ABA for all of their hard work. They can then bring that recognition back to their members. “When affiliates are rewarded and acknowledged, they know they are adequately servicing their members and the community. It also gives them incentive to better their programs year after year,” said Kim Jessum of Philadelphia, past chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and a former AOA judge.
The AOA competition also provides affiliates a way to compare their programs with programs generated by other affiliates. In addition, the winning projects are often highlighted at ABA YLD meetings and conferences, so other affiliates can access information about these projects and can adopt them.
Why Should Affiliates Submit Their Programs for Consideration?
According to Chuck Eppolito of Philadelphia, past chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Section and a former Awards of Achievement judge, applying for an Award of Achievement “highlights the work that your affiliate and its young lawyers are doing for the legal profession and/or their community.” The Awards of Achievement program also helps encourage project development in YLD affiliates by “providing valuable information and assistance to other affiliates as to how your project or program can be implemented elsewhere in order for others to benefit from your affiliate’s successes,” Eppolito said.
In addition, young lawyer projects that win an Award of Achievement are often recognized by the affiliates’ senior bar counterparts. “Recognition on a national level does nothing but help the reputation of the YLD within the bar association and helps propel the young lawyer leaders into leadership positions in the senior bar. It also sets goals for future YLD leadership to continue the good work or do better than the previous leadership who implemented the award-winning programs,” Jessum said. If affiliate programs are recognized by the ABA, they might also be chosen as a program to be highlighted across the country.
How Are Affiliates’ Submissions Evaluated?
When submitting an application for an Award of Achievement, affiliates should make sure to include as much detail as possible about each of their programs. Former-judge Jessum said, “Some of the important information to include is how the program benefited its target audience. Describe the successes and how individuals were impacted.”
AOA judges also consider criteria such as the well-rounded or balanced nature of the program, whether continued programs have been revised or improved from previous years, the goals and objectives for the project and the methods used to determine those needs, the number of the affiliate’s members who participated in the project, the originality or uniqueness of the activity, the amount of work put into the project, the effect of the project on affiliate members and/or the community, and whether the affiliate complied with the rules of the AOA application.
Awards are given in a wide range of categories and divisions, including awards for comprehensive programming, outstanding single project/service to the public, outstanding single project/service to the bar, and newsletter. Special recognition is also given to single projects and programs involving minority attorneys.
When Does the Awards of Achievement Evaluation Process Get Underway?
The evaluation process begins in mid-March when the Awards of Achievement application form is sent to all affiliate chairs, chairs-elect, and bar staff members. Affiliates can submit completed applications to the ABA YLD through early June, and a panel of Young Lawyers Division judges will perform the final evaluation of affiliates’ programs at the ABA’s Annual Meeting.
For more information regarding this year’s Awards of Achievement program, please contact Gwen Schoen at schoeng@staff.abanet.org . More detailed information regarding the Awards of Achievement program, a list of previous winners, and a downloadable application can also be found at www.abanet.org/yld/aoa.html . This year’s deadline is June 8, 2007.