Jill M. Kastner is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and General Counsel of Strat-O-Kastner in Glendale, Wisconsin.
What do speed mentoring, chocolates, and debates about treasurers have in common? They were all highlights of the ABA YLD Midyear Meeting in Boston. Nearly 300 young lawyers from forty-nine states and territories came to Boston for the Midyear Meeting. They braved the crisp Boston weather to enjoy active debates during Assembly, quality professional development programs, and great networking and socializing.
Welcome Reception/First Time Orientation
If you’ve never been to an ABA YLD conference, the “First Time Attendee Orientation” is a must. New attendees were given a brief introduction to the conference experience and time to network and socialize. Many experienced attendees joined the orientation to get an early start on networking. After orientation, everyone was invited to attend the “Welcome Reception” held at M.J. O’Connor’s pub. The music and good company were enjoyed by all.
Although many began the conference at the Thursday evening “Welcome Reception,” the meat of the conference began Friday morning with CLEs, professional development, and ABA YLD affiliate programs. Conference attendees enjoyed a wide variety of CLE programs, with topics including bankruptcy, trial and appellate advocacy, insurance law, and legislative advocacy for domestic violence prevention. ABA and ABA YLD leaders gave presentations on how to climb the leadership ladder. Former ABA YLD leaders Barbara Mayden and Ken Young were available for one-on-one career counseling, which was also offered during the Fall Conference in San Diego.
Many ABA YLD leaders and Fellows (former ABA YLD leaders who have aged out of the Division) gave of their time to mentor dozens of young lawyers during the new “Speed Mentoring” program. Like “Speed Networking,” young lawyers spoke with a number of “mentors” to obtain different perspectives and answers to questions they had about such things as finding a job, getting clients, and work/life balance.
Friday evening ended with the main networking event of the conference—the YLD Dinner Dance. With a beautiful panoramic view of the city and Boston Harbor, the State Room offered a great location for delegates to network and enjoy the cocktail hour.
The view was quickly forgotten when the hosts came out with tray after tray of chocolate covered strawberries, truffles, and other desserts. After gorging themselves on chocolate (or was that just me), the evening was taken over by the live band and dancing. Those wanting to continue conversations left for quieter locales, while others danced the evening away.
Saturday morning, the delegates gathered for the ABA YLD’s Midyear Assembly. All certified delegates were able to engage in the discussions and vote on the resolutions presented. For more information about the resolutions and other issues addressed during Assembly, please see the article below.
Ending with a Joke—The Fellows Debate
An ABA YLD meeting doesn’t end with the serious debates of Assembly. In fact, the ABA YLD doesn’t end with the seriousness of aging out on your thirty-sixth birthday. Instead, ABA YLD members and their aged-out “Fellows” hold a Saturday evening “debate”—really a satirical skit—to address a pressing current issue.
This year’s debate topic was: “Obama’s No Joke: Will Late Night Television Survive After Bush.” The Fellows, led by John Tarpley and Christina Plum, used humor to argue that late night comedy existed well before George W. Bush and would survive well into the future. The ABA YLD, led by ABA YLD Chair-Elect Kelly-Ann Clarke and Mentorship Coordinator Dan McKenna, argued persuasively that when late-night comedians can no longer use their beloved Bush jokes, late-night comedy will die a slow death. The debate’s winner was decided by the volume and exuberance of the cheering, and as in past years, the decision was inconclusive. The debate ended in a tie.
The ABA YLD welcomes you to the upcoming Spring Conference in historic New Orleans on May 14–16, 2009. Registration is now available. To register or to learn more, go to the ABA YLD’s website at www.abanet.org/yld/spring09/
. For more on what you can expect at the Spring Conference, please see “Spring Conference—Mardi Gras Style” on page 2 of this issue.