The YLD E-Communication Board
Julia Bahner is an associate editor with
The Affiliate , as well as the YLD District Representative for Washington and Oregon. She practices in the areas of commercial litigation and bankruptcy law in Seattle, Washington, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working behind the scenes of the ABA YLD webpage is the hardworking E-Communication Board, members of which are appointed annually by the incoming YLD Chair and Chair-Elect. The team has many responsibilities, including reviewing and evaluating the YLD’s electronic communications (including the webpage, list serves, and bulk e-mail), exploring new electronic vehicles to promote the YLD and disseminate content, and ensuring that current content is properly categorized and linked. Although not involved in the day-to-day management of the YLD webpage, the board conducts system-wide evaluations and must be able to step back and consider the webpage layout from the perspective of a new user.
In addition, the E-Communication Board coordinates with ABA YLD staff to maintain and update content on the YLD webpage. This is streamlined because each committee chair, for example, will have a liaison on the E-Communication Board. Thus, when a committee chair has updates for its site, including updates relating to the “101 Practice Series,” they send it to their E-Communication Board liaison who posts the updates, as the board members are trained to update them directly. The E-Communication Board also works with ABA YLD staff to update the webpage for those areas where the board members do not have access to update the site directly.
Griselda Vega, a YLD member from Chicago, was a member of the E-Communication Board in 2004–05 and served as its chair in 2005–06. As a board member, her first job was to get the ABA YLD webpage revamped, for which the E-Communication Board retained the assistance of a web consultant to work on the renewed webpage design. The result was an updated and better looking webpage. The board followed set procedures to review and approve material to be placed on the site and then worked with ABA YLD staff to upload the information. The ABA then mandated that each section and division had to conform its webpage, so that the ABA as a whole would have a uniform look and feel—similar to what is in place now. Vega stated that the board faced a big challenge in going back to the drawing board again and its biggest accomplishment—handled through great team work—was working to transition from the new webpage to creating yet another new webpage that would conform to the new ABA requirements. She credits the accomplishments of her year as chair to the wonderful and hard-working group that served on the board. Vega believes a good team member is someone who is responsive, willing to learn something new and potentially time consuming, and who has an interest in the overall look and feel (as well as the updates) to the webpage. A technology background is not necessary.
Paul Neese, a YLD member in Portland, Oregon, was one of Vega’s hard working board members, and he became chair of the board in the 2006–07 bar year. Neese agrees that a technology or web development background is not required for service on the board but that creativity is. Although board members have to work within the tight structure of ABA website parameters, they also need to maintain their sense of creativity. Board members also must take initiative and contact committee directors/chairs or other YLD leaders to ensure that they are providing content for the YLD webpage. By doing so, the webpage stays current, and this helps ensure that new ABA YLD members keep current on important information and have 24/7 access to YLD information. By using the YLD webpage, new members realize the value of their memberships and stay in the ABA year after year. Neese echoes Vega’s sentiments that he has a great group of board members working with him, and he feels lucky as chair to have such a hard working and cohesive team.
The E-Communication Board stays in touch by having a conference call every three weeks and they meet in person two-to-three times per year. Goals for the 2007–08 team include having an online policy proposal link to the YLD Council, making revisions to the webpage based on usability studies and visit statistics, and releasing a YLD site map. Stay tuned for more great work from the E-Communication Board.