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Maria Vittoria “Giugi” Carminati is the Editor of The Affiliate and a Litigation Associate in the Houston, Texas, office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
By Maria Vittoria “Giugi” Carminati
Being an American Bar Association Young Lawyer Division (ABA YLD) Affiliate gives you and your organization access to significant resources. But like all resources, if you don’t take advantage of them, they might as well not exist. So here are a few ways you can take full advantage of your Affiliate status.
Know Your District Representative
All Affiliates, yours included, elect a District Representative (affectionately called a DR) to their ABA YLD district to serve a two-year term. DRs are your, and your Affiliate’s, connection to the Division. They are a conduit of information going both ways. And although the ABA YLD will ensure information from your Affiliate is passed on to the ABA YLD, you should be sure to obtain information about the ABA YLD for your Affiliate. Further, the Editor of this publication, The Affiliate newsletter, regularly contacts the DRs and asks for suggestions about bar leaders and bar projects worthy of recognition. But if we don’t know about your great projects or leaders, we certainly cannot write about them.
Participate in ABA YLD Activities
Although you may not have the resources or time to attend every ABA YLD conference, you can get involved in myriad other ways. For example, you can submit articles to ABA YLD publications, you can enroll your Affiliate to implement one of the many national ABA projects, and you can encourage your local Affiliate members to submit, and eventually present, CLE presentations. These activities will provide tangible results for you and your members on a professional level.
Know About Awards and Recognition
ABA YLD Scholarships: How to Get to the Conferences
Each year the ABA YLD awards a number of scholarships to encourage the participation of minority, solo/small firm, government, private sector, and military service attorneys in the ABA YLD. The program provides partial conference funding, mentoring, and an opportunity to become more involved in the Division. The deadline is April 15 of each year.
ABA YLD Subgrants: Untapped Resource for Affiliate Funding
The ABA YLD, in conjunction with the ABA Fund for Justice and Education (ABA FJE), awards $25,000 each year to support member and public service projects. If you don’t apply, you are just leaving money on the table.
The ABA YLD Subgrants Programs allows Affiliates to implement member and public service projects. So far, over 500 projects have been implemented thanks to the subgrant program. This source of substantial funding for such projects, however, is an often overlooked and untapped resource.
Subgrants are available for two types of programming: public service projects and member service projects. The subgrants for public service projects can go up to $2,000. The subgrants for member service projects can be up to $500 per project. But if you don’t apply, you won’t have a chance to capture these funds. So here is how you apply.
Detailed information and guidelines for applying for an ABA YLD subgrant are available at www.abanet.org/yld/awards/subgrants . Successful proposals include specific and achievable goals, collaboration with minority and senior bar associations, inclusion of underrepresented or diverse groups, original and unique activities, and projects other Affiliates can reproduce elsewhere. Make sure your proposal also reflects that attorneys are involved in the implementation of the program.
The ABA YLD Subgrants Program is an excellent, but often untapped, source of funding for Affiliate projects. Interested Affiliates should review the program by visiting www.abanet.org/yld/awards/subgrants . For more information contact Renee Lugo, Renee.Lugo@americanbar.org , or 312/988-5626. The 2011 application was available October 1, 2010.
Awards of Achievement: Because Your Projects Should Be Recognized
The ABA YLD distributes Awards of Achievement to a select few deserving Affiliate projects. Each project is judged by a jury of the Affiliate’s peers. The purpose of the Awards is to recognize and encourage project development. The deadline is June 15 of each year.
Child Advocacy Award Program: For Those Who Help Children
Your Affiliate can nominate an individual for the Child Advocacy Award Program. The award recognizes the contributions to the legal profession by child advocates who have actively labored on behalf of children and celebrates the often unheralded services that child advocates bring to children and the legal profession. The deadline for the program is April 30 of each year.
National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
Affiliates are eligible to nominate a member for the National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. The award recognizes an ABA young lawyer in good standing who exhibits professional excellence, service to the profession and the bar, service to the community, and has a reputation for the advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility. The deadline is August 31 of each year.