The Affiliate Assistance Team—Successful Projects Continue, New and Innovative Programming Created

Volume 37, Number 1


Samuel Edmunds is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and an Associate with the Eagan, Minnesota, firm of Campbell Knutson P.A.

The Affiliate Assistance Team (AAT) is charged with designing and implementing bar leadership programming at national and regional conferences, assisting with Affiliate site-visits, providing programming and onsite consultations for Affiliates, and maintaining a resource area on the ABA YLD website. Each year an Affiliates Director is appointed by the ABA YLD Chair to lead the AAT. This year the Affiliates Director is Sarah Theophilus. Sarah works as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Last year she was the AAT Vice Director and previously served as a team member. Recently, I had a chance to chat with Sarah about the upcoming year.

The Affiliates Director is assisted by two AAT Vice Directors, this year, Erica Grinde and Jason Hirshon. Both Erica and Jason have served previously on the AAT. Sarah, Erica, and Jason are charged with carrying out the duties of the AAT, as described above. Specifically, this year Sarah and the AAT plan to “continue creating and executing valuable and informative programming at ABA YLD meetings and conferences for [ABA YLD] affiliates.” The programming will include events at the ABA YLD Fall and Spring Conferences and during the ABA Midyear Meeting.

AAT at the Seattle Fall Conference

At the Fall Conference, which will be hosted in Seattle, the AAT will put on an Affiliates Showcase. Deadline for submission of projects for the Seattle Fall

Conference Affiliate Showcase is September 30, 2011.
The event will be modeled after the showcase that recently took place at the Spring Conference in Las Vegas, where 19 affiliates showed off their events and programs. The event was greeted positively by affiliate leaders. This fall, the AAT will work to make the Affiliates Showcase even bigger and better.

Also at the Fall Conference, the AAT is planning an educational program geared toward the implementation of public service projects. While this program will touch on this year’s ABA YLD public service project, Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans, it will be focused more on the implementation of public service projects generally.

Finally, the Fall Conference will feature a brand new program that will be co-hosted with the ABA YLD Diversity Team, entitled “Diversity in the Profession, How Do I Make a Difference.” Along with the educational programming, the AAT and the Diversity Team will be setting up a new subgrant opportunity through which affiliates can seek funding to help support diversity-related projects in their states. This project stems from the work of an ABA Presidential Commission on Diversity, which was established during the 2009–2010 bar year. The work of the Commission culminated in the release of an important report, Diversity in the Legal Profession: The Next Steps. This new ABA YLD initiative is intended to help implement the Commission’s goal of broadening diversity in our profession.

New Orleans Midyear and the AAT

At the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, the AAT will bring back a popular program through which ABA YLD affiliate leaders will be able to sit down with bar presidents from around the country in a roundtable-type setting. This program was last featured at the 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando. Both affiliate leaders and bar presidents applauded the program as innovative and insightful.

The Midyear Meeting will also feature a speed networking event geared toward member service projects. This will be an opportunity for affiliate leaders from each state to meet and greet leaders from other states. Each leader will be able to gain valuable insights from other affiliates including information on successful member service projects, fundraising, recruitment, and even membership projects that have not been as successful.

An Ambitious Year

In addition to conference programming, Sarah and the AAT plan to improve and expand the ABA YLD Affiliates Facebook page. They hope to make the page more user friendly, while gearing it toward discussions rather than just information. The Affiliates Facebook page can be found by searching for “ABA Young Lawyers Division Affiliates” on Facebook.

Lastly, the AAT will continue to host affiliate teleconferences throughout the year. As in the past, the teleconferences will provide affiliate leaders with information about all ABA YLD projects and initiatives. Sarah says that the “purpose is to reach out to those affiliate leaders and affiliate members who aren’t able to attend the national conferences.” If all goes as planned, the AAT will put on four teleconferences during this bar year.

The Affiliate Assistance Team has an ambitious year in the works. Team members plan to continue the most successful programs from years past while implementing creative new programming that will be of great benefit to our ABA YLD affiliates and their leaders.
Best of luck to Sarah and the Team!



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