Midyear Recap: Letting the Good Times Roll in NOLA

Volume 37, Number 4


Keya Koul is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and an attorney with the Albuquerque, New Mexico, office of Castle Stawiarski, LLC.

The 2012 ABA YLD Midyear Meeting brought attorneys from all over the world to New Orleans. Southern hospitality and good times reigned supreme. On the first day of the conference, attendees participated in programming and continuing legal education seminars before making their way through the French Quarter to Bourbon Street to celebrate at the Welcome Reception in The Old Absinthe House.

Opening Plenary: Changing Lives

The Opening Plenary, featuring the Honorable Jay Zainey, inspired attendees to use the powers conferred on them as attorneys to give back and do more. Judge Zainey urged the audience to be content and motivated by the ability to change the lives of a few instead of always seeking to change the world. He told stories of attorneys post-Katrina who lost everything and yet helped heal themselves by helping others. Judge Zainey started a program in Louisiana that creates affidavits of identity for homeless people in case they lose their identification cards, which can make a huge difference in their lives, including their ability to access benefits.



The Friday morning CLE sessions included “Maintaining Privilege in an Investigation,” “911: Are You Prepared?,” “Developing a Member Service Project,” and “How to Be a Successful Minority Woman in the Profession.” Conference attendees also enjoyed such diverse topics as “60 Tech Tips in 60 Minutes,” “Attorney Client Privilege and ESI: How to Maintain Privilege ‘In the Cloud,’” “How to Navigate the YLD and Get More Involved,” and “How to Talk to Partners: Effectively Communicating in the Workplace and Across Generations.” The Ethics CLE Luncheon on diversity and ethics, “How to Move from Well-Meaning to Well-Doing,” followed the morning sessions.

Friday afternoon consisted of an affiliate roundtable with young lawyer affiliate leaders and the National Conference of Bar Presidents and a session on “The iPad for Lawyers: Integrating Tablet Computing into Your Practice.” Volunteers also participated in an implementation of Project Salute at the VFW Post 8973, at which they helped 50 veterans apply for benefits through the VA. Friday afternoon also featured a section connect showcase, where the different committee liaisons had tables to promote their committees. The showcase was organized around a baseball theme, with each committee being assigned a major league team with popular ballpark refreshments being served.

As evening fell on the Big Easy, conference attendees donned their glitz and glamour and headed to Musée Conti Wax Museum for the Division’s Dinner Dance. The museum featured eerily realistic wax statues depicting scenes from Louisiana history. Some statues even had moving parts, like a wounded soldier’s heaving chest or a woman’s hair blowing in the wind, which frightened and intrigued the guests. The fun-filled night continued as attendees moved upstairs for dinner and dancing. The dance floor remained packed with people rocking out to the tunes of a band that performed both current pop songs and oldies but goodies.


Saturday morning’s ABA YLD Diversity Dialogue, “Full Participation within the Legal Profession: Are Women Finally Reaching a Crystal Stair or Still Hitting a Glass Ceiling,” addressed the issues of women in the legal profession. Session attendees discussed salary disparity, balancing motherhood with one’s career, and flextime programs. Division Scholars led the conversations at each of the tables through guided questions.

Following the Diversity Dialogue, delegates made their way to the ABA YLD Assembly. A new addition to Assembly included a roll call of each state with a brief greeting specific to the state. Chair Michael Bergmann also recognized affiliate leaders and those delegates with ABA YLD appointments. The National Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award was presented to Omar Alaniz, a Senior Associate in the Bankruptcy and Workout Group of Baker Botts L.L.P. The two finalists were Dolores Dorsainvil, nominated by the Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, and Angela R. Stephens, nominated by the Forum Committee on the Construction Industry.

Delegates also debated resolutions on changing the student loan deductions in the Internal Revenue Code (Resolution 1YL), reinstatement of voting rights of convicted felons on completion of their sentences (Resolution 2YL), and establishment of English as an official language of the United States for purposes of employment discrimination claims (Resolution 3YL). The first two resolutions passed, while the third failed. The following three candidates for office were also introduced—for Secretary-Treasurer, Andrew M. Schpak; for Assembly Clerk, Myra L. McKenzie; and for House of Delegates Representative, Michael G. Bergmann. Finally, Matt Potempa, the Nashville Host Committee Chair, invited attendees to join him in Tennessee for the 2012 ABA YLD Spring Conference.

The conference wrapped up on Saturday afternoon with a session on “Integrating Diversity into Your Law Firm or Company Culture: How to Get to ‘Full Participating’” and finally a lively Fellows Debate & Reception. Conference attendees headed home with their minds full of ideas to implement in their affiliates and their stomachs full with beignets and gumbo.

Find Out More

To download the full post-meeting report, visit www.ambar.org/yldassembly.



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