Affiliate Leader Spotlight: Dolores Dorsainvil

Volume 37, Number 5

By

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

During the ABA YLD Midyear Meeting in New Orleans this February, Dolores Dorsainvil was recognized as a Finalist for the ABA YLD National Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award. A Co-Chair of the ABA YLD Ethics & Professionalism Committee, Dolores has spent a significant amount of time representing the interests of young lawyers on the ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission and speaking and writing on ethical issues. In addition to her work in the field of ethics, Ms. Dorsainvil is the co-founder of the Dorsainvil Foundation, which works to ensure that adequate health care is available in Haiti.

Experience

Currently, Dolores works at the D.C. Office of Bar Counsel. She chose that job because she had experience in the field of ethics. Previously, she worked in attorney discipline as an Assistant Bar Counsel at the Attorney Grievance Commission in Maryland. Dolores enjoys the work that she does because of its impact on protecting the reputation of the legal profession and the attorneys that work in it. As part of her job, she also teaches continuing legal education seminars on ethics. Dolores has taught ethics and professional responsibility as an Adjunct Professor at American University’s law school for the last five years and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at University of Maryland University College where she teaches law office management.

Initially, Dolores became a member of the Maryland State Bar Association to meet other attorneys. But she quickly took the initiative and became involved in several different committees, including the Young Lawyers Section, the Committee on Professionalism, and the Ethics Committee.

In addition to her involvement with the Maryland State Bar Association, Dolores chaired the Legislative Reception and was the Co-Chair of the Judicial Selections Committee of the Women’s Bar Association of Maryland (WBA), a specialty bar association of women and men supporting women in the legal profession and working for equal rights and opportunities for women in the legal profession and the community. The WBA offers its members opportunities for personal and professional growth, networking and business development, and leadership through its programs, community service, and other resources. Dolores was the 2010 recipient of the WBA’s President’s Award for Outstanding Service as Co-Chair of the Judicial Selections Committee.

Dolores was also a member of the Grants Committee of the Maryland Bar Foundation from 2008 to 2010. She was selected as a fellow and recommended by members of the Foundation to the Board. The Maryland Bar Foundation is a nonprofit charitable corporation organized in 1965 with the objective of obtaining gifts and contributions to be used for the following purposes:

  • to foster and maintain the honor and integrity of the profession of law,
  • to improve and to facilitate the administration of justice, and
  • to promote the study of the law and research therein, the diffusion of knowledge thereof, and the continuing education of lawyers.

The Foundation has carried out these purposes by making grants to organizations that work within Maryland to accomplish the goals of the Foundation.

Dolores also chairs the Bar Mentor Project, a project that assists minority law school graduates to prepare for and pass the Maryland bar examination. She is a member of the Prince George’s County Bar Association and the Black Women’s Bar Association of Suburban Maryland. She was the President of the Black Women’s Bar Association of Suburban Maryland from 2002 until 2004 and was the Treasurer and the Chair of the Judicial Selections Committee.

Despite all her involvement in various organizations, Dolores still finds the time to serve as Chairman of the Board for her family’s foundation, Dorsainvil Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization started in 2001 that is dedicated to providing adequate health care to the residents of Haiti, her family’s homeland, through a series of quarterly medical missions. More recently, Dolores has raised thousands in donations and collected much needed medical supplies for her mission trips to Haiti before and after the devastating earthquake in January 2010.

Background

Born and raised in Westbury, New York, a suburb on Long Island, Dolores Dorsainvil attended Boston University for her undergraduate degree in Urban Studies and Public Policy. She chose the Boston area for college because of its rich history and high concentration of colleges and universities. Also, Dolores’s twin sister attended Harvard, which made the decision to attend college in Boston an easy one.

Dolores enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of her major, which focused on the administration of public and private agencies in urban settings. As an undergraduate, she was the President of the Haitian Culture Club, a group that celebrates students of Haitian descent and shares Haitian culture with the university population.

Dolores went straight from college to law school and attended American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. She chose law school because she felt that a law degree would enhance her ability to solve problems, think analytically, and make a meaningful contribution to society. During law school, Dolores was the Recent Developments Editor for the Administrative Law Review, a publication of the American Bar Association (ABA). She was also a member of the Black Law Students Association, an organization that serves the local community with various service projects. In 1998, Dolores participated in the Alvina Reckman Meyers Moot Court Competition, and as a 3L, she worked on her first trial in a domestic relations case through her law school’s Civil Practice Clinic.

Dolores’ first legal job was as a legal assistant during her junior year in college. She worked for a small intellectual property law firm in Boston called Willcox, Pirozzolo & McCarthy. Her duties included assisting in preparation for litigation.

ABA YLD

When Dolores attended her first American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division conference in San Diego in 2008, she learned about the ABA YLD appointment process. “Several members of the ABA YLD introduced themselves,” she shared, “and suggested that I apply for an appointment. They all spoke so fondly of the ABA and the networks that they were able to establish within the organization that I immediately knew that my decision to become more active in the ABA was the right one.”

In 2009, Dolores began her ABA YLD career as an Assistant Editor for The Young Lawyer and received the Best Work with Authors Award (Perfect Attendance with Deadlines) for the October 2009 issue. She was also an ABA YLD Scholar that same year. The following year she served as Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Professionalism Committee, and this year she is the Co-Chair of that committee. Dolores decided to co-chair the committee “because my practice area is ethics and attorney discipline, and I knew that I would have more to offer as a leader of that committee. In addition, because I am a member of the Center for Professional Responsibility and have come to know several members of the ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission, I believe that I can assist in bridging the gap between those entities and the ABA YLD.”

Going Forward

Her primary goals as the 2011–2012 Co-Chair of the ABA YLD Ethics and Professionalism Committee are to ensure that the ABA YLD has a voice as the amendments to the Model Rules are drafted by the ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission and to continue to provide quality CLEs, teleconferences, and webinars to members on relevant issues. “I believe that several of these changes will directly affect young lawyers and how we practice law,” Dolores says. “I believe that the input of the ABA YLD to the decision making process will be instrumental in its application.”

With all of the activities in which Dolores participates, her advice to a new young lawyer would be “to certainly take advantage of the resources available to him or her through local, state, and/or national bar associations. These associations are designed to assist young lawyers in developing their niche in a practice area while expanding their network base.” She notes that the “ABA YLD is a premier organization that really focuses its resources on providing great programs, resources, and information to its members. Most importantly, as the largest entity in the ABA, the Young Lawyers Division has a voice in policy which may ultimately affect how we, as young lawyers, practice law.”


Call for Nominations

ABA YLD National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Know a young lawyer who stands above the crowd? Let them know by nominating them for the ABA YLD National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. The nomination deadline is August 31.

The ABA YLD National Outstanding Young Lawyer 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/or a reputation for or the advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility. The award will be presented at the 2013 ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas.

Visit www.ambar.org/noyla for more information and a link to the online nomination form.

The ABA YLD New Partner and In-House Counsel Conference is unique in that it is designed to provide education and resources for those lawyers who have made partner or gone in-house during the last three years.

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