As the school year starts to wind down, the days begin to get longer, and the weather finally warms up, young lawyers shine. Young lawyers around the nation continue to make a difference while learning, giving, and having fun. Affiliates are finding new and innovative ways to change their communities and make them better places in which to live and work.
Giving Back to the Community
On Friday, March 23, 2012, the Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section held its 21st Annual Charity event at the Pier V Hotel Baltimore. All proceeds raised went to benefit the “Believe in Tomorrow’s Children Foundation.”
On January 29, 2012, the New Orleans Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (Louisiana) hosted the “2012 Charity Pro-Bowl-O Tournament” to support The Pro Bono Project. The Pro Bono Project provides free, quality civil legal services to the poor of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, St. Tammany, and Washington parishes. Prizes were awarded for the highest individual and team scores, best team costume, and tackiest pair of bowling shoes.
On December 14, 2011, the Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section held its final meeting of 2011 at the Billings Forge Community Works, located in the Frog Hollow section of Hartford, Connecticut. Frog Hollow is one of the poorest sections of not only Hartford but also the entire state of Connecticut, where median household income is less than $18,000 per year and where the child poverty rate is 57.7%. The YLS meeting included the second annual children’s holiday party. YLS members painted faces, read books, built crafts, and spent time with local underprivileged children. YLS members also donated dozens of new and gently used books to Billings Forge Community Works. After the children’s holiday party was over, YLS members stayed on at a local Billings Forge Community restaurant called Firebox, where locally grown food was served. The event was a tremendous success.
In December, the Multnomah Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (Oregon) held its annual Toys for Tots Drive as well as a new family-friendly Zoolights event at the Oregon Zoo. The MBA YLS has been focusing on including more family-friendly events, such as Zoolights, as their social events, being mindful of their members’ personal lives. The YLS also held its first biking fundraiser to benefit the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Legal Aid Services of Oregon. Cyclists of all ages were welcome and the routes consisted of 10-mile and four-mile loops around northeast Portland. The turnout was fantastic and the Young Lawyers raised much needed funds.
On Friday, November 11, Veteran’s Day, the Oregon State Bar Association New Lawyers Division collaborated with the Oregon Supreme Court and the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors on a kickoff event for Lawyers for Veterans. The event included a two-hour primer about VA disability law. Although this program did not qualify attendees for VA certification, it did provide more than 30 new underemployed and unemployed attorneys an opportunity to learn about this area of law and the great need that exists. Attendees were all encouraged to begin the VA certification process and were invited to participate in future ONLD and OSB Lawyers for Veterans events planned for 2012.
On November 3, 2011, the Jackson Young Lawyers (Mississippi) held a very successful bowling tournament and silent auction fundraiser at Strike Bowling Alley with proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Club. For this event, the Jackson Young Lawyers raised money through three different avenues: tournament entry fees, corporate sponsorships, and money generated from auction items donated by local businesses and individuals. JYL raised over $5,000 for the Boys & Girls Club.
On October 19, 2011, the Bar Association of D.C. (BADC) and its Young Lawyers Section (YLS) hosted a contingent of 20 Chinese judges visiting from Guangzhou where they currently sit on the Intermediate People’s Court and various People’s Courts for specified districts. Guangzhou is China’s third largest city, with over 12 million residents, and is located about 75 miles outside of Hong Kong. The judges contacted the BADC to learn more about its public service programs and specifically about the “Operation Crackdown” program run by the YLS. The YLS Operation Crackdown program, which was started in 1998, provides free legal representation to community groups seeking to use the civil courts and city agencies to end “crack houses” and reduce neighborhood drug trafficking through the use of the legal process such as cease-and-desist letters sent to property owners, eviction actions, nuisance abatements, ABC revocations, and other formal and informal proceedings as appropriate.
The Next Steps Challenge
With a desire to address the negative stereotypes aimed at the legal profession, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL) (Texas) is undertaking an aggressive, grassroots campaign in 2012 that aims to reset the conversation about lawyers by encouraging simple acts of philanthropy and generosity. DAYL’s “Generation Generosity” campaign aims to empower attorneys to understand the incredible impact of simple acts of generosity. To make this campaign a success, DAYL is challenging its entire membership to participate in one of two ways. First, the “One Day’s Work” side of “Generation Generosity” will feature a base-level, one-day community service project each month. “One Day’s Work” will allow DAYL members to roll-up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and work side-by-side to make a small impact on the greater Dallas community. Second, “One Day’s Pay” will enable DAYL members who are unable to contribute their time or service to participate in “Generation Generosity” by making a financial contribution—through DAYL—to the Dallas Bar Association’s “Equal Access to Justice Campaign.” Through “Generation Generosity,” DAYL is committed to helping lawyers understand their experience of the profession and, in turn, the way the Dallas community experiences lawyers.
The Future of the Profession
In the upcoming months, the South Dakota Young Lawyers Section will roll out its new public service program, “Choose Law—South Dakota,” which will enhance the legal profession by promoting diversity. “Choose Law—South Dakota” will provide information and opportunities to high school and college-aged students who are considering going to law school. The objective is to foster greater professional diversity, as well as civic responsibility and participation, particularly among minorities (most notably Native Americans) and women, with a strong emphasis on addressing the pressing need for legal services in South Dakota’s rural communities. The “Choose Law—South Dakota” project mission is to teach students the importance of the legal profession, focusing on how the law affects all aspects of their lives and how our profession strives to be a positive force in our communities and world. Designing the literature for the program is currently under way, and once the design is completed, the literature will be distributed in high schools and colleges across the state.
The Arkansas Young Lawyers Section hosted an event at Philander Smith College, a historically black college, in Little Rock. The event was aimed at students interested in pursuing a legal career. A panel of eight young lawyers shared their law school experiences and their thoughts on applying to law schools. A representative from the Bowen School of Law of the University of Arkansas–Little Rock was present to provide information on the admissions process. Because of the success of the event, the Arkansas YLD plans to host similar events at the state’s other historically black colleges and at colleges serving the rural areas of the state.
Member Outreach and Programming
On November 3, 2011, the West Virginia Bar Association Young Lawyers hosted a Pig Roast at Edgewood Country Club. The event featured a keynote address by the Hon. Tod J. Kaufman (Kanawha County 13th Judicial Circuit Judge), R. Booth Goodwin II (U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia), and Robert B. Allen (Criminal Defense Lawyer). The event offered one-hour of CLE credit and was followed by cocktails and, of course, dinner!
On February 4, 2012, the Hartford County Bar Association (Connecticut) held its 2012 Barristers’ Ball, a midwinter evening of “award winning” cuisine and dancing at the historic Hartford Golf Club, one of the most prestigious and sought after venues in greater Hartford. A silent auction also was held, with all proceeds benefiting the Hartford County Bar Foundation.
On June 28, 2012, Boston Bar Association New Lawyers Section (Massachusetts) young lawyers, summer associates, and law students will enjoy “Justice is Sweet,” an evening of chocolate fondue, wine tasting, and live jazz to benefit the Boston Bar Foundation. This charitable event grows more popular each year, welcoming hundreds of enthusiastic guests.
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To highlight the achievements and successes of your affiliate, please send updates of member service or public service projects and related pictures to BLaurence@LomurroLaw.com. We look forward to recognizing your projects in future editions of The Affiliate and may even use them to lay the foundation for national outreach!