During the last several months, affiliates have not only provided pro bono services but have also worked closely with their communities. Below are examples of what some affiliates from across the nation are doing. If you would like more information about a particular event or project, we urge you to contact the sponsoring affiliate and explore the opportunities that could be incorporated it into your affiliate’s schedule of activities. For those of you organizing great events like the ones mentioned here, please don’t be camera shy. Forward your group’s pictures and they may be selected for use in the next issue of the newsletter. Until next time, enjoy reading about the various events ABA affiliates have organized from coast-to-coast.
Community Service Beyond the Legal Profession
Below are a few illustrations of affiliates giving back to their communities in a nonlegal capacity. As young attorneys, we strive to build our credibility within the legal field. At times we may get busy with work and neglect to participate in other activities. These community service projects are great avenues for staying well-rounded.
The Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (YLS) successfully completed the third year of its “YLS Soup Kitchen Project.” YLS members and their family, friends, and colleagues prepared and served meals once a month from September 2011 through May 2012, in Hartford, Norwalk, and New Haven, Connecticut. In 2012−2013 the program will expand to soup kitchens in New London, Waterbury, and Willimantic, Connecticut.
On July 31, 2012, the Mercer County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (New Jersey) hosted a “Summer Reading Fair and Fun Day” for Angel’s Wings and Anchor House. The Young Lawyers collected children’s books (new and gently used) for ages 2–15. During the event, several stations were organized according to the targeted age group. Each child was allowed to choose a book and have a volunteer read it to them. Each child also went home with a new book. The event included face painting and an ice cream truck.
The North Dakota Young Lawyers Section paired young lawyers with juvenile offenders in Minot, North Dakota. The duos performed community service as part of the offenders’ sentences while exposing the juvenile offender to a positive role model.
In April, the King County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (Washington) volunteered with EarthCorps to clean up areas around Seattle’s Duwamish Waterway.
On June 9, 2012, the Austin Young Lawyers Association (Texas) organized volunteers to tutor children and adults in literacy and math skills during the Saturday Learning Center at Any Baby Can.
On June 12, 2012, the Cincinnati Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (Ohio) sponsored the “16th Annual Run for Kids.” More than 400 people participated in the 5K fun run and walk, which raised over $31,000 for ProKids. The planning committee managing the race is now a board-level committee with over 20 volunteers. On race day over 80 volunteers helped on the course, registering participants, coordinating the free Kids Fun Run, and assisting with distributing food and drinks. ProKids trains volunteers to become court-appointed special advocates (CASAs). Each CASA volunteer is assigned to a foster child, ensuring the child’s needs are met, that the child is safe, and helping each child move into a safe, permanent, and nurturing home. ProKids was founded in 1981 by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, the Cincinnati Bar Association, and the Junior League of Cincinnati. ProKids is Hamilton County’s CASA volunteer program, one of more than 900 CASA volunteer programs nationwide, and part of the National CASA Association. For more information about ProKids, visit www.prokids.org.
Passing the Torch
Below are several examples of affiliates that encouraged members of their bars to learn from each other and to teach the community about the legal profession.
On July 26, 2012, the New Jersey State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division hosted a crash course and barbeque reception at the New Jersey Law Center for newly admitted attorneys. The course was entitled “Persuasive Legal Writing for New Attorneys: The Nine Essential Strategies You Need to Know, But Never Learned in Law School” and focused on the secrets of persuasive legal writing. The affiliate, along with New Jersey litigators Robert Hille and Grant C. Wright, presented the workshop to newly admitted and first-year attorneys.
On May 14, 2012, the South Carolina Young Lawyers Division organized the inaugural “iCivics Day” at elementary schools across the Midlands. Volunteers spoke to more than 2,100 fourth and fifth grade students about the importance of civic engagement. Presentations focused on individual rights, democracy, separation of powers, and state and local government. Sarah Leverette, one of the first women lawyers in South Carolina, presented the 14th Amendment at Satchel Ford Elementary School. Admitted to the bar in 1943, Ms. Leverette has been an advocate of equal rights for the better part of 90 years. As part of her presentation, she shared anecdotes from the early 1950s and explained how brave civil rights leaders, such as Judge Matthew Perry, Judge Waties Waring, and Rev. J.A. Delaine, sacrificed their social standing and risked their lives so that students of different races could share the same classroom and have equal opportunities today. iCivics is a national, web-based education project designed to teach students about civics and inspire them to be active participants and leaders in our democracy.
The Oklahoma Bar Association Young Lawyers Division completed its third annual “Community Day of Service.” For this event, Oklahoma YLD members, along with attorney volunteers, visited classrooms across the state to deliver presentations to high school juniors and seniors. Each presentation explained how an individual’s legal obligation changes when he or she turns 18 years old. The event used the recent publication, You’re 18 Now: It’s Your Responsibility, a legal guide for young adults re-written and updated by the YLD and published by the OBA Law-Related Education Department. The publication addresses contract law, criminal law, family law, domestic law, voter registration, and social media. This year’s project resulted in over 30 lawyers volunteering almost 100 hours to over 2,000 high school juniors and seniors in 40 high schools in 25 counties.
The Burlington County Bar Association Young Lawyers Committee (New Jersey) held its fifth annual “Diversity Dinner and Reception” at Caffé Aldo by Lamberti in Cherry Hill on April 19, 2012. The Honorable Marie White Bell was the keynote speaker and shared her life growing up as a minority and the challenges she faced and overcame. She was the second woman and the first African American to be sworn in as a Superior Court Judge in Burlington County.
Work Hard and Play Hard
Breaking into the legal profession doesn’t mean you have to give up that R&R. Here are a few ideas you can use to recharge you’re your affiliate members’ batteries.
On July 19, 2012, the Bergen County Bar Association (New Jersey) held its 32nd Annual Fishing Trip at The Eagle, Atlantic Highlands/Municipal Harbor, 1st Pier, Berth 4. The group was led by instructor Capt. Art Hillard.
The Minnesota State Bar Association 11th District Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (Duluth, Minnesota) sponsored a new lawyers softball team in the co-ed league.
The Tulsa County Bar Association Young Lawyers Committee (Oklahoma) also organized a Tulsa lawyers summer softball league.
The Washington State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division hosted the annual Mariners’ Game Day, July 13, 2012, with a pre-game social at the Pyramid Brewery. Each year this event continues to be a sellout.
The Texas Young Lawyers Division produced a handbook that aids special needs families in locating resources to help with the challenges associated with raising a special needs child. The handbook, “Peace of Mind,” informs the reader of the types of laws available to ensure children have bright and healthy futures. The Division presented this information throughout the state in conjunction with the Special Olympics. The Division organized booths, spoke with individuals, and shared the handbook at numerous events.
On September 8, 2012, the Camden County Bar Association Young Lawyers Committee (New Jersey) held its “3rd Annual Lobster Bake” at The Tap Room in Westmont, New Jersey. A portion of the proceeds benefited the Young Lawyer Larc School Scholarship Fund as administered through the Camden County Bar Charitable Foundation. The Larc School is a nonprofit special education school serving students with a wide range of moderate to severe disabilities.
On July 27, 2012, the Union County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (New Jersey) teamed up with the Middlesex County Bar Foundation (New Jersey) for a “Day at the Races” at the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey. All proceeds were donated to the Bar Foundation Charitable Programs.
On August 23, 2012, the Oklahoma County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division organized its annual “Striking Out Hunger” bowling tournament. Proceeds from the event benefited the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank.
In June, the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section (Florida) hosted a Fishing Tournament to benefit the Legal Aid Society’s Legal Advocacy for Minor Mothers Project. The event raised over $7,000, and with a matching grant Legal Aid obtained, this project received a total of $14,000.
Members of the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section (left to right): Lindsay Demmery, Bob Bertisch, Evan Frederick, and Lee McElroy, presenting the proceeds of the tournament to the Legal Aid Society.
On July 7, 2012, the Washington Young Lawyer’s Division, the Snohomish County Young Lawyer’s Division (Washington), and Snohomish County Legal Services participated in the “Serving Our Seniors Clinic,” during which they served 10 low-income seniors in creating wills, power of attorney documents, and health-care directives. This clinic paired new and young lawyers interested in learning about estate planning with experienced estate planning attorneys. Not only did the new and young lawyers get to learn more about estate planning with the hands-on approach, they also volunteered their time to help seniors in need.
(Left-to-Right): Randy Penrod, Natalya Forbes, and James Pautler (attorneys), prepare to meet with a client during the Serving Our Seniors Clinic.