The 2012 ABA YLD Fall Conference in Charleston was the culmination of months of thoughtful planning by ABA YLD Affiliate South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division and ABA YLD members, resulting in a perfect pairing of educational and recreational programming. Complimented by the pristine South Carolina fall weather, the conference offered excellent workshops, new friendships, and opportunities for attendees to enjoy all that Charleston has to offer.
The Charleston Host Committee, consisting of ABA YLD Affiliate South Carolina YLD attorneys, kicked off the conference with a presentation by two of Charleston’s most prominent attorneys offering practice pointers for young lawyers. The ABA YLD Council and ABA YLD Scholars discussed agendas and initiatives at their respective meetings, their first of the new bar year. Opening day programs finished with a panel of experts discussing trademark, copyright, and other intellectual property issues related to social media platforms. Thursday was capped by a welcome reception, first time attendee orientation, and social at Mad River Bar & Grille.
Friday Events—Featuring Charleston’s Mayor Joe Riley
The longest serving mayor in the United States, Charleston’s Joe Riley, addressed the Fall Conference’s well-attended opening plenary session. Mayor Riley talked about Charleston’s revitalization and, as a former private attorney, spoke from personal experience about the important role the local bar has played in the economic health of the city, as well as in preserving its historic and scenic areas.
Educational programming then commenced with “Getting Your Financial House in Order,” offering tips for young lawyers to reduce their debt and save money. “Ethics and Bankruptcy” combined the experiences of the Honorable Judge John Waites, a South Carolina Bankruptcy Judge, with seasoned bankruptcy practitioners to address common pitfalls in bankruptcy representation. One of the most well-attended sessions of the conference was “Best Practices of Building Your Own Law Firm,” during which Charleston attorney Neil S. Haldrup offered his expertise to a full house of eager minds and aspiring partners. Lunch on Friday featured a presentation by South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal and Associate Justice Costa Pleicones on civics, key issues facing the legal profession, and practical skills for new attorneys. Programming continued into the afternoon with seminars on topics such as admitting expert testimony, ethical considerations relating to judicial disqualification and disclosure, campaigning and serving in public office, working with government regulators, the Freedom of Information Act, and transactional drafting basics.
The day wrapped up with the Fall Conference Dinner Dance at the South Carolina Aquarium on the pristine waterfront of Charleston Harbor. The entire Aquarium was open for viewing and featured both native and exotic animals (including an albino alligator). A select few were given a private tour of the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Facility where they got an up close look at the hospital’s patients. The memorable evening included a surf and turf dinner and live music featuring “Two 3 Ways Band” playing covers of well-known favorites. Spurred on by a dinner attendee, who shall remain nameless, the band picked up the tempo after mealtime and the crowd was treated to the dancing exploits of more than a few ABA YLD members.
Wrapping up the weekend’s fun and excitement, Saturday started with an Affiliate Showcase, offering a chance for affiliates around the country to share recent projects with each other. Affiliate-themed programming featured “Integrating ABA YLD Projects & Initiatives into Your Affiliate.” Affiliate leaders also took advantage of a Leadership Advisory Board Meeting and an Affiliate Leader Roundtable during which YLD leaders shared ideas for preserving their Affiliate organizations and increasing value and relevance for attorney members.
Two new programs in the lawyer bootcamp series—“Filling the Gap: How to Boost Your Resume While Looking for a Job” and “How to Succeed at Your First Job”—offered essential tools for young lawyers to succeed after law school. Building on Friday’s social media CLE, speakers at “From Quill to Cloud” discussed the ethical considerations of social media, cloud computing, and implementing a virtual law practice. “E-Discovery Basics: What You Need to Know” looked at the increasingly prominent role played by e-discovery in litigation.
Those fortunate enough to still be in Charleston Saturday night were treated to more agreeable southern weather, as well as one final meal with friends and colleagues at “Virginia’s on King.”
What’s Up Next?
If you missed the ABA YLD Fall Meeting, don’t fret: there is still plenty of time to register for the ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas (February 6−12, 2013). For a full recap of the events in Charleston or to find out more about upcoming ABA YLD events, visit www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers.