Affiliate leaders often find themselves without a home after years of involvement with the ABA YLD. Through the ABA YLD “Section Connect” program, the Division seeks to assist its members with their transition to the senior bar. The following are three examples of Affiliate leaders who have found a home in the big bar.
Amy L. Drushal— Tampa, Florida
Amy Drushal is a shareholder of the law firm of Trenam Kemker in Tampa, Florida. She currently serves on the ABA YLD Leadership Advisory Board, as the Liaison to Law Practice Management (LPM) Section and as the Ex Officio Chair to Truth in Law School Education Committee. She previously served as the ABA YLD Liaison to the Section of Litigation (SOL), Vice-Coordinator for the New Partner and In-house Counsel Conference in 2011 and 2012, the ABA YLD Litigation Committee Chair, the ABA YLD Bankruptcy Committee Vice-Chair, and as a Florida Delegate to the ABA YLD Assembly. Currently, Amy is involved with the SOL Leadership, where she is serving as a subcommittee chair of the Young Advocates Committee and as a member of the Communications Committee. Amy also is involved in LPM’s leadership as the ABA YLD Liaison to its Council, a member of the Fellows Class of 2012−2013, a committee chair for New Lawyers Interest Group, a member of the Women Rainmakers’ board, and a member of the Member Development Committee. Before this year, Amy served on SOL’s Council for two years as the ABA YLD liaison. “The current LPM Fellowship and Liaison position I discovered through the ABA YLD either by talking to other members about opportunities within the ABA’s divisions and sections or from ABA YLD announcements and publications,” Amy said.
Amy’s recommendations to other Affiliate leaders who are interested in these opportunities:
• Talk to older members of the ABA YLD who have held leadership positions in other ABA sections and divisions.
• Review the websites of the ABA divisions and sections in which you are interested to discover opportunities that may be available.
• Contact someone in one of the young lawyers groups associated with the divisions and sections in which you are interested. Most have a committee or group aimed at younger lawyers and many of those lawyers currently are not involved with the ABA YLD. Involvement in these groups can lead to leadership positions with the division or section.
Judge Lee Bussart Bowles—Lewisburg, Tennessee
Judge Lee Bussart Bowles is a General Sessions and Juvenile Judge. She currently serves as a Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates and is a member of the Judicial Division. She previously served as the Law School Outreach and Membership Chair, Publications Committee Vice-Chair, and Meetings Coordinator for her Affiliate, the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. Judge Bowles currently serves as the ABA YLD Liaison to the Standing Committee on Judicial Independence. She previously served as a Tennessee Delegate to the ABA YLD Assembly. When asked about how she found out about these opportunities, Judge Bowles stated: “In law school (a very long time ago), I served as Student Bar Association President. I attended an ABA conference with the Law Student Division, and I found it so exciting. I knew I wanted to get involved with the ABA. Initially, I was too consumed with my law practice to consider additional commitments. I was active in my local bar and the state bar, but it took a few years before I made my way back to the ABA. Eventually, I returned to the ABA as a Delegate for Tennessee to the ABA YLD. It held the same stimulation for me. I love learning from other lawyers. Now, in my role as a judge, I enjoy hearing how other states handle the same challenges I face.” She goes on to say, “I am very fortunate that Tennessee has strong bar leadership. Many mentors guided me through the maze of the ABA. It’s overwhelming. You have to make friends and ask questions. Investigating all the sections, such as TIPS, Litigation, and GP Solo really helped me focus on the kind of lawyer I wanted to be. Just the self-reflection required to get more involved in the ABA was beneficial to my professional development.”
Judge Bowles’s recommendations to other Affiliate leaders who are interested in this opportunity:
• Get involved. Make the time. You will be the better for it. The ABA is a professional treasure trove. Involvement in the ABA enriches your personal and professional lives. You make lifelong ABA friends around the globe. The ABA strives to make the law better, make better lawyers, and make the world a little bit better place.
Dainen Penta— Seattle, Washington
Dainen Penta is a solo practitioner who focuses on contract work for a boutique law firm that represents community associations, both condominium associations and homeowners associations. He is currently the Immediate Past Chair of the Washington Young Lawyers Committee (WYLC), formerly known as the Washington Young Lawyers Division (WYLD). He previously served as At-Large Trustee on the WYLD Board of Trustees from 2009−2010, as WYLD President-Elect from 2010−2011, and then as President from 2011−2012. Dainen officially aged out of the ABA YLD at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago and is presently an ABA YLD Fellow. He previously served as the ABA YLD Liaison to the ABA Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Commission in 2009−2010, and then in 2010−2011 as a member of the National Conferences Team. Dainen was a Diversity Vice-Director from 2011−2012. He also helped to judge the ABA YLD Awards of Achievement and found it very inspiring to see what other Affiliates are doing. Dainen currently serves as a Vice-Chair of the Self-Insured & Risk Managers Committee in TIPS (Tort, Trial, and Insurance Practice Section) of the ABA. Dainen is also a member of the 2012−2013 TIPS Leadership Academy class.
Dainen grew up attending ABA Annual Meetings! His dad practices real estate law in southwest Washington, where Dainen grew up, and nearly every year he and his family traveled to the ABA Annual Meeting. Dainen enjoyed exploring new cities around the country. He was encouraged to apply to the TIPS Leadership Academy by past graduates of the program. The application process for Leadership Academy was fairly simple and involved completing an application form and sending a C.V. and photobiography. The application also asked, “What do you believe the top three issues facing the legal profession are?” He received the Vice-Chair appointment through another Leadership Academy graduate.
Dainen’s recommendations to other Affiliate leaders who are interested in this opportunity:
• TIPS does a fantastic job of being visible and doing outreach to the ABA YLD, and their leadership is incredibly welcoming to newer members. Their outreach is one of the reasons I became more active in TIPS after aging out of the ABA YLD. If you are curious about opportunities, ask other ABA YLD members or past ABA YLD leaders who are active in the section. They are great resources.
Other Opportunities for Affiliate Leaders
Several ABA sections offer fellowships. Below are a couple of examples of Section Fellows Programs.
The ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (RPTE) has a Fellows Program. The goal of the program is to give young lawyers an opportunity to become involved in the substantive work of the RPTE Section, while developing into future leaders. The application process opens in April and the deadline is in June. RPTE Fellows are assigned to work with a substantive Committee Chair, who serves as a mentor and helps expose the Fellow to all aspects of committee membership; get involved in substantive projects, which could include writing for a RPTE publication; become Section liaisons to the ABA Young Lawyers Division or local bar associations; become active members of the Membership Committee; and attend important Section leadership meetings. The Fellowship appointment is for two years. To be considered for selection, a young lawyer (1) must have practiced in the trusts and estates or real property area for at least one year (and be younger than 36 years of age or have been admitted to the bar less than 10 years), and (2) should have demonstrated leadership at the state or local bar level or in the Young Lawyers Division of the ABA. As part of the Section’s commitment to diversity, at least three of the six Fellows selected will be minority applicants. The RPTE Section funds the selected Fellows for a two-year term to attend two Section Meetings a year (the Fall Leadership Meeting and the Spring Symposium). For more information, please visit www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate/resources/fellows_program.html.
The ABA Business Law Section has both an Ambassador and Fellows Programs. The Business Law Ambassador Program is designed to involve lawyers of color in the substantive work of the Business Law Section. The Business Law Section funds up to five Ambassadors for a two-year term to attend the Spring and Annual Meetings of the Section as well as any stand-alone meeting of the committee to which the Ambassador has been appointed. The Business Law Fellows Program is designed to involve Young Lawyers Division members in the substantive work of the Business Law Section. The Business Law Section funds up to five Fellows for a two-year term to attend three Section Meetings a year (the Spring Meeting, the Annual Meeting, and one stand-alone committee meeting). For more information, visit http://apps.americanbar.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=CL715000.
Be sure to look on the ABA website for more information about getting involved with fellowship programs.