Advice to Affiliates How Does My Affiliate Get the Most Out Its Affiliation with the ABA YLD?

Vol. 39 No. 2


Elizabeth “Jodi” McShan is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and a member of the Dallas, Texas, firm of Withers & Withers, P.C.

You paid your local bar dues. You are involved with your local bar association. You probably even lead that bar association. So what could your active involvement in the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) mean for your Affiliate? The ABA YLD has an entire team devoted to answering that question and providing Affiliates with a number of relevant services. Affiliates are young lawyer associations from state, local, or specialty bars that are “affiliated” with the ABA YLD.

Anna Romanskaya serves as the Director of the Affiliate Assistance Team (AAT) for the ABA YLD, and she and her team work to develop a plan to ensure that Affiliates are making the most of their ABA YLD affiliation. As a past president of the San Diego County Bar Association’s New Lawyer Division, Romanskaya recognizes the importance of bar leaders exchanging information, ideas, and leadership strategies. Her team consists of 10 young lawyers from across the country, who served as leaders in their local bar associations as well as within the ABA YLD. This year the team offers assistance with (1) programming, (2) communications, (3) regional conferences, and (4) affiliate bar leadership training, to help affiliates maximize the benefits of ABA YLD affiliation.


The AAT’s assistance with programming includes live programs, teleconferences, and forums. Each national conference provides live programs at which Affiliate leaders can learn about leadership, trending topics, and exchange ideas with other leaders nationwide. The Spring ABA YLD Conference in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (May 15-17, 2014), will feature the Affiliate Showcase, where Affiliates will display their events and successful programs (including community service, bar service, and newsletters, just to name a few). Teleconferences throughout the year allow for leaders across the country to connect, discuss pertinent topics arising nationwide, and gain additional leadership training. Finally, the Affiliate Assistance Team is currently working to host a joint roundtable discussion with national senior bar presidents, executive directors, and ABA YLD Affiliates; the AAT hopes to host this program at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, February 6–8, 2014.


A nationwide listserv is the center of the communications prong of the AAT’s strategy. This listserv includes affiliate leaders as well as immediate outgoing leaders, incoming leaders, and current leaders nationwide, regardless of ABA YLD membership status. Ideas from the listserv discussions help the team establish meaningful and relevant programming for ABA YLD Affiliates. These discussions also provide for mentorship from past leaders and fresh ideas from incoming leaders. In addition, the listserv allows leadership to easily communicate problems, goals, and victories they are experiencing. To ensure communications from the ABA YLD, it is critical that all Affiliate leaders keep their contact information up-to-date. Take a minute to verify your contact information by clicking here.

Regional Conferences

Regional conferences are a new project for the AAT this year. The AAT understands that individuals in different areas across the United States have different needs. The AAT can assist with the setup of regional conferences and provide other assistance as requested. Local organizations can share ideas, celebrate successes, brainstorm, and share resources on the local level. The AAT recognizes that bar associations in Montana may not face the same challenges or concerns as those in New York, and the AAT strives to fill that gap, allowing for the exchange of pertinent information and resources. You are encouraged to reach out and work with the AAT to host a regional conference and use the resources the AAT and ABA YLD can provide in your area.

Affiliate Bar Leadership Training

The final prong is Affiliate bar leadership training. Leading a bar association within a bar association is different than leading other organizations, and the AAT provides training for all aspects of leadership, focusing on leadership of a division within a larger bar association. This training will be showcased at the ABA YLD Spring Conference, and there are plans to cover numerous topics, from Robert’s Rules to budgeting. Other topics may include board assignments, use of the executive team, working with executive directors, and programming. While many topics span leadership skills for almost any organization, special areas of interest include how to work with the “big bar” to form a cohesive relationship. Leading the young lawyers’ division within the bar brings its own challenges; the AAT provides this programming to help Affiliate leaders navigate their way to being effective leaders of their young lawyers division and contribute to the larger organization while remaining faithful to the division. Finally, the ABA YLD also offers subgrants and Awards of Achievement opportunities for Affiliates. Affiliate leaders are encouraged to apply for these awards and monetary incentives to further their local association’s goals and highlight their achievements.

This year, the AAT continues to rise to the occasion and is doing a superior job to make ABA affiliation a valuable asset to the Division’s Affiliates. It is an ever-evolving task, and the AAT is happy to consider new programming or options that help make your affiliation even more valuable. In addition to the resources outlined above, more resources and information can be found on the Affiliates website.


  • Don't Forget

  • About The Affiliate

  • Stay Connected

  • Reprints & Back Issues

  • For More Information

  • Contact Us