ABA YLD Descends on the City by the Bay—San Francisco Hosts 2013 ABA Annual Meeting

Vol. 39 No. 1

By

Keya Koul is the 2013 Chair of the State Bar of New Mexico Young Lawyers Division. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Cool temperatures and gorgeous vistas welcomed attendees to the 2013 American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Meeting in San Francisco. On Thursday, August 8, 2013, young lawyers from all over the world settled on the city much like its trademark fog. ABA YLD Delegates representing Affiliates began arriving and found themselves at the impressive Moscone Center for Delegate Certification. After registration and certification, attendees were able to explore the ABA Expo in the Exhibit Hall, where experiences included virtual golf, free professional headshots, customization of websites, and exhibitors displaying law practice management software and legal research resources.

Career Advice LIVE!

Also on Thursday, the ABA YLD Council met and ABA CareerAdvice LIVE! completed a successful encore at the conference. The event offered attendees a chance to discuss career strategies with top legal career consultants, in-person at no cost. A full-group session was followed by small breakout discussions and individual Q&As. Experienced consultants were on hand to discuss a variety of topics, including “Branding Yourself and Marketing Your Practice,” “Dealing with Difficult People,” “Getting Effective Feedback from Your Supervisor,” and “Understanding and Leveraging Your Strengths in the Workplace.”

Attendees also networked at the ABA YLD Section Connect Fair and Reception for Young Lawyers at the Palace Hotel, the ABA YLD host hotel. It was an opportunity for networking and learning about the exciting programs and opportunities that ABA sections, divisions, and forums have for young lawyers. The evening concluded with the First Time Attendee Reception and the Welcome Reception for all attendees at Sens Restaurant in the Embarcadero Center.

CLEs and Networking

The next day, young lawyers attended the Plenary Session and various CLE sessions. Friday’s CLEs included “e-Discovery: Reducing the Costs & Risks Through Technology-Assisted Review,” presented by the ABA YLD Litigation Committee; “Insurance Claims: From Notice to Resolution,” presented by the ABA YLD Torts, Trial & Insurance Practice Committee; an Ethics CLE called “Building a Book of Business: Ethical Boundaries and Sound Approaches to Business Development & Marketing”; and “If You Build It, They Will Sue: Legal Challenges Facing Stadium and Arena Development Projects,” presented by the ABA YLD Entertainment & Sports Industry Committee. Friday wrapped up with the first day of the ABA YLD Assembly and the Fellows Gala in the Garden Court at the Palace Hotel.

ABA YLD delegates broke bread together Saturday morning at the ABA YLD Networking Breakfast before attending the second day of Assembly. The Networking Breakfast is always an excellent opportunity for Affiliate leaders to debrief on conference events and share experiences from their own organizations. The ABA YLD Assembly began with local San Franciscan Jeanne Grove leading the delegates in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Anita Barksdale once again graced the room with an amazing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. The Division recognized Affiliate public service and member service programming with Awards of Achievement, and delegates debated resolutions. Assembly photos are available on Facebook.

This year, five resolutions were debated, with all but one passing:

  • 1YL (passed)—Urging the ABA to (1) review its accreditation standards in order to remove barriers to innovation in legal education and (2) encourage and facilitate ABA-accredited law schools to require all students to participate in at least one academic grading period of practical legal skills, clinical experiences, or classes through the use, for example, of local legal aid service providers and school-sponsored clinics, in order to receive their law degree.
  • 2YL (failed)—Urging law schools to offer students access to foreign language (including sign language) classes as an elective and substantive law classes taught in a foreign language and urging law firms to provide employees with access to foreign language (including sign language) classes.
  • 3YL (passed)—Urging ABA-accredited law schools to report accurate financial data to prospective law students so that each prospective law student can make a fully-informed decision as to whether or not he or she should attend law school.
  • 4YL (passed)—Encouraging all state, local, and specialty bar associations that currently have a section or division specifically dedicated to young or new lawyers to maintain that section or division.
  • 6YL (passed—Urging federal, state, territorial and local officials and school administrators, after analysis of reported data on incidents of bullying, to adopt a uniform definition of “bullying” and “protected class” in their respective statutory, administrative, and school policies and encouraging the adoption of peer-to-peer mentoring programs, school counseling, and mediation programs for the use of students, teachers, and administrators on the effects of bullying.

Later in the day, the ABA YLD Disaster Legal Services team met to discuss and strategize for the upcoming bar year.

Finally, on Sunday evening, the Caucus of Young Lawyer Delegates to the ABA House congregated at the Marriott Marquis.

Clinton Recognized

Those conference attendees lucky enough to stay through Monday were able to see U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak. Accepting the ABA Medal, the Association’s highest honor, Clinton urged the ABA and its members to protect and advance the right to vote.

“Choosing our leaders is among the most direct and tangible ways in which our citizens exercise their ownership over the law, and it is at the heart of our American democratic experiment,” Clinton told the audience. “We have found too many ways to divide and exclude people from their ownership of the law and protection under the law.”

Clinton was the first chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, which was created in August 1987 to assess the status of women in the legal profession, identify barriers to advancement, and recommend to the ABA actions to address the problems identified. Clinton set the pace for the Commission to change the face of the legal profession by issuing a groundbreaking report in 1988 showing that women lawyers were not advancing at a satisfactory rate. From this report, the Commission found that a variety of discriminatory barriers remained a part of the professional culture, the significant increase in the number of women attorneys would not eliminate these barriers, and a thorough reexamination of the attitudes and structures in the legal profession was needed.

Until Next Time . . .

As always, the Annual Meeting was a great way to network, listen, learn, and even relax a little. If you missed out on the fun, there is always next time, as the ABA YLD Fall Conference will be in Phoenix from October 10–12. Be sure to check out the Fall Conference preview in this issue of The Affiliate.

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