Affiliate Spotlight: Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association Young Lawyers Section

Vol. 39 No. 4


D’Ontae D. Sylvertooth is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and a Trial Attorney in the Albuquerque, New Mexico Area Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (NPBA YLS) continues to do great things this year and is one of the most active committees within the NPBA. Members of the NPBA YLS get a thrill out of serving the legal profession, the judiciary, and the public by using their legal experience and good old-fashioned hard work to implement programs that inspire, help, and impact the surrounding communities. Here’s a brief look at some of the many activities the NPBA YLS has been involved in over the past year.

ForKids Workday

In 2013, over 7,700 children found themselves homeless in the Hampton Roads area (Coastal Virginia, comprising 11 cities: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Smithfield, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Yorktown). To combat this issue, ForKids works with over 175 families to provide emergency shelter, parenting classes, budgeting classes, therapy, and education to entire families. In helping these families, the organization positively impacts over 300 children. Because of ForKids, these children can concentrate on learning, joining extracurricular activities, and just being a kid, instead of worrying about where they will sleep or if they will eat.

In April 2013, NPBA members quickly went to work, rolling up their sleeves and using good old-fashioned elbow grease to help with the upkeep and maintenance of several ForKids’ shelters, as well as the organization’s thrift store. NPBA members were fully engaged in landscaping projects such as mowing, weeding, planting, trimming, edging, and cleaning around ForKids’ shelters. Not too far away, more NPBA members were sorting, hanging, tagging, and organizing donations at the organization’s thrift store, where 100% of the proceeds directly benefit the families being helped by ForKids.

Bide-A-Wee Golf Course Fundraiser

Ensuring equal and unfettered access to the courts is a fundamental cornerstone of our legal system. Judge Learned Hand expressed this most eloquently when he said: “The law is the command of the government, and it must be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all.” The Norfolk Law Library, a local public law library and nonprofit foundation, abides by this sound principle by providing legal resources, free of charge, to the general public. On June 27, 2013, the NPBA YLS held its annual NPBA Annual Gold Tournament at the Bide-A-Wee Golf Course to raise money for the Norfolk Law Library. Lawyers, paralegals, families, and friends came out in droves to support this philanthropic mission. By raising funds to donate to the library, the NPBA YLS is doing its part to further safeguard the long-standing principle of equal access to justice for all. Even more exciting is the fact that this tournament set a record for the largest amount raised out of any of the past tournaments.

Partnership with the Ronald McDonald House

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk (RMH) is to help families with children facing medical challenges by providing a “home away from home.” The Ronald McDonald House effectuates its mission by providing lodging to family members of children who are seriously ill. By doing so, RMH removes one level of stress from the families. NBPA formed a new partnership with the RMH on July 29, 2013, when NPBA members cooked for families that were staying at the Norfolk RMH. NBPA returned to the RMH shortly thereafter to host an additional dinner for families staying at the charity house. With their housing and food needs provided for, the families are more able to focus on their children’s health.

In the Box with the Tides

At a sold out event on August 22, 2013, the NPBA YLS watched as the Norfolk Tides (a local minor league baseball team) defeated the Durham Bulls. The YLS provided a catered box suite where new attorneys, experienced attorneys, and their family members were able to network, as well as enjoy America’s pastime. Now, that’s what I call knocking it out of the park!

The Programs Just Keep Coming . . . .

Some of the additional programming coming from the NPBA YLS includes a Breakfast with the Bench, which is held at least three times a year. Like many other affiliates that put on similar programming, this is an opportunity to have breakfast with a judge while the judge answers questions from attendees. Most recently, Federal Magistrate Judge Leonard from the Eastern District of Virginia shared a wealth of knowledge with those who attended. NPBA also hosts an annual reception at a Virginia judge’s home where upwards of 70 bench and bar members attend.

This is only a glimpse of the wonderful things that are coming from the NPBA YLS. If you want to obtain more information about the great work the NPBA YLS is doing please contact the section’s Chair, Courtney C. Williams.


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