General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

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Practice Area Newsletter

American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice

Winter 2009

Vol. 5, No.2

Young Lawyers


Get Funded While Being Mentored by an ABA Section

Young lawyers can get involved in the substantive work of American Bar Association sections, and, in many cases, receive funding to meetings by becoming a Fellow. Several ABA sections offer fellowship programs designed to mentor young lawyers to become future leaders of that section. These fellowship programs not only enhance a young lawyer’s knowledge of the section, but also work as a way to promote the section to other members of the Young Lawyers Division. In addition to mentoring and promotional opportunities, the Fellow receives funding and reimbursement to selected conferences and meetings.

Fellowship appointments are prestige positions, and selected individuals often participate in leadership at a section committee meeting where he or she participates in special assignments. An appointee is usually placed on a committee of their interest, and assignments often entail helping committee chairs with national projects and publications. Thus, a young lawyer can gain national recognition while helping an ABA section that they may lead in the future. Other Fellow benefits include funding and financial reimbursements to section meetings and conferences that are often conducted at exciting destinations.

The Business Law Section (BLS) funds young lawyers through its fellowship program in hopes that their early participation in the program will entice the Fellow to become an active member of the Section in the future. To achieve this goal, BLS reimburses Fellows’ expenses for attending the Section’s meetings and allows them to become involved in and recruit within the YLD. The BLS selects five Fellows annually, and the application deadline is May 30.

Another entity that offers a Fellows position is the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division (GP). Its funded fellowship position is offered to three lawyers of color. GP Fellows get to attend Division meetings and participate in the Division’s programs as members for two years following the fellowship. The application deadline is June.

The Labor and Employment Law Section (LEL) reimburses its Fellows for travel, lodging, and reasonable meal expenses for attending the Section’s Midwinter Meeting. Besides actively participating in a committee, an LEL Fellow serves as a Section liaison to the YLD. The LEL selects three Fellows, and the application deadline is August.

The Law Practice Management Section (LPM) Fellows program is titled the Leadership Mentoring Program. As the name suggests, the program mentors young lawyers to become future Section leaders. The “Leadership Appointee” will have the opportunity to serve on Section committees. Visit for more information.

The ABA Section of Litigation titles its fellowship program the Young Lawyer Leadership Program (YLLP). As the title suggests, the program is also targeted at developing future Section leaders. “The YLLP has been a wildly successful program for the Section and, we think, for those in the program,” says Patricia Lee Refo, chair of the Section. To attain this goal, the Section of Litigation reimburses its Fellows for airfare, ground transportation, lodging, and reasonable meal expenses to attend the Section’s meetings. In addition to assignment to a Section committee, the Fellow promotes the Section within the YLD by encouraging membership and participation in the Section. The Litigation Section selects five Fellows who have demonstrated a track record of significant YLD involvement. The application deadline is May.

The Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section (RPPT) offers its Fellows a stipend of $1,500 dollars to attend the Section’s required meetings. RPPT Fellows are involved in a substantive project that may include producing an article for publication in the Section’s magazine or journal. In addition, the Fellow actively works on a committee, and helps the Section work more closely with the YLD. The Section selects four Fellows, two of whom are minorities. The application deadline is June.

The Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Fellows are awarded a funded position. To receive funding, the Fellow joins a committee, helps with membership initiatives, and works with other Fellows to produce a tangible TIPS work product. The Fellows are funded to attend meetings, which are usually in conjunction with the ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings, and to two Section leadership meetings. TIPS selects seven to ten Fellows annually, and the application deadline is February.

Don’t hesitate any longer! Become involved in one of these proven successful programs that offer instant active participation and mentoring, as well as the possibility of becoming a future Section leader. For additional details, go to

Published in Affiliate, Volume 29, No. 2, November - December 2003. © 2003 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

Travis A. Cushman is an assistant editor of The Affiliate and practices law with Jardine, Stephenson Blewett in Great Falls, Montana. Contact Travis Cushman at

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