March 31, 2013 Membership

Young Lawyers Committee Newsletter: Spring 2013

As we move into spring, we are excited to see many of our initiatives continue to progress.  This past quarter, we’ve experienced expansion of our mentorship program, a growth in membership, plans for a new writing competition, and our continued contribution to the Section through publication of our quarterly case summary digest, CJS: Around the Circuit.  Here is a detailed update on our recent activities:

Spring Meeting

The Criminal Justice Section will be holding its annual Spring Meeting in Boca Raton, Florida May 9 – 12 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.  Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) leadership will be attending and have scheduled several meetings and events.  On May 9, the YLC will be holding a meeting to discuss the progress of our initiatives as well as to set our goals for the next year.  The meeting will be held from 2:00 to 3:00 PM and will be immediately followed by the Membership Committee meeting from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.  Our meetings are open to all young attorneys (“under the age of 36 or in practice 5 years or less”) interested in attending even if you are not already a member.  Your input on our goals and activities is invaluable.  If you are attending the Spring Meeting, please plan on stopping by! 

Following the YLC meeting, we will be hosting our spring mixer.  This will be held at Bar Luna (on the resort) from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.   This event is being co-sponsored by the South Palm Beach County Bar Association. This is a great opportunity to connect in a social setting before the Section’s formal events begin on Friday.  As such, there is no formal agenda and dress is business casual.  Electronic invites have been sent out to Section members who meet “young lawyer” criteria.  You may RSVP via email to Aminata Steele at aminata.steele@americanbar.org   Not a Section member?  Not a problem.  If you are a young attorney planning on attending the Spring Meeting, you are welcome and encouraged to join us.   We look forward to seeing you there.

Scholarship Opportunities

We recognize that it is a financial hardship for young attorneys to attend a multi-day seminar in places such as Boca Raton.  Airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, etc. create a barrier for would-be attendees.  For that reason, the Criminal Justice Section offers scholarships for those facing economic hardship.  These scholarships amount to an all-expense paid trip so that you are able to attend conferences that would otherwise be out of reach.  Although scholarships have already been awarded for the Spring Meeting, those facing financial hardship are encouraged to apply for one of our four scholarships that will be awarded for the Fall Meeting.  If you are interested in applying and would like more information please visit http://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/membership/younglawyers.html or contact Michael Pope, YLC Co-Chair, at mpope@youthpresent.org to learn more.  Congratulations to our three current scholarship winners: Natalie Amato, Laura Hawkins and Adelle LaRue!  We look forward to seeing you in Boca!

Mentorship Program

Since the last quarter, we have been pleased to see our mentorship program continue to grow.  For those unfamiliar, the purpose of this project is to connect young attorneys with seasoned professionals to enhance collegiality, and to foster the development of professional skills.  Late last summer, application forms were designed and letters addressed to potential mentors/mentees were drafted.  These applications and letters were distributed during October 2012.  The initiative received a workable response and mentorships were formed beginning in March 2013.  Applicants are continuing to be paired based on common practice area, membership and leadership in outside organizations, personal interests and background, and location. 

To date, our program has been successful in forming professional mentorships for all persons who have applied.  The project was originally planned to be a one-year endeavor; however, because the program continues to receive interest, we have decided to make it ongoing.  For that reason, all attorneys are encouraged to apply as either a mentor or mentee.  If you are interested in expanding your network and building your professional skills, please follow this link http://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/membership/mentorship.html to learn more.

TBA: YLC Writing Competition

The YLC is pleased to announce that we will be sponsoring an essay writing competition.  We recognize that new attorneys are concerned with both repayment of student debt and strengthening their resumes.  For that reason, we are offering a small monetary prize as well as professional recognition to the entrant with the best submission on the following topic: What practices should states implement to combat the risk of wrongful conviction due to faulty eyewitness identification?  Submissions will be a three-page opinion piece and will be judged based on persuasive reasoning, writing quality, and creativity.  Formal announcement of the competition is forthcoming and will be made available on our website.  However, if you are interested and would like to learn more, you may contact Michael Pope, YLC Co-Chair, at mpope@youthrepresent.org   The winning submission will also be published by the ABA on the Criminal Justice Section website.

Recent Events

Recently, the YLC and Membership Committee collaborated to present Careers in Criminal Justice at the George Washington University Law School.  This event was held on March 14th and focused on the benefit of ABA membership to jumpstarting a legal career.  Thank you to all of our guest panelists – Edwin Burnette, Justin Murphy, James Parkinson, Jamie Rodriguez, and David Seide – for your participation.   

In addition, on March 21, 2013, our committee was promoted through two separate “brown bag” lunch meetings.  These events were held in Washington D.C. and New York respectively and featured a criminal justice-related presentation on a topic of interest to young attorneys—“Inside the Mind of an FBI Agent.”  These meetings were successful, prompting us to sponsor a second luncheon, which will be scheduled on a date in July.  The details are forthcoming and will be announced soon.  If you are a young attorney practicing in the New York or Washington D.C. areas, you are highly encouraged to attend.  This is a great networking opportunity!  For more information you may contact Michael Dean at mddeanlaw@gmail.com

CJS: Around the Circuit

Finally, this quarter’s newsletter is accompanied by the Section’s newest resource, CJS: Around the Circuit.   This feature is a case summary digest of recent federal circuit court opinions.  The publication is organized by circuit and is composed of five case briefs per circuit.  These briefs follow a particular “theme” for the quarter.  For the Spring 2013 quarter, we have chosen Miranda, handgun regulation, and Armed Career Criminal (“ACCA”) enhancements.  This resource is available at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/resources/circuit.html, or by going to the Criminal Justice Section’s “Resources” tab.  A special thanks again to all of our staff writers for putting together another great edition!

Michael D. Dean

Co-Chair, Young Lawyers Committee