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September 11, 2014 Articles

The Young Lawyer Leadership Program Continues Developing Leaders

The two-year program is designed to provide opportunities for young lawyers to become actively involved in the Section.

By Keathan Frink

The Young Lawyer Leadership Program (YLLP) is a two-year program awarded annually to four attorneys nationally. It is designed to provide opportunities for young lawyers to become actively involved in the ABA Section of Litigation. The program is committed to increasing participation of young lawyers in the Section by (1) involving young lawyers in the work of the Section with the hope that they will develop into future leaders of the Section and (2) enhancing the image of the Section among young lawyers, including those who are members of the Section and the Young Lawyers Division of the ABA. YLLP representatives become members of a Section committee or task force, engage in substantive work, and are paired with a mentor from the Section’s experienced leaders.

For 14 years, the YLLP has developed leaders who have held various leadership positions within the Section.  There have been 8 associate editors, 63 cochairs, 8 division directors, 2 managing directors, 74 committee members, 1 revenue officer, 1 team editor, and 5 Young Lawyers Division representatives.  The 2013–2014 YLLP participants are no exception.  Many of the representatives have assumed leadership roles within the Section for the upcoming bar year.

Representatives for 2013–2015 are Alexis Foster, Dahlia Dorman, Brandon Smith, and Joy Tolliver.  Alexis Foster is a prosecuting attorney at the Kitsap County Prosecuting Office, Civil Division, in Port Orchard, Washington.  Ms. Foster was assigned to the Minority Trial Lawyer Committee, where she was involved in the membership and newsletter subcommittees.  Ms. Foster was tasked with creating the social media accounts for the Minority Trial Lawyer.  She was also responsible for updating the Minority Trial Lawyer website on a monthly basis. 

Dahlia Dorman is an associate at Modrall Sperling, LLP in Albuquerque, New Mexico, focusing on defending clients in civil disputes, including employment litigation and personal injury.  She was assigned to the Employment and Labor Relations Committee.  Ms. Dorman was appointed to serve as a cochair of the committee’s newsletter. She has written two articles for the committee: “NLRB Sheds More Light on Why Facebook Post Not Protected Activity” and “Employees on Military Leave Entitled to Equal Treatment.”  Ms. Dorman will be attending the Editor’s Symposium on behalf of the Committee at the Section’s Fall Leadership Meeting in Nashville, TN, in September 2014. 

Brandon Smith is an associate at Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, LLP in Columbia, South Carolina, focusing his practice in the areas of products liability, commercial litigation, environmental litigation, and class action defense.  Mr. Smith is a member of the Section’s Commercial & Business Litigation Committee. Mr. Smith completed a Sound Advice entitled “Getting Involved with the Section of Litigation Pays Off,” in which he discusses how involvement in the Section has enriched his career and why it’s particularly beneficial for young lawyers. Mr. Smith also participated in a telephone membership drive on behalf of his committee while attending the Winter Leadership Meeting in San Diego, CA. 

Joy Tolliver is the fourth member of the 2013–2015 YLLP class. Ms. Tolliver is an associate at Weiner Lesniak, LLP in Parsipanny, New Jersey, where her practice areas include education law and labor and employment law.  Ms. Tolliver was assigned to the Children’s Rights Committee and assisted with the launch of their book entitled “Changing Lives: Lawyers Fighting for Children.” In addition to working with the Children’s Rights Committee, Ms. Tolliver was a Programming Subcommittee Chair for the Young Advocates Committee. 

The 2012–2014 class of YLLP participants is comprised of Adrian Felix, Emily Harlan, Stephanie Loquvam, and Alexander Wharton. These young leaders have completed their two years in the program and will be transitioning into various leadership positions within the Section.

Adrian Felix is a senior litigation associate at Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, PA in Miami, Florida focusing on complex commercial litigation and trade regulation.  An active member in both the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association and the Section of Litigation, Mr. Felix has been serving as the YLD representative to the Section.  Next year, Mr. Felix will be a voting member of the Section’s leadership Council.

Emily Harlan is an associate at Nixon Peabody, LLP, in Washington, D.C. Ms. Harlan’s practice areas include government investigations and white collar criminal defense litigation. She was a natural fit for the Section’s Criminal Litigation Committee. She served as web editor-in-chief and was responsible for soliciting content, editing content, and updating the website on a regular basis.  Ms. Harlan will continue working with the Criminal Litigation Committee next year and will also be a member of the Roundtables Committee. 

Stephanie Loquvam practices commercial litigation at Aiken, Schenk, Hawkins & Ricciardi, P.C., in Phoenix, Arizona. Ms. Loquvam was an active member of the Membership & Marketing Committee of the Section.  Her hard work earned her a presidential appointment to the Standing Committee on Membership, the Legal Access Job Corps Task Force, and the Gender Equity Task Force, as well as an appointment by the Section Chair to the Commission on the American Jury Project. 

Alexander Wharton is the final member of the Young Lawyer Leadership Program.  He is a partner at the Wharton Law Firm, where his practice areas include personal injury, workers’ compensation, premises liability and criminal defense. Mr. Wharton is a member of the Solo & Small Firm Committee and was recognized as an Outstanding Sub-Committee Chair within the Section. Mr. Wharton will continue working with the Solo & Small Firm Committee in addition to his new position as a member of the Regional Meetings Committee. 

As a group, the YLLP hosted a Section Roundtable discussion entitled “Women in Criminal Law.”  This Roundtable, moderated by Emily Harlan, touched on some of the challenges and experiences women face in the area of criminal litigation. The panel, comprised of experienced women practicing criminal law, offered advice on handling clients, various types of criminal cases, and trial presentation.

The Young Lawyer Leadership Program has a history of identifying and promoting young lawyers who become active members in the Section of Litigation. We look forward to continuing that tradition with the incoming class of participants.


Copyright © 2014, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).