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The 2021 process was led by a Strategic Plan Steering Committee. The Steering Committee, based on available data, Division information, and interviewee meeting notes, developed the Division’s foundational concepts, strategic goals, mission and vision, strategic pillars, and stakeholder priorities. Initially, the Steering Committee participated in lengthy, in-depth, facilitated discussions to pinpoint the Division’s priorities, pillars, and stakeholders.

With these foundational concepts identified, several subcommittees then assisted in the information gathering process in turn, including the Survey Subcommittee, Interview Subcommittee, Data Analysis Subcommittee, and the Drafting Subcommittee. Following the input from the subcommittees, the Drafting Subcommittee created an initial version of this Plan.

After input from ABA Early Career Strategy staff and the Steering Committee, the Plan was presented for public comment and a listening session was held. The feedback was incorporated into the final Plan. On August 3, 2021, the Division Council unanimously adopted the Plan.

Our Vision

New and young lawyers equipped for professional and personal excellence in a diverse profession that is inclusive, representative, and responsive to their needs.

Our Mission

Serving as the home of the new and young lawyer, the Division champions professional development, leadership, policy advancement, and service to the profession with a dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its efforts.

Core Values

Professional Development

The Division is committed to enhancing new and young lawyers’ substantive practice area and skills-based knowledge, as well as providing opportunities to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. The Division recognizes it is uniquely positioned to deliver resources and offer opportunities to new and young lawyers, which sharpen their legal skills and knowledge. The Division leverages this position by providing a national platform for Division members to amplify and advance their careers.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Division is deeply rooted in a foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Division recognizes that its strength and success is due, in large part, to the diversity and inclusivity of its membership. It recognizes the Division’s commitment to justice, uniting the profession, and building a profession reflective of the diverse and vibrant communities which its members serve.


The Division serves a critical role as a leader within the Association and the profession. The Division recognizes its role in creating meaningful and accessible opportunities for all new and young lawyers to lead within the Division, the Association, and in their communities. These opportunities develop the next generation of exceptional leaders. Further, the Division recognizes its responsibility to be an advocate for change. Thus, the Division offers a national forum for the exchange and expression of new and young lawyers’ views. The result of these efforts must be actionable policies and advocacy that shapes the legal profession and culture for the better.

Goal 1

New and Young Lawyers’ Career Advancement

Uphold, demonstrate, and communicate the Division’s membership value.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Practice Area Resources. The Division will work with key Association practice specialty stakeholders with subject matter expertise to develop and implement practice area specific resources for increasing topical knowledge and improving practice skills.
  2. Professional Development Resources. The Division will provide education, training, and networking opportunities and the tools and resources needed to advance professionally, thereby reinforcing the value of association membership.
  3. Networking. The Division will capitalize on its role as a national association to offer unparalleled networking events and opportunities.
  4. Facilitate Transition from Law Student to Professional. The Division—boasting membership of tens of thousands of law students—acts as an entry point into the profession and the Association. Assisting recent graduates as they launch their careers and pulling them up into the Division is paramount to increasing Division participation.
  5. Facilitate Transition from the Division to Sections, Divisions, and Forcums. The Division can advance the careers of its members by collaborating with, and highlighting the work of Association entities, facilitating a seamless transition from Division membership to Association membership.
  6. Affiliates. The Division will provide training and resources for affiliate leaders and its members.
  7. Publications. The Division will provide articles and written content through its publications on topics which are timely, relevant, and educational.
  8. Communications. The Division will ensure the value of its membership offerings are articulated to Division members through clear, concise, and consistent communications.

Goal 2

Enhancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Actively promote and embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion and advance a culture of racial, equitable, and social justice in all its efforts.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Comply with Goal III and Division DE&I Plan. The Division will implement the Division’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan (2020) including its three strategic goals to increase membership diversity and promote inclusivity, increase collaboration with Association Goal III entities, and conduct bi-annual assessments of the Plan.
  2. Education. The Division will provide appropriate and accessible educational opportunities that advance the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Further, it will actively seek to assess and advance our understanding of how their existence or absence impacts our members and affiliates. Finally, the Division will comply with the Association’s Diversity and Inclusion CLE Policy (2017).
  3. Accountability. The Division will promote an environment of transparency and accountability, including obtaining periodic data, which identifies and reflects the true diversity and inclusivity of our membership.
  4. Cultural Advancement. The Division will engage with the conversation surrounding race and anti-racism and shall encourage our members, leaders, and staff to be civically engaged.
  5. Outreach. The Division will make dedicated and timely efforts to build relationships and collaborate with Goal III entities, National Affiliates, and minority bar associations.
  6. Mandatory Training. The Division will provide appropriate annual diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all Division leaders.
  7. Leadership Pathway. The Division will promote and encourage a leadership reflective of Division membership. Further, the Division shall offer training and meaningful opportunities for leadership development for diverse members. The Division shall develop and fund a pathway program to include traditionally underrepresented attorneys in Division leadership.
  8. Support. The Division will vigorously promote and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion related events, programming, projects, and initiatives.

Goal 3

Cultivating Leaders

Cultivate new and young lawyer leaders through meaningful leadership opportunities.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Leadership Roles. The Division will conduct its activities through elected and appointed volunteer leaders which are empowered to accomplish their goals and to proactively pursue endeavors for the betterment of the Division.
  2. Meetings and Conferences. The Division will conduct business meetings and host conferences whereby the business of the Division is furthered through the efforts of its leaders.
  3. Mentorship and Sponsorship. The Division will ensure Division members are afforded mentorship and sponsorship opportunities for guidance on navigating the profession and the Division.
  4. Pathway Programs. The Division will actively advance its Commitment to Goal III by vigorously encouraging the recruitment and participation of traditionally underrepresented attorneys, providing opportunities to serve in Division leadership and gain access to education and financial assistance. Emphasis will be placed on lawyers of color, women lawyers, lawyers with physical and mental disabilities, and lawyers who identify as LGBTQ, solo/small firm lawyers, and government and military lawyers.
  5. Affiliate Leader Integration. The Division will work to recruit and engage affiliate leaders in the activities and leadership of the Division.
  6. Transition to Association. The Division will prioritize assisting Division members in finding and becoming integrated in an entity in the Association for continued membership after the Division.

Goal 4

Advocacy Through Leadership and Action

Lead and act on policy efforts and effectively advocate for issues impacting young and new lawyers.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Issue Identification. The Division will undertake efforts to identify the issues salient to Division members in order to inform its advocacy activities.
  2. Create Policy. The Division will support efforts to create policies to improve and enhance the profession for Division members.
  3. ABA HOD Participation. The Division will participate in the Association’s House of Delegates and strategically advance identified issues.
  4. Advocacy. The Division will lobby for the implementation of adopted Division policy by working with the Association’s Government Affairs Office.
  5. Communication. The Division will make its Assembly accessible to Division members and affiliates and communicate advancement of policy and advocacy efforts.
  6. Action. To lead the profession and effect change, the Division must go beyond policy ideation, discussion, and creation. Upon adoption, steps must be taken on key policies to develop action plans with tangible steps for implementation.

Goal 5

Organizational Operations

Develop and refine organizational competence to better execute Annual and Strategic Plans.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Planning. The Division—with its high number of appointments, multiple moving parts, and yearly turnover in volunteer leadership—must foster a collaborative culture of organizational planning and long-term thinking to successfully align and implement a Strategic Plan.
  2. Finance. The Division will develop fiscally responsible policies and practices for sustained positive member experience. Further, the Chair-Elect will draft, finalize, and implement the coming bar year’s budget with the advice of the ECS Staff Director.
  3. Staffing. The Division will utilize ECS staff to implement programming, advance Division goals and priorities, and further develop the member value proposition.
  4. Institutional Knowledge. The Division will increase the efficiency of Division operations by utilizing institutional knowledge which has been memorialized through the years through implementing a formal document retention policy, consulting the Long Range Planning Board, and drafting and implementing the Chair’s Annual Plan.
  5. Leader Training. The Division will train Division leaders on Division policy, governance, and staffing procedures and encourage leaders to participate in effective leadership transitions.
  6. Resources. The Division will capitalize on available Division and Association resources to efficiently execute Division operations.


If you have questions about the YLD Strategic Plan, please send them to [email protected].

YLD Leadership Information