2014 ABA Annual Meeting Recap

August 8 & 9, 2014 in Boston, MA

The Assembly extends great appreciation to the following individuals for their participation:  Patriot Honor Guard, Hanscom Air Force Base, Bedford, MA, organized by Joshua Roman; Sheena Hamilton, for her delivery of the Pledge of Allegiance; Christina DeVaughn for her beautiful singing of the National Anthem; J. Cliff McKinney, for his thoughtful invocation; J. Mackenzie Hogan for giving us a preview of the upcoming YLD Fall Conference in Portland, OR; and Abiola Afolayan, Christopher Niro, Sidney Butcher, Brittany Fortier, Michael Bergmann, Stephanie McCoy Loquvam, Alyesha Dotson, and Anthony Ciolli, who were the principal debaters of the resolutions.

The Assembly also thanks the following special guests for their presentations: ABA President Jim Silkenat; ABA President-Elect William Hubbard; ABA President-Elect Designee Paulette Brown; Bob Carlson, Chair of the ABA House of Delegates; Gene Vance, Chair of the YLD Fellows Board; Tom Bolt, Vice Chair of the ABA Law Practice Division; and Mike Drumke, Chair-Elect of the ABA Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section.

The Speaker and Clerk especially thank the members of the YLD Resolutions Team and the YLD Credentials Board for their tireless efforts throughout the bar year.

The Affiliate Roll Call featuring videos created by each of our Affiliates was a hit!  Thank you, Affiliates!  The video is available online.

245 delegates were certified for the Assembly.

YLD Elections

At the close of the Assembly on August 9, Andrew Schpak (Portland, OR) began serving his one-year term as YLD Chair; Lacy Durham (Dallas, TX) began serving her one-year term as YLD Chair-Elect; Christina Liu (Chicago, IL) began serving her two-year term as YLD Treasurer; and Dave Scriven-Young (Chicago, IL) began serving his one-year term as YLD Assembly Speaker.

The following individuals were elected as ABA YLD officers or constitutional representatives for the 2014-2015 bar year: Secretary: Anna Romanskaya (San Diego, CA), Assembly Clerk: Stefan Palys (Phoenix, AZ); Board of Governors Representative: Erica Grinde (Missoula, MT); House of Delegates Representative: Myra McKenzie-Harris (Bentonville, AR); and Nominating Committee Representative: Mario Sullivan (Chicago, IL).

Election Notice: The Division will elect the Secretary, Assembly Clerk, and one representative to the ABA House of Delegates at the ABA Annual Meeting on August 1, 2015 in Chicago, IL.  Eligible individuals must submit their candidacy by written notice to the current Secretary, with a copy to the Assembly Speaker, and the Staff Director by the adjournment of the Division’s Assembly Meeting on February 7, 2015 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Houston, TX.  The written notice must specify a single position sought.  There is no special form.  It is suggested that a candidate’s statement simply identify the candidate (by name, address, and telephone number) and say, “Please accept this letter as my written notice of candidacy for [title].” More information is available on online.

Resolutions Drafted by Young Lawyers and Debated by YLD Assembly

All of the resolutions considered by the Assembly can be found in the Assembly Packet.

The following resolutions drafted by young lawyers were debated during the YLD Assembly.  One of the resolutions drafted by young lawyers (2YL-A/HOD 104B) was passed by the YLD Assembly and the ABA House of Delegates during the Annual Meeting.  The ABA House of Delegates also passed Resolution 104A, which was also drafted by young lawyers and passed by the YLD Assembly during the 2014 Midyear Meeting.  Resolution 104A encourages law schools to create veterans law clinics to ensure that all veterans can access legal services.  The Assembly extends its deepest appreciation to all of the YLD’s representatives to the ABA House of Delegates, especially Chris Rogers and Michael Bergmann, for their fantastic efforts in gaining the passage of Resolutions 104A and 104B in the House.

Resolution #




HOD 104B

Urges the appropriate courts to enact rules permitting non-locally-licensed in-house counsel already authorized to engage in the practice of law to engage in pro bono legal services in their communities.

Passed by YLD Assembly and ABA House of Delegates


Urges the United States to ratify Articles 1-54 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which affirm and describe the fundamental human rights of all children.

Passed by YLD Assembly (not yet presented to ABA House of Delegates for consideration)


Urges the appropriate governing bodies of states and territories to permit undocumented immigrants, who have met all the necessary prerequisite qualifications for admission to the state bar, to be admitted to practice law regardless of immigration status and urges state and territorial legislatures to enact laws to provide undocumented immigrants, who have met all the necessary prerequisite qualifications for admission to the state bar, eligibility to obtain a license to practice law before the state bar.

Failed in YLD Assembly

Resolutions Drafted by Other ABA Entities and Debated by YLD Assembly

The following resolutions drafted by other ABA entities were debated during the YLD Assembly.  The ABA House of Delegates considered these resolutions during their Annual Meeting sessions.  The HOD decisions on these resolutions are listed below.  The complete list of HOD resolutions is available online.

Resolution #




Urges bar associations, law schools, law firms, and other legal entities to create and advance initiatives to utilize the resources of newly-admitted lawyers to meet unmet legal needs.

Passed by YLD Assembly and ABA House of Delegates


Urges federal, state, and territorial governments that authorize capital punishment to establish a procedure for successors of executed individuals to litigate claims of actual innocence and, if successful, receive substantial monetary compensation.

Passed by YLD Assembly and ABA House of Delegates as Amended 

Consent Calendar

All resolutions on the consent calendar (described below) were adopted by the YLD Assembly.  These resolutions were drafted by other ABA entities, except for 5YL, which was drafted by young lawyers.  The ABA House of Delegates considered these resolutions (except 5YL) during their Annual Meeting sessions.  The HOD decisions on these resolutions are listed below.  The complete list of HOD resolutions is available online.

Resolution #




Encourages law schools and bar associations to offer meaningful debt counseling and debt management education to admitted and enrolled law students, as well as young lawyers in the community.

Passed by YLD Assembly (not yet presented to ABA House of Delegates for consideration)


Urges Congress to amend 28 U.S.C. § 44(c) to insert the phrase “and territory” after the phrase “each state”, so that all states and territories within the jurisdiction of the federal courts of appeal may be represented on its bench.

Passed by YLD Assembly and ABA House of Delegates


Amends § 21.6 of the ABA Bylaws to delete the Disability Waiver Program contained in paragraph (b) thereby consolidating the Special Dues for Persons with Disabilities and the Financial Hardship Dues programs to provide a financial hardship rate to those unable to afford ABA dues, regardless of the reason.

Passed by YLD Assembly and ABA House of Delegates as Amended


This resolution urges the United States and other nations to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, which would adopt exceptions to copyright law to permit copying and distribution of works in formats accessible to the blind.

Passed by YLD Assembly and ABA House of Delegates


This resolution condemns forced marriage as a fundamental human rights violation and a form of family violence and of violence against women and urges governments to amend existing laws or enact new laws to prevent, protect and support individuals threatened by forced marriages.

Passed by YLD Assembly and ABA House of Delegates

Award Ceremonies

Outstanding Young Military Service Lawyer Award Recipients 

U.S. Army: CPT Michael J. Scaletty
U.S. Navy: LCDR Trevor J. Grant
U.S. Air Force: Capt Micah W. Elggren
U.S. Marines: CPT Nelson F. Candelario
U.S. Coast Guard: LCDR Amanda Lee

More information is available online.

Rosner & Rosner Young Lawyer Professionalism Award Recipient

Thomasina Real Bird, Louisville, CO

More information is available online.

Child Advocacy Award Recipients

Young Lawyer Recipient: Brandy Bailey, Brownsville, TX
Distinguished Lawyer Recipient: Franchesca L. Hamilton-Acker, Lafayette, LA

More information is available online.

Awards of Achievement

Outstanding Service to the Public Project – MI - State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, “Cracking the Legal Field Pipeline Mock Trial Competition”

The Program exposed students in the Detroit area to the court system and legal process in a fun, encouraging, and educational atmosphere.  Students of every age level participated in some form, either as attorneys, bailiffs, or witnesses.  There were approximately 80 students participating from the Detroit Metro area, and about 15 volunteers.  The students received oral advocacy experience from the legal spectrum.  The Program also had a panel discussion of judges, young lawyers, and law students.

Outstanding Service to the Bar Project – CA - Barristers Club of San Francisco, “Mind the Gap”

“MTG” is a practical Skills Pro Bono Initiative.  The goal of the MTG Initiative is to provide recent law school graduates who are unemployed or underemployed with five key components: training, work experience, mentorship, connections, and debt reduction information.  By the end of 2013, the MTG program grew to 325 members.  Approximately 60 MTG members received experience handling 147 different matters, which totaled 681 hours of pro bono through the legal services program of the Justice and Diversity Center.

The complete list of winners is available online.

Call For Resolutions

Do you or your affiliate have a great idea for a resolution?  Do you want to take an active role in issues that directly affect young lawyers?  Submit your resolution idea now via the YLD’s Resolution Idea Form that is available online.  Please submit the form to Assembly Speaker Dave Scriven-Young and Tara Blasingame no later than September 15, 2014 for the ABA Midyear Meeting.  Resolution ideas are considered and confirmed on a rolling basis.  However, you must meet the above deadlines if you wish to have your proposal considered at a particular meeting of the ABA YLD Assembly.  You will be contacted by a member of the Resolutions Team to discuss how your idea can be turned into a resolution to be considered by the Assembly.  Please go to www.ambar.org/yldassembly for more information on resolutions.

Delegate Certification for the Midyear Assembly

Make sure your state, national affiliate, or military branch is fully represented at the Midyear Meeting YLD Assembly.  December 1, 2014 is the deadline for local affiliates to submit delegate information to their state affiliate.  December 15, 2014 is the deadline for state affiliates, national affiliates and military affiliates to submit their delegate information to the ABA YLD via the online Delegate Certification Form.  The following information is needed for each delegate: name, contact information including email address, ABA ID#, birth date, and whether he or she qualifies under ABA YLD bylaws or the organization’s bylaws.  If you have any questions regarding delegate certification, contact Assembly Clerk Stefan Palys.

A Year-In-Review—2013-2014 ABA YLD Chair Mario Sullivan

It is a great honor to have Chaired an organization that is dedicated to the success of all young lawyers.  We could not have accomplished all that we had done this year without the great leaders and YLD staff, and I thank them for making this an amazing year. 

We started this bar year with one common goal in mind, Moving the Profession Forward.  We have accomplished so much towards that goal and here just a few highlights:

Services to Our Community.  I could not be more proud of all the work we have done through this year’s YLD Public Service Project, “Bullyproof: Young Lawyers Educating and Empowering to End Bullying”.  We have implemented Bullyproof at 11 schools and Youth Centers at the YLD Conferences and meetings.  We are honored to have adoption of Bullyproof in Phoneix, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Mississippi, Kansas, Wisconsin, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, San Diego, King County District Attorney in Brooklyn, NY, and Kentucky, and interest from several other YLD Affiliates. 

Diversity in the Profession.  We further the Division’s commitment to increasing diversity in the profession by expanding the YLD’s Next Step Diversity Challenge to include programs developed by Law Students and/or Law Schools and created a database for all pipeline diversity programs. 

New Member Benefits.  The TYL redesign and the launch of the TYL website is providing invaluable resources for young lawyers as they develop their career and opportunity for young lawyers to express their voice. Our Starting Points project has provided tangible resources, opportunities and information for young lawyers on seven specific career platforms and we have committed experienced lawyers in 46 of the states who are willing to assist young lawyers in the practice by being available to answer practice questions through our Ask an Experienced Lawyer program; and we provided a multitude of services to new bar admittees and law students including bar prep tips webinar, career and resume advice with CareerLine Live and CareerAdvice Live, and transitioning for law student to new lawyer webinar.

YLD Affiliate Benefits.  In addition to the great programming at the YLD Conferences and Meetings, we launched the Affiliate Leadership List Serve to help leaders connect with other affiliate leaders and presented valuable information, resources, and training for their bar year through the YLD Affiliate Leadership Training that was presented at the YLD Spring Conference. 

I am so proud of what we have accomplished and know that Jeremy would be honored and proud of all the hard work and amazing programs we have launched this year in furtherance of Moving the Profession Forward.

It is an honor to be a part of the YLD and I would never have become the lawyer I am today without all of my experiences.  

Looking Ahead: 2014-2015 ABA YLD Chair Andrew Schpak

 My primary goal is to deliver value and services through the YLD that help make every active member a better lawyer, better leader, and better person.

This year we will focus on taking a holistic approach to the services we provide to young lawyers.  While we will continue to expand upon the services and benefits we currently provide, there are several new resources and tools that we will be implementing this year.  They include:

Project Street Youth: Young Lawyers Advocating for Homeless Youth.  There are over 1.7 million homeless youth in the United States, and the population grows each year.  Almost 40% of the homeless population is under 18 years of age.  With these statistics in mind, the ABA YLD’s Public Service Team has partnered with the Center on Children and the Law and the Commission on Homelessness and Poverty to create Project Street Youth, with the goal of providing access to justice to this extremely underserved population.  Project Street Youth has three main components:

•             Educating and Raising Awareness of the Issue.  Young Lawyers will be provided with information and materials that will help educate other lawyers and members of their community about the severity of the homeless youth problem, as well as the laws and policies enacted to combat youth homelessness.

•             Legislation.  We will encourage young lawyers to lobby for laws and policies to address the issue of youth homelessness, and provide those model laws and policies.

•             Legal Clinic.  We will provide a toolkit for young lawyers to partner with existing community organizations and set up legal clinics to help homeless youth with: credit and consumer issues, public assistance and government benefits, and tickets, warrants, and minor criminal matters.

We will also focus on making young lawyers better leaders through programming designed to improve our networking, business development, and leadership skills.  The goal is not just to help our members expand their networks and get more referrals, but also learn how to run an effective meeting, bring in new business, keep clients happy, and be the boss.  We will also provide opportunities for our members to hone their public speaking skills, review and refresh their resumes and marketing plans, and receive one-on-one advice from successful solo practitioners. 

We have launched a Health and Wellness initiative called Fit to Practice.  The focus is on giving young lawyers the tools to take better care of themselves.  Bring your exercise clothes to the conferences, because organized runs and health and wellness programs will be an option in almost every time slot. 

We’ll also have programming on how to take your workout on the road, how to eat well while eating out, and how to de-stress at your desk.  There will be content added throughout the bar year and available to members on the ABA YLD website. 

I look forward to working with all of you!

Upcoming National Conferences & Meetings

Fall Conference – Portland, OR (October 9-11, 2014)

ABA Midyear Meeting – Houston, TX (February 5-7, 2015)

National Institute for New Partners  – Washington, DC (April 17, 2015)

Spring Conference – Tampa Bay, FL (May 14-16, 2015)

ABA Annual Meeting – Chicago, IL (July 30-August 2, 2015)

Next Assembly: Saturday, February 7, 2015 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Houston, TX