Springtime in Congress: Why You Should Attend the ABA YLD Spring Conference
By Melissa Dewey Brumback
Melissa Dewey Brumback is an associate editor of The Affiliate and practices with the Raleigh, North Carolina firm of Ragsdale Liggett PLLC.
Ah, springtime in Washington, D.C.! Cherry blossoms fill the Mall in front of the city’s famous monuments. Congress has hunkered down to work. And this year, from April 16–19, the ABA YLD will meet in the nation’s capital for its 2008 Spring Conference in conjunction with ABA Day and the ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference. For young bar leaders, the Spring Conference promises to provide some very special networking, diversity programming, continuing legal education, and lobbying opportunities.
Programming and Networking
Conference programming will help sharpen your advocacy skills and cover recent developments in real property, antitrust, and international law. During the four-day event several receptions and networking events will also allow young lawyers and prominent litigation attorneys to meet, mix, and mingle.
Diversity: The Next Generation Summit
The highlight of the Spring Conference will be the final installment in this year’s YLD Summits and will be entitled “Diversity: The Next Generation.” On April 19, young lawyers from across the country representing state, local, and specialty bar organizations, as well as law firms and legal departments, will exchange ideas on how young lawyers can ensure that the legal profession reflects the society it serves and fosters an environment of inclusion. In conjunction with the Diversity Summit, the ABA YLD will create an online toolkit and vignette-driven diversity training manual.
“The Summit is designed to bring a new perspective to what we call diversity,” according to C. Erica White, the ABA YLD’s Diversity Director and a partner in Collins and White in Tallahassee, Florida. White says that the Summit will discuss diversity not only in the context of race and gender, but also in the context of disability, sexual orientation, and age. There will be both educational and conversational compnents to the Summit, followed by brainstorming, small group breakout discussions, and a vignette exercise. The exercise will stimulate discussion about situations involving diversity. Regardless of whether you are able to attend the Summit, you are invited to submit your personal experiences with diversity issues to be used during the vignette exercise. White is also interested in receiving suggestions from young lawyers on some of the “best practices” to address such real-life scenarios. To anonymously submit a personal experience or “best practices” commentary, visit www.abanet.org/yld/spring08/diversitysummit.
This year’s Spring Conference is being held in conjunction with ABA Day in Washington. ABA Day is a chance to lobby Congress on issues important to all lawyers. ABA Day includes roundtable discussions on grassroots lobbying techniques, issue briefings on legislative priorities, visits with senators and representatives, and a briefing from members of Congress. Pre-arrangements are necessary to ensure access to your congressional representatives, so visit www.abanet.org/poladv/abaday08 for further information.
Community Service
In addition to the Diversity Summit, ABA Day lobbying, CLE programming, and networking activities, the “Wills for Heroes” program will be back in full force at the Spring Conference. As the ABA YLD Public Service Project for 2007–2008, the “Wills for Heroes” program provides basic wills to emergency first responders in the local community. Contact Dan McKenna at mckennad@ballardspahr.com for details.
Hotel and Registration
The YLD Conference will be held April 16–19, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. The early bird and hotel reservation deadline is March 16. Additional information regarding registration, hotel accommodations, and programming can be found at www.abanet.org/yld/spring08.
See you in our nation’s capital this April!