Spotlight on ABA YLD Leaders— Catching Up with the 2006–2007 MIPC Scholars
By Mercedes Pino
Mercedes Pino is an associate editor of The Affiliate and the Director of Career Services at the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The ABA YLD Scholarship Program is meant to encourage the participation of minority, solo/small firm, government, private sector, and military service attorneys. Each year, the ABA YLD awards scholarships to young lawyers who fall within at least one of the following areas: general practice, solo, or small firm practitioners; government, public sector, or military lawyers; or minorities. Scholars receive mentoring by the sponsoring ABA YLD committee—General Practice, Solo & Small Firm; Government, Military and Public Sector Lawyers; and Minorities in the Profession—as well as partial funding to attend three of the ABA YLD’s meetings and conferences for one bar year (September 1–August 31).
The Affiliate recently caught up with three recipients of 2006–2007 MIPC Diversity Project scholarships to see how being an ABA YLD scholar has influenced their practices.
L. Leona Frank
L. Leona Frank is President of the Frank Law Office in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to Frank, she originally applied for the scholarship program “to become active in the ABA, a national bar association, in order to expand affiliate networks for my practice. Also, to promote diversity in the profession.”
Frank emphasized how being a scholar has assisted her with her career development, both professionally and personally, stating, “I have been able to connect with numerous successful attorneys and learn more about the ABA and ABA YLD objectives. I have learned what programs are available to further assist with my career and what the ABA has to offer. Assisting with the yearly public service project (especially Choose Law, which encourages high-school students of color to become attorneys) has assisted me in growing not only as an attorney, but as an individual.” Frank is currently vice-chair of the MIPC. In addition, she is a member of the Young Lawyers Section and the Women and the Law Division Executive Committee for the Indianapolis Bar Association, as well as a member of the Young Lawyers Section Membership Committee for the Indiana State Bar Association.
Myra L. McKenzie
Myra L. McKenzie is Assistant General Counsel in the Employment Practices Division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. When we caught up with McKenzie, she stated, “I applied to be a Scholar because I read about the program in an edition of The Young Lawyer and was interested in learning more about the ABA’s offerings for young lawyers since I had previously been involved in local bar activities.”
McKenzie reported, “The MIPC Scholarship helped me in a few ways. It allowed me to meet some great young lawyers from across the country—some of whom have become friends and some of whom have become potential referrals for work in different parts of the country.” She continued, “It [winning an MIPC Scholarship] introduced me to what the  ABA offers young lawyers in the way of programs and services and it allowed me to network with other lawyers, younger and older, in my substantive practice area.” Currently, McKenzie is an ABA Labor and Employment Section Development Fund Fellow for 2007–2010, as well as vice-chair of the Labor and Employment Committee for the ABA YLD.
James Muetzel
James Muetzel is an attorney in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Office of the General Counsel. According to Muetzel, “I applied for a [MIPC] scholarship because I was interested in learning more about the ABA in general and the ABA YLD in particular. However, attending ABA YLD meetings can be cost prohibitive, especially on a government salary. My hope was that the scholarship would allow me to become better informed about the ABA so that I could determine whether becoming active would be worthwhile.”    
When asked how the scholarship program helped him, Muetzel responded, “The scholarship helped me in three ways. First, it substantially reduced the cost of attending ABA YLD meetings, which made it possible for me to attend all three ABA YLD meetings during the 2006–2007 bar year. This was crucial for me, because attending these meetings allowed me to see firsthand how the ABA YLD functions and to appreciate the contribution it makes to the development of young lawyers. Second, by making it feasible for me to attend these meetings, the scholarship helped me meet other young lawyers from across the country who shared similar experiences and offered insight and support not only for practicing law, but also for keeping a balance between work and personal time. This is especially true for scholarship recipients.”
Muetzel continued, “I still remember that at my first ABA YLD meeting, several former Scholars saw from my name badge that I was an MIPC Scholar and stopped to introduce themselves and talk about their experiences in the ABA YLD. Moreover, as a scholarship recipient I received tickets to the social events, which also provided an excellent opportunity to break the ice and meet new people. Third, the scholarship helped me by connecting me with ABA YLD leaders who not only encouraged us to stay involved, but also described the various opportunities and explained how to take advantage of them. All in all, the scholarship was an outstanding opportunity.” Currently, Muetzel holds the position of ABA YLD Liaison to the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.
For More Information . . .
The ABA YLD Scholarship program and 2008–2009 application information is available online at
The application deadline is June 15, 2008.