Around the Country
By Mercedes Pino
Mercedes Pino is the Editor of The Affiliate and the Director of Career Services at the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami Gardens, Florida.
As the year drew to a close, young lawyers helped families during the holidays, put on programs with the judiciary, and prepared new admittees for their futures in the profession.
Holiday Cheer
The Philadelphia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division sponsored several community service activities during the holiday season to assist those less fortunate. These activities included a Toys-for-Tots drive, Harvest for the Homeless (a clothing collection for various Salvation Army drop offs), a tie collection for men needing job interview clothing, and a canned food drive.
The North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division completed a toy drive for the Wayne County, North Carolina, Boys & Girls Club. Over 130 toys were donated.
The Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association once again worked with the Sojourner Truth House of Milwaukee to take disadvantaged children on an educational field trip to a local pumpkin farm. The annual event was very successful.
The South Dakota Young Lawyers Division sponsored its annual Holiday Donation Drive. This year, the Young Lawyers selected the Community Food Banks of South Dakota as the recipient and presented a check to the food bank on December 19.
Member Programming and Communication
More than 110 lawyers attended the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Annual CLE seminar “Practical Aspects of an Honorable Profession.” The program was held at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and speakers included judges, practicing attorneys, and law school professors.
The Multnomah Bar Association—Young Lawyers Section is organizing a “Young Lawyer Summit,” thanks, in part, to funding from an ABA YLD subgrant, to take place on March 5, 2009. The event will be free to attendees, and the first hour of programming will qualify for “Access to Justice” CLE (formerly known as “MCLE”) credits. The Young Lawyers also plan to break out into smaller groups to brainstorm on issues including diversity topics, bridging the generation gap issues, future of the practice of law questions, and membership benefits. The summit will conclude with a social event that will serve as a fundraiser for the Campaign for Equal Justice (which raises money for legal aid services in Oregon).
The Boston Bar Association New Lawyers Section co-sponsored “Cleared for Release from Guantanamo Bay—What’s Next?” Speakers discussed the results of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Boumediene v. Bush , which held prisoners at Guantánamo Bay have a constitutional right to habeas corpus. Attorneys discussed the issue of resettlement of wrongfully imprisoned detainees here and abroad, and how Congress and the Executive Branch might best create a legitimate detention policy to replace the practices at the to-be-closed Guantánamo Bay detention center.
The Beverly Hills Bar Association Barristers hosted “The Nuts and Bolts of Environmental Law: Saving the Deal and Cleaning up the Mess.” This program introduced fundamental principles of environmental law for newer practitioners and those who may interact with regulatory agencies on private or public environmental remediation projects. The topics covered included projects under the oversight of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), statutes governing reporting of hazardous substance releases, and environmental issues in development of school sites.
The South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division Professional Development Committee hosted a joint CLE and luncheon in Columbia on August 28, 2008, with the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors of South Carolina before the South Carolina–North Carolina State football game. The event was held at the Capitol City Club and nearly 100 attendees, including more than sixty attorneys, learned about the legal, accounting, and insurance issues involved in small entity formation. This was one in a series of events the committee will host with other young professional groups this year.
The Maine Bar Association New Lawyers Section has created a new way to communicate with its members by introducing a young lawyers’ blog ( ). Traffic to the site is increasing steadily.
On October 16 the Lancaster Bar Association Young Lawyers sponsored a Young Lawyer CLE hosted by a judge and followed by a happy hour. The event was such a success that two similar events were planned. The first, called “Practical Suggestions and Hints for the Courtroom,” was held on November 13. The other was held December 10 and focused on being an attorney in Lancaster County. Both events were limited to twenty-five registrants.
On November 11, twenty young lawyers from the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division met at the Harbour Club in Charleston to dine with the Honorable Linda Lombard, presiding magistrate judge of the Charleston County Bond Court. Judge Lombard’s insightful and practical tips were very valuable to the young lawyers in attendance. Also, on December 9, the Courthouse Keys Committee hosted a luncheon at The Mills House in Charleston with Judge Deadra Jefferson. Sixteen young lawyers from the Ninth Judicial Circuit met and spoke with Judge Jefferson about current events, the new multi-week case docket, and general issues that young lawyers encounter each day.
On October 25, the Oregon New Lawyers Division sponsored “Super Saturday,” a full-day of affordable CLE seminars that offered members three concurrent tracks of programming. Each track had five one-hour CLE sessions and participants could alternate among the tracks throughout the day. This year the annual CLE included programs focusing on criminal law, business law, and mandatory reporting topics. More than ninety attendees joined the executive committee at this well-received event.
Giving Back to the Community
The Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section ’s Public Service Committee sponsored a “Lawyers Plunge Team” in 2009. The Polar Bear Plunge, which benefits the Maryland Special Olympics, was held on January 24 at Sandy Point State Park.
The Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section is adopting the Phoenix Unit at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) for the 2008–2009 bar year. The YLS is the first organization to adopt a JTDC unit in this new pilot project, which is part of the transformation and reform of the JTDC. Volunteers will lead book discussions, teach life skills (such as letter writing), teach aspects of the law, and serve as friendly visitors to children who do not receive visits from friends or family.
The Birmingham Young Lawyers Section raised $55,000 to benefit Cornerstone Schools of Alabama and the Alabama Heart Gallery. Fundraising continues for this year, but the Young Lawyers have raised over $35,000 already to benefit The Exceptional Foundation, Children’s Harbor, and Magic Moments.
The South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division sponsored a tailgate fundraiser before the South Carolina–Clemson football game on November 29. Despite the early kickoff and cold, rainy weather, accommodations were wonderful inside the atrium of Littlejohn Coliseum as attendees ate, drank, and talked football. The event was planned to benefit Children’s Chance, an organization established to raise money to fund a variety of programs to meet the financial, emotional, and psychological needs of pediatric cancer patients and their families. For additional information on Children’s Chance or to make a donation, please visit . Linda Schermerhorn, Children’s Chance board member, attended the tailgate and educated attendees on how their contributions help families affected by pediatric cancer. The event raised more than $1,600 for Children’s Chance.
The Washington Young Lawyers Division Membership Committee helped to organize and sponsor “The Third Annual Race Judicata,” hosted by the University of Washington’s Student Health Law Organization. The event was held in Seattle on October 18. Over 150 members of the legal community participated. The event raised $3,500, which will go toward supporting student public interest health law work. It was a great opportunity for young legal professionals and law students to meet each other and unite behind a cause.
The State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section co-hosted an “Old School Skate Party” to benefit children of incarcerated parents. The event, which benefitted Save Kids of Incarcerated Parents (SKIP), was held at the Bonaventure Skating Rink in Farmington. The $20 admission fee, which was tax deductible, included skate rental and a free old-school music CD. In addition to skating, participants in this unique holiday event also had an opportunity to dance and network. All proceeds raised went directly to SKIP.
The Hawaii State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is sponsoring a program entitled “Ready for the World.” As part of the program, volunteer attorneys provide legal information to high school students to help prepare them for the challenges and hurdles they will face when they turn eighteen. In addition to discussions between the volunteer attorneys and students regarding debt, credit cards, housing contracts, employment, voting, registration for selective service, and civic responsibilities, students can participate in a “game show” format to make the learning of their rights and obligations fun.
The North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Citizen Lawyer Committee has been working to improve the image of the profession and encourage both lawyers and nonlawyers to engage in volunteer activities. The Citizen Lawyer Committee has interviewed, written, and published articles in nonlawyer publications regarding the selfless volunteer efforts of two of the eleven Citizen Lawyers, who were recognized at the NCBA Annual Meeting in June 2008. Articles regarding the other nine Citizen Lawyers will be published throughout the current bar year.
For nearly twenty years, the Pima County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division has sponsored “lawyers for Literacy” at local elementary schools. Attorney/tutors meet with fourth and fifth grade students for one hour a week in a one-on-one setting.
Future of the Profession
On September 26, 2008, the Forsyth County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division held its annual “Bridge the Gap and Swearing in Ceremony” for new attorneys. As part of the “Bridge the Gap” program, new attorneys were provided a tour of the Forsyth County Courthouse and given presentations by local bar association members, local judges, and representatives from the local Trial Court Administrator’s office.
The South Dakota Young Lawyers Division held a meeting and mixer for 2Ls and 3Ls at the University of South Dakota School of Law to raise awareness of the SD YLD and the ABA YLD. SD YLD board members discussed the transition from law school to practice, encouraged involvement in bar activities, and answered student questions. The event was also an opportunity for the SD YLD to find a law student to fill the Law Student Director’s position on its board.
Every year, the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference hosts the “NoVA Minority Pre-Law Conference” to encourage minority undergraduate students to consider the legal profession as a career. Through this program, the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference seeks to expose students to all phases of developing a legal career from the law school admissions process to the selection of career opportunities in the legal field. This year’s conference will be held at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. The event is free of charge and is an invaluable source of information for those interested in pursuing a legal career. The conference program includes workshops on the law school admissions process, financial aid, a presentation on the LSATs, a mock law school class, and panel discussions on law school student experiences and career opportunities in the legal profession.
The Contra Costa County Bar Association Barristers/Young Lawyers hosted a “Bridging the Gap” program for young lawyers and attorneys new to practice in Contra Costa County. The program provided an opportunity to get acquainted with the Contra Costa County Bar Association, the superior court and local judges, and local practitioners. The program included a comprehensive manual containing important CCCBA materials and superior court information.
The Young Lawyers Divisions of the Richland County Bar and South Carolina Bar welcomed new admittees with a BBQ at University House on November 19. More than 150 members attended and enjoyed music by the Joe Good Band and food by Doc’s. The purposes of the event were to facilitate contacts and relationships among young lawyers throughout the state and to inform the newest members of the bar about the opportunities and activities of the Divisions.
On February 9, the Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Section held its second annual dinner with the Justices of the Kentucky Supreme Court. Members of the KBA YLS Executive Committee had the opportunity to interact with the justices in an informal setting to discuss issues of importance to young lawyers.
The Washington Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono/Public Service Committee took the lead in organizing the “Pre-law Student Leadership Conference” in Bellingham on December 6, in conjunction with the Board of Trustees meeting. The goal of the conference was to expose young people to different areas of the law, to encourage them to attend college and consider law school, and to show them what is possible with a law degree. The committee will co-sponsor similar events in Yakima and Spokane this year.
The Erie County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section hosted a new admittee “Breakfast with the Judges” on November 7. New admittees had the opportunity to meet Pennsylvania state court judges and judges from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
On November 8, 2008, the Oregon New Lawyers Division participated in the annual fundraiser of the Oregon State Bar’s Affirmative Action Program (AAP), as a sponsor and active planner and participant, to help retain minority law students and lawyers in Oregon. Bringing together judges, practicing attorneys, and law students from the three law schools in Oregon in the casual and fun setting of a bowling alley, ONLD helped to raise money for AAP programs and also introduced itself to the next generation of young attorneys that ONLD will serve.
The Washington Young Lawyers Division Board of Trustees hosted a diversity reception at the Center for Justice to kick off “Building Bridges Week” at Gonzaga School of Law with the Gonzaga Law Student Bar Association and the Spokane County Bar Association Diversity Committee. Approximately seventy law students, young lawyers, and special guests attended.
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To highlight the achievements and successes of your affiliate, please send updates of member service or public service projects and related pictures to We look forward to recognizing your projects in future editions of The Affiliate and may even use them to lay the foundation for national outreach!