Around the Country
Complied by Rachel E. Kopp
Rachel E. Kopp is the Editor of The Affiliate and practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C.
As July melts into August, ABA YLD affiliates continue to give back, provide outreach in their communities, promote leadership, and meet the judges.
Giving Back
Young lawyers in the Allegheny County Bar Association ( Pennsylvania) YLD recently implemented the “Very Important Papers Project” (VIP) to provide legal education to low-income elderly residents in and around their county. Presentations are made at senior citizen high-rises, libraries, YMCAs, hospitals, and other facilities as well as to senior citizen organizations such as AARP. Topics covered include fraud and the elderly, powers of attorney and living wills, the testate process, and information about how to plan for family issues. A recent article on this program ran in Today’s Attorney . For more information on this project, please contact Hillary Snyder at .
The Wisconsin State Bar YLD collects gently used professional clothing on a continual basis and donates it to organizations that provide clothes to individuals who need support and assistance in interviewing for jobs. Donations have been made to the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter, the Head Start New Home Program, and the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin. The YLD also assists various county bar associations and other organizations in conducting their own clothing drives.
Since October 1988, the Utah State Bar Association and its YLD have sponsored a free legal advice program in Salt Lake called the “Tuesday Night Bar” to assist the public in determining their legal rights. Approximately 1,100 individuals meet with volunteer attorneys each year for a brief one-on-one consultation at no cost. The Utah Young Lawyers also provided wills for 200 first responders and their spouses at a “Wills for Heroes” implementation in Salt Lake City. Close to 100 volunteer lawyers and more than 60 notaries helped participants complete the necessary paperwork.
The Philadelphia Bar Association YLD raised $37,000 at its third annual “Comedy Night.” The fundraiser benefitted the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the bar association that provides funding to thirty local organizations which offer direct legal services to those struggling with poverty, abuse, and discrimination. Over 250 people attended the event, which featured the comedy of Lynne Koplitz of Comedy Central Presents and Doug Benson of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and VH1’s Best Week Ever . The YLD also collected ties for the Philadelphia Comprehensive Center for Fathers’ “Work-N-Style for Men” program. “Work-N-Style” is the only men’s clothing referral program in the tri-state area that provides low-income fathers in Philadelphia with ready-to-wear clothing for interviews, court hearings, and special events.
The North Carolina Bar Association YLD recently held its second successful “Wills for Heroes” event at Wake Technical Community College in Cary. At the event, sixty-one volunteers provided ninety-nine wills for first responders including policemen, firefighters, and AMTs. The YLD also conducted a “Wills for Heroes” program on Saturday, July 19, in Salisbury at the Rowan County Rescue Squad Building. For more information, visit .
The Disaster Relief Committee of the South Carolina Bar YLD hosted a disaster relief and preparedness training session/CLE at the Charleston School of Law, Charleston. This second annual event brought in prominent guest speakers from around the country, including Craig Cannon, the ABA YLD National Coordinator for Disaster Legal Services, Beth Abramson a young lawyer who helped Louisiana citizens after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and John Eidelman of Disaster Legal Services Corporation in Washington, D.C., as well as Lynda Lowe of FEMA, Mayor Joe Riley of Charleston, and John Berzins, Manager of Training and Exercises for the State of South Carolina Emergency Management Department. Attendees were provided with a compilation of excellent reference materials for this CLE entitled “Are You Prepared? Issues Facing Attorneys and the General Public During Times of Disaster.”
The South Carolina YLD also sponsored a wills clinic in Sumter where volunteers prepared health care powers of attorney and living wills free of charge for first response emergency personnel. More than fifty first responders attended the clinic. The clinic was organized by Brian Knowles, chair of the Wills Clinic Committee. Other volunteers included Tom Andrews, Cindy Coker, James Hinson, Angie Kohel, Peter Kouten, Brett Lamb, Dave Mason, J. Thomas McElveen III, John Moorman, Richard W. Turner, Jr., and Ginny Nissen Waller.
Community Outreach
The Washington State Bar Association YLD Membership Committee hosted a three-part series on opportunities for young lawyers to get involved in the electoral process. The Committee is also taking a trip to wine country in Yakima, Washington, to host a CLE at the Silver Lake winery on September 13, followed by wine tastings and river rafting the next day.
The Albany County ( New York) Bar Association Young Lawyers Committee held its “Second Annual Bike Safety Day” on June 25, where young lawyers assisted with a bike safety clinic at a local mall.
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Law Week, young lawyer volunteers from the Philadelphia Bar Association YLD provided free legal advice, visited Philadelphia public school classrooms, took students to court, welcomed new American citizens, and more, with the theme, “The Rule of Law: Foundation for Communities of Opportunity and Equity.” The week of legal services also encompassed the nationally recognized Law Day, which on May 1 celebrated its fiftieth year. Law Week activities included “Lawyer in the Classroom,” “Legal Line,” “The Trials of Goldilocks and the Big Bad Wolf,” a naturalization ceremony, and “Lawyer for a Day.” Young lawyers also participated in Legal Advice Live! —a free, daylong ask-a-lawyer event held on historic Independence Mall.
The North Carolina Bar Association YLD held its annual “Art by Lawyers Silent Auction” at the Annual Meeting in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, in June. Lawyers, legal staff, and law students from around North Carolina contributed their artwork to this event.
In July, the Denver Bar Association YLD held its “Fourteenth Annual LAF Wine Tasting” to benefit the Legal Aid Foundation.
The Palm Beach County ( Florida) Bar Association YLS distributed toys and candy to children at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in April.
In conjunction with Community Law Week (the first week in May), South Carolina Bar YLD representatives throughout the state held simultaneous projects, such as the “Children’s Book Drive,” “DSS Playroom,” “Kids’ ID/Fingerprinting,” “Lawsuits,” and “Speakers in Schools.” Approximately 250 South Carolina Bar members and members of the general public kicked off the week with a musical evening called “Justice Jam.” The talented musicians of the Ron Dunbar Band, The Reprieves, Los Bastardos, Sugar Daddy, and The Joe Good Band played into the wee hours of the morning, ending with a crowd-pleasing rendition of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” The event’s silent auction and concert entrance fees raised over $2,100 for the South Carolina Bar’s Pro Bono Program.
Each March, the South Carolina Bar YLD participates in the “Cinderella Project,” which works with high schools and various other organizations to provide prom dresses, accessories, make up, and donated limo service and dinner for two to socially and economically disadvantaged students so that they can fully enjoy their prom experience. Young lawyers set up boutiques across the state where the girls can pick out dresses and enter for a chance to win the donated prizes. This year, over 300 girls attended “Cinderella Boutiques” in Greenville, Aiken, and Columbia, South Carolina.
The Chicago Bar Association YLS , in conjunction with other organizations, recently released five video segments for the general public containing legal information regarding mortgage foreclosures. The videos and a related pamphlet will be available in both English and Spanish. The YLS also recently held a well-attended seminar before the judiciary on professionalism and the standard of professional conduct featuring Judge William Bauer, Judge Marvin Aspen, William Conlon of Sidley Austin LLP, and Andrea L. Zopp from Exelon Corporation.
Future Leaders
In the spring, the Kentucky Bar Association New Lawyers Section conducted a pilot program implementing its “U@18” program, which is designed to teach high school seniors the responsibilities of becoming adults. Besides creating a program book, the Section drafted sample lesson plans for teachers. At the NLS’s annual luncheon on June 19, the Section recognized Lexington attorney LaToi Mayo as the recipient of the 2008 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. The Section also recognized the recipients of several $500 bar-study scholarships at each of the state’s three law schools.
The South Carolina Bar YLD kicked off its first-ever Leadership Academy in April with a CLE entitled “Lawyers as Legislators.” Members of the South Carolina Assembly spoke to thirteen young lawyer leaders about the difficulties and benefits of practicing law and politics. The House and Senate then recognized each of the young lawyers on the floor of their respective assemblies. The young lawyer leaders were selected by a YLD committee and approved by the Board of Governors from a select group of applicants, who have been practicing law from four-to-seven years and have taken at least some active role in YLD governance such as actively serving on a committee, or elected as a circuit representative or officer. Session Two (held in Charleston in May) provided both an attorney and judicial perspective on professionalism in the legal profession, including loyalty and commitment to clients, courtesy to opposing counsel, candor with the court, and a devotion to the public good.
This year, the South Carolina Bar YLD also provided a $500 subgrant to the Delta GEMS project led by Tiffany Spann-Wilder, Vice-Chair of the South Carolina Bar YLD. Eight young ladies from the Delta GEMS group of the Charleston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. participated in learning about the legal profession. The project began with a tour of the Charleston County Detention Center. The students then watched the AB A ’s Choose Law video at the Spann-Wilder Law Firm, LLC and were addressed by two paralegals regarding their scope of work in the legal profession. The group also was given a guided tour of South Carolina State University, a night at the new Columbia Hilton Hotel, and a tour of the Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Federal Courthouse. The ladies also observed Judge Perry in action as he accepted a guilty plea and met him afterwards. The tour ended with a tour of Columbia College, where two seniors were offered fee waivers to apply, and a stop at the Statehouse where the group met with Senator Robert Ford, who represents the area where the majority of the students live and go to school.
The Missouri State Bar Association YLS maintains a database of law-related education projects, including programs for elementary students (“Junior Judges: Helping Kids Make Smart Choices”), middle school students (“Crossing the Line: Your Rights and Responsibilities”), and high school students (“Stepping Out: Your Rights When You Become an Adult”). All curriculum guides are available for download at .
Meet the Judges
The Kentucky Bar Association New Lawyer Section hosted a “Meet & Greet” in Bowling Green on May 20. The event provided young lawyers with the opportunity to network and meet local judges, including Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice-Elect John D. Minton, Jr.
On June 10, the St. Petersburg ( Florida) Bar Association YLD held a “Meet the Judges” reception for young lawyers and judges and their judicial assistants.
Ten South Carolina Bar young lawyers of various practice areas and levels of experience joined Senior Judge Billy Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for a February cocktail hour in Greenville. Judge Wilkins personally greeted each young lawyer and shared stories gleaned from his more than twenty-five years on the federal bench. Members of the Tenth Circuit YLD had the opportunity to lunch and learn with the Honorable J. Cordell Maddox, Jr., Circuit Court Judge in Anderson, where they spoke with the circuit court judge in a relaxed atmosphere. Judge Maddox was very gracious to take time out of his busy schedule to participate at this event.
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