New Orleans Conference Featured Wealth of Information at a Spirited Getaway
By Amy Osteryoung
Amy Osteryoung is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and a principal in the St. Augustine, Florida, firm of Johnson & Osteryoung.
The ABA YLD Spring Conference was an intensive three-day networking, CLE, and public service event that brought together young lawyers from across the country. Held in New Orleans as a joint conference with the ABA Law Practice Management Section, a wide variety of topics, ranging from social networking to domestic violence, were covered by various speakers. The focus of this conference was to expand young lawyers’ knowledge of both hard and soft skills.
Disasters and Community
Starting off with a bang, the keynote speaker, retired judge Calvin Johnson, spoke of his experiences as a judge in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. Still creating challenges for the legal community, the aftermath of the epic storm has plagued the local area and legal community. Judge Johnson covered the natural disaster’s effect on the legal system and the efforts of the legal community to rebuild.
One area of note in the Spring Conference was the ABA YLD’s continued focus on disaster legal assistance and the implementation of programs such as Disaster Legal Services around the country. These teams and programs have been restructured to work more efficiently with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Although it has been almost four years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the mark it left is still evident around the city, and conference attendees, who understood how natural disasters can tear a community apart for years, realized how important this aspect of the ABA YLD is and hopefully inspired other young lawyers to become more active.
The Recession and Law Practice
Given the time in which we live, the conference did not neglect to address the problems the current recession is causing everyone in the country, including lawyers. Tightening the finances of a legal practice is not something easily done, especially without causing deviation from the dedication we all attempt to provide our clients through our services. From insurance problems to financial planning, instruction was given to better serve yourself, your firm, and your client.
Domestic Violence Public Service Event
In keeping with this year’s public service project, a group of young lawyers, headed by Ginny Walker, visited one of the domestic violence shelters managed by the New Orleans Catholic Charities System to help organize client files, sort clothing, and fashion a storage and distribution system for the clothing and other necessities.
Tips for Success
Because many of us are up and coming in the legal profession, it is important to learn how to make this process as easy as possible while still yielding the best possible outcomes. Many conference programs addressed the ability to rise above the rest and attain the levels of success we all yearn to achieve. Becoming an all-star associate and continuing our quest to reach positions of respect and authority are things every young lawyer is interested in, and conference programming provided young lawyers practical advice to help guide them on the path to success.
The ABA YLD makes every effort to ensure each generation of lawyers is on the cutting edge of information and resources. In addition to the aforesaid, this year’s conference included:
• the “ins and outs” of going in-house,
• effective oral communication strategies,
• tips for becoming a superstar associate,
• how-tos for mastering mobile technology,
• pointers for clear and concise writing,
• specialized techniques in appellate court persuasion,
• ideas for managing your practice in a down economy,
• strategies to solidify your financial plan during tough economic times,
• guidance on the business side of law,
• the key to identifying and avoiding conflicts of interest,
• marketing strategies for a Web 2.0 world, and
• hundreds of new connections from around the United States and the world.
A Spirited Getaway
On top of the wealth of information that was presented at the conference, the Hotel Monteleone served as conference headquarters and made for a most excellent getaway. The (haunted) hotel captured the essence and beauty of New Orleans and made the conference complete. From the sights and sounds around the city to the hotel, everything was beautiful and the information was invaluable. Rising out of the still obvious rubble of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has not lost its beauty or spirit and was a fantastic place for visiting, learning, and networking.
Cheers to the Spring Conference of 2009! If you did not get to attend this year, you should consider attending one (or all) of the conferences next bar year. Your understanding of important issues in your area of law will expand, all while enjoying Birmingham or St. Thomas. What more could you ask for?