Around the Country
Compiled 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.
Affiliates across the country closed out the bar year with a bang, giving back to the community and putting on new programs.
Giving Back to the Community
The New Orleans Young Lawyers Association held “Legalpalooza!” on June 27, 2009. Lawyers turned musicians performed at the “First Annual NOBA YLS Charity Concert for the Legal Aid Bureau.” The event was an absolute success!
The South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division will launch two new projects this year. “Protecting Our Youth (Through Legal Education)” will educate at-risk high school freshmen on criminal law and the ramifications of their actions, including prosecuting students as adults, repeat offenders, new DUI laws, and drug offenses. This program will be coordinated with possible assistance from the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice, Children’s Law Center, and the Bar’s Children’s Law Committee. “Voices Against Violence” will educate young lawyers about the epidemic of domestic violence, particularly among the teen population. Young lawyers will engage in efforts to respond to and prevent domestic violence in their communities by taking part in legislative advocacy and pro bono cases involving domestic violence, providing support to existing domestic violence shelters and programs, delivering presentations to the public about domestic violence, and holding local roundtable discussions for domestic violence advocates. 
Members of the Birmingham (Alabama) Bar Young Lawyers Section and the Magic City Bar Association teamed with Hands on Birmingham, a local volunteer organization, for a day of service to the Birmingham community on Saturday, June 13, 2009. The event received local news coverage and despite heavy showers, all service locations were well attended.
On June 27, the Austin (Texas) Young Lawyers Association’s Foundation knocked one out of the park for a good cause. The AYLA Foundation’s 13th Annual Charity Softball Tournament was held at Krieg Fields. Teams were open to Austin attorneys, legal professionals, and staff, as well as their spouses or significant others. Proceeds from the tournament benefitted the AYLA Foundation—the nonprofit arm of AYLA that funds many charitable endeavors, including “Holiday Baskets,” “Christmas for Kids,” mentoring programs, “Teen Court,” and “Women’s Resource Fair,” among many others.
This year the Washington State Young Lawyers Division , through its Greater Access and Assistance Project (GAAP) Committee, strengthened and expanded “low” bono or modest means programs in Spokane, Snohomish, Chelan, and Kitsap counties. It is exciting to report that after more than a decade of WYLD advocacy for GAAP expansion, with the great work of staff, planning is now underway to develop a statewide program. GAAP is a model program to bridge the gap between the growing number of moderate- to low-income families who need discounted representation and the increasing number of new and young lawyers who are seeking clients and experience.
The Birmingham (Alabama) Bar Young Lawyers Section held a pro bono legal clinic for low-income Jefferson County residents who needed an uncontested divorce on June 25, 2009. Participants met with clients and drafted divorce papers. The follow-up work was minimal, typically requiring no more than two hours to complete the legal forms and file them with the Jefferson County Domestic Relations Court. Young lawyers were encouraged to participate in this very worthwhile event. A free two-hour CLE was offered for any lawyer in need of training on how to complete an uncontested divorce.
The Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Section is excited about adopting and implementing “Voices Against Violence” as its 2009–2010 public service project. The YLS launched the project at the 2009 KBA Annual Convention during the YLS’s annual luncheon. Judge Jerry Bowles, a family court judge from Jefferson County, Kentucky, spoke during the luncheon and challenged young lawyers to raise awareness about domestic violence and assist victims and survivors. As part of the project, the KBA YLS will present five free continuing legal education sessions in conjunction with the domestic violence shelters in the Commonwealth to train young lawyers on how to represent victims of domestic violence in EPO/DVO hearings and to discuss other common legal needs of victims.
The Birmingham (Alabama) Bar Young Lawyers Section held its annual Charity Golf Tournament at Highland Park Golf Course. Proceeds benefited the Alabama Juvenile Arthritis Initiative. As a result of fundraising activities this year, the YLS donated $10,000 to the local chapter of The Arthritis Foundation to sponsor its annual “Mudbugs and Music” fundraiser to support a local juvenile arthritis clinic.
The Future of the Profession
On April 25, the Hidalgo County (Texas) Young Lawyers Association hosted the “Juvenile Options, Nurture, and Help Project” for nearly seventy local teenagers at the Edinburg, Texas, Boys and Girls Club. HCYLA organized a panel of speakers to discuss life options, choices, and consequences. The panel included the police chief of McAllen, Texas, assistant district attorneys, young lawyers, and professors and outreach workers from UT–Pan American and South Texas Community College. After the panel discussion, HCYLA’s board answered students’ questions and provided advice and mentoring. HCYLA plans to expand this project in the region and make it an annual event.
The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division launched its new Law Student Division (LSD). Although a task force of law students representing each of Florida’s ten law schools has been hard at work for over a year now, the LSD was officially launched this year with the passage of its bylaws last summer. Since then, the LSD has continued to make its presence known by hosting events at Florida law schools, filling its Board positions, and creating new subcommittees to help meet the needs of its members. The LSD Board of Governors also elected its new President, who will be sworn in at the 2009 Annual Meeting. If the energy and enthusiasm of these law students is any indication, the future of The Florida Bar is bright!
The Jackson County (Mississippi) Young Lawyers have re-established their high school speech competition. First round competitions were held at individual schools with the finals at the Jackson County Courthouse. The winner of the competition received a $1,000 scholarship.
The New Jersey State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division hosted its Young Lawyers’ Summer Associates Program, which is held each year to introduce young lawyers to various options in the law practice, from public service with legal services to law firm private practice.
The Hawaii State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division coordinated its annual “Ready for the World” project, which pairs volunteer attorneys from the Hawaii State Bar Association with local highs schools. These attorneys provide practical legal information to high school seniors to help them prepare for the challenges and hurdles they will face when they turn eighteen. Various topics are discussed including credit card debt, renting an apartment, employment, voting, registering for Selective Service, and other civic responsibilities. These invaluable presentations help young adults prepare for life outside of high school and well beyond college. Presentations generally ran a little over an hour. This year, six high schools on Oahu, one on Maui, and one on the Island of Hawaii participated. In total, over 382 students participated in the presentations this year and received manuals.
On May 23, the Houston Young Lawyers Association’s Early College Awareness Program Committee co-hosted an event at Baylor College of Medicine. Volunteers spent the day with eighth through tenth grade students helping them improve their resumes, choose summer volunteer activities, and listen to career-related speakers on our changing economy.
Member Outreach and Programming
The South Carolina Bar’s Diversity/Minority Impact Committee held a panel luncheon, “Mothers in the Law: Balancing Family & Work,” in Columbia to discuss the logistics of practicing law as a mom. Panelists addressed questions about how the practice of law can be balanced with motherhood, covering topics such as organizational skills, child care issues, and requests for extra help. Because of high demand, a second program was held in Greenville.
The Multnomah (Oregon) Bar Association Young Lawyers Section hosted its “Baseball Night” on July 16. The event was held at PGE Park to cheer on the Beavers in their battle against the Salt Lake Bees! Young lawyers were invited to mingle with other young professionals from the Financial Planners Association NexGen at the joint event. The first thirty tickets were discounted to $5 through a generous sponsorship by the Portland firm of Brooksby Kaempf PC.
The Monmouth and Mercer County (New Jersey) Young Lawyers Divisions continued hosting lunches with their county judges. Each month, a different judge speaks regarding practice in his or her particular practice area, appearance in his or her courtroom, or ways lawyers should conduct themselves at trial. The most recent presentation was by Judge Iadanza, the juvenile judge in Monmouth. These opportunities allow young lawyers to meet with the judges in Monmouth and Mercer County in a small setting and become familiar with each courtroom.
The Washington State Young Lawyers Division Board of Trustees met in Yakima, Washington, for its business meetings and to participate in the statewide Access to Justice/Bar Leaders Conference. The WYLD organized a workshop to continue the dialogue that began at the WYLD “Young Bar Leaders Summit” held in Seattle in March 2009, regarding issues related to new lawyers’ survival in today’s economy, filling the gaps in civil legal aid while keeping skills developed, and embracing diversity and work–life balance in the practice of law. The workshop was very successful and well attended.
The 2009 Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention marked the 3rd Annual Young Lawyers Conference, which featured one day of programming organized by young lawyers for young lawyers. For the second year in a row, recent bar admittees attending the KBA Annual Convention as part of the New Lawyers Program were permitted to attend the Young Lawyers Conference. The keynote speaker was appellate attorney and nationally recognized speaker Howard Bashman of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. Bashman is known for establishing the first blawg dedicated to legal practice called “How Appealing” ( ).
The Utah Young Lawyers Division held its first ever speed mentoring event in May. Young lawyers were exposed to more experienced and distinguished bar members in a relaxed environment, allowing for meaningful connections and conversations to occur. In light of the recent economic challenges in the legal profession, many conversations focused on alternatives to “traditional” legal jobs or advice on how to get the first big break in the profession. A follow-up mentoring event is planned for law students and young lawyers in the next couple of months.
The Oregon New Lawyers Division hosted a “Growing Your Practice” dinner on April 1, 2009. The dinner event was for new lawyers on the subject of how to grow their practices as new lawyers. A well-respected and experienced attorney introduced the topic, and after this keynote speech, the event turned toward dinner at tables of eight lawyers (two senior partners and six new lawyers). Participants at each table discussed topics from the keynote speech and then addressed individual questions from the new lawyers at each table. The event was sold out with about fifty-four new attorneys paying $40 each. The partners at each table were invited, so did not have to pay. The event was well received by the new lawyers and the partners.
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To highlight the achievements and successes of your affiliate, please send updates about your 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!