Merci, Montréal!
By Scott D. Laufenberg
Scott D. Laufenberg is editor-in-chief of The Affiliate and practices with the firm of Kerrick, Stivers, Coyle & Van Zant, P.L.C. in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
 The 2007 ABA YLD Spring Conference was held in Montréal, Québec, May 3–5. Co-sponsored by the Association de Jeune Barreau de Montréal, or Young Bar Association of Montréal (YBAM), the conference brought together hundreds of attorneys from around the world for quality programming and networking opportunities.
During the ABA YLD Council Meeting, the Diversity Team presented the revised ABA YLD Diversity Plan, which was adopted. Henry White, Jr., the new executive director of the ABA, addressed the Council on the status of the ABA and his vision for its future. Bernard Amyot, first vice president of the Canadian Bar Association, also addressed the council.
Thursday night kicked off with a first-time attendees’ reception and a reception for International Young Lawyer Organization Leaders, followed by a welcome reception for everyone attending the conference.
The conference officially began with the plenary session on Friday morning. Appropriate for the location of the conference, continuing legal education (CLE) programs took on an international flair with topics including international arbitration, doing business in the United States and Canada, litigating before a North American Free Trade Agreement panel, insolvency, U.S. law for Canadians, and Canadian law for Americans. Other CLE programs topics included estate planning, client attraction and retention, and handling pro bono cases. For French-speaking attendees, there was also a block of programming presented in French. One of the very memorable non-CLE programs was “Speed Networking.” Similar to the concept of speed dating, this program was designed to give young lawyers the opportunity to meet many other people in a less intimidating environment.
The Friday night social event was held at the Chalet du Parc du Mont-Royal, which offered spectacular views of the city and great cuisine. That evening’s entertainment included performers from Cirque de Soleil, which is headquartered in Montréal, and an outstanding cover band.
Many attendees took advantage of the beautiful spring weather to visit the sites of Montréal, including the breathtaking Basilica of Notre-Dame de Montréal and the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Montréal. Others arrived early or spent an extra day to travel to see the sights and experience the culture of Québec City.
As if the location were not enough, it was truly a memorable conference. In the article previewing this conference, Chair Jay Ray noted that persons who had attended a conference in Montréal many years ago fondly recalled their experiences there. For attendees of this year’s conference, the experience was surely no different. Attendees were treated to an outstanding conference that made memories to last a lifetime.
For more information about the conference and its programming, visit the conference webpage at The revised ABA YLD Diversity Plan can be reviewed at