Serving Young Lawyers and Improving the Profession—The YLD’s Next Assembly Speaker, Ethan Tidmore
By Lindsey R. Buchheit
Lindsey R. Buchheit is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and an associate with the Sioux City, Iowa, firm of Corbett, Anderson, Corbett & Vellinga, L.L.P.
In August 2009, Ethan Tidmore, a litigator at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Birmingham, Alabama, will take office as the Assembly Speaker of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. The Speaker is the chief legislative officer of the ABA YLD Assembly, the Division’s policymaking body. The ABA YLD’s affiliated state and local bar associations, specialty, and minority bars are all represented by delegates to the Assembly. I recently caught up with Tidmore to discuss his new role and his goals for next year.
The Office of Assembly Speaker
Like many of us, Tidmore first became involved in the ABA YLD after attending a Division conference. Since that time, he has held a number of positions within the ABA YLD, from assistant editor of The Young Lawyer, to district representative for Alabama and Georgia, to member of the ABA YLD Council. This year, Tidmore was elected Assembly Clerk and has focused his efforts on building affiliate participation among states that are historically underrepresented in the Assembly. Now, with his role as the Assembly Speaker rapidly approaching, Tidmore is excited about the opportunity to serve as a voice for young lawyers throughout the country.
According to Tidmore, the Assembly, which convenes each year at the ABA’s Annual and Midyear Meetings, has two important functions. First, it helps to ensure that young lawyers’ concerns and issues are represented in the ABA. Delegates debate resolutions on various topics, and those that pass are submitted to the ABA House of Delegates for consideration and potentially become the policy of the ABA. As Speaker, Tidmore will set the agenda for the Assembly, working with others to determine which resolutions are most important to young lawyers and should be debated. Tidmore will also be responsible for managing the debates and ensuring that the Assembly runs smoothly.
The Assembly and Affiliates
The other major function of the Assembly is to provide a forum for affiliate leaders to learn from each other and enhance young lawyer bar organizations on all levels—city, state, regional, and national. As Tidmore observes, there is a growing movement among affiliate leaders of neighboring states to gather and share ideas in connection with the Assembly. “This past year, for example, the affiliate leaders of various southeastern states met before the Assembly at the Annual Meeting to share ideas and discuss opportunities to work together,” Tidmore says. He hopes to encourage more of this type of collaboration. “As Speaker, I want to do everything I can to promote the sharing of ideas among affiliate leaders, and I think the Assembly—which gathers leaders from each state—offers the perfect opportunity for that.”
In the same manner, Tidmore believes that the Assembly provides an ideal forum for highlighting the exceptional work that is taking place in young lawyer affiliates throughout the country. As Tidmore explains, “The Assembly provides a venue to showcase the best practices among affiliates nationwide.” One of Tidmore’s goals as Speaker is to give more recognition to affiliates that earn Awards of Achievement from the ABA YLD. “Affiliates are doing some incredible projects and making major impacts in their communities. We want to spotlight that work and give other affiliate leaders the chance to learn from it.”
Birmingham Fall Conference
In addition to planning next year’s Assemblies, Tidmore is also busy preparing for the ABA YLD’s 2009 Fall Conference, which will be held in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, October 22–24. He chairs the Host Committee and has worked with a committee of ABA YLD leaders for more than a year to plan the festivities. The Fall Conference will offer valuable CLE, affiliate programs, and networking events and will kick off the ABA YLD’s 2009–2010 public service project. “Birmingham will be a fun venue, and I hope affiliate leaders from around the country will plan to attend,” says Tidmore.
A Busy Year
Although his various YLD responsibilities will keep him very busy next year, Tidmore expects it to be most fulfilling. “My time in the YLD has allowed me to develop lasting friendships with young lawyers across the country, who continually inspire me to be a better lawyer,” he says. “I am privileged to have the opportunity to serve and I think that 2009–2010 is going to be an outstanding year for the YLD.”