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.
As they gear up for the end of the bar year, young lawyers continue to provide helpful programs for law students, their members, and the community.
Future of the Profession
The Oklahoma Bar Association Young Lawyers Division prepared “bar exam survival kits” and distributed them to bar exam takers at the February exam. The kits contained ear plugs, antacid, aspirin, candy, gum, mints, snack crackers, bottled water, pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, and stress balls.
The 11th District New Lawyers (Minnesota) is working to organize a second annual “Office Crawl,” which provides New Lawyers an opportunity to tour local law firms and meet shareholders and partners. Last year’s tour also included a stop at the St. Louis County Courthouse and a stop at Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota.
On June 2, 2009, the Jacksonville (Florida) Bar Association Young Lawyers Section hosted its 2nd Annual “Noon in June” project to benefit Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. Targeted to summer associates and interns working in Jacksonville over the summer, the project is designed to increase awareness of the YLS, promote membership, provide an early opportunity for social interaction among new members of the bar, and introduce potential bar members to the Jacksonville legal and civic community and to the various ways lawyers can complete pro bono work.
The Arkansas Bar Association Young Lawyers Section hosted a professionalism seminar for law students at the Bowen School of Law of the University of Arkansas–Little Rock on March 16, with a subsequent seminar scheduled for the University of Arkansas School of Law on March 30, that covered topics including office interaction, dress, and Facebook, among others.
The North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Bar Exam Subcommittee and the Minorities in the Profession Subcommittee held a writing clinic at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro for individuals sitting for the February North Carolina bar exam. The focus of the clinic was to provide bar candidates an opportunity to obtain practical information regarding the bar exam.
The Oregon New Lawyers Division presented bar exam preparation panels at each of the three Oregon law schools. The Law School Outreach Subcommittee held panel presentations to give students an overview on how to study for the bar exam. The panels offered students personal tips from newer attorneys who recently went through the process.
Member Programming and Events
The Washington Young Lawyers Division held the “Washington Young Bar Leaders Summit: The Changing Face of Leadership.” This summit was hosted by the WYLD Committee for Diversity and was the first statewide gathering of young bar leaders. The summit was attended by officers and board members of most of the fifteen minority bar associations in Washington, the WYLD Board of Trustees, and many county bar association YLD leaders. The event was a tremendous success! YLD leaders were thrilled to be joined by ABA YLD Chair Lizz Acee. Sixty young bar leaders attended both the reception and summit.
The Oregon New Lawyers Division Member Services Subcommittee presented—for the first time—a career development and rainmaking dinner in April. The event paired new lawyers and senior law firm partners over dinner. The event was sold out with seventy participants.
The Multnomah Bar Association Young Lawyers Section held a Young Lawyers Summit on March 5. Over eighty-five young lawyers attended the free event. Also in attendance was Oregon State Bar President Gerry Gaydos. The summit focused on diversity issues and other pressing issues facing young lawyers. The event raised money for the Campaign for Equal Justice, an attorney-run 501(c)(3) charity that funds legal aid services in Oregon.
Youth Outreach
In cooperation with the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Knoxville Barristers’ Mock Trial Committee is responsible for planning and conducting the annual Knox County High School Mock Trial Competition. On two consecutive Saturdays each February, local high school students gathered at the Knox County Courthouse to compete in a realistic and pressure-packed mock trial competition. Each team competed in at least four separate trials, and the winning team advanced to the state championship in Nashville, where they competed against district champions from across the state.
The Alabama State Bar Young Lawyers Section , along with the Alabama Lawyer’s Association and the Capital City Bar Association, held Annual Minority Pre-Law Conferences in Montgomery on April 15 and in Birmingham on April 29. The conferences are designed to introduce eleventh and twelfth grade students to the American civil and criminal justice system and provide a unique opportunity for students to talk one-on-one with practicing minority lawyers.
The Washington Young Lawyers Division participated in the annual “Youth and Law Forum” on April 18 in Seattle. The WYLD donated funding and assisted with planning for the Forum, which provides middle school students the opportunity to participate in workshops during which they debate and analyze case studies with the guidance of volunteer attorneys and judges. The annual event also offers young people an opportunity to meet local city, county, and Washington state law enforcement officials.
The Georgia State Bar Young Lawyers Division’s Aspiring Youth Program Committee launched a new project this year, the “Great Debaters Project.” Earlier this year committee members began teaching the young men of DeKalb Regional Youth Detention Center about the “Art of Debate.” Committee members met with the young men every Saturday for seven one-hour sessions, which became a learning experience for everyone involved.
The Multnomah (Oregon) Bar Association Young Lawyers Section had its kickoff event for the “YOUthFILM Project” in February. It was held at a community center and professional filmmakers and students who submitted films in previous years sat on panels and answered questions about the project as well as the process of making a film. The screening and awards ceremony took place on April 28, with Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz on hand to present the awards to the young filmmakers. Each year, the “YOUthFILM Project” adopts the ABA Law Day theme.
The Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Section’s “U@18” public service project is designed to educate high school seniors about the legal responsibilities of becoming an adult. With the help of a grant from the Kentucky Bar Foundation, the KBA Young Lawyers Section reprinted 5,000 copies of the “U@18” booklet. By the end of the current school year, the KBA YLS anticipates young lawyers will have made presentations in more than twenty of the state’s 120 counties and reached 5,000 students.
The Washington State Young Lawyers Division participated in the YMCA Mock Trial Program on March 27–28. The YMCA “Youth and Government Mock Trial” program allows high school students to participate in a “true-to-life” courtroom drama. Each team of attorneys and witnesses prepares a case for trial before a real judge in an actual courtroom. A “jury” of attorneys rates teams on their presentations while the presiding judge rules on the motions, objections, and ultimately the merits. Participants develop critical thinking and analytical skills, learn the art of oral advocacy, and gain respect for the role of law and the judiciary. A number of WYLD trustees serve as attorney raters during the statewide championship rounds. The WYLD president serves as a VIP rater during the final championship round and addresses the students at the awards breakfast. The winner will represent Washington in the national finals competition.
Giving Back to the Community
The Knoxville Barristers’ Hunger & Poverty Relief and Volunteer Breakfast Committees have organized important charitable activities throughout the year, including (1) delivering weekly meals and special holiday food baskets to elderly and home-bound individuals, (2) serving breakfast to homeless individuals, (3) collecting food supplies for the poor and homeless, (4) holding a professional clothing drive to collect suits, dresses, and other business attire for recovering alcoholics and drug users, (5) collecting school supplies, and (6) collecting winter coats to benefit Coats for the Cold.
The Multnomah (Oregon) Bar Association Young Lawyers Section’s Community Law Week took place April 27–May 2. It is designed to implement ABA Law Day themes and ideas on a local level. The week-long celebration featured events such as “Tell It to the Judge” (in which judges answer questions from the public in local shopping centers), a “Dress for Success” clothing drive, legal information centers (featuring free legal advice to whoever shows up), and a free community event featuring Oregon State Attorney General John Kroger at the Multnomah County Library.
The Austin Young Lawyers Association partnered with the Seton Family of Hospitals for National Healthcare Decision Day in April. AYLA volunteers helped educate patients about the importance of advanced directives. These directives allow individuals to make critical healthcare choices before they lose the capacity to do so.
On April 3, 2009, the Memphis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division hosted its annual “Legal Lines” program on WREG Ch. 3. During “Legal Lines,” attorneys volunteer to answer legal questions live from members of the public who call the WREG studios throughout several evening broadcasts.
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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!