Midyear Meeting: Membership Summit and More
By Melissa Dewey Brumback

Melissa Dewey Brumback is an associate editor of The Affiliate and practices with the Raleigh, North Carolina, firm of Ragsdale Liggett PLLC.
Sun, shop, and summit! All young lawyers should make plans to attend the ABA YLD Midyear Meeting, scheduled for February 7–9, 2008, in Los Angeles, California. The ABA YLD meetings are a great chance to meet and mingle with hundreds of your professional colleagues from across the country. This year’s Midyear Meeting is specifically focused on topics that are important to young lawyers, including a Young Lawyer Summit to address the unique issues facing new(er) lawyers practicing today. It is also your chance to make connections and future client contacts, while you continue your professional education through quality CLE programming. And, don’t forget that there will be plenty of time to socialize, shop, and (weather-permitting) sun-worship!
The Midyear Meeting will include extensive networking opportunities, various receptions (including a first-timer’s orientation session), and a group dinner dance. Although the final touches are being put on the programming as you read this article, the meeting will also feature a wide variety of educational seminars providing a chance for one-stop continuing legal education credits for most, if not all, state licensure programs. CLEs will focus on topics including “Ethical Issues in Intellectual Property Pretext Investigations,” “How Civil Juries Really Decide Cases,” and “The Mortgage Crisis in America.” Other much-anticipated programs will include financial planning for young lawyers, speed networking, and a sports and entertainment law program. The ABA YLD Assembly will also convene at the Midyear Meeting, to debate and vote on important resolutions affecting the legal profession as a whole and the ABA YLD in particular.
Featured at the meeting will be this year’s third of four Summits—a roundtable discussion and forum concept initiated by ABA YLD Chair Justin Goldstein. According to Summit Coordinator Griselda Vega of Yakima, Washington, ABA YLD leadership “envisions [the Summits as] forum[s] for discussion” to share ideas from around the country.
While the first Summit at Charlotte’s Fall Conference discussed affiliate leadership issues, the Midyear Summit, entitled “Young Lawyers: The Next Generation,” is all about membership-related topics. According to Michael Pellicciotti, ABA YLD Membership Director for 2007–2008 and a prosecutor in Seattle, Washington, this Summit is for the entire Division membership, whether or not you are in a position of leadership and whether or not you have ever attended a prior ABA YLD meeting. The Young Lawyer Summit is an effort to make the Division a strong voice in young lawyer issues. Summit participants will discuss issues important to newer lawyers, including managing student loans and debt repayment, finding a work/life balance, establishing your niche, and exploring career options. Pellicciotti stated, “We’re hoping to bring a lot of different people to the table and to have them involved in the process.”
The Summit will begin with a plenary session to discuss the current state of young lawyers today, after which participants can choose to attend two of six breakout sessions. Facilitators will ask the smaller groups what issues are facing young lawyers today and how the ABA can or should help to address those issues, explained Christina Vassiliou, Summit team leader and a lawyer with Sterns & Weinroth in Trenton, New Jersey.
According to Vassiliou, the goal is to gain information and ideas at the Summit. After breakout discussions and group presentations, the Membership Board plans to use the ideas generated and concerns addressed to create a new white paper addressing ABA YLD members’ needs. This white paper could lead to future programming in the Division and future ABA YLD Assembly resolution proposals. In addition, the Division plans to establish an online tool kit containing member resources following the Summit. If you want more information about the Summit as it becomes available, you can sign up for the Summit list serve by going to www.abanet.org/yld/midyear08.
In addition to CLE programming, networking activities, and the Young Lawyer Summit, the ABA Midyear Meeting will see a return of the ABA YLD’s Public Service Project, “Wills for Heroes,” which provides basic wills to emergency first responders in local communities. Volunteer lawyers will be asked to review estate planning documentation previously completed by the first responders so that each responder can leave the program with a fully-executed, basic will.
If the opportunities for networking, public service, CLE credit, and the chance to address everyday young lawyer issues are not enough reasons for you to attend, did I mention that the meeting is in sunny southern California in midwinter? The conference this year will be held at the Beverly Hills Hilton ( www.beverlyhilton.com).
In addition to world-famous shopping on Rodeo drive, you can tour famous celebrity homes by trolley ( www.beverlyhills.org), double-decker bus ( www.starlinetours.com), or even segway ( www.segwow.com/tours.htm). Screen over 140,000 television and radio programs and advertisements at the Paley Center for Media (formerly Museum of Television & Radio, www.paleycenter.org). Or, unwind from the conference at one of Beverly Hills’ many parks, including Greystone Mansion and Park, featuring over a dozen acres of green flora and lush gardens open to the public ( www.greystonemansion.org). Now, doesn’t that sound better than spending your February shoveling snow?