Why You Want to Attend the YLD “Assembly” at the Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles!
By Deborah A. Smith

Deborah A. Smith is the 2007–2008 YLD Assembly Speaker and senior counsel with Gordon & Rees, LLP, in San Francisco, California.
The ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings can be overwhelming, especially if you are attending your first ABA meeting as a young lawyer. The program book you receive during registration is jammed with CLEs, committee meetings, and social events, and you may be confused about what to attend and how to choose. If you are wondering where to find all the young lawyers at the Midyear Meeting, come to the hotel designated for the ABA Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD). You will find us there, and you will find our “Assembly” Meeting.
What is “Assembly” and why should I attend? The ABA YLD Assembly convenes at both the Midyear and Annual Meetings. Pursuant to the ABA YLD Bylaws, the Assembly is the policymaking authority for the ABA YLD. In other words, Assembly is our business meeting where ABA YLD delegates gather to share their opinions and ideas. Assembly has multiple purposes, but importantly, it is where we debate resolutions and recommendations, which, if passed, are then taken up to the “big” ABA via its House of Delegates by our Young Lawyer Representatives to the House for debate and consideration. An equally important purpose of Assembly is to provide a forum for our distinguished leaders from different sections and divisions within the ABA to share their goals and plans for the current bar year and beyond. Finally, Assembly is a place for you to network. You will have the chance to meet people, not only within your state delegation and district, but also from every other district in the country. We also frequently have special guests from our sister organizations across the globe join us at our meetings.
How easy is it to become a delegate? If your state or local bar association is an affiliate of the YLD, it can send delegates to the Assembly meeting. The number of delegates each state can send is determined by the current number of young lawyers within the state who are members of the ABA. The number is adjusted once each year. If you are involved with your local or state bar association, you can ask to serve as its delegate. (For more detailed information about what to do after you become a delegate and how to get certified, see the article below by Assembly Clerk Chauntis Jenkins.)
What can I expect when I come to Assembly? Assembly is a business meeting (requiring business attire) governed by parliamentary procedure. You can expect an open forum where you, the delegates, get to voice your opinions and be heard on important issues affecting our profession. Resolutions will be debated and if you have an opinion on an issue that you want to share, you are encouraged to do so. Also, you can expect to hear from distinguished speakers within the ABA who want to share their ideas with you—ideas that you can and should take home and share with your state and local affiliates. You can also expect to meet other young lawyers with whom you can exchange ideas and have fun!
Where do I find the Assembly? Assembly is held in the ballroom of the Young Lawyers Division hotel. At the Midyear Meeting, the Assembly will meet on Saturday morning. (Make sure you are certified during the posted hours. You will not be able to vote in Assembly if you do not have your name badge and delegate ribbon.) When you arrive at Assembly, look for the table sign containing your state and district, which will designate where your delegation sits.
What if I have an idea for a resolution? If you have an idea for a resolution or a recommendation that you believe the YLD should consider and debate, please contact Assembly Speaker Deborah Smith at dasmith@gordonrees.com. I will guide you through the process and make sure you are in contact with the appropriate sections, divisions, and/or committees.
If you have any questions about Assembly, please do not hesitate to contact me. On Saturday morning of Midyear, prior to the start of Assembly, I will be holding an informational meeting regarding the resolutions scheduled to be debated for all interested delegates. Additional details TBA. I look forward to serving as your Assembly Speaker this year. See you in Los Angeles!