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Keya Koul is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and an attorney with the Albuquerque, New Mexico, office of Castle Meinhold & Stawiarski.
By Keya Koul
The ABA YLD presents annual awards to local Affiliate programs as part of its Awards of Achievement Program. The Awards of Achievement Program is an opportunity for state and local young lawyer organizations affiliated with the ABA YLD to submit their best projects for evaluation and recognition by a jury of their peers. It is designed to encourage project development by recognizing the time, effort, and skills expended by young lawyer organizations in implementing public service and bar service projects in their communities. Additional recognition is given to minority attorney involvement projects and Affiliate newsletter programs.
The 2009–2010 Awards of Achievement were presented during the ABA YLD Assembly at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. Applications for the 2010–2011 Program will open April 1, 2011. Eligible organizations include any ABA YLD Affiliated Organization that falls under Articles 3.1(a) or 3.1(b) of the ABA YLD Bylaws. A copy of the Bylaws is available at www.abanet.org/yld/affiliateleaders/ByLaws.pdf .
Categories and Applications include the following:
The judges for this program are recruited by the ABA YLD Affiliates Director through a targeted mailing. No judge will participate in the evaluation of an application from his or her own state. Qualities that the judges consider when evaluating the projects include:
Here is a summary of some of the winning programs for 2009–2010.
Service to the Public
R U Safe? Protecting Yourself in Cyberspace
Texas Young Lawyers Association—Texas
R U Safe? is a DVD containing four separate videos designed to educate children and their parents about online dangers and give them the tools needed to be safe while online. It is intended to serve students at every age level (elementary, middle school, and high school) and also contains a section for parents. Using experts from law enforcement and child advocacy groups, the video covers such wide-ranging topics as cyber bullying, social networking, chat rooms, “sexting,” and online predators.
North Carolina Bar Association
Young Lawyers Division—North Carolina
The North Carolina Bar Association YLD’s Law & Aging Committee established “Project Grace” in order to provide health care powers of attorney and living wills free of charge to those of limited means. In total, Project Grace through the efforts of twenty-seven attorney volunteers, and approximately thirty non-attorney volunteers served 130 people and 260 documents were drafted.
Tennessee Flood Disaster Legal Services
Tennessee Bar Association
Young Lawyers Division—Tennessee
The TBA YLD worked closely with Tennessee Area Legal Services to coordinate flood relief efforts and, at the direction of FEMA, helped with the establishment of disaster legal services hotlines in the counties declared eligible for federal assistance. The TBA YLD kicked into high gear just days after devastating floods hit Middle and West Tennessee—activating a toll free hotline for disaster victims to request free legal assistance, coordinating the response among nine legal organizations in the state, and educating lawyers on the legal issues disaster victims often face.
Protejase! Luche Contra el Fraude
(Protect Yourself! Fight Against Fraud)
Dallas Association of Young Lawyers—Texas
The DAYL created “Protejase! Luche Contra el Fraude” (which means “Protect Yourself! Fight Against Fraud”), a Spanish public service campaign that details the warning signs of credit repair scams, notario “notary” fraud, and fraud generally. The DAYL sought to combat frauds perpetuated by scam artists attempting to take advantage of language barriers and diverse cultural norms in these tough economic times.
What’s So Special About Special Education?
Houston Young Lawyers Association—Texas
The “What’s So Special About Special Education?” seminar is designed to provide parents, advocates, attorneys, and teachers with information regarding numerous aspects of special education and topics related to special needs children. Four attorneys presented eight 75-minute sessions on topics related to children with special needs and the law.
Service to the Bar
Public Interest Internship Program
State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division—Georgia
The Public Interest Internship Program’s goal is to provide law school students and recent graduates with summer employment opportunities in public interest organizations throughout the state. The program was designed to respond to the growing numbers of new young lawyers who were unable to find employment and the increasing need for indigent legal services by providing an opportunity to gain practical legal skills while serving the public.
Young Lawyers Leadership Conference
State Bar of Wisconsin Young Lawyers Division—Wisconsin
The Wisconsin YLD developed and organized its first Young Lawyers Leadership Conference to provide young lawyers with leadership training and to encourage greater participation in the YLD, the state and local bars, and in the community. In addition to CLE training, young lawyers also participated in a speed networking event as well as a reception afterwards.
Legislative Leadership Academy
The Iowa State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division—Iowa
The Legislative Leadership Academy is a unique, bi-partisan program that offered attorneys advice and information about running for and maintaining a role in public office. The event centered on the practical issues lawyers face while seeking public office and the need for more lawyer-legislators. The program featured several experts and lawyer-legislators from across the state.