Probate & Property Magazine, November/December 2008, Volume 22, Number 6

Section News

2008 Law Student Writing Contest Winners

Section NewsCongratulations to first-place winner Amy Jo Smith, from DePaul University, for her essay, “Curbing the License to Steal: A Discussion of English Law and Possible Reforms for the Durable Power of Attorney.” The second-place winner is Tyson Tamashiro, from the University of Hawaii, for his essay, “RLUIPA and the Individualized Assessment: Special Use Permits and Variances Under Strict Congressional Scrutiny.” In third place is Jessica Vollmer, from the University of Baltimore School of Law , for her essay, “A Question of Property Rights: The Constitutionality of Maryland’s Ground Rent Reform.”

Amy Jo Smith, the first-place winner, will receive $1,500 cash and a one-year free membership to the Section (valued at $50), plus free round-trip airfare and weekend accommodations to attend the Section’s Fall Leadership Meeting, November 5–9, in Montréal, Québec, Canada (airfare, hotel accommodations, and luncheon ticket are valued at approximately $1,000). In addition, Amy’s essay will be considered for publication in a future issue of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal. Tyson Tamashiro, the second-place winner, will receive $700 cash, and Jessica Vollmer, the third-place winner, will receive $500 cash.

The goal of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section student writing contest is to encourage and reward law student writing on real property and trust and estate law subjects of general and current interest. As part of this effort, the ABA sponsors the RPTE writing contest, which invites law school students to submit original essays on current topics in the field. The essay contest is designed to attract students to these law specialties and to strongly encourage scholarship in these areas. N

Jasleen K. Anand

Since March 2002, Jasleen K. Anand has been in private practice in Garden City, Long Island, New York, where she provides creative, practical, and insightful advice on real estate development and business formation to real estate developers in Long Island and throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

Jasleen joined the RPTE Section in 2004, when she met Brent Shaffer at the Section’s meeting in New York City. Jasleen expressed an interest in actively participating on the Section’s Subleasing Committee. Because of her tenacious spirit and talent, the following year Jasleen was selected to speak at a Section meeting in San Francisco, where she was the lead speaker at the Subleasing Roundtable Discussion and compiled the CLE materials for her topic, “Release of Assignors?”

Jasleen was named a Real Property Fellow in 2006. “These last two years in the Section as a Fellow have formed the basis of a most rewarding experience in my life, both professionally and personally,” she says. During her fellowship, Jasleen has served as a panelist at group CLE programs, for which she wrote the program materials, and has written for Probate & Property, as well as for the Section’s on-line journal, E-Dirt. She has participated actively on the Section’s Membership and Diversity Committees and contributes to their continued goal of broadening the diversity of Section membership.

Jasleen established her law practice by building and maintaining successful attorney-client relationships through commitment, timeliness, and a unique expertise in the real estate arena that includes commercial, residential, and affordable housing development. She represents a wide range of for-profit and nonprofit developers who build, in addition to traditional housing, affordable housing, senior housing, and supportive housing for underserved groups that include the homeless, minors aging out of the foster care system, and veterans.

Jasleen is actively involved in various organizations including the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH), the Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY), and Women in Housing and Finance (WHF). She has served as a panelist on various topics at the NYSAFAH Annual Conference each year since 2006 and has organized several panels on the regulatory changes affecting the distribution of various forms of tax credits to developers.

Jasleen is currently writing a book entitled How to Build and Manage a Real Estate Practice, to be published by the American Bar Association. She lives in Muttontown, Long Island, and is the mother of a fifteen-year-old son, Jashdeep. N

Arnettia S. Wright

Arnettia S. Wright is an attorney in private practice in Washington, D.C. As the principal of Wright Law Group, PC, Arnettia represents individuals and organizations in matters related to corporate law, real estate transactions, estate planning and administration, elder law, and mediation. Her areas of expertise include estate planning, medical assistance planning, planning for incapacity, and the establishment and administration of conservatorships and guardianships for the elderly and other incapacitated persons.

Arnettia was introduced to the Section as a RPTE Fellow in 2007. Through that experience, in spring 2008, Arnettia hosted a meet-and-greet for District of Columbia area law students and presented on “The Fertile Octogenarian Revisited: The Right to Physical Intimacy in the Nursing Home” at the Section’s Spring Symposium. In addition, Arnettia serves on the Section’s Diversity and Membership Committees.

Before becoming a RPTE Fellow, Arnettia co-presented an ABA eCLE on real estate scams and co-authored an article for GP Solo on the same topic. Since becoming active in RPTE, Arnettia has expanded her work with the ABA. She has become a member of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division and now serves on its Diversity Committee as well as assistant editor of the Division’s newsletter, Law Trends.

As a member of both the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars, Arnettia provides pro bono services through AARP and serves as guest lecturer to community organizations throughout the Washington metropolitan area on various topics related to her law practice.

Arnettia earned a B.A. in English Studies from the University of the District of Columbia, a J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and an M.B.A. in Real Estate Development from American University. She was admitted to the Bar of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in 2000, the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in 2001, and the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006.

Arnettia is a 2006–07 Maryland State Bar Association Leadership Academy Fellow, a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bar Associations, and secretary of the HIPPY DC Perry Center Site. She lives in Washington, D.C., and is the mother of two children, Ethan, who is four, and Logan, who is two. N

RPTE Welcomes New 2008–10 Fellows

The Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law recently announced its new fellows for 2008–10. The winners include Kathleen K. Law of Des Moines, Iowa; Jin Liu of St. Petersburg, Florida; Catherine Graves Williams of Chicago, Illinois; Beth Ann R. Lawson of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Robert M. Nemzin of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; and Donald L. West Jr. of Atlanta, Georgia.

The Section has again increased the Fellows Program funding for 2008–10 to allow six fellows to join the Section. The Fellows Program represents a commitment by the Section to increase the participation of young lawyers in Section activities. The goal of the program is to give active members of the Young Lawyers Division or state or local bar associations an opportunity to become involved in the substantive work of the Section, to develop future leaders of the Section, and to enhance knowledge about the work of the Section among members of the Young Lawyers Division and other young lawyers.

The fellowship appointment is for two years. To be considered for selection, a person must have practiced in the trust and estate or real property area for at least one year, be younger than 36 years of age or have been admitted to the bar less than 10 years, and have demonstrated leadership at the state or local bar level or in the Young Lawyers Division. Congratulations to all of the new fellows!

Public Speaking

It is inevitable that you, as a young lawyer, will engage in some sort of public speaking over the course of your career. If you type in “public speaking” on an Internet search engine, you will find numerous articles on public speaking and presentation skills. Many books, classes, and Internet websites are also available on public speaking. Whether it is in court, for a seminar, a group meeting at the office, or some other reason, public speaking and presenting call on core skills that you can master early on.

First, list and prioritize the top goals you want to achieve with your audience. This requires organization. By organizing yourself before the presentation you will be able to clearly present your topic. If you are not organized, your audience may completely miss the point. Your goals should be in terms of what you want your audience to take away from the presentation. When you are done listing the goals, determine if the audience will understand your list and what you wish to accomplish.

You should also identify who your target audience is. Different audiences require you to identify where their interests initially lie and how you should tailor your presentation. Do you wish to have a big or small group? Speaking to a small group creates a different dynamic from speaking to a group of thousands. Why is it important for your audience to attend the meeting? Your presentation should make this clear from the start. This can help you clarify or target the invitation list and design your invitation to them.

Now that you have your goals and know your audience, design your presentation to meet your objectives. The opening should be brief and outline what your presentation is about, including the benefits the audience will receive if they listen to what you have to say. Of course, the main part of your presentation should clearly achieve the goals you outlined. The closing should summarize the key points of your presentation. Also, allot time for questions. It may also help to plant someone in your audience to ask questions, because often the audience is too shy to ask the first question.

Think about handing out supplemental materials and copies of your presentation, using a projector or microphone, how the room is generally set up, and so on. If you have a projector, do you need a screen? Little oversights like this can throw a presenter off his or her stride. You must also realize, however, that not everything can always be accounted for and that you may have to “go with the flow.”

When speaking, be aware of not only your words but also the nonverbal cues you are communicating. Generally, speak a little bit louder and a little bit slower than you normally speak. Vary the volume and your rate of speech—that is, avoid a monotone. Show enthusiasm for your topic through your tone of voice. When standing, avoid grabbing the sides of the podium. Nervousness may be inevitable, but you should at least have a relaxed posture on stage.

Finally, no matter how well organized and prepared you are, you need to practice (out loud) before a speaking event. It may help to have your colleagues, friends, or even your dog listen to your presentation. In a nonthreatening environment, you can work out any kinks your presentation may have. If you do not have any speaking events planned but still wish to practice your presentation skills, groups like Toastmasters are available.

Young lawyers have many opportunities to hone their public speaking and presentation skills. The key is to be well prepared before the event.

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