Fall Conference Recap: Sunny in Seattle

Volume 37, Number 3


Keya Koul is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and an attorney with the Albuquerque, New Mexico, office of Castle Stawiarski, LLC.

The weeks leading up to the 2011 ABA YLD Fall Conference showed rain, rain, and more rain in the Emerald City. But just as all the conference attendees arrived, the Seattle sun shone a bright light on the amazing city. For the first time, CLE programming began on Thursday afternoon for those who arrived early and included “Getting It In: Internet-Based Evidence” and “A Lesson in Ethics—A Young Lawyer’s Guide to Ethical Behavior.” Thursday evening started with the traditional “First Time Attendee Orientation” and continued on with the “Welcome Reception” at Pnk Ultra Lounge.

Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans

The Friday morning plenary session keynote address by Tammy M. Kudialis, Director of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law’s (UDM) Project SALUTE, was nothing short of inspirational. The address, entitled “Educating and Encouraging Young Lawyers to get Involved in Helping Veterans,” informed conference attendees about the ABA YLD and UDM partnership during the 2011–2012 bar year. The ABA YLD will implement “Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans” as this year’s public service project. Volunteer attorneys will educate veterans about available VA benefits and assist them in obtaining those benefits.

The launch of “Project Salute” took place at the Pike Market Senior Center. With the help of the UDM Project SALUTE team, including Ms. Kudialis, her parents, and several UDM law students, ABA YLD volunteer attorneys who had received both their VA accreditation and the requisite training assisted veterans with the VA benefits process. The launch gave YLD leaders from across the country an opportunity to witness firsthand how this public service project should be implemented in their home states.

In-House Counsel Superstars

After the Friday morning CLE sessions, covering topics ranging from “Diversity in the Profession” to “Using the Internet Ethically and Intelligently,” the afternoon’s sessions included the sold-out ticketed luncheon that featured “Insights from In-House Counsel Superstars.” The superstars were David Byers, Director, Corporate Counsel, Licensing & Franchising at Starbucks; Steve Crown, Vice-President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft Corporation; and Melissa Matthews, Assistant General Counsel of the Seattle Mariners. The panel was moderated by Bobbi-Sue Doyle-Hazard, General Counsel of New England Cryogenic Center, Inc. The panelists offered their perspectives on a variety of topics about the relationship between in-house counsel and the outside firms that represent their companies, from billing practices and advising on the risk of a proposed course of action to the importance of not only knowing a specific area of law but also knowing the client’s industry and its business. Attendees were impressed with the panelists and gained valuable insights from the presentation.

Affiliate Showcase

Eighteen Affiliates highlighted their programs during Saturday morning’s Affiliate Showcase.

•         Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section—The CBA YLS held its Fifth Annual Texas Hold ‘em Tournament on Friday, January 28, 2011, to benefit the Chicago Bar Foundation. A special “refresher course” before the tournament reminded players of the basic rules and how to bet properly. Prizes were awarded, including a first place prize of a $1,000 seat to a Horseshoe Casino Hammond Poker Tournament.

•         Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division—The TBA YLD showcased two of its programs, including “CASA Speaks for Polly” and its judicial internship program. “CASA Speaks for Polly” is an illustrated coloring book that explains to children the role of CASA volunteers in kid-friendly language.

•         Maryland Bar Association Young Lawyers Section—The MBA YLS runs a storybook program in which incarcerated parents read children’s stories to their children, providing them with a stronger connection to their families during their incarceration and hopefully decreasing the risk of recidivism after their release.

•         Cincinnati Bar Association Young Lawyers Section—The YLS’s Social Committee held a fashion show that showcased fashion trends in business. The event provided lawyers and law students with real life examples of work-appropriate fashion.

•         The Young Lawyers Sections of the Kansas Bar Association, Oklahoma Bar Association, and Missouri Bar Association came together to develop a regional conference open to leaders in each of the three bar associations.  Nearly 50 lawyers attended the two-day event and participated in roundtables and group discussions.

More . . .

Fall Conference CLE programming continued with “The Devastating Cross Examination,” “On Camera: Tools and Techniques for an Effective Video Deposition,” and “Speed Negotiation.” Other CLEs included “Creating a Place for Diversity in the Legal Profession” and “How to Find, Meet, and Acquire New Clients.” The highly attended CLE—“Divergent Paths to the Bench: Can the Path Less-Traveled Make all the Difference?”—was a part of the ABA YLD Career Development Initiative and brought distinguished members of the judiciary together to share their distinct and unique career path experiences with the young lawyers in the audience.

ABA YLD Chair Michael Bergmann launched the “+3 Pledge” at the Fall Conference. The idea behind this initiative is to ask leaders within the Division to recruit three new members to the ABA YLD this year. He also recognized the following individuals as “Stars of the Quarter”: Kari Petrasek, Erica Grinde, Bobbi-Sue Doyle-Hazard, Melissa Bernheim, Dainen Penta, and Francine Bailey.

Social Events

The Friday night sold out “Fall Gala” took place at the Experience Music Project. Attendees had free range of the interactive music, science fiction, and pop culture museum. Exhibits included multimedia artifacts and information about Avatar, Jimi Hendrix, and Nirvana. Partygoers enjoyed dinner, drinks, and dancing to a live band. Nocturnal types followed the Seattle sounds to the late night karaoke after-party.

For those conference attendees who decided to stay and continue to enjoy Seattle on Saturday night, the Seattle Host Committee organized a “Dine Around Town,” which presented several options for enjoying local restaurants, including famed Seattle Chef Tom Douglas’ Dahlia Lounge.

The Closing Program celebrated the success of the Fall Conference in Seattle and heralded the upcoming Midyear Meeting in New Orleans with Mardi Gras masks, beads, and music.



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