ABA YLD Leader Spotlight: Tremaine Reese

Vol. 39 No. 5


Robert J. Curylo is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and an Associate in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

Tremaine “Teddy” Reese is one of the most dedicated advocates on behalf of law students and young lawyers. Since Teddy entered law school in 2009 and in the years following his 2012 graduation, he has consistently pursued opportunities within the ABA to address the concerns of law students nationwide.

Law Student Advocate

Teddy first became involved in the ABA during law school, where he served as a member of the ABA Law Student Division from 2009 to 2012 and as the National Chair of the division from 2011 to 2012. Teddy’s responsibility to his fellow law students was foremost on his mind during his tenure as the National Chair. “Even though you directly represent those paid members of the ABA, the policies that we advocated easily affected all law students nationwide,” Teddy notes. “We always kept that in mind when we considered policy or advocacy for a particular issue.” During his time in this position, Teddy also focused on improving the internal processes and organizational structure of the Law Student Division.

Future of Legal Education

After completing his term as the National Chair, Teddy was asked by ABA President-Elect Laura Bellows to serve on the Task Force for the Future of Legal Education. The task force, which was created in 2012, was charged with making recommendations to the ABA on how law schools, the ABA, and other organizations could effectively address issues surrounding the economics of a legal education. “We looked at law school from a cost efficiency perspective and a product delivery perspective,” Teddy explained. “We have heard two main complaints. Number one: Simply put, law school is just too expensive. Students are graduating with $100,000 in debt and some with over $200,000 in debt. Number two: Law school didn’t adequately prepare students for the real world [or] provide real world experience.”

Teddy is particularly proud of his involvement in representing the interests of young lawyers and raising awareness about issues that matter to them. He emphasizes the dedication of task force committee members such as Kevin Johnson and Dana Hrelic in these efforts, noting that “the three of us stood strong at making sure the concerns and issues of young lawyers across the nation were heard as we made recommendations. Nowhere else in America will you find a business that seeks to improve its product without talking to its customers. And contrary to what some may think, students are the customers when it comes to institutions of higher learning.” With that focus in mind, Teddy and others worked to ensure that the concerns of law students were addressed when the task force reported its findings and recommendations. The task force presented its final report on February 10, 2014.


During his last year in law school and his first year in practice, Teddy also served on the ABA Truth in Law School Education Committee (TILSEC). TILSEC, which was founded in 2010, was instrumental in influencing the ABA to encourage increased transparency by law schools on issues such as matriculation, cost, and graduate employment rates. Teddy and others sought a balanced approach to TILSEC’s mission by soliciting and incorporating contributions from both law students and young lawyers.

During his time in law school, Teddy was also involved in the Council on Legal Education and Opportunity (CLEO), which assists minority students in establishing a strong foundation for pursuing a legal education. He began actively assisting CLEO during his second year in law school, when he would fly to Atlanta and Los Angeles to speak to minority students at different law schools.

Teddy continues to remain involved with the ABA after law school, serving as an adviser to the ABA Law Student Division in 2013 and to the National Black Law Students Association. He is currently a member of the ABA YLD National Conferences Team, which handles the administrative details for various YLD conferences throughout the year. Teddy is also an active member of both the State Bar of Georgia and the Florida Bar.

On behalf of The Affiliate and the ABA YLD, a heartfelt congratulations to you, Teddy, for all that you do for the profession on both the local and national levels.


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