2014 ABA YLD Fall Conference Preview

Vol. 40 No. 1


Anastasiya Bogdanovskaya is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and an Associate for Tax Controversy Services with KPMG LLP in New York, New York. This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG LLP. KPMG LLP does not provide legal services.

Whether attending for continuing legal education credits, professional development opportunities, networking, or health-and-wellness programming, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) Fall Conference has something for you.

Health-and-Wellness Programming

The ABA YLD Fall Conference will be held in Portland, Oregon, from October 9–11, 2014. This year’s Fall Conference will begin with a special one-mile, 5K, and 10K group walk/run through the scenic downtown area. The walk/run sets the conference tone and encourages attendees to network while keeping their personal fitness and health in mind.

The demanding nature of the legal profession and the high learning curve for young lawyers just beginning their professional careers can take a heavy toll on a person’s health. In response, the Fall Conference is introducing a health-and-wellness programming track in addition to traditional CLEs and professional-skills programs. The brainchild of Andrew Schpak, 2014–2015 ABA YLD Chair and a Barran Liebman LLP Partner, the health-and-wellness track of the conference aims to help young lawyers address their physical well-being while keeping up with the demands of their jobs. Recognizing the importance of mental and physical wellness and making time for health is crucial to long-term professional success.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Attendees are encouraged to “choose their own adventure,” says Schpak, and move between CLEs, professional development classes, and health-and-wellness programs based on their personal interests. “The three tracks give attendees options: people can mix and match sessions as befits their practices, lifestyles, and interests. There is something for everyone,” says Traci Ray, ABA YLD Fall Conference Host Committee Co-Chair and Executive Director at Barran Liebman. “People will interact in ways we haven’t before at conferences,” she says. “Young lawyers can improve their practices by developing technical skills but also by devoting attention to their wholistic well-being, an area often ignored by traditional legal conferences,” says ABA YLD 2014–2015 Conference, Programs, and Products Director and Trenam Kemker Associate, Catherine DiPaolo. A general welcome session and an orientation for first-time attendees will also take place on the first day of the conference.

What can young lawyers do to stay mentally and physically fit while working long hours? The schedule contains a variety of health-and-wellness programs with this question in mind. Young lawyers have the chance to attend the “Ten Minute Fix,” a session on discrete stretches and poses that can be done at a desk, and can get tips for mentally resetting after a stressful meeting or before a long night at the office. At the “Workout to Go” session, conference attendees will learn about healthy eating options and on-the-road exercise routines that do not require a gym.

The conference also features programs designed to help young lawyers with their marketing and business development skills. Attendees will have the chance to sign up for one-on-one meetings in which they can either have their resumes reviewed by law-firm recruiters, go over their marketing plans with law-firm marketing directors, or meet with successful solo attorneys about starting and building a successful law firm. Other professional skills programs include “Canaries in the Coalmine: Succeeding as Female Counsel in Male-Dominated Industries,” “Burdens of Being the Boss—Legal Requirements and Practical Tips,” and a session on general networking and effective business development.

The CLE schedule includes sessions on the homeless youth epidemic, the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Portland’s breweries and the new FDA regulations, tax considerations in choice of entity decisions, entrapment and coerced confessions, and the ethics of extrajudicial communications.

Only Connect

In addition to the core educational sessions, the Fall Conference includes special opportunities for young lawyers to connect with prominent judges and lawmakers. Among these is a fireside chat with Oregon Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer and a ticketed luncheon with Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer on “lawyers as leaders.” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will speak at the Closing Program with 2014–2015 ABA President William Hubbard in attendance.

President Hubbard created the Commission on the Future of Legal Services to examine the status and direction of the legal profession. The ABA YLD and the Commission are co-sponsoring a National Summit on Access to Justice and the Future of Legal Services. Representatives of the Commission will attend the Fall Conference and young lawyers will have the opportunity to participate and contribute in smaller roundtable discussions. President Hubbard will integrate the results of these smaller sessions into his year-long examination of the future of the legal profession. This session will give young lawyers the “rare opportunity to contribute to the national dialogue on the current state of the legal system and its future, while offering their perspectives and ideas on what to prioritize and what to change going forward,” says Schpak.


Finally, channeling the youthful spirit of the ABA YLD, the planning committee has peppered the schedule with fun social events and opportunities to network over group lunches, cocktail hours, and dinners. The ample networking opportunities, both formal and informal, give young lawyers the chance to “build a national network, in practices and states across the country,” says David Morrow, 2014–2015 National Conferences Team member and Legal Counsel for PayPal.

The outdoor dinner-dance with a Portland-appropriate theme, “Hippies, Hipsters and Lumberjacks,” is sure to be a social highlight of the conference. Local food trucks will cater the dinner-dance and a famous Portland DJ will provide the atmosphere to bring young lawyers to their feet.

One of the primary goals in planning the ABA YLD conference is “to offer useful and practical programming to young lawyers so that they come back,” says Morrow. The diversity of traditional and nontraditional programs planned for the Fall Conference, in addition to the fun social events and the enthusiastic leadership is certain to do that!

For more information about the ABA YLD Fall Conference in Portland, Oregon, visit the conference website.


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