Local Affiliate

Local Affiliate

Upcoming HYLA Bar Year
By:  Lauren Hunt Brogdon, HYLA President-Elect

It is truly an honor to be stepping into the role of president of the Houston Young Lawyers Association (“HYLA”), following so many accomplished and renowned individuals who have held this position since the organization’s inception in 1937.  (And about whose tenures I recently learned from the fantastic video our History Committee put together this year – you can watch it here).

Building upon this great legacy, in 2017-2018, HYLA will continue to grow our membership and foster the next generation of leaders in Houston’s legal community.  One program about which I am very excited is our CLE “bootcamps,” which will supplement our already robust CLE offerings.  These bootcamps will be slightly longer than our traditional CLEs and will teach young lawyers concrete skills to use in their litigation, transactional, and regulatory practices.  These seminars will be taught by more senior HYLA members, giving them opportunities to share their knowledge and hone their leadership and public speaking skills. 

In speaking with our members, we have found that there is an incredible need for this sort of practical training.  As a first-year litigation associate at Fulbright & Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright), I had the opportunity to partake in our months-long Advocacy Training Program, in which I learned from our firm’s litigation partners—true legends in the Houston legal community—about taking depositions, writing briefs, handling mediations and arbitration, and trying cases.  The program involved mock depositions and ADR and culminated in a week-long concentrated training and full-day mock trial where we presented witnesses (other attorneys at the firm) before a jury (local high school volunteers).  The skills I learned during that program were invaluable in launching my career, and HYLA hopes to instill similar practical knowledge into our members who do not receive that sort of training from their employers (or who just want to brush up!).

It is my hope that this and other programs will solidify HYLA as a go-to resource for young Houston lawyers to improve their substantive legal skills and leadership abilities.  HYLA has dozens of lawyers and law students in our committee structure, and we plan to improve our training of the individuals in our leadership pipeline by holding regular meetings at which we cover basic leadership skills—things like preparing an agenda, effectively leading a meeting, delegating, recruiting and hiring strong people, and public speaking.  This will ensure that when the current board ceases to be “young” lawyers, the organization will be passed on to capable, empowered hands.

Another exciting venture for the coming bar year will be our continuance and expansion of HYLA’s dedication to serving the community through a closer partnership with our charitable arm, the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation, and pro bono organizations like Houston Volunteer Lawyers. At any age, a license to practice law is a privilege that should not be taken lightly, and HYLA has worked hard to cultivate within its members a culture of service and giving.  In the 2017-2018 bar year, we hope to increase our members’ access to pro bono opportunities and shift many of our signature social events to have a more purposeful, charitable emphasis.

Finally, HYLA’s 2017-2018 focus will be on the experience of our members—where HYLA’s true influence lies.  In my time on HYLA’s committees and on the board, I have been astounded by the energy, skill, and drive of the thousands of young lawyers who join our organization each year.  We have begun to survey our members about their experiences with the organization and are responding to many of their suggestions to improve the member experience.  As our members grow and change in their careers, we must do the same, and I eagerly anticipate the great ideas our committees and board will implement in the coming bar year.  I am honored to be able to lead the organization in these endeavors, all in furtherance of our mission: to help Houston’s young lawyers to Learn. Lead. Network. and Serve.

Lauren is a litigation associate in the Houston office of Norton Rose Fulbright.

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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