Great Start for ABA YLD in 2019

The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (YLD) is off to a productive bar year.

The YLD conducted its fall conference in conjunction with the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division on October 25-27 in Charleston, South Carolina. The conference theme was “Tradition Meets Innovation,” with an emphasis on technology and the legal profession. There were 234 registrants, 140 of whom were young attorneys.

Programming highlights included one-on-one career coaching sessions with Debra Forman, group and one-on-one improv coaching sessions on techniques to improve oral argument skills, “Google for Lawyers: How Google Products Can Save You Time and Money,” and a keynote address by Mark Britton, founder of Avvo.

The conference also included a series of presentations to highlight the aftermath of the tragedy that occurred at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church in 2015. Through several moving and challenging speeches and panel discussions, this program brought together survivors of the tragedy and leaders within the legal profession, government, and local community who played pivotal roles in the response to this tragedy.

The YLD also produced a number of Facebook Live sessions and other digital content, including a discussion of legal innovation with Mark Britton, another program discussing the connection between domestic violence and natural disasters and how lawyers and the greater community can help those facing this crisis, and another on how young attorneys can improve their media skills and social media presence.

This year, the YLD has also launched two initiatives in addition to the division’s ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts: No Limits!, focusing on young women in the profession; and the Men of Color Project, focusing on building community and improving the experiences of men of color in the legal profession during law school and their early years of practice.

Both initiatives hosted kick-off events, with roundtable luncheon discussions on their respective topics at the fall conference. The No Limits! program featured former ABA President Paulette Brown and former YLD chair and ABA Commission on Women in the Profession chair Pamela Roberts in conversation with the program’s co-chairs, Jo Bahn and Candyce Phoenix. The Men of Color Project program focused on the importance of health and wellness and the challenges faced by men of color, featuring Dr. Chanita Hughes Halbert.

More information about the Men of Color Project is available at the recently launched website. In addition, the YLD is looking to partner with women’s bar organizations across Texas to help promote and distribute more information through the No Limits! effort. Please let me know if your organization is interested in more information on either of these initiatives.

The ABA recently approved a decrease in member dues. The five new ABA dues categories, effective in fiscal year 2020 (September 2019), will be set at $75, $150, $250, $350, and $450, depending on years as a lawyer and type of practice area. Law students will still receive free membership. For more information, click here.

With over 150,000 members and 300 affiliated groups, the ABA YLD is the largest young lawyer organization in the world. Individual membership is open to American Bar Association law student and lawyer members under 36 years old or admitted to practice for five years or less. Affiliate membership is open to young lawyer organizations and special interest bars. There are no additional membership dues.