Young Lawyers Conference
Carson H. Sullivan, president
At the Young Lawyers Conference’s June 2011 annual membership meeting, the Virginia State Bar Council approved an amendment to the YLC Bylaws. Under the amended bylaws, a YLC board member may continue to represent the conference on the VSB Executive Committee and council if he or she has reached age thirty-seven — the cap for membership in the conference. The YLC Board has lost several very strong board members over the years because they had a birthday. With the change, if a board member is eligible when elected, that Board members remains eligible for all terms, even if he turns 37.
The YLC sponsored the Showcase continuing legal education program at this year’s annual meeting. The program, “Judiciary Squares,” was based on the Hollywood Squares game show. Nine judges from Virginia, including Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, were the “squares,” and retired circuit judge Stanley P. Klein moderated. Our VSB and YLC “contestants” faced off against each other to fill their squares by determining whether the judges were answering tricky evidence questions correctly. The program was fun and informative.
The YLC also continued its tradition of sponsoring the annual 5K Run in the Sun on Friday and the David T. Stitt Memorial Volleyball Tournament on Saturday. The YLC awarded the R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year Award to Joanna L. Faust and outstanding service awards to Patricia C. Amberly, Jennifer A. Haberlin, Erin W. Hapgood, Martha E. Hulley, Lara K. Jacobs, Patricia M. McCay, Antoinette N. Morgan, Laurie L. Proactor, Amanda A. Reid, Andrew R. Tank, Lakai C. Vinson, Monica A. Walker, Brian T. Wesley, and Melissa A. York.
Emergency Legal Services
Following devastating April tornadoes in three regions of Virginia, the emergency legal services committee jumped into action to train volunteers to provide pro bono services legal services for those affected. More than one hundred attorneys answered the call for volunteers and attended the training CLE. Tornado victims were referred to the volunteer attorneys through the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service.
Mental Health Law Committee
During the 2010-11 bar year, the Mental Health Law Committee put on two free three-hour (including one hour of ethics) live CLE programs on mental health law issues. They took place in Richmond on October 6, 2010, and at George Mason University School of Law on May 27, 2011. Almost one hundred attorneys attended the most recent program.
Minority Prelaw Conferences
The YLC’s Prelaw Conferences expose college students, especially minority students, to many aspects of a legal career, including the law school admission process. The panel discussions with the bench, bar, and law students provide valuable information to students considering a career in the law. The YLC successfully put on three Prelaw Conferences during the 2010-11 bar year, and we received positive feedback.
The Southern Virginia Conference took place at Washington and Lee University on September 25, 2010; the Tidewater Conference took place at William and Mary on October 30, 2010; and the Northern Virginia Conference took place February 25–26 at the George Mason University School of Law.
Women and Minorities in the Profession Commission
On May 18, 2011, the Woman and Minorities in the Profession Commission presented an informal teleconference to address work-life balance issues for female attorneys. The teleconference was led by M. Marcy Jones, a family law attorney and executive trainer who helps attorneys achieve a work-life balance. The teleconference was informative and well received. Approximately thirty women participated.
Domestic Violence Safety Project
The Domestic Violence Safety Project, in partnership with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, provided two-hour CLE programs in October 2010 and April 2011. Attendees learned about the federal remedies available to undocumented immigrant victims of domestic or sexual violence. The CLE included a review of the elements of certain federal visa petitions available to eligible undocumented immigrant victims of domestic or sexual violence and forms that are essential to these petitions. Attorneys who completed the program will have the opportunity to take on pro bono clients through a pilot clinic in the Richmond area.
Professional Development Conference
The Professional Development Conference was held on October 1, 2010, in Richmond. The theme was “What Every Attorney Needs to Know: Six Core Tips and Traits of Successful Young Lawyers.” Attendees received five hours of CLE credit, including one hour of ethics. The event was a success, the speakers were top-notch, and we had almost one hundred attendees.
The YLC hosted our annual Leadership Conference on October 2, 2010 in Richmond. The Leadership Conference brings together all YLC program chairs and circuit representatives to give them the information and tools necessary for them to lead. We had excellent attendance this year, and we thank VSB President Irving M. Blank and Executive Director Karen A. Gould for joining us. Our program chairs met with their board liaisons to develop plans for the upcoming year and give circuit representatives ideas for putting on programs in their localities.
Legal Handbook for Cancer Survivors
We continue to receive and respond to requests for copies of the Legal Handbook for Cancer Survivors, produced the previous year in partnership with LINC — the Legal Information Network for Cancer. The handbook is posted at http://www.vsb.org/docs/conferences/young-lawyers/cancersurvivorshandbook.pdf. Committee members have made several presentations and handed out copies of the handbook at Life with Cancer events, most recently in April 2011.
No Bills Nights
No Bills Nights provide free, confidential telephone consultations with lawyers. No Bills Nights have taken place recently in Richmond and Roanoke.
Students Day at the Capitol
The numbers from this year’s Students Day at the Capitol program were our highest ever. In October 2010, four hundred middle school students from six schools were given tours of the Capitol and the Supreme Court of Virginia. They ate lunch in Capitol Square, and ten attorney volunteers gave presentations on the legal profession and how the practice of law fits into the governmental branches the students were visiting.
Admission & Orientation Ceremony and First Day in Practice Seminar
Twice a year, the YLC sponsors, organizes, and stages a ceremony for all newly licensed attorneys, during which they are given an opportunity to appear before the Supreme Court of Virginia to be admitted to practice in the courts of Virginia. The fall ceremony was held on November 3, 2010. In connection with the fall ceremony, the YLC cosponsored the First Day in Practice Seminar with the VSB General Practice Section. As a CLE program specifically designed for new lawyers, the First Day in Practice Seminar offers practice tips on various types of law, as well as law office management and courtroom expectations. The summer ceremony took place on June 6, 2011, and the next fall ceremony was tentatively scheduled for November 1, 2011.
Wills for Heroes
This program was successfully implemented in Arlington and Fauquier Counties, where first responders and their spouses received estate planning documents. Planning has also been under way this year to bring the program back to Virginia Beach.
Children and the Law Commission
The Children and the Law Commission developed a video for foster children to explain their rights and responsibilities. The script for the video has been approved by the VSB Publications Committee, and the commission has finished editing the video. The commission received a grant of $1,050 from the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division for the production of the video. When the video is finalized, the committee will begin conducting education sessions for foster children.
Oliver Hill-Samuel Tucker Institute
The Oliver Hill-Samuel Tucker Prelaw Institute was held July 18-July 23, 2010, at the University of Richmond and was again a huge success. The feedback we received from the students and their parents has been extremely positive. Fourth U.S. Circuit Judge Roger L. Gregory and several other local judges spoke to the students and invited them into their courtrooms. The week culminated in a mock-trial exercise, with many local attorneys volunteering to mentor the students.
The Immigrant Outreach Committee held a CLE program on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions on July 8, 2011 at the George Mason University School of Law. The three-hour program was presented by Professor Alberto M. Benitez of the George Washington University Law School; Rachael Patterson of the George Washington University Law School Immigration Clinic; and Alfred L. “Rob” Robertson Jr. of Robertson Law Office PLLC.
The YLC published four editions of our Docket Call newsletter this year. The fall edition, which focused on membership involvement and volunteer recruitment, was delivered in print to all of our members. The summer, winter, and spring editions were sent electronically. We continue to send quarterly emails to all of our members in between Docket Call publications to announce upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.
The YLC’s Facebook page, “Young Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar,” continues to gain members and is becoming an excellent way to advertise our programs and events.