Young Lawyers Conference

Ken Alger, chair

During the 2013-2014 Virginia State Bar Year, members of the Young Lawyers Conference were busy coordinating a variety of programs in service to both the bar and the public.

REPORTS FROM OUR COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS:

OLIVER HILL / SAMUEL TUCKER INSTITUTE
The Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference in conjunction with the Millennium Diversity Initiative and the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law has designed a program, the Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Law Institute, to facilitate diversity in the legal profession. The program enables at-risk, minority students to attend a weeklong comprehensive seminar that encourages them to become members of the legal profession. OHI/STI occurred on July 8-12, 2013, and was a very successful event. Approximately 30 students attended and they were thoroughly involved during the entire event.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
This committee implements a one-day CLE program addressing practice tips and professionalism issues specific to young lawyers. The PDC was held in October 2013.  One hundred and fifteen people attended. We held the event in Washington D.C., with a simulcast event in Northern Virginia and the Tidewater regions.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERIES
We continued to produce videos for this web-based series. Seasons one, two, and three are out and on You Tube.  There are 25 videos currently available. These videos include topics such as writing for clarity, legal marketing, and personal finance. 

MINORITY PRE-LAW CONFERENCES
This committee plans a seminar that strives to expose college students, especially minority students, to many aspects of a legal career. We held two of these events this bar year. The first conference was held onOctober 12, 2013 at Regent University. The second conference was held on April 12, 2014 at George Mason University School of Law.

STUDENTS DAY AT THE CAPITOL/ RULE OF LAW DAY
This year the project underwent a transition.  This project has been renamed the Rule of Law project.  The YLC is currently partnering with the Diversity Conference to produce this event in the upcomingbar year.

ADMISSION & ORIENTATION CEREMONIES
This committee is responsible for organizing and staging a special ceremony sponsored twice a year by the YLC at which time all newly-licensed attorneys are given the opportunity to appear before the Supreme Court of Virginia to be admitted to practice in the courts of Virginia.  The YLC helped with both Virginia State Bar orientation ceremonies this year. The YLC’s autumn Admission & Orientation Ceremony with the Supreme Court of Virginia was held on December 4, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. in Richmond.  The YLC’s Spring Admission & Orientation Ceremony with the Supreme Court of Virginia was held on June 3, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. in Richmond. 

FIRST DAY IN PRACTICE AND BEYOND SEMINAR
In conjunction with the General Practice Section, this committee plans and implements the First Day in Practice Seminar for new lawyers traditionally held the day after the Fall Admission and Orientation Ceremony. The most recent First Day in Practice Seminar was held on December 3, 2013.  The event was well attended.

IMMIGRANT OUTREACH
This committee designs projects, including the Immigrant Outreach-Education Regarding Deportation Ramifications of Criminal Convictions program, to raise awareness about the legal issues facing Virginia’s immigrant population. The committee put on a CLE entitled “Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions” on April 2014 at George Mason University Law School.

WILLS FOR HEROES
This committee, in conjunction with VBA/YLD, developed and implemented a program in the commonwealth to provide simple wills, advanced medical directives, and powers of attorney to first responders on a pro bono basis. The event was held in Lynchburg in October 2013 and served over 100 first responders.  An additional program was held in Charlottesville on March 6 to 8, 2014.

ANNUAL MEETING
This committee plans a CLE or other special interest program to take place during the bar’s Annual Meeting held each June in Virginia Beach. The YLC collaborated with VWA and various other state bar groups to present a CLE on human trafficking.  As always, the YLC hosted a 5K foot race, the volleyball tournament, a reception, and presented the Young Lawyer Award.  

COMMUNITY LAW WEEK / LAW DAY
This year’s theme, “Why Every Vote Matters: American Democracy and the Rule of Law,” was selected to fall on the eve of the respective 50th anniversaries of the federal Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. The YLC hosted several programs across the state to emphasize the importance of voting in our representative democracy, emphasizing the role that the rule of law plays in our democratic system.  On April 28, 2014, the YLC partnered with the Danville Bar Association to present “Campaigns and Elections 101” to four, second-grade classes at Park Avenue Elementary School in Danville. On May 1, 2014, the YLC sponsored companion Law Day programs in two high schools in the 15th Judicial Circuit.  On May 7, 2014, the YLC partnered with the University of Virginia Center for Politics to present a program titled “Why Every Vote Matters.”

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SAFETY PROJECT
The committee is responsible for developing programs to raise awareness about legal issues related to domestic violence. The YLC offered a CLE on December 18, 2013 in Martinsville. The topic was on Protective Order laws and immigration remedies. The YLC updated the domestic violence safety brochures and developed distribution strategies for an English and Spanish version.

DOCKET CALL
The editor and editorial board of the Docket Call are responsible for publishing issues of the YLC’s newsletter each year.

CHILDREN AND THE LAW COMMISSION
We sought out new venues for the cyberbullying presentation (Martinsville).  We created a pamphlet addressing Domestic Violence and/or Cyber-bullying/Sexting (in English and Spanish) to distribute throughout Virginia.  The goal is to have high school “peer” assistance in creating the pamphlets so that they are more teen-friendly. An example of this could include a teen sharing a short story about “life after sexting” to let kids know that they can get through a traumatizing sexting experience. Additionally, the YLC assembled materials to help young attorneys engage the community on this issue. This project entitled “Shutdown Cyperbullying” assembled various items of discussion for lawyers, students, and members of the community to open a dialogue about this problem.

WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN THE PROFESSION COMMISSION
A new chair was appointed and resumed the teleconference series are in the works.  On March 5, 2014, an informative conference call entitled “Exceptional Customer Service” was held. This event featured Lesley Marlin, past President of the YLC and current counsel with General Dynamics Information Technology. On April 15, 2014 a teleconference entitled “Balancing Law Practice and Family with Public Service” was held. Members were able to join past President of the YLC and Delegate Jennifer McClellan as she provided advice on balancing the many demands of your career with the other aspects of your life.

BENCH/BAR CELEBRATION DINNER
The event was held on February 10, 2014 at the Bull and Bear Club in Richmond to honor ten newly-elevated female and minority judges. The event was a huge success with over 150 attendees.   

EMERGENCY LEGAL SERVICES
This committee, in conjunction with VBA/YLD, has developed and implemented a statewide Emergency Legal Services Response Plan, which includes training volunteers and working with other bar organizations to establish communication plans in the event of natural disasters and other declared emergencies. The committee is updating the list of attorney volunteers. They are working on a CLE program to help train young attorneys how to respond in ELS situations.

NO BILLS NIGHT
The Conference, through this committee, conducts No Bills Nights to provide a forum for the public throughout Virginia to raise legal issues and to seek information regarding their legal rights, without cost. Committee chair created and distributed a guidebook to all of the local chairs. This book contains a comprehensive roadmap for implementing a No Bills Night program. The committee is attempting to organize a statewide event.

PRO BONO COMMISSION
The liaison attended the VSB Access to Legal Services Committee Meeting on October 24, 2013 regarding collaborative project ideas.  The committee worked with Karl Doss, Director, Access to Legal Services, about how we can improve pro bono services in Virginia. The Board discussed a multi-point platform to address this issue. A new chair was appointed and began to implement some of these ideas.

BOARD MATCH
Board Match is a program that the YLC is developing to provide an opportunity for local non-profit organizations to solicit new board members and board participation from area lawyers. The website is almost ready to go online, but the YLC is still running trial runs with test agencies. 

MENTAL HEALTH LAW COMMITTEE
This committee puts on a free, semi-annual CLE in different locations around Virginia. The CLE explains notable developments in Virginia mental health law as they apply to aspects of all practice areas. The last CLE in Charlottesville was a huge success.  The Committee is in the beginning stages of another CLE.

CANCER-SURVIVOR HANDBOOK
Recognizing the need for a resource addressing the legal issues faced by cancer survivors in the commonwealth, the YLC developed a Handbook covering topics such as insurance, employment, advance medical directives, and wills. The YLC distributed the remaining editions of this book. They have been contacted to possible release an updated edition in the upcoming year.

CIRCUIT  REPRESENTATIVES
In 1983, the YLC established a statewide network of Circuit Representatives appointed from each of the state’s 31 judicial circuits. This network is designed to meet three objectives: (1) to provide a liaison between practicing young lawyers on the local level and the Young Lawyers Conference Board of Governors; (2) to promote statewide communication and participation among young lawyers in the projects and activities of the YLC; and (3) to increase the quantity and quality of public service legal programming throughout the Commonwealth. The primary responsibility of each Circuit Representative is to organize and carry out an annual project for young lawyers in his or her judicial circuit. These projects have ranged from CLE programs, to community service programs, to YLC membership projects.  All thirty-one circuit representatives are busy planning projects for their respective circuits.  

WEBSITE/ FACEBOOK PAGE/ SOCIAL MEDIA
The Young Lawyers Conference has actively increased its social media presence this year.  We improved our webpage, Facebook page, and created a presence on other social media outlets such as Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +.   All of our events and announcements are now featured on these selected pages.

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION YOUNG LAWYERS DIVISION
The YLC liaisons have been heavily involved in ABA YLD activities. YLC Board Member, Maureen Danker, attended the annual meeting in San Francisco, California on August 8, 2013. Danker, along with Chris Fortier, also attended the ABA YLD meeting in Pittsburgh in May 2014.

Updated: Sep 22, 2014