Young Lawyers Conference

Jennifer L. McClellan, president

Membership: Approximately 9,000

Budget (Fiscal 2009): Approximately $96,350.00

Officers for Fiscal 2009-10:
Lesley A. Pate, president
Carson H. Sullivan, president-elect
Christy E. Kiely, secretary

Activities in fiscal 2008-09: Throughout the 2008-09 bar year, the Young Lawyers Conference completed the following projects, among others:
Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Prelaw Institute: The YLC again sponsored the Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Prelaw Institute at the University of Richmond, which has now served more than one hundred minority high school students through a summer camp that introduces them to the road to a legal career.  The success of this program is evident in the record number of eighty-three applicants who applied for twenty-four slots for the July 2009 Institute.

Minority Prelaw Conference: Answering VSB President Manuel A. “Manny” Capsalis’s challenge to the bar as a whole to increase diversity in the profession, the YLC expanded its award-winning Minority Prelaw Conference, which encourages minority undergraduates to consider the legal profession as a career, from two to three programs.  The Southwest Virginia conference was held at Washington and Lee University on September 20, 2008.  A record 107 students registered, and approximately sixty attended. The Northern Virginia conference was held on February 21, 2009, at George Mason University.  More 170 students attended from all over Virginia and also from Pennsylvania and New York. This conference drew the highest attendance yet for Northern Virginia.  A new Eastern Virginia Conference was held on April 4, 2009, at the College of William and Mary.  Turnout was low at this conference. The board believes moving this conference to the fall will increase attendance.

Choose Law:  The YLC implemented Choose Law: A Profession for All — an American Bar Association pipeline program to encourage high school students of color to become lawyers. The program uses a video, a written guide, a website, attorney volunteers, and educators to teach students the importance of the legal profession and how the law affects all aspects of their lives.  These materials were posted on the YLC’s website.

Unlock Your Potential: The YLC implemented a member service project about the various career paths available to young lawyers. This year’s focus was to assist young lawyers in evaluating whether solo practice is the path. A resource guide was posted on the YLC website to assist them in exploring the various facets of forming and developing a law practice. The committee also cosponsored with the General Practice Section a seminar at the VSB Annual Meeting on starting your own practice.

Immigrant outreach committee: This committee conducted a continuing legal education program with the Fairfax Bar Association on April 24, 2009, about the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.  Approximately forty-two persons attended the program, which was recorded and will be available on the Fairfax Bar’s web page.  This program has become so successful that the ABA has developed a similar seminar.

Long-range plan: The YLC developed a new long-range plan, which was submitted to the VSB president in May 2009.

Annual meeting attorney general debate: At the annual meeting, the YLC hosted a debate between the candidates for Virginia attorney general: Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II and Stephen C. Shannon. The debate was moderated by Bob Gibson, executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.  More than one hundred people attended.

Emergency legal services:  The YLC was fortunate not to have to activate the ELS committee in response to a natural disaster.  However, the committee conducted a training CLE on May 6, 2009, for about twenty participants.

Wills for Heroes:  This YLC program has now written more than one thousand wills for first responders across the commonwealth.  This year, the program was expanded to the City of Portsmouth and the counties of Hanover and Henrico.  As a testament to this program’s success, we are assisting the Mississippi Young Lawyers to implement a similar program in their state.

Updated: May 17, 2011