Bar News - March 13, 2009
New Lawyers: Ask Not What Your New Lawyers’ Committee Can Do for You, but . . .
By: David Hilts
Are you wondering where I’m going with this? I’ll get there in a minute, but first let me briefly answer the question I just asked you not to ask! For the last 21 years, your New Lawyers’ Committee has been proud to provide or sponsor many valuable services and guidance to the new lawyers of the Bar. In addition to the mainstay resource booklet Traps for the Unwary and the ever-expanding Mentor Program, the committee has sponsored several exciting networking opportunities in recent years.
The committee has continued its commitment to welcoming new lawyers into the Bar through the swearing-in receptions for recent law school graduates, as well as for waive-ins from other jurisdictions. The committee continues to provide opportunities for social gatherings among new lawyers, such as Monarchs or FisherCats games, as well as outings to Margaritas in Manchester. Finally, this past December marked the fourth year for the committee’s highly successful Bench and Bar Meet & Greet after the Practical Skills course, which allows new lawyers a unique opportunity to meet many members of the judiciary.
The ABA and Young Lawyers
The New Lawyers’ Committee has thus been a force for assistance, welcoming and promoting camaraderie among the newer members of the Bar. However, I’m addressing the new lawyers themselves to share my enthusiasm about transforming the population of new lawyers into a potent force for energy, change and professionalism within the Bar. Although the Committee, with the much-appreciated input from Bar leaders, has been considering new initiatives this year for the benefit of new lawyers, I must admit that a large part of my enthusiasm has come from attending the Midyear Meeting of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. At that meeting, I had the extreme pleasure of participating in a "speed mentoring" session.
As you might imagine, it consisted of roughly 30 stations that paired up a newer lawyer with a more experienced lawyer. For four minutes, the pairs introduced themselves and discussed a question posed by the newer lawyer, after which the newer lawyers all moved down one chair and began again with the next more experienced lawyer. It was fantastic! I hope to get this activity both for mentoring purposes and pure networking purposes up and running here in New Hampshire in the near future, so watch for it!
However, the main attraction of the ABA meeting was the Young Lawyers Division Assembly, which is the policy-making body of the Division. I was extremely impressed. Just under 200 delegates from all states considered internal and external policy decisions after lively debate by proponents and opponents, on such wide-reaching national issues as the use of mandatory, binding, pre-dispute arbitration agreements between long-term care facilities and residents or their representatives, as well as federal legislation that would create federal question jurisdiction in child custody cases involving US service-member parents.
What You Can Do
So, what’s up with the title to this article? While the New Lawyers’ Committee has and continues to develop both long-standing and new programs and events for new lawyers, I invite you to not ask what the committee can do for you, but make it happen! Do you wish that there were a mentoring opportunity—either something being used in another state or something new you’ve thought of—that is not currently offered by the committee? Do you wish that there were networking or social opportunities and events with particular content, with greater frequency or in new locations?
The simple answer is: get involved! As chair of the New Lawyers’ Committee, I would love to speak to each and every one of you who wishes to see something different happen that you believe would enhance your practice of law, professional satisfaction or your relationships within the Bar or your community. I am looking forward to hearing from you and would love to work with you in whatever capacity you can manage: as a committee member or providing assistance ad hoc or attending events, functions or gatherings. The committee wants you!
Dave Hilts is an Assistant Attorney General in the Transportation & Construction Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office. He may be reached at (603) 271-3675 or David.Hilts@doj.nh.gov.