Bar News - July 16, 2014
New Lawyer Column: New Lawyers: Boston, Here We Come!
By: Jennifer Parent
People will swarm to Boston this summer to see the 2013 World Series Champion Red Sox play in Fenway Park, to watch sailboats glide along the Charles River, or to enjoy some of that world-famous lobster, steamers, and chowder (or as Bostonians like to say, lobstah, steam-ahs, and chow-dah). But there is another reason to be in Boston this summer - the American Bar Associationís Annual Meeting.
From Aug. 7-10, lawyers from around the country and internationally will attend the ABAís Annual Meeting in Boston. Also meeting at this time is the ABAís Young Lawyers Division (YLD), the largest young lawyer organization in the world. Composed of a network of 300-plus young lawyer affiliates, the YLD offers an array of opportunities for newer practitioners.
The New Lawyers Committee of the NH Bar Association is an affiliate of the ABA/YLD, and New Hampshire is represented by a district representative for both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I held that position (some years ago). Today, Quinn Kelley of Boyle, Shaughnessy & Campo serves as our district representative, finishing his two-year term at this yearís annual meeting.
The YLD is open to those who have been admitted to practice in their first bar within the past five years or who are 36 years old or younger. All are welcome to attend. So, why should you block off your calendars and head to Boston in August?
The practice of law is all about establishing and cultivating relationships. Some call this building connections with others. Others call it networking. Whatever your preference, as a newer lawyer, you should welcome all marketing and networking opportunities. Whether you are a solo practitioner or in a small or large firm, you should take any chance that comes around to develop networks and connections with others. Making it a part of your daily routine will help you sustain a successful practice.
At the YLD, you will meet other young lawyers who are going through the same experiences you are. Sharing stories and discussing the practice of law with your contemporaries from around the country opens up new worlds and ideas for improving your practice. You will find that it is not all that different being a young lawyer in New Hampshire than it is in Texas, Florida or California.
Many of the people I met as a young YLD lawyer are now judges, partners at firms, or serve as in-house counsel. It is a wonderful referral network as I have both referred cases out and received cases from these connections over the years.
The Annual Meeting offers an exciting line-up of continuing legal education programs. With many top practitioners presenting on panels, the YLD focuses on young lawyers. Often there are practice tips or specific guidance for new lawyers. At the ABA level, the sections hold a myriad of programming specific to subject areas.
When attending YLD events, your voice is heard, and you get to see other young lawyers in action. On a national platform, young lawyers help create policy and showcase their skills. On Friday and Saturday, the YLD Assembly, the principal policy-making body of the division, meets to debate resolutions that, if passed, go to the ABA House of Delegates for consideration. That process involves young lawyers - your contemporaries - debating the pros and cons of certain resolutions. It is always lively, and the quality of debate from these young lawyers is impressive.
Through a host of receptions with other sections and divisions, the YLD offers an array of social engagments. An excellent ice-breaker for first time attendees is the Thursday night welcome reception. A free event, the reception in Boston will be at the Cheers Faneuil Hall at 8:30 p.m. On Friday night, the YLD holds its Annual Fellows Gala at 6:30 p.m.
The ABA does not get closer to us than Boston. Do not miss out on this opportunity! The new format provides a number of registration options ranging from $0 to $595 for ABA members. All of the above can be at your fingertips at www.americanbar.org.
Jennifer Parent is a director and vice chair of the McLane Law Firmís litigation department, chair of the employment practice, and a member of the management committee. She is a past president of NHBA, chair of NHBA New Lawyers Committee, and ABA/YLD district representative.