By Megan E. Davis
The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division is gearing up for its annual Affiliate Outreach Conference, set for January 18-19 at The Shores Resort in Daytona Beach.
“It’s an opportunity to meet young leaders from all across the state of Florida,” said Matthew Welch, co-chair of the event.
“There’s also an opportunity to apply for and take home grant money to implement local community service projects.”
The theme of this year’s conference is “Racing to Serve,” a reference to both Daytona’s racing culture and the event’s focus on supporting service to the community and local young lawyers divisions and sections throughout the state, Welch said.
“Matt and I are excited to bring people out to Daytona,” said Katherine Hurst Miller, co-chair of the event. “The conference will feature some very cool locations, like our beachfront hotel, our Friday dinner inside the track at the Daytona International Speedway, and our Saturday afternoon boat trip down the Halifax River. Amid the hustle and bustle of the practice of law, it’s nice sometimes to enjoy the Florida scenery, and we hope we are giving young lawyers a chance to do that.”
The conference is open to members of recognized young lawyers affiliates in Florida and designated Law Student Division representatives.
The YLD plans to award more than $40,000 to local young lawyer organizations in its annual competition for project grant funding from The Florida Bar Foundation.
The competition challenges local young lawyers to design projects to benefit their members or their communities, Welch said.
Typical awards range between $500 and $1,500, though projects have received as much as $5,000 in the past.
Affiliates are required to submit proposals to Welch via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 4. Applications received by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, December 14 may receive additional points during the scoring process.
Applicants must then make five-minute presentations on their proposed projects at the conference, where the division will award funding.
“It is so impressive to hear about the service projects young lawyers are doing all across the state, and affiliate representatives exchange great ideas sitting together in a room discussing their projects,” Miller said. “We have devoted a significant part of our budget to fund grants, so we hope that every YLD affiliate will submit a grant proposal and come to the conference to present their proposals.”
Welch said he’s received about 10 applications and is expecting to receive between 30 and 40 more.
“There are some very exciting projects,” he said.
At the event, the division plans to present annual affiliate awards, including Outstanding Young Lawyer Affiliate to a local division for excellence in public service, member service, and creative use of resources.
Awards will also be given for the most outstanding public service and member service projects completed by local divisions in the previous year.
Letters of nomination must be emailed to YLD Awards Chair Adam Myron at AMyron@richmangreer.com no later than 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 4.
The conference, sponsored by LexisNexis, is set to begin with a panel discussion by in-house counsel about getting and keeping corporate clients.
“I find that young lawyers, from transactional associates all the way to assistant state attorneys, are very curious about what in-house attorneys do and how they work with outside counsel,” Miller said.
“This should be an informative event, and one that makes it worthwhile for young lawyers to take off work Friday afternoon to be at the conference.”
The conference is also set to include a Saturday afternoon ride aboard the 117-foot Ginn Sundancer Yacht, following an awards luncheon.
“This way, we can continue conversations about service projects and other affiliate activities from the morning into the afternoon,” Miller said. “I really want the affiliate leaders, law student board members, and YLD board members from across the state to get to know each other a little better. It is an amazing group of people to have come together in one place, and we want to take advantage of the opportunity to network.”
Two members of each local affiliate are each eligible to receive a $400 reimbursement for attendance at the conference.
Reservations at The Shores Resort should be made by Friday, December 21. Conference attendees must also register by Friday, January 4.
For more information about the conference, including instructions for registering, booking accommodations, and applying for grants, visit www.flayld.org/yldevents/aoc.