By Megan E. Davis
Just after her swearing in as president of the Young Lawyers Division, Melanie Griffin spoke enthusiastically about the “world of opportunities” open to young lawyers.
“During recent years, there are those who have tried to convince us otherwise, frequently focusing only on negative aspects of our profession,” she said.
However, she said, “Attorneys have the rare skill set needed to embrace a lifelong challenge of learning, give a voice to those who do not have one, and effect the change that we wish to see in our local and global communities.”
In addition to addressing challenges, Griffin discussed the work the division hopes to do to empower young lawyers to “recognize the special skills they possess to promote and advocate for justice.”
To that end, she discussed several initiatives planned by the YLD for the coming year.
The division’s technology committee plans to host a series of lunchtime seminars focused on incorporating today’s rapidly evolving technology into the legal practice.
The committee is also launching a social media campaign with the goal of connecting with young lawyers.
“Throughout the month of July, we will donate a dollar to The Florida Bar Foundation for every person who likes our Facebook page or begins following us on Twitter,” Griffin said. “So if you love the YLD, like us on social media.”
Griffin also highlighted several upcoming efforts of the YLD’s Law Student Division, including facilitating a robust mentoring program for law students.
Additionally, the Law Student Division is planning several events to help educate law students. As an example, Griffin said the division is coordinating with the Center for Professionalism on work-life balance panels.
“We also plan to expand our professionalism efforts through new professionalism grants and increased coordination with professionalism panels and committees,” she said.
In the coming year, Griffin said the division’s Local Bar Affiliates Committee looks forward to providing additional grant opportunities to affiliate young lawyer divisions and sections throughout the state, while forging stronger bonds in order to support affiliates in their work.
Finally, Griffin highlighted upcoming efforts by the division’s Transition to Practice Committee to expand its Mentoring with the Masters program.
“This year, we will at least double the number of Mentoring with the Masters featured on our website to provide Florida’s young lawyers with the additional education they need to succeed in their practices,” she said.
Marc D. Chapman, president of the law firm Dean Mead, where Griffin has served as an associate in the commercial litigation department for seven years, said she is “the most hardworking person I’ve ever met,” and the YLD is in capable hands as she becomes president.
“I know Melanie is looking forward to her leadership role as president of The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division,” he said.
“This position is a continuation of her dedication to the community. Working with Melanie for several years, I have witnessed her handle situations with enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. She has the perfect demeanor and skills to lead the Young Lawyers Division.”