YLD Summit on Young Government Lawyers abuzz with ideas
More than 100 public sector attorneys gathered for the Young Lawyers Division government lawyer summit November 1.
The Orlando event focused on finding ways to encourage and recognize young government lawyers for their Bar and civic work, as well as their public service. The seminar was aimed at supervisory attorneys and follow-up events this spring will address rank-and-file government lawyers.
“The summit is a fact-finding mission; we want to hear from the heads of offices about what is working, what is not working, what challenges are being faced, and why their attorneys are involved or are not involved in the Bar and community. We know what some of the concerns are from the young lawyer side, but want to hear about the concerns from the management side,” YLD President Santo DiGangi said before the event.
Afterwards, he said, “It went fantastic. We had over 100 people attend.
“The turnout was so strong that it showed the Bar that government lawyers care and they want to be involved in the process.”
“We talked about the importance of involvement in The Florida Bar, the local bars, and other community activities,” said YLD Board of Governors member Celia Thacker Dorn, co-chair for the event. “We discussed how government lawyers can be recognized for their work, since pay raises are not always available. We talked about health and wellness and. . . the perception that government lawyers are lazy and not as smart as private sector attorneys, which is not true at all.
“A lot of the solutions are about getting involved, making sure attorneys in private practice know what government lawyers work on, and discussing the complex issues that government lawyers are involved in day-to-day.”
The next step is a series of meetings around the state for government lawyers. Dates have not been set, but DiGangi said he expects them to be around March and April.
“We had round table discussions during the lunch time and we’re working on consolidating the information we had from our panels,” Dorn said. “We’re going to take that and use it for our regional meetings around the state. A lot of topics will be on office morale, retention issues, pay issues, student loans. . . and what are some of the solutions offices have put in place that have been found helpful.”
“It shows young lawyers that there are ways they can get involved and their offices will support them,” DiGangi said. “Issues affecting government lawyers need to be addressed. They constitute almost a fifth of our membership.”
DiGangi has made addressing government lawyer issues one of the top priorities for his year leading the YLD.