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YLD introduces young lawyers panel

Associate Editor Regular News

YLD introduces young lawyers panel

Associate Editor

The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division has launched a test run of its recently revamped Practicing with Professionalism program, a required CLE course that new Bar members must complete within their first year of admission to the Bar.

The daylong program, which covers ethical and professional issues and features an afternoon judicial panel, now will include a morning panel of young lawyers from around the state. The panel will be moderated by an employee of the Bar’s Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism and will discuss issues of specific interest to new practitioners.

CARL ZAHNER, director of the Bar’s Center for Professionalism, was honored at the Jacksonville Practicing with Professionalism course by members of the Young Lawyers Division for his years of service to the YLD. Pictured from left are YLD Board of Governo “We really wanted to try to tailor this more toward a young lawyer, rather than talking about some of these lofty professionalism or ethics issues where often times, partners — or somebody much more senior to a first-year attorney — are the ones making the decisions,” said PWP chair Kimberly Law.

“We talk about what happens if a partner comes in and asks you to do something that you know is unethical or unprofessional. What do you do in that kind of situation? We talk about the benefits of having a mentor. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you graduated law school?”

The new panel debuted at the November 18 PWP in Jacksonville and consisted of Law, YLD Board of Governors member Michael Orr, from Dawson Orr in Jacksonville, and Diidri Robinson, assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida. In the future, panels will consist of young attorneys with jobs near the PWP course location.

“Our goal is to have young lawyers that represent different segments of the legal profession: big law firms, small firms or solo practitioners, and governmental employees,” said Law.

The first young lawyers’ panel was facilitated by Carl Zahner, director of the Bar’s Center for Professionalism. Zahner, who has been with the Bar since 2004, was honored by members of the YLD with a plaque of appreciation in light of his approaching retirement.

“For the last seven years, Carl Zahner has been a tireless advocate for professionalism,” said YLD President Sean Desmond.

“Anyone who has had the opportunity to work with him will tell you that his dedication to guiding young lawyers down the right path has impacted the profession in ways both immediately tangible and far-reaching.

“Carl has been instrumental in assisting the YLD’s continued effort of producing the PWP seminar, and he will be greatly missed.”

Since 2005, new members have been required to attend PWP and three basic level substantive CLE programs. Although PWP has been retooled a number of times since its inception — past changes have included reducing the seminar from two days to one and requiring government lawyers to take the course — Law’s hope is that the addition of the young lawyers’ panel will provide new attorneys with information they can immediately take into their current positions.

“These were things that you might deal with in five or 10 years of practice, but these weren’t things they were going to deal with next week,” said Law of previous PWP content.

“We wanted to make the seminar really relevant in speaking to the first-year lawyers sitting in that room.”

Other changes to PWP programming include the return of video clips (to replace PowerPoint slides), a presentation of the ONE campaign video, and a lecture by a local pro bono speaker.

“It’s important that young lawyers see that other young lawyers are in the community and doing pro bono work and getting a lot of great experience while doing it,” said Law.

PWP courses will still include the afternoon judicial panel and presentations by the Center for Professionalism and LOMAS. Changes to current PWP programming will be permanently implemented at the next PWP seminar, January 12 in Miami.

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