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YLD plans a year of service and constituent outreach

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YLD President Iris Elijah

YLD President Iris Elijah highlighted plans for the division’s Affiliate Outreach Conference, enhancements being made to the Practicing with Professionalism program, an upcoming seminar on student loans, and plans to better connect with its affiliate young lawyer groups when she addresses the Board of Governors in July.

Describing her Young Lawyers Division board as hard-working and passionate, President Iris Elijah laid out some of the YLD’s plans for the year when she reported to the Board of Governors July 29 in Palm Beach.

With the YLD Board of Governors arrayed behind her at the annual joint meeting with the senior board, Elijah highlighted plans for the division’s Affiliate Outreach Conference, enhancements being made to the Practicing with Professionalism program, an upcoming seminar on student loans, and plans to better connect with its affiliate young lawyer groups.

A signature YLD event, Elijah said the next Affiliate Outreach Conference (AOC) is set for February 1-5 in Daytona Beach and will include more robust educational sessions and opportunities for engagement with young lawyer leaders.

“If you don’t know about AOC, it’s when we bring together about 200 young lawyers from our various affiliates. . . so we can create more ideas and have a bigger impact on the legal profession,” Elijah said.

The annual two-day conference provides young attorneys and law students with networking and relationship-building opportunities, while also offering awards and grants to qualified local bar affiliates for their community service and pro bono programs.

Through its Practicing with Professionalism and Professionalism committees, led by board member Sarah Morris, the YLD will “continue to take the lead using Engle funds to increase professionalism programing,” Elijah said.

The YLD, along with the Bar’s Center for Professionalism were awarded grants from the fund to develop and maintain long-term professionalism and ethics programming for Florida law schools, as well as young Florida lawyers. Elijah said the division has already filmed several videos on professionalism and ethics that will be released soon and is in the beginning stages of remaking its Practicing with Professionalism videos to refresh the content.

All new Bar members are required to take the PWP course within a year after being admitted to the Bar. The course provides instruction on ethical and professional issues and fulfills a Basic Skills Requirement.

Elijah said the YLD’s Webinar Committee, under the leadership of Marianne Curtis and Giovanni Giarratana, will host its first webinar of the new Bar year August 17, “Money Talks,” focusing on student loan repayment.

“This is really important because student loan payments have been on pause since March 2020 and they are set to resume on August 31,” Elijah said. “A lot of people are going to have to adjust to making those payments again.”

Other YLD financial wellness webinars in the works focus on retirement preparation and trust accounting.

Elijah also said the division’s Health and Wellness Committee, led by Ben Thomas and Kayla Richmond, is organizing a “$20 or 20 Push Up Challenge.”

“And we are doing this because we really do want to create a culture of physical health and wellness all year round, not just during our Health and Wellness Olympics that are held in May,” she said.

Elijah also noted YLD board member Maria McCorkle recently “managed to speak to every single chair of every single [Bar] section and/or division to figure out concrete ideas on how the YLD can work better with the sections.” McCorkle leads the YLD’s Connect Committee.

On September 7, Elijah said the YLD will hold another Council of Affiliates meeting, led by Charise Morgan-Joseph and Rebekah Taylor, to talk about how the YLD can work better with the sections and “create more programming that connects our affiliates and how The Florida Bar and the YLD can serve our constituents.”

The YLD will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Robert Orseck Moot Court Competition this year, which will be led by Rachel Butler.

“We are hoping to have an entire reception and dinner, including working with the Criminal Law Section because the problem this year is a criminal law problem,” Elijah said.

Elijah also noted the division is accepting nominations for the YLD Pro Bono Award, which recognizes the public service or legal aid performed by a young lawyer who provides outstanding contributions to those in need of legal services. The deadline for nominations is September 9 at 5 p.m.

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