The Professional Development Conference (“PDC”) returned this year with a virtual bang. First introduced in 2001, the PDC was uniquely tailored to meet the burgeoning professional needs of newly admitted attorneys with a focus on practical tips that encouraged a casual dialogue between participants and speakers. Though variations of the Conference were implemented, including smaller in-person PDCs in cities across Virginia each year, the Program fell dormant for several years. This year, in keeping with the current realities of the legal profession, the YLC was determined to reinvigorate and modernize the PDC.
Planning for this year’s PDC began in late 2020 with an eye toward safety and efficiency amid a still ongoing global pandemic. Co-chairs, Christy Compagnone and Courtney Frazier, hoped to overcome the challenges of virtual fatigue with an exciting slate of speakers and relevant CLE topics. The early months of 2021 were spent determining an appropriate date and theme for the Program. The PDC soon became a timely opportunity to showcase the body of practical knowledge gained over the past year, in addition to offering how-to insights on everyday practice. The importance of offering the PDC as a free CLE opportunity was not lost in the planning, and attendees came away with 5.0 credits.
Past Virginia State Bar president, Doris Causey, kicked the Program off by providing advice on the ever so delicate personal and professional balance. Speakers Jamilah LeCruise and Jessica Dixon then capped off the first half of the day with talks on hanging your own shingle and emergency preparedness. The latter half of the day gave way to two all-star panels. The Honorable Elizabeth Hanes, David Ortiz, and Erin DeHart shared the dos and don’ts of virtual hearings and emphasized the importance of knowing your court and judge. Alicia Roberts Johnson, Annie Larson, Jennifer Parham, Matt Perushek, and Danielle Smith each provided great answers to tough questions, employing the full scope of their varied experience and expertise.
PDC Co-chairs, Christy and Courtney, are thrilled to have played a small role in rejuvenating such a vitally important Young Lawyers Conference CLE opportunity and hope that the more than 180 participants will return for future iterations of the Program. The Program’s success would not have been possible without the support of the Young Lawyers Conference, Mallory Ralston, and Board liaisons, Matt Perushek and Simone Williams. Thank you!
About the Authors
Christy Compagnone and Courtney Frazier are co-chairs for the Professional Development Conference. Christy Compagnone is the 2021 recipient of the R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year Award by the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference.