It is an honor and privilege to serve as President of the Young Lawyers Conference (YLC) for bar year 2019–2020. The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division awarded the YLC the 2019 Comprehensive Award of Achievement for the best overall programs, as well as the 2019 Award of Achievement for our online newsletter, Docket Call. We also received the 2019 Award of Achievement for diversity for the Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Pre-Law Institute, which is a joint initiative with the VSB’s Diversity Conference.
This year we will continue to offer award-winning programs and will focus on bench-bar relations, instilling respect for the rule of law among aspiring attorneys, improving access to legal services (pro bono work), and providing mentorship opportunities. The YLC Board of Governors is already hard at work to serve the profession and the public.
The YLC offers many opportunities to engage with judges and is hosting its annual Bench-Bar Dinner in Celebration of Female and Minority Judges on October 29, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Downtown Richmond Hotel. The YLC is honoring over 40 judges who have recently been appointed, elected, or elevated. The Honorable Roderick Young, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, will be the keynote speaker. Register to attend the Bench-Bar Dinner here.
The YLC organizes many programs about the rule of law for middle school and high school students throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The largest Rule of Law Day Program occurs annually in Richmond, and the YLC helps organize this program along with other organizations such as the VSB’s Diversity Conference. Middle school and high school students learn about the rule of law from representatives of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s executive, legislative, and judicial branch and experience a mock oral argument in the Supreme Court of Virginia. The Rule of Law Day Program in Richmond will be held on March 26–27, 2020, and the YLC needs volunteers for this Program.
The YLC encourages all young lawyers to participate in pro bono work, and the Virginia State Bar offers many opportunities to get involved. The YLC organizes the Wills for Heroes Program to provide simple wills, advance directives, and powers of attorney for first responders. Join the YLC as well as the Virginia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division in providing estate planning documents for the Virginia State Police and Capitol Police in Richmond on October 28–29, 2019. The YLC is organizing this particular program in Richmond in collaboration with the Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. You may find more information about the Wills for Heroes Program here.
Finally, the YLC would be delighted to help you find a mentor. The YLC in collaboration with the Senior Lawyers Conference is launching the Mentorship Network to connect young lawyers to more experienced lawyers. Having a mentor helps you develop professionally and personally. Please fill out the Mentorship Survey here, if you would like a mentor.
Our success as an organization depends on you. We are always in need of volunteers and welcome new ideas. If you would like to get involved, please fill out the volunteer form here. We look forward to another great bar year.
Farnaz F. Thompson
YLC President 2019–2020