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2001-2002 Annual Report

The Young Lawyers Section (YLS) is the oldest, largest, and most active section of the State Bar. Founded in 1940 as the Junior Bar Section, the name was changed in 1960 to the Young Lawyers Section. The YLS is the introductory organization to the State Bar for new lawyers, lawyers under the age of 36, or lawyers who have been admitted to practice 5 years or less. Law student and new lawyer outreach has long been a focus of the YLS. Seminars and social events aimed at new lawyers assist the YLS membership in establishing themselves in the community. The history of the YLS demonstrates its long-standing commitment to provide service to the bar and service to the public.

With regard to both member and public service, a positive image of the profession among lawyers and to the public is often reflective of the publicized activities of the YLS. We have been recognized nationally for our excellent programming and publication (Inter Alia). Recently, two programs have been featured at national conferences organized by the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA/YLD). It is important for Michigan to have a voice and vote within the ABA, especially when Michigan attorneys need support for elected offices such as Hon. Dennis Archer as ABA president and my own nomination as ABA/YLD Assembly clerk for 2002-03.

The YLS is an important training ground for future bar leaders. Furthermore, the YLS has been a leader in diversity within the bar. The membership of the Executive Council and the election of its officers reflects gender, racial, and ethnic diversity beginning in 1952 with the election of the first woman chair of the section, which predated the State Bar's election of its first woman president by 34 years, and the election of the first black YLS chair, which predated the State Bar's election of its first black president as well.

I would like to thank my fellow officers, Chair-Elect Kathryn M. Day, Vice-Chair D. Andrew Portinga, and Secretary-Treasurer Angelique Strong Marks for their support and assistance in making this a successful bar year. Ex-officio Joshua A. Lerner has remained involved to provide much-needed guidance and advice to all of us. In addition, I would like to thank the members of this year's Executive Council for their dedication and hard work with all of the YLS programming. The Executive Council included: Angela M. Brown, Philip T. Carroll, V. May Carpenter, Donald P. DeNault, Jr., Monica C. Gregor, Lavonda R. Jackson, Stacey L. King, Ginta D. Kukainis, Alexandra S. Matish, Anthony J. Repaso, Darryl K. Segars, Wilfred E. Steiner, and Law Student Section Liaisons Rolf Lowe and Jennifer M. Woodside-Wojtala. New council members appointed during the year were: Russell D. Brown, John J. Conway, Frank A. Hamidi, Michelle D. Johnson, and Jeffrey E. Kirkey. Of course the organization of the YLS would not run smoothly without the efforts of SBM staffers Karen L. Williams and Joyce Nordeen.

The goals of the 2001-2002 bar year were: (1) increased involvement with local and specialty bar associations, and (2) providing services to members.

Projects which addressed the goal of working with local and specialty bars included December's Statewide Homeless Dinners in Highland Park, Pontiac, and East Lansing, which YLS Secretary-Treasurer Angelique Strong Marks and YLS council member Alexandra Matish organized in Wayne, Oakland, and Ingham counties with the involvement of the Detroit Metro Bar Association (DMBA) Barristers, the Oakland County Bar Association, the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, and the Ingham County Bar Association. The YLS also repeated its winter social events in Royal Oak with DMBA Barristers and in Lansing with the Ingham County Bar Association Young Lawyers, which were organized by YLS council members Monica Gregor and Alexandra Matish. YLS Officers Kathryn Day and Angelique Marks offered "A Tribute to My Brothers" with the Association of Black Judges, Wolverine Bar, D. Augustus Straker Bar, and the DMBA Barristers on February 28, 2002. Honorees included Hon. Eric Clay for the YLS; Hon. Craig Strong for the Association of Black Judges; Hon. Dennis Archer for the Wolverine Bar Association; Straker Bar Association president Michael Lee for the D. Augustus Straker Bar; and David Cade for the DMBA Barristers. YLS council members Stacey King and Angela Brown hosted FEMA for Disaster Legal Services Training with DMBA Barristers on March 12, 2002. In May, the YLS co-sponsored the Metropolitan Future Lawyers Club's Law Day Mock Town Hall and Mock Trials with the Federal Bar Association and the DMBA Barristers.

Projects which addressed the goal of providing services to members included the first program of the year: the e-Filing Pilot Project Presentation held at 2001 SBM Annual Meeting. I enjoyed the opportunity to speak at the Federal Bar Association Seminar for new lawyers on December 5, 2001. The YLS has been involved with the FBA since 1978 and appreciates the forum to introduce the YLS to new lawyers. The YLS was also pleased to continue its partnership with ICLE by participating in the New Lawyer series November 1-2, 2001 and February 7-8, 2002. Council member Lavonda Jackson organized a panel discussion on Energy and the Environment on March 21, 2002. Council members Donald DeNault and V. May Carpenter chaired the Sixth Annual Financial Planning Seminar for Young Lawyers, held in Novi on March 20, 2002. Council member A. Jay Repaso organized a similar financial planning seminar in Kalamazoo on May 15, 2002.

YLS council member Stacey King planned Pro Bono day at the DMBA Detroit Legal Services Clinic on April 4, 2002, in which new council member John J. Conway and I also participated. YLS council member Phil Carroll will again chair the seminar "What to Expect" for new lawyers to ask questions about the inner workings of law jobs from all sizes of firms to public interest, government, and in-house positions. YLS ex-officio Joshua Lerner has been working with new council member Jeff Kirkey to revise and revitalize the YLS website. In addition to serving as the State Bar's Young Lawyer Delegate to the ABA House of Representatives, Mr. Lerner also continues to moderate the YLS listserv, which advertises programs and keep young lawyers in touch with YLS and other events, including the U.S. Supreme Court swearing-in ceremony. The trip was cancelled after the September 11 tragedy but has been scheduled for December 2002.

Other projects completed this bar year included the ongoing Imprint Mentoring program started by YLS Chair-Elect Kathryn Day. It was conducted by her in Southfield and by council members Alexandra Matish and Angela Brown in Lansing this year. I was pleased for the YLS to become involved in Peer Mediation training for elementary school students in Detroit this year, under the direction of council member Wil Steiner. The program will be repeated and expanded to Kalamazoo for next fall. Council members Phil Carroll and Ginta Kukainis arranged mock interviews for law students at Wayne State Law School and University of Detroit Law School in February. Ms. Kukainis also arranged for the YLS to again participate with the Habitat for Humanity building project, which is scheduled for this September. YLS Vice-Chair D. Andrew Portinga is chairing the Sixth Annual Race for Justice, which will again be held during the SBM Annual Meeting on September 27, 2002. The YLS continued its support for MLK Drum Major for Justice scholarship program. Finally, the YLS will host two more social events, in the metro-Detroit area and in the Lansing area, to maintain contact with local young lawyer organizations and our section members over the summer.

We have been pleased to participate in State Bar President Bruce Neckers' efforts to increase cooperation and coordination among the sections, including the revised Bar Leadership Forum and the Section Summit, both held this year, and we look forward to partnering with other sections in the years to come. We appreciate the support we receive from the State Bar leadership, including the Board of Commissioners, without which we could not continue to provide the quality programming that has been associated with the YLS since it began. Thank you to the State Bar and the YLS membership for the opportunity to be involved with the YLS for the past seven years and to serve as its chair this year.

Evanne L. Dietz, Chair

     

 

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