Report from the Chair-Elect 

It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I take the reigns from our current Chair, Mike Stover, at the Annual Meeting, and lead the Section through the 2003-2004 Bar year.  The Section has undergone an amazing resurgence in recent years, with an influx of young lawyers dedicated to the Section's mission, and panoply of programs and events designed to promote the Section's goals of outreach and growth.  I am both thrilled and honored to be able to shepard the Section during this time.  It is my hope to build upon this success with both new and old programs as the year progresses. 

The success the Section has experienced of late, however, would not have been possible without the dedication and perseverance of the Section’s members.  To those who have lent their time and effort to our projects and attended our events, the Section wholeheartedly thanks you.  To those who have not yet had the opportunity to reap the benefits of participation in the Section, I urge you to read on about this coming year’s agenda of events and contact us to get involved. 

The coming Bar year will see many of our ongoing projects continue -- our extremely successful Novemberfest fundraiser, which raised $3,000 this past year for the Southern Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, the Job Skills Workshop for high school seniors, and our monthly membership networking socials, to name a few.  I will also look to initiate new and innovative programs to advance the mission of the Section.  These will include a brown bag lunch series, a Bench/Bar function, and a blood and organ donor drive. 

As in years past, the focus of the Young Lawyers Section for the 2003-2004 Bar year will be three-pronged: service to the community, service to attorney members, and service to law students.  And programs undertaken in the coming Bar year - both new and old - will be operated with the S*M*A*R*T system in mind -- that is, they will be Specific, be Measurable in purpose, Assign responsibility, be Realistic, and provide a Timetable for completion.  This will enable all planned events to be undertaken in a timely and productive manner.  Operated under this framework, responsibility will be spread among the Section's numerous Committees to implement the planned programs; progress will then be monitored for completion by specific members whose role it is to ensure that each event or program takes place as planned. 

The YLS's community-oriented projects -- which deservedly have been singled out for their excellence in the past with both awards and accolades -- are the pride of the Section.  The coming Bar year will see a continuation of the superior work performed by the Disaster Relief Committee in training attorneys to assist victims of Statewide disasters, as well as the unprecedented efforts of the Activities Committee in organizing and hosting the very successful Novemberfest fundraiser at the American Visionary Arts Museum.  Also planned are the Section's programs benefiting high school students, such as coaching the Statewide Mock Trial Competition and hosting a Job Skills Workshop, which will assist seniors with the ins-and-out of drafting a resume, completing applications, and going on interviews.

New on the horizon for the Section's community-based programs will be several “drives” -- a blood and organ donor drive, a school supplies drive, and a book drive.  The book drive will culminate in a reading day at a local library, where Section members will spend time reading to children within their respective communities.  Several of these events will be part of what have been termed “tandem events” -- these are events that will take place on the same day, in different parts of the state.  For example, the book drive effort may be held in Baltimore and Rockville, both to end with reading sessions on the same day, so that as many members of the community as possible will have the opportunity to participate in this program.  Several other planned programs that are susceptible to this scheme will also be implemented in a tandem fashion. 

Our attorney members will be able benefit from the programs continuing and being introduced this coming Bar year.  The Section will continue its membership recruitment efforts, in the form of monthly networking socials to be held in various locations around the State.  Also on tap will be several joint events with local and specialty bars, as well as a Bench/Bar dinner function to celebrate the diversity within the Section and the Bar as whole.  The Section is also planning to host several brown bag lunch series or weekend workshops on specific legal topics or areas in various locations throughout the State. 

             Several of the brown bag lunch series are scheduled to be “primer” seminars held for our law student members on basic topics they are currently studying.  Our law student members will also be able to take advantage of our planned job skills workshop, which, much like that held for high school students, will advise law students on, among other things, drafting resumes and applying for clerkships, summer associate positions, and associate positions. 

With all these projects planned, and with the busy work and personal schedules young lawyers have, some may wonder how to find time to participate in the Section.  To this, I point out that there are varying projects and events the Section hosts, each with the need for assistance, both great and small.  I have highlighted just a few of the programs and events planned for the coming year in hopes that some of you will read about a program in which you are interested and will look to participate in helping either plan or implement it with other young lawyers in the Section.  All I ask is that you get involved, do what you can, and enjoy the benefits that come with being involved with the YLS! 

I look forward to working with all of you and welcome your input as the year progresses!

Suzanne M. Lewis, Esq., an associate at Shapiro, Lifschitz and Schram, P.C., is Chair-Elect of the Young Lawyers Section.

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