Recalling my introduction to the BCBA’s Young Lawyers Section back in the spring of 2016 summons memories of eagerness and fear – as is often associated with a young introvert in a sea of strangers. During a joint BCBA/Legal Aid networking happy hour, while chatting with childhood friend and future YLS President Brent Reitman, I was approached by a gregarious character with a disheveled tie and the type of charm that could convince you to subscribe to a monthly mailing list of fly-fishing tapes on VHS. This of course was none other than YLS President Todd Baker. After exchanging several minutes of unique pleasantries, Todd began to tell me about a group of young attorneys who met regularly to plot and scheme new ways to make Broward County a better place for people to live and for lawyers to practice. I immediately thought, “How can I become a member of this secret society?” (Spoiler alert, this group was YLS.) Fortunately for me, YLS was exceedingly welcoming to new attorneys, and I immediately began participating on a regular basis. Later in 2016, I was honored to be elected to the YLS Board of Directors and thus began my incredible journey of professional growth, personal achievement, and a lot of laughs – all while raising money for local charities and bringing together the legal community.
As I write my first article as President of YLS, I am haunted by the friendly specters of YLS presidents-past. These men and women have shaped the person that I am today in more ways than they could imagine. Each of the past presidents that I served under have taken YLS to new heights – raising more money for charities through our annual golf tournament, developing new programming for young lawyers, and ensuring that newly-minted attorneys have a voice. Their actions have solidified our YLS as an integral part of the community and a beacon for voluntary bars and affiliates across the state. However, throughout my recent ruminations one question remains – how am I supposed to live up to someone like Sarah Sandler or Lindsay Massillon? Seriously, if you have the answer, please reach out to me as soon as possible.
It is not breaking news to say that this past fifteen-months has been tough. In Mid-March of 2020 our entire world came to a screeching halt – many of our offices locked their doors, the courts shut down, and dry cleaning services launched GoFundMe pages. However, amidst Tiger King and Michael Jordan docs, the BCBA was there holding state-wide programming for attorneys across Florida. Our YLS followed suit and began hosting trainings and wellness meetings via Zoom to make sure our membership had a sounding board to release their frustrations, discuss difficulties, or find a much needed laugh. A big shout out to our recent YLS Past President Omar Giraldo for guiding us through these tough times!
Moving forward, YLS has a big job ahead in planning events and other programming for the rest of this year and into 2022. We want your input! If you are a young lawyer, I implore you to join a committee. Expect to see an email in the coming weeks regarding committee selections. Do not ignore this email as it is your best opportunity to get involved early. If you are a former young lawyer or current partner at a law firm, we want to hear from you as well. What can YLS do for the young attorneys at your firm? I want to make sure that this year YLS is doing everything possible to enrich the lives of our members and community alike. Thank you.