On the second weekend in January, the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Board of Governors held its annual Affiliate Outreach Conference in St. Augustine, Florida. This is a time where many of the voluntary bar association affiliates throughout the state gather in order to collaborate and discuss upcoming events and issues and to reflect on the previous year.
During this conference the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Board of Governors recognizes the achievements of the various affiliate organizations and their programming for the year.
In the past, the Broward County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section has had tremendous success in being recognized at the Affiliate Outreach Conference as the Large Affiliate of the Year. The Broward County YLS has had the tremendous fortune of winning the distinction of Large Affiliate of the Year for the past three (3) consecutive years.
This year, after our most ambitious year yet, we applied for the award yet again.
Unfortunately, our organization was the victim of its own success as the YLD sentiment was that if Broward won for an unprecedented fourth year in a row it would discourage other bar associations from participating in the competition. Instead, the award was given to another county’s young lawyers section that, while praiseworthy, has a calendar that contains approximately half of the amount of events as Broward’s YLS.
Although the achievement of winning a title four consecutive years would be a feat accomplished by very few (in the 1960’s the Boston Celtics lead by Bill Russell won more than 4 consecutive NBA titles, the UCLA Bruins did the same under John Wooden, the Houston Comets won 4 consecutive WNBA titles from 1997-2000, and in the NHL the New York Islanders achieved this feat, and the Montreal Canadiens actually had two separate runs of 4 consecutive titles); I have tried to find the positive in this year’s loss despite having our best year yet.
In the realm of sports analogies – I have always argued that the greatest athlete of all time is the legendary Jim Brown. Not only is Jim Brown one of the greatest NFL running backs of all time (one of the few NFL players of all time to average more than 5 yards per carry) – but, often overlooked is that he was probably the greatest lacrosse player of all time. He is a member of the lacrosse hall of fame, a two-time All American Midfielder, a co-leader of the national scoring championship, and a collegiate national champion.
However, the feat of Jim Brown that I find most impressive is that Jim Brown was so much better than everyone else at lacrosse during his reign of dominance at Syracuse that an official rules change was made to the game to make it easier for other players to try and separate him from the ball. In other words, he was so great that he singularly inspired a change in the rules to make the game of lacrosse more competitive for others.
So, coming full circle, although winning a fourth consecutive award for the YLS would have put us in the sports pantheons of only a few sports dynasties – losing out on this award in an effort to make the competition “more competitive” for others is a historical sports feat held by only a single legend. In that end, I think we can all feel extra accomplished even in defeat.