By: H. Web Melton III, 13th Judicial Circuit Board of Governor Representative
On January 16, 2016, during the Florida Young Lawyer Division’s Affiliate Outreach Conference, the Florida Bar Board of Governors Young Lawyers Division named the Service Project of the Year Award. There were many excellent submissions, but one project stood out—the Clearwater Bar Association Young Lawyer Division’s “Afternoon at the Courthouse Bootcamp.”
The Bootcamp targets new attorneys recently admitted to the Florida Bar and law students, who have recently taken the Florida Bar exam. It begins with a presentation on e-filing and a basic introduction to the Pinellas County Clerk’s office. Following that is an overview and demonstration of the available courtroom technology and procedures. Then, attendees are taken on a tour of the county courthouse and given an overview of county and small claims procedures—two arenas in which new attorneys are more than likely to find themselves. The Bootcamp concludes with two more presentations—a presentation by solo practitioners on starting and operating a law firm and a judicial roundtable covering the topics most likely to be faced by new attorneys. Attendees receive CLE credit with the Florida Bar for completing the Bootcamp.
The 2015 Bootcamp had over 2 dozen attendees, comprised of mostly new Florida Bar members. Following the Bootcamp was a networking happy hour where many existing YLD members were able to meet and talk with those who had just completed the Bootcamp.
The Bootcamp not only brought attorneys together but also addressed two of the most commonly cited problems facing the legal profession—a lack of “practice ready” attorneys and a gap in affordable legal services available to a significant portion of the population.
Congratulations to the Clearwater Bar Association Young Lawyer Division.