Iris Elijah2022-23 PRESIDENT
Serving as President of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division (YLD) is the highest honor of my career. With over 23,000 members under the age of 36 or within the first five (5) years of practice, the YLD is the largest division or section of The Florida Bar. Florida’s young lawyers are the best of what the legal profession has to offer! We are boldly changing not only the legal profession, but society – running for elected positions, managing our own law firms, leading our families, dominating non-legal occupations, rising within the ranks of our government offices, or even creating disruptive technology. We are also dealing with obstacles no other generation has ever had to encounter – crippling student loans, stagnant wages, social turmoil, and COVID to name a few. Yet, young lawyers are still resiliently excelling. Although we are in tough times for young lawyers, tough times do not last always.
Our mission this year is to educate, advocate, connect, and serve young lawyers. I remember how uncertain I felt as a brand new lawyer, a first generation lawyer, a government lawyer and I am committed to ensuring the next generation of YLD members is affirmed and supported in all their endeavors. You can expect the same dynamic responsiveness to the needs of young lawyers that YLD has become known for. This includes:
- a new financial wellness webinar series on topics such as student loan management (including Public Service Loan Forgiveness), retirement preparation, and trust accounting;
- an Affiliate Outreach Conference (AOC) that includes more robust educational sessions and opportunities for engagement with our Affiliate and young lawyer leaders;
- Continuation of the Council of Affiliates with the new inclusion of Affiliate led programming at meetings;
- A reimagined survey of young lawyers to gauge the impact of COVID and changes in the practice of law on the wellbeing of young lawyers since our 2015 survey;
- Closer collaboration with sections of The Florida Bar to ensure young lawyers are aware of leadership, fellowship, and mentoring opportunities;
- Use of #YLDisMe to publicize a manual assisting organizations and offices in making greater strides in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of diverse talent; and
- A new pro bono month #StigmaFreeYLD competition to motivate more physical wellness and pro bono service.