Committees

Affiliate Outreach Conference (AOC)

The Affiliate Outreach Conference (AOC) is an annual two day meeting of the leaders of the sections, divisions  and committees of young lawyer voluntary bar organizations  throughout the state , as well as of the Law Student Division.  The purpose of the conference is to share information about public service programs, membership programs and various projects, establish a liaison among the various young lawyer groups throughout the state, as well as a liaison between the Law Student Division board members and the leaders of our young lawyer groups.  The conference is an opportunity for attendees to exchange ideas, present projects and compete for monetary grant awards. The conference usually occurs in early spring of each year. Every young lawyer affiliate and Law Student Division board member that attends the conference is eligible to receive a sizable stipend to cover the costs of their lodging and transportation.

Annual Convention

The Annual Convention Committee makes the necessary arrangements for the Division’s events at The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention.  These events typically include the YLD Fifty Year Members’ Luncheon, which honors all members who are celebrating their 50th year of practice in law, and the YLD Past President’s Dinner, which thanks those Presidents of the past and welcomes in a new year of success. The Florida Bar YLD is a major sponsor of the Bar’s Annual Convention.

Awards / Grants & Scholarships

AWARDS

The Awards Committee annually bestows nine awards on deserving members of the public and the Bar. The purpose is to honor those individuals and organizations that serve as the benchmark for the rest of the profession. The Awards Committee solicits and screens the applications and makes nominations to the YLD Board. In addition, the Board annually distributes five grants as well as scholarships to Florida law students based on need, academic performance, and other factors. Many scholarship recipients have become successful practitioners.

YLD Pro Bono Award The YLD Pro Bono Award recognizes the public service or legal aid performed by a young lawyer (under the age of 36 or one who has not practiced for more than five years in any jurisdiction) who provides outstanding contributions to those in need of legal services. A nominee must be admitted to practice in Florida.

The term pro bono is derived from the phrase pro bono publico meaning “for the good of the public.” The purpose of this award is to encourage more Florida young lawyers to contribute their time and expertise in providing legal services to people in their community who cannot otherwise afford those services. In some instances, this will include legal services to charitable organizations that serve the poor. The emphasis of this award is on legal service to the poor. Completed applications are due by Friday, August 30, 2019.

Affiliate of the Year Award Completed applications are due by Friday, December 6, 2019.

  • Florida Young Lawyers Large Affiliate of the Year Award recognizes a young lawyer Affiliate in the State of Florida with a large number of members that has demonstrated excellence in public service, member service, and creative use of resources.
  • Florida Young Lawyers Small Affiliate of the Year Award recognizes Affiliates whose work is outstanding, even with fewer members or resources. This award recognizes a young lawyer Affiliate in the State of Florida with a smaller number of members that has shown excellence in public service, member service, and creative use of resources.

Affiliate Member Public Service Project of the Year Award This award recognizes a public service project that an Affiliate has put on during the 2019 calendar year. The project must serve the public and community, enhance the relationship of young lawyers to the public and the community, and be innovative. In addition to direct service, social events that are primarily fundraisers for a project may be considered for this award. Affiliates of all sizes are encouraged to apply. Completed applications are due by Friday, December 6, 2019.

Affiliate Members Service Project of the Year Award: This award recognizes a member service project that an Affiliate has put on during the 2019 calendar year. The project should serve the Affiliate’s young lawyers, provide for membership enrichment, and be innovative. Social and educational events that enhance the lives of young lawyers may be considered for this award. Completed applications are due by Friday, December 6, 2019.

YLD Outstanding Woman Lawyer of Achievement Award This award recognizes and celebrates the achievements of a woman lawyer or judge who excels in her field, possesses an excellent reputation for integrity, exhibits dedication to her community and her profession through Bar-related or similar activities, and who demonstrates a commitment to the success and advancement of young women lawyers. Completed applications are due by Friday, April 3, 2019.

The Lynn Futch Most Productive Young Lawyer  The Lynn Futch Most Productive Young Lawyer Award is given to a Florida young lawyer who is not a member of the YLD Board of Governors, who has worked most diligently in the past year in Bar activities or law-related public activities, and who has an excellent reputation for legal abilities and integrity. Completed applications are due by Friday, April 3, 2020.

Michael K. Reese Quality of Life Award The Michael K. Reese Quality of Life Award recognizes a person or entity that, through humanitarian respect, advances the balance and fulfillment in lawyers’ lives by redefining current work habits and schedules to provide more flexibility and a more meaningful existence. Quality of Life shall be defined as finding equilibrium between work and family and community involvement to maximize good health and minimize stress in one’s career. Completed applications are due by Friday, April 3, 2019.

Diversity Award The Diversity Award recognizes a person or entity that respects and promotes diversity in the profession. The Award recognizes those who encourage more gender,
racial, ethnic, religious, and other minority participation in law schools and the practice of law – in all areas of the law including private, corporate, and public or government practices. Individuals, law firms, and government offices are among past award recipients. Completed applications are due by Friday, April 3, 2019.

Outstanding Jurist Award The Outstanding Jurist Award is given to a judge with an excellent reputation for sound judicial decisions and an unblemished record of integrity as a lawyer and judge, is generally recognized by Bar members as highly qualified, is active in Bar-related activities open to the judiciary, and demonstrates concern for and willingness to assist young lawyers and respects their abilities. Completed applications are due by Friday, April 3, 2020.

GRANTS & SCHOLARSHIPS

Community Service/ “Holiday All Year Long” Grant – completed applications are due by Friday, November 1, 2019.

Afternoon at the Courthouse/Professionalism Roundtable Grant – completed applications are due by Friday, November 1, 2019.

Diversity/Women’s Initiative Grant – completed applications are due by Friday, February 14, 2019.

Health & Wellness Grant – completed applications are due by Friday, February 14, 2019.

Law Student Scholarships – completed applications are due by Friday, March 27, 2019.

Budget

The Budget Committee prepares and oversees the budget for the Division and monitors all financial aspects of the Division. With a budget of approx. $600,000 annually, the allocation of resources is essential to the proper working  of the Division.

Bylaws

The Bylaws Committee continually reviews the bylaws to insure they are current, relevant, and reflective of the Division and is responsible for providing suggested interpretation of bylaw application and drafting amendments for presentment to the YLD Board.

Commission on Women

The mission of the YLD Commission on Women is to assess the current status of women in the legal profession, to identify quality of life issues that impact women, and to break down barriers faced by women in their legal careers.

Communications

The communications committee serves as the primary liaison between the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, its board of governors, and its constituents. The committee is comprised of several members of the board of governors who work closely with the YLD’s Executive Board, Public Information Coordinators, Creative Directors, and Program Administrator Tom Miller to keep constituents and affiliates informed of upcoming projects, events, and CLE’s. The committee is also responsible promoting the YLD’s mission and initiatives as well as making sure all of the YLD’s resources are made available to young lawyers and affiliates throughout the State. The communications committee routinely publishes bi-monthly e-newsletters and serves as a main resource for attorneys wanting to learn more about such events or initiatives as the affiliate outreach conference, annual convention, technology roadshows, health and wellness, and this year’s government lawyers symposium. Chaired by attorneys Anisha Patel and Dane Heptner, the communications committee would like to invite anyone interested in learning more about the YLD or our work throughout the State to contact us using the information on the YLD website.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

The Continuing Legal Education Committee organizes and administers the basic legal education courses sponsored by the Division. Traditionally, the Division has sponsored approximately six-seven live presentations of basic course topics. Some of the courses vary from year to year. The courses are offered live in Miami and Tampa.

The Committee selects a steering chair for each course, who is then responsible for recruiting the faculty for the course and for the course presentation. The basic format and outline are already developed and are generally followed in the presentation of the courses. The purpose of each course is to provide information necessary for new lawyers to gain the basic knowledge and understanding for the particular area of law presented.  Additionally, YLD Board members are required to serve as moderators when needed.

On April 21, 1988, the Florida Supreme Court in The Florida Bar Re: Amendment to Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, Rule 6-12.1 (Basic Skills Course Requirement, 524 So.2d 634 (Fla. 1988), mandated that all attorneys admitted to The Florida Bar after October 1, 1988 attend the Practicing with Professionalism seminar and delegated the implementation of the seminar to The Florida Bar YLD.  As of January 1, 1998, the Supreme Court of Florida approved a change to the rule which stated that in addition to attending Practicing With Professionalism, new lawyers must attend two “basic” level substantive continuing legal education courses presented by the YLD.  Since then,  the Florida Supreme Court changed the requirement to three “basic” level substantive continuing legal education courses presented by the YLD.

On February 4, 2010, the Florida Supreme Court approved amendments to the Basic Skills Course Requirement (BSCR), which will affect all newly admitted attorneys in Florida.  Under the amended rules, newly admitted attorneys will now be permitted to satisfy the BSCR by watching the Basic CLEs online, self-reporting their credit and retaining a copy of their certificate of completion for auditing purposes. The Bar’s 24/7 online CLE provider will then cross reference the self reported credits with the certificate of completion roster.

Executive

The President, with the approval and consent of the YLD Board, may appoint an Executive Committee consisting of the President, President-Elect, and at least five and no more than 10 other members of the YLD Board to provide insight and advice to the President on issues facing the Division. The Executive Committee by two-thirds vote may exercise the powers of the YLD Board during any period when the YLD Board is not meeting, subject to such limitations as may be imposed by the YLD Board.

Government Lawyers

In 2019, President Santo DiGangi formed the Government Lawyers Committee to address the issues facing young lawyers in the public sector.  At any time more than twenty-five percent of young lawyers are employed by the government.  While some of the issues facing government lawyers are well known: student debt, low pay, high case load, high turnover, we intend to spend the first year of this Committee learning about the hidden issues.  We are asking these question of the young lawyers as well as the individuals that run government offices with young lawyers.  The YLD hopes to accomplish this feat through a large Summit with the individuals running government offices and then smaller regional summits with the young lawyers working in government offices.  Once we identify the issues, this Committee will focus on ways to improve the working environment for public sector attorneys.

Inclusion & Equality

The Inclusion and Equality Committee promotes inclusion and equality in the legal profession and the Young Lawyers Division by facilitating and sponsoring events and programs that promote inclusion and equality for lawyers and law students and ensuring that all YLD programming reflects the diversity of the profession and non-legal community.  The committee aims to make the YLD, the Florida Bar, and leadership opportunities in the legal profession accessible to all attorneys, including those who are racially, ethnically and culturally diverse, women, members of the LGBTQ community and persons with disabilities.

Law School Exploratory Committee

The Law School Exploratory Committee serves as a liaison to Florida’s eleven law schools and disseminates information to law students about various YLD and Florida Bar programs on issues including professionalism, mentoring, admission to the Bar and transition into the practice of law. The Law School Exploratory Committee is developing a new program aimed at replacing the former Law Student Division with a more efficient means for law schools and law students to connect and work with the Florida Bar YLD.  The new program is anticipated to be unveiled at the Affiliate Outreach Conference in January 2019.

Legislative Affairs

The Legislative Affairs Committee works with The Florida Bar to review legislative actions that may impact the Florida Bar or those that will directly impact young lawyers. The Committee also considers proposals for legislative or political action by The Florida Bar, confirms whether such action is within the scope of the YLD Board’s authority, and recommends whether a position should be formally adopted or recognized by the YLD Board. The Committee’s activities may include the reviewing and drafting of legislative or political concepts which may or should be the subject of legislation, appropriate lobbying efforts to support recognized positions of The Florida Bar and increased efforts to build relationships with all YLD Board Members and various legislators and governmental authorities. The Committee also serves to educate young lawyers about significant legislative or political activities.

Local Bar Affiliates

The Local Bar Affiliate Committee improves communication among local young lawyer groups and the YLD BOG, and acts as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of information to young lawyer affiliate organizations throughout the state. This Committee stays in close contact with young lawyer affiliate organizations throughout the state and is available to assist with formation of any local affiliate.  This committee is also responsible for working with the American Bar Association Florida Bar District Representative to communicate information to Florida young lawyer local bar affiliate organizations regarding available ABA benefits and programs and opportunities to exchange information with other young lawyer organizations around the United States.

Long Range Planning

The Long Range Planning Committee, chaired by the Divisions President-Elect, is responsible for determining issues and goals which face young lawyers throughout the state and to ensure that the activities of the Division are consistent with the goals of The Florida Bar.

Moot Court/Law Related Education

The Moot Court/Law Related Education Committee organizes the annul Robert Orseck Moot Court Competition.   All eleven accredited Florida law schools participate in this program, which provides law students with an opportunity to sharpen their oral advocacy skills prior to commencing their practice.  The competition culminates in oral arguments held during the Annual Convention of The Florida Bar in June, with the final arguments being made before the Florida Supreme Court, en banc.   All the materials and rules are posted on the YLD’s website for distribution to the participants. Members of the YLD Board of Governors grade the briefs.   The initial rounds are argued in front of volunteer lawyers as well as county and circuit judges from across the state.  This committee also acts as a liaison for Florida Law Related Education initiatives.

Online Resources

The Online Resources committee has the important task of creating, updating, analyzing, and managing the YLD’s online presence and content.  For example, this committee is responsible for ensuring that the YLD’s state-of-the-art websites such as the Legal Accelerator and Startmyfloridalawfirm.com are functional, relevant, and most importantly a valuable resource to our members.

Practicing With Professionalism (PWP)

The Practicing with Professionalism Committee is responsible for the overall coordination and implementation of the PWP Seminars throughout the year. The PWP Seminar is offered exclusively online for more than 3,000 new attorneys each year. One of the primary functions of this Committee is to review and revise the format of the seminars to ensure that the highest quality of material is being presented to the attendees, in compliance with the directives of the Florida Supreme Court. In addition, the Committee is also responsible for monitoring feedback from the attendees and ensuring that the Seminars remain responsive to the audience. Furthermore, this Committee is charged with providing insight and long-term visions for making sure that the PWP Seminars continue to remain financially profitable and educationally beneficial to the attendees.  Finally, this Committee is tasked with assisting the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism in hosting live professionalism panels across the state at various Florida law schools. YLD Board members are required to serve as moderators or panelists when needed.

ProBono & Community Service

The Pro Bono and Community Service Committee strives to encourage young lawyers to provide meaningful pro bono services and community service in their respective communities. The committee achieves this by (1) recognizing and highlighting young lawyers who provide pro bono services and community service, (2) working directly with public interest organizations to amplify their pro bono programs, (3) serving as the clearinghouse for community service project templates created and implemented by voluntary Bar Associations (4) identifying creative and alternative ways to encourage Young Lawyers to provide pro bono and community service including doing the same as a Committee and Board at our in-person meetings.

Professionalism

The Professionalism Committee works as a liaison for the YLD Board with Professionalism organizations such as the American Inns of Court and the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism.   It is responsible for promoting professionalism efforts throughout the state with a focus on young lawyers.

Public Relations

The Public Relations Committee prepares and oversees official messages and announcements of the YLD Board of Governors to the young lawyers of The Florida Bar and to various media outlets.  The Committee is responsible for drafting, editing, and publishing the Circuit Reports, which report the most recent activities of the YLD Board of Governors to our constituent young lawyers in each judicial circuit.  The Committee also drafts, edits, and submits press releases and similar formal announcements to media outlets concerning the many contributions of the Board of Governors and of individuals Governors.

Quality of Life

The Quality of Life Committee explores means for enhancing and promoting the quality of life for young lawyers, and creates projects to promote opportunities for young lawyers to enhance their quality of life.

Sponsorship

The Sponsorship Committee is responsible for developing sponsorship opportunities for various vendors who provide services to the legal profession to become involved with the projects and programs put on each year by the YLD.   In exchange for providing financial assistance to enable the YLD to provide even more effective programs and services, the vendors will be able to reach countless young lawyers and law students throughout the State of Florida and beyond with regard to their products and how they benefit the profession.  Ranging from securing financial support for our large events such as the Affiliate Outreach Conference to providing additional assistance to continue developing programs directed at young lawyers, law students and promoting diversity, the Sponsorship Committee’s mission and purpose is to create win-win relationships that benefit not only the YLD but the entire profession.

Transition to Practice (T2P)

The Transition to Practice Committee provides resources for lawyers during their transition into a successful practice.

It promotes our current resources:

– Start My Florida Law Firm https://startmyfloridalawfirm.com

– Legal Accelerator https://www.legalaccelerator.org

– Legal Fuel https://www.legalfuel.com

– Find an Affiliate http://flayldaffiliates.com

– Pro Bono Resources https://flayld.org/get-involved/pro-bono-and-community-service

– Health and Wellness Resources https://flayld.org/health-wellness/

– Florida Courts App https://a2j.flcourts.org/resources

It implements new programs such as Financial Literacy Month, where we promote financial awareness while providing financial tips and tools for young lawyers. It provides practical advice to young lawyers on legal writing, opening/closing arguments, direct/cross examinations, and jury selection through the creation of interactive webinars and Legal Accelerator videos. It assists young lawyers in finding their ideal practice by discussing what options are available and how to create a new path. It helps address bias and harassment in the legal profession through informational programming on best practices and situational awareness.

Technology

The Technology Committee is responsible for: 1) educating young lawyers about the technological issues that affect the legal profession; 2) highlighting technology tools to assist young lawyers in their practice; and, 3) keeping young lawyers up-to-date with the latest news and events relevant to their profession.  The Committee also assists with implementing technology initiatives of The Florida Bar.