Young Lawyers wraps up first year as a division, prepares for 2007-08

Issue July/August 2007 By Bill Archambeault

The Young Lawyers Division is preparing to build on the momentum it established in its first year since making the transition from a section.

Chair-elect David J. Murphy said the group is more energized than it has been in the past.

"It’s been an amazing transition," he said. "We started off with a couple of people as a section, and now we have the consistent participation of 20-30 people. We’re much more organized and have a much stronger voice on issues that have come through the MBA."

With the new structure in place, Murphy said he wants to increase the influence the Young Lawyers Division has for the 2007-08 term. Regional elections for delegates should strengthen the division, he said.

"We’d like to become more creative in the next year, not only on issues that other attorneys are facing, but on issues that young attorneys are facing," Murphy said.

During the group’s last meeting of the 2006-07 year, YLD Chair Sanjay K. Sankaran thanked the board of directors for their work during the transition.

"It takes a team," Sankaran said. "Thanks for making this a more active board this year."

Murphy added, "It’s been a productive year. It went by quickly, but we got a lot done."

Young Lawyers reverted back to being a division of the Massachusetts Bar Association after the Sept. 20 House of Delegates meeting approved the change, including organizing under a governing structure that mirrors HOD, with a board comprising four officers, 12 directors-at-large and a director from each county (except Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket, which constitute one seat).

In addition to reorganizing and recruiting members, the group:

· Undertook a public service project by helping revise: "On Your Own: A Young Person’s Guide to a Society of Laws," which was last published in 1996 as a guide for high school seniors. YLD members helped edit and rewrite the 50-page booklet’s chapters, which include subjects like "renting an apartment or house," "money matters," "automobiles" and "your rights and the criminal law." "That’s something that was necessary, that needed to be updated and made relevant for high school graduates," Sankaran said.

· Produced two issues of Young Lawyers Journal, a bimonthly electronic newsletter for division members.

· Helped sponsor the Dial-A-Lawyer program in Springfield in May, contributing volunteers to answer basic legal questions from the public over the telephone.

Sankaran said that much of this year was spent selecting officers and delegates, recruiting members, making committee assignments and generally getting organized and setting priorities.

"We’re slowly getting to the point where we’re generating some good ideas," Sankaran said, noting that YLD has been figuring out where it wants to devote its resources. While YLD plans to keep contributing to continuing education courses, section council members have discussed developing and participating in more programs that serve the public, as well as finding better ways to serve new lawyers and make their voice more prominent.

"It’s good for us to be a visible part of continuing education programs as well as public service programs," he said.