Programs

Access to Justice Week

The YLD's public service project for 2016 will again take place during the week leading up to and following Law Day, which is observed on May 1. The project will build on the experience of last year's first "Access to Justice Week." Young lawyers again will be asked to plan and participate in legal clinics across the state. The project is a presidential initiative of YLD President Rachel Moses, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands, who has made pro bono service a key component of her platform for the year. Young lawyers are encouraged to volunteer for clinics in their area.

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CASA Volunteer of the Year

Each year, the YLD selects a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer from nominations made by Tennessee's local CASA agencies. The award recognizes a volunteer who goes the extra mile in his or her work with children in the state. The winner is honored at a dinner in January and presented with a cash award. The volunteer's local agency also receives a cash award.

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Disaster Legal Assistance

The YLD recruits lawyers willing to volunteer their time to help Tennesseans affected by natural disasters. It also provides resources, including CLE programs, to help volunteers handle such cases. The division published the first-ever Tennessee Disaster Assistance Manual to guide attorneys through common issues that arise following a disaster. When the state faces a disaster, the YLD, in cooperation with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also recruits lawyers to staff a hotline for victims and handle cases pro bono. Learn more about disaster legal assistance and other relief efforts or get resources for disaster recovery of a law office.

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Diversity in the Profession

The YLD, through its Diversity Committee, is dedicated to increasing racial, ethnic, geographic, demographic and practice area diversity within the division's leadership and membership. The committee is responsible for undertaking programs that encourage people from all walks of life to consider a career in the law, encouraging collaboration between the YLD and specialty bars in Tennessee and conducting a bi-annual diversity survey of the YLD membership. The committee also coordinates the division's Diversity Leadership Institute, a six-month leadership program for diverse law students. Learn more about its activities in the YLD's Diversity Plan.

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Diversity Leadership Institute

The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division's Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI) is a six-month leadership and mentoring program for Tennessee law students in their second, third or fourth years of study. Now in its sixth year, the program is designed to:

  • Develop skills to succeed as a law student and attorney;
  • Empower students to contribute more to the legal community;
  • Match students to mentors in a diverse variety of practice areas; and
  • Build relationships among students of diverse backgrounds

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High School Mock Trial

The Tennessee High School Mock Trial Competition provides high school students an opportunity to learn about the law, court procedures, and legal system. Each year the YLD develops a fictional case in which students play the roles of attorneys and witnesses. The case and competition rules are distributed in November. In February, local competitions take place in 13 districts across the state. The winners of those contests advance to the state competition, which is held each March in Nashville. YLD members organize, host and score the state competition. Learn more about mock trial.

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Judicial Internship Program

The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (TBA YLD) hosted a Judicial Internship Program for five years. The program matched law students in Tennessee with appellate and trial court judges in the state who agreed to accept summer clerks. Students were placed with judges for either six or 12-week assignments. No compensation was available, but the experience gained through the program provided participants with meaningful and practical benefits. The YLD Board voted in July 2015 to sunset this program given the increase in paying position for law students in the state. Judges who would like assistance in identifying law student interns may still contact the TBA for leads.

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Law Student Outreach

The YLD, through its Law School Outreach, Membership and Diversity Committees, exposes law students in Tennessee to various career fields and practice areas. Through networking events, free seminars and free section membership, students can interact with lawyers practicing in a wide range of settings and areas of law. The YLD also hosts a leadership program for minority law students. Learn more on the TBA's law student page.

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Mentoring Program

The TBA, in partnership with the YLD, offers a mentoring program for lawyers in their first three years of law practice. Applicants must be TBA members. Those participating in the program commit to a formal mentoring relationship for one year with a requirement that mentors and mentees meet face-to-face at least once a month. Participants will choose from a variety of curriculum topics, materials for which will be available on the TBA website. In addition to seeking mentees, the TBA is recruiting attorneys with at least eight years of legal practice experience to serve as mentors.

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Solo in a Box Toolkit

With more Tennessee attorneys – especially new lawyers – deciding to “hang out” their own shingle and begin a solo or small firm practice, the TBA has developed the Solo in a Box Toolkit. The toolkit offers advice on everything from how to choose office space to managing client files. It also offers information, resources, check lists and forms that can be used to establish and manage a law practice. An initiative of past TBA President Cindy Wyrick, the toolkit was developed and produced by the TBA’s Mentoring Committee in 2014 under the guidance of Franklin attorney David Veile.

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Statewide Service Project

The YLD plans and executes a major volunteer effort among young lawyers in Tennessee. In the past, district representatives identified individual projects that benefitted individuals, neighborhoods or non-profit organizations. For the last several years, a statewide project has been identified by the YLD president and implemented in all districts. In 2014, volunteers educated Tennessee's librarians about the free legal services available to patrons. In 2015, young lawyers hosted and staffed free legal clinics and educational events in 14 locations across the state.

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Wills for Heroes

The YLD hosts Wills for Heroes clinics around the state to provide free wills, powers of attorney and advance directives for Tennessee's firefighters and law enforcement officers. The Wills for Heroes program started shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks as a way to give back to first responders in need of estate planning services. Since its inception in Tennessee, Wills for Heroes has served nearly 3,000 heroes and their families. See a list of upcoming clinics.

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Past Projects & Programs

Past YLD programs have included the CASA Speaks for Polly coloring book, the Law Day Art & Essay Contest, support for the iCivics program, the Judicial Internship Program for law students and various presidential initiatives, including the 2014 Tennessee Library Education Project and the 2015 Access to Justice Week Legal Clinics. Learn more about these "retired" programs here

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