Programs

Access to Justice Week

The YLD's public service project for 2015 will take place during the week leading up to and following Law Day, which is observed on May 1. During this "Access to Justice Week," young lawyers will be asked to plan and participate in legal clinics across the state. YLD President Rachel Moses, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands, has made pro bono service a key component of her platform for the year. She announced the “Statewide Legal Clinic Initiative” shortly after taking office this past summer. Those interested in helping organize a clinic in their area should contact their local district representative, who will be taking the lead in producing these events.

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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 the TBA's disaster relief efforts.

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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. 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 fifth 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's (TBA YLD) Judicial Internship Program matches law students in Tennessee with appellate and trial court judges in the state who have agreed to accept summer clerks. Students will be placed with judges for either six or 12-week assignments. No compensation is available, but we hope the experience gained through the program will provide participants with meaningful and practical benefits. Applications are available each fall for assignments the following summer.

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Law Student Outreach

The YLD, through its Diversity and Membership & Law School Outreach 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, and an internship program to pair law students with the state's trial judges. Learn more on the TBA's law student page.

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Mentoring Program

The TBA, in partnership with the YLD, is offering a mentoring program for lawyers in their first three years of law practice. Applicants must be TBA members and must apply by Jan. 3, 2014. Those participating in the program will commit to a formal mentoring relationship for one year -- beginning in February -- with a requirement that mentors and mentees meet face-to-face at least once a month. Participants will be able to choose one of two tracks: a track that offers up to seven hours of CLE credit or one that will not include CLE. 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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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 2013-2104, the project took place throughout the year. For 2014-2015, the project will be held in May in conjunction with Law Day.

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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 2,000 heroes and their families. If you would like to have a clinic in your community please contact the TBA. In addition, the program is in need of new or used laptops or printers. If you or your firm is interested in making a tax-deductible donation please contact Wills for Heroes Committee Chair Joann Coston Holloway at jholloway@bakerdonelson.com.

See a list of upcoming clinics here


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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 and various presidential initiatives. Learn more about these "retired" programs here

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Tennessee Library Education Project

During the 2013-2014 bar year, the TBA Young Lawyers Division reached out to librarians across the state to make sure they are aware of several free legal resources to help members of the public in need of legal information and advice. These tools include OnlineTNJustice, LIFT and aLEGALz. The goal was to reach at least one library in each Tennessee county. The project met its goal in June 2014!

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