From TYLC to TBASCUS in the Blink of an Eye - Articles

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Posted by: Gail Ashworth on Aug 27, 2009

Journal Issue Date: Sep 2009

Journal Name: September 2009 - Vol. 45, No. 9

The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (TBA YLD) has just garnered an astounding number of first-place awards in the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD) Annual Awards of Achievement (AOA) competition for their outstanding work in Tennessee. At the ABA Annual Meeting held in Chicago in August, the TBA YLD placed first in the Service to the Public category for their 4ALL Campaign for Equal Justice participation in the statewide public service day held on April 4, 2009, first in the Service to the Bar category for their successful Mentoring program, and first place in the Comprehensive category for their depth of outstanding projects throughout the bar year. The first place award in the Comprehensive category includes national recognition for their Wills for Heroes program, 2008 Voter Awareness Project, Law Day Art and Essay Competition, Law School Outreach, Disaster Relief, CASA Partnership, High School Mock Trial Competition and the highly regarded TBA YLD Publications and CLE programs. There is a long list of Tennessee lawyers from all across our state who participated in these amazing projects since there are 2,300 members of the TBA YLD. YLD Past-President Michelle Sellers of Jackson, President David Changas of Nashville and President-Elect Tasha Blakney of Knoxville are just some of the leaders who made this accomplishment possible. Their board members, committee chairs and members contributed countless hours of service while energizing many lawyer volunteers throughout the year. The TBA YLD is continuing a stellar history of service to the bar and to the public while maintaining a national profile for issues we all care deeply about.

I was a member of the leadership of the predecessor group to the TBA YLD " the Tennessee Young Lawyers Conference (TYLC) " and I still remember applying for those awards in prior decades. The application process is grueling and competition for the annual national awards is fierce. I take great pride in the YLD's work. As president of the TBA, I am privileged to hear from lawyers outside Tennessee who know about and appreciate the great work of Tennessee young lawyers. These national awards shine a bright light on our YLD and make it possible for other states to start similar projects as young lawyers across the country share these success stories.

I am now a member of the senior lawyers group in Tennessee "TBASCUS " which is the bar acronym for Tennessee Bar Association Seasoned Counselors Up to Something. This stellar group comprised of former young lawyers, whether or not they were active members of the TBA YLC or the YLD, is also an inspiration to me. Marcy Eason of Chattanooga and Larry Wilks of Springfield co-chair this new TBA group. There are no national AOAs yet for this new group of "old" lawyers. Perhaps Max Bahner of Chattanooga will remedy that, as he just took office as chair of the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division while at the recent ABA Annual Meeting. Max is another example of Tennessee lawyers continuing to lead our profession on the national level.

As a member of both of these groups during my professional life, I can say with some authority that TBASCUS members and YLD members have a lot in common. We all like to meet and we enjoy one another's company. We all like to work, and we reach out to our members for help with work or to refer work. We all like to learn, and we get together to continue learning from each other and from others. "Getting together," "working" and "meeting" have broad definitions now that we never envisioned as members of the YLC " for example, e-communications are heavily used by both groups, and work and meeting settings are varied, diverse and sometimes virtual. Both groups still like a good, old-fashioned meeting where we get together to do some work for our beloved profession and also enjoy each other's company. Usually, music and hospitality suites are part of the meeting agendas for both groups. In fact, some of the same music and dance moves are actually popular in both groups.

In addition to such activities, I also recall years ago Claudia Haltom, a working mother with young children, not to mention being married to Bill, got excited because she had time for a nap at a TYLC meeting, a precious commodity even back then. I can assure you naps are high on the list for some TBASCUS members as well. I will not repeat any other TYLC meeting memories in this column, as we all know the County Line Rule applies.

In closing, I would like to memorialize the appreciation I feel and I believe all TBASCUS members feel for those great TYLC and YLD memories, as some of our time together is spent reminiscing about lawyers who are no longer with us. We marvel at how the decades drop away when we share stories we remember as though they just happened. We are still making memories, and I am hopeful to someday be an active member of the Grand Senior Lawyers, a division above and beyond even the Senior Lawyers and TBASCUS. It happens in the blink of an eye.