Group helps young lawyers navigate their careers.
Florida's young lawyers often are referred to as the “workhorses” of the Bar.
That’s based on their historic role in the profession.
“When there’s a tough project the Bar needs to be done, when they need boots on the ground, they call us,” said Christian George, 2018-19 president of the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar.
The managing partner of the Akerman law firm’s Jacksonville office, George was president of the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section two years ago when he also was president-elect-designate of the statewide group.
Membership in YLD is automatic for members of The Florida Bar who are under 36 years of age or who have been practicing for fewer than five years. There are more than 25,000 YLD members this year.
George said one of the division’s primary responsibilities is helping law students transition from the classroom to the courtroom or the conference room.
“Like other graduate degrees, law school doesn’t teach you everything you need to know for the real world,” George said.
The division has launched a new resource, the “Legal Accelerator,” that’s available to all members of The Florida Bar.
George describes it as a “virtual mentor.”
It’s a comprehensive series of short videos available online that cover a range of subjects and practice areas. The concept is to provide a basic overview of a specific subject related to a practice area in about three minutes.
Another program developed by YLD can help an attorney set up a law practice from incorporation to marketing and business practices.
“The reality is that a lot of young lawyers are hanging their shingles, and a lot of attorneys are leaving law firms to start their own practice,” George said.
The division will continue to advocate for initiatives it helped identify and develop in the past several years, such as gender equality in the profession and the importance of lawyers adopting a healthy lifestyle including work-life balance.
George cited the survey conducted a few years ago by YLD that identified discrimination experienced by many women lawyers in terms of equal compensation and professional advancement opportunity when practicing alongside men in a law firm.
After the issue was brought into the open, The Florida Bar developed a plan of action to begin the process to improve opportunities for all attorneys.
“The YLD survey led to a Florida Bar committee and this year, we’ll be rolling out programs,” George said.
The division also will be working with groups within local voluntary Bar associations to strengthen the statewide network of young lawyers.
“I know this is going to be a very busy year, but I enjoy it. I’m having a lot of fun,” George said.