Getting involved in the YLS has truly elevated my experience in the legal profession.
And just like that, I find myself president of the Young Lawyers Section of the Jacksonville Bar Association.
It is bittersweet as I take the torch from Alexandria Hill, one of my friends and a person that I look up to and admire on many levels.
I have had the great fortune of serving the legal community through the YLS. Many of those who I have had the privilege of serving with are now my closest friends, colleagues and mentors.
It is something that has been said by many of my predecessors, but getting involved in the YLS has truly elevated my experience in the legal profession.
At a time when The Florida Bar has undertaken to put mental health and wellness at the forefront, I find myself reflecting on how the YLS can help our young lawyers.
Coming into the legal profession is intimidating and stressful. I have had many young lawyers express to me their concerns and frustrations with the profession.
One of the things I hope to accomplish this year as president of the YLS is to help our young lawyers find a way to enjoy the profession that we all have chosen, which I have found through participation in the YLS.
As was demonstrated at the YLS annual meeting, having a mentor, or as Duval County Judge Gary Flower puts it, a “legal life coach,” is the first step in ensuring that our young lawyers have the guidance that they need and an individual to whom they can express concerns without reservation.
In my legal career, I have had (and continue to have) several mentors. We will continue to assist our young lawyers and encourage each of them to get a mentor.
In addition, while many of us fall prey to the daily legal grind, I have found joy in giving back to the community through the charity work that the YLS offers.
The section this past year raised more than $25,000 for charities, not a small feat.
From mentoring Ribault High School students, to playing poker to raise money to assist students who want to pursue higher education, to playing golf to raise awareness for neurodiversity, to having more than 40 teams compete in a chili contest to raise money to rescue women from sex trafficking, this organization has dedicated itself to giving back.
In doing so, all of us on the YLS board have found happiness and joy in our profession, despite the daily grind.
Many young lawyers I meet lament that they do not have the time to get involved, but it is my goal to encourage each of our members to choose at least one event and participate.
It will not only help to broaden our membership, but I can assure you that it will help with your mental health and wellness in a way that cannot be expressed in words. More importantly, you will gain many of your closest friends in the process.
I look forward to serving as president of the YLS this year, and hope that I see plenty of new and fresh faces along the way.
To my YLS family past and present, thank you and I look forward to continuing the good work that we do.