This column has increasingly involved topics that should be featured in next month’s issue of “Runner’s World” and the editors decided it was time for a fresh topic.
Instantly they thought of me as it is clear my annual run coincides with McDonald’s yearly reintroduction of the “McRib.”
As I anxiously await the McRib’s return, and in anticipation of the start of my term as president of the Young Lawyers Section, I thought I would provide you the 10 top reasons why you should be involved in the YLS.
The YLS is fun
In my eight years serving as a board member of YLS, we have had a ton of fun. From monthly happy hours to an active sports league (yes, it’s coming back with a vengeance soon), there are plenty of opportunities to make friends and enjoy yourself outside of the office. Our annual chili cook-off has quickly become the most enjoyable event The Jacksonville Bar Association puts on each year, although our poker tournament is close on its heels.
Board positions are available
There are a total of five open seats with only two incumbents in the upcoming election. It’s a perfect time to get even more involved. The elections for YLS’ Board of Governors will take place online from May 30-June 8. Live voting also will occur and the results will be announced June 9 at the annual meeting at 927 Events. More details will be announced in the near future.
The YLS provides opportunities to meet colleagues and judges
As someone who is not from Jacksonville, I knew very few people in the legal community when I moved to town. The community now feels like a small town, primarily through my involvement with the YLS. I have truly made some of my best friends through involvement in this organization.
The YLS does great things in the community
Each year, the YLS raises tens of thousands of dollars for charitable organizations in our community through events such as the golf tournament, chili cook-off and poker tournament. Each January, we provide toys and bikes for children who did not get to enjoy the holidays due to being moved in the foster care system in December. These are just a few examples of the opportunities available to serve the community through YLS.
Bar involvement makes work much more collegial
Making a difficult call to opposing counsel is much easier if you have met the attorney at a Bar event. Networking through YLS activities truly makes work less stressful.
YLS builds a referral network
At some point, all attorneys are concerned about growing business and maintaining an active work load. By participating in YLS activities, you have the opportunity to meet other like-minded attorneys across the spectrum of practice areas.
Did I mention the sports league?
The YLS is responsible for organizing the JBA Sports League, which has provided a place for lawyers to let off some steam in the competitive spirit. The league will be active next year, with basketball, flag football and kickball on the horizon.
Opportunities to meet community leaders
In addition to meeting JBA leaders and others in the legal field, the YLS provides tremendous opportunity to meet other leaders in the community. Through our work in the community, there really is no one outside our reach.
You can find a mentor and/or a mentee
If you are interested in having a mentor, involvement with the YLS can foster that process. Additionally, the YLS started its Ribault High School Future Lawyers Mentorship Program. We are mentoring 20 students who are interested in becoming a lawyer. The students have participated in mock trials and visited the federal courthouse, county courthouse, State Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office. We will be expanding this program next year.
You will only have to hang out with me for one more year
Sadly, after next year I will no longer be on the board of the Young Lawyers Section. After being involved for nearly a decade as a “young lawyer,” I no longer will be welcome. In all honesty, my involvement with the YLS has been the most enriching aspect of my career thus far. I hope you all enjoy a similar experience, whether it’s with YLS or any organization.
Christian George is the president-elect of the Young Lawyers Section and is a partner at Akerman LLP practicing in commercial litigation and bankruptcy.