YLD President's Message

Diala H. Chaney,
Young Lawyers Division President 2015-2016

I am so honored to serve as President of the Young Lawyers Division for the the 2015-2016 year and am excited about events and programs that we have planned in the upcoming year. This year's Young Lawyers Division activities began with the swearing in of newly-elected officers during The Mississippi Bar's Annual Convention in July. Shortly after the new officers were sworn in, a contingent from our division attended the ABA's Annual Meeting in Chicago. I am pleased to announce that during the convention, the Jackson Young Lawyer's Division received an award of excellence for its achievement with its newsletter as well as its public service project -- congratulations to JYL for both honors. Also, one of our very own YLD members, Carlyn Hicks, was awarded the Child Advocacy Award during the convention— congratulations to Carlyn for such an amazing honor.

On September 24, 2015, the Fall Admissions Ceremony was held at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson. The Bar Admissions Committee, led by Matt Williams, organized the admissions ceremony for the 110 newly admitted members.

This year, our public service committee will focus on two programs -- Wills for Heroes and Lawyers in the Library. The Wills for Heroes program is chaired by Mimi Arthur. Wills for Heroes is a program which offers free Wills, Advanced Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney for first responders across Mississippi. Hunter Aikens is leading the charge in the Lawyers in the Library program. During the program, volunteer attorneys meet with individuals one- on-one and help to guide them on their legal concerns.

Under the leadership of Clarence Webster, Chair of the Seminars Committee, the CLE series "Practice in a Flash: Litigation 101 Series" will continue this year. This series is geared towards young lawyers and led by young lawyers and covers the steps of the litigation process from the beginning to end with sessions on case investigation and evaluation; depositions and discovery; mediation and negotiation; trial; appeals; and ethics and civility. This year we will have the inaugural Deposition Academy on November 12-13, 2015, at the Mississippi Bar Center. The two day program will consist of one day of instruction and one day of mock depositions, during which program attendees will observe accomplished litigators conduct the deposition examination of a Rule 30(b)(6) witness, a party, and an expert witness. The deposition academy has been tailored to provide young lawyers practical and strategic skills and tools for conducting successful depositions of various parties and witnesses by learning from, and observing the deposition techniques of, seasoned trial attorneys. To ensure that each attendee is provided with the optimal learning experience, program participation is limited to 40 registrants. For additional information and to sign up, please contact Rene Garner at rgarner@msbar.org.

The Mock Trial Committee's chair, Austin Stewart, recently posted this year's case. Competition dates are Saturday, January 16, 2016, for the Jackson Regional; Saturday, January 23, 2016, for the Coast Regional; Saturday, January 30, 2016, for the Oxford Regional; and Friday and Saturday, February 26-27, 2016, for the Statewide competition. Judges are needed for all rounds of the competition. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Rene Garner by email at rgarner@msbar.org.

Last year, our YLD adopted the newest public service project of the ABA's Young Lawyers Division, entitled "Project Street Youth." In bringing this project to Mississippi, we created a committee to deal with issues facing the homeless youth in the State of Mississippi. Carlyn Hicks created a program in which our young lawyers can participate in clinics across Mississippi designed to help our homeless youth deal with the problems that they face on a daily basis.

Carlyn will continue to lead the charge on this project again this year. Another committee, the Child Advocacy Committee, under the leadership of past president Jennie Eichelberger, is focuses on the service project "Bullyproof." We hope to create a video and educational program to best assist children in Mississippi in the issuing with bullying they face on a daily basis.

The Young Lawyers Division wants to have your involvement to help make our division and our programs a success. If you are not involved in the YLD and want to be involved, please contact me. We want this to be your YLD. We look forward to an exciting fall and upcoming 2015-2016.