Jenny Tyler Baker
Young Lawyers Division President
I am truly honored and excited to be the YLD president for the year. The 2016-17 YLD year is already in high gear. We had our first board meeting of the year on August 19th and 20th in Starkville at the Mill Conference Center. While many a cowbell was rung and many a dog bone cookie was consumed, we also had a very productive meeting brainstorming new ideas for all of our committees and projects. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the dedication and commitment that all of my Directors, Local Affiliates and Committee Chairs have for their service to the YLD. The YLD would not be able to accomplish all it does without the service of so many amazing young lawyers. While every President who has come before me has, at one point or another, opined that their Board is the best the YLD has ever seen, my heart swells with pride when I reflect on the talent, passion and love I see when I look out at my Board. Believe me when I tell you, you will see some amazing achievements out of the YLD this year.
First up on the YLD calendar, is the Bar Admissions Ceremony on September 29th in Jackson. The Bar Admissions Committee has been hard and work preparing for what is one of the most looked forward to and important moments of a young lawyer’s life. Lawyers in the Library, one of our public service committees, has a free legal clinic in Jackson on October 25th. Several other similar clinics will be occurring throughout the state, throughout the year. Please consider volunteering your time for one of these clinics when they come to your community. One of the most fulfilling opportunities for a lawyer is to give back and serve their neighbors.
Both Child Advocacy and the Homeless Youth committees are embarking on interesting goals for the year. These two committees are working on websites that will be full of information and links that will prove helpful to the public. Child Advocacy is going to focus on compiling information for parents whose children might be in the youth court system. As we are all well aware, the youth court system can be daunting to even the most experienced attorney. Homeless Youth aims to also compile resources and information for children and parents who are facing very specific legal issues relating to the unfortunate circumstance of being without a stable home. There is so much information all over the internet, these committees aim to make their websites a one stop shop for help and resources in Mississippi.
Another project I am very excited about, the Solo and Small Firm committee is going to revise our Solo and Small Firm handbook. This will prove to be a useful tool for so many lawyers. The Communications committee is hard at work keeping everyone informed! If you have not liked the YLD page on Facebook, you are missing out on lots of interesting articles, member spotlights and information about our upcoming activities. The well-oiled machine that is the Seminars committee has the year planned full of great CLEs, including Litigation 101 and the New Lawyers Program. The New Lawyers Program will be September 30th, the day after the Bar Admissions Ceremony. Lawyer in Every Mississippi Classroom aims to serve schools in more counties in Mississippi than we have in the past. They are actively engaging teachers, encouraging them to benefit from this amazing program that can instruct students on so many useful topics such as social media and misconduct in schools.
The new committee for this year is the Veterans Legal Assistance Program. This is another public service committee that is a combination of both Lawyers in the Library and Wills for Heroes. Last year, I was hired to represent a client for a felony probation violation. Come to find out, she had served in Afghanistan, as had her husband. Sadly, her husband sacrificed his life for his country and grief led Claire down a path she never imagined. She had spent some time being homeless and had made some mistakes. The personal trials that she had been through were heartbreaking and inspired me to find a way to do something for our veterans. Thus, this committee was born. We are in the planning stages of working with the Veterans Administration on the Coast, to host legal clinics for our veterans. Claire walked into my life for a reason and I am privileged to have an opportunity to give back to the veterans that have given so much for all of us.