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YLD Elections/Why I’m Active in the YLD

October 26, 2011

YLD Happy Hour at the Pyramid Club with the Young Doctors and Young Bankers

[The Young Lawyers Division is accepting nominations for seven seats on the Executive Committee.  Each is a three-year term.  Elections will be held on December 6.  If you are interested in becoming an elected member of the Executive Committee, please remember that the deadline to submit your nomination package is 3 p.m. on October 28.  See below for an outline of the YLD’s annual events, which are planned by the Executive Committee] 

I have been active in the Bar Association for nearly six years now – literally, since I moved to Philadelphia.  When people ask me why, I tell them it is because of my first experience in Philadelphia, which was attending the Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellors Reception in January of 2006.  For those of you who have never been, the Reception is where the Chancellor of the Bar Association greets the all of the Association’s members at the beginning of the year.  Dozens of judges and hundreds of attorneys attend.  I was new to the area then, and looking for an opportunity to network.  This seemed like the perfect venue. 

After waiting in the receiving line, and shaking the hands of all of the Bar Association dignitaries, I walked into the Grand Ballroom of the Bellevue Hotel.  The room lived up to its name, and it was packed with attorneys.  People were there greeting old friends and former colleagues, making new contacts, and enjoying the food and the open bar.  After a few turns around the room, ironically, I struck up a conversation with a non-attorney.  This individual would later give me the lead that helped me land my current position at the District Attorney’s Office. 

I made more than just a new contact that evening.  Observing the collegiality between the hundreds of lawyers who attended the event, professionals at different stages in their careers and from different practice areas, left me with a feeling of community that has compelled me to become more involved with the Bar Association each year.  I believe the same is true for everyone who is active in the Association.  Oh, if asked, people will list a variety of reasons why they joined.  Some like the social events and holiday parties.  Others join to better the profession and their own careers through CLEs and membership on rule- and policy-making committees.  Still others want to improve the lives of others less fortunate than themselves through the practice of law.  The reason they remain active, however, is the same.  People like feeling as though they belong to something bigger than just their jobs, and they find that at the Bar Association.  

My experience with the Bar Association and the YLD has been a fulfilling one.  Through my activities, I have seen young people sit with rapt attention while they watch their first criminal trial.  I have discussed policy with President Judges.  I have also met a lot of older attorneys who have given me valuable career advice.  I want to encourage other young attorneys to get involved with the Bar Association, either through the YLD, or one of the other sections or committees.  I think that you will find it to be as gratifying an experience as I have. 


Melanie J. Taylor


Young Lawyers Division

PhiladelphiaBar Association 

The YLD is accepting nominations for positions on our governing board, the YLD Executive Committee.  Check out our bylaws for the Executive Committee’s organizational structure.  Members of the EC can either be elected, or liaisons to other sections/committees of the Bar Association.  In addition to attending regular meetings and participating in YLD events, liaisons inform the YLD of the activities of their section/committee, and advise their section/committee of YLD activities. 

We are the most active division of the Bar Association, but the time commitment for members of the Executive Committee is reasonable.  I have listed a summary of our annual programs below.  They are broken down into three committees: Community Outreach, Legal Education and Mentoring, and Social.  I hope that you see something that you like.  We are also happy to accept ideas for programs or CLEs.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions: 


1.         Law Week

Planning of numerous activities held during law week (May 1-7, 2011), including poster and essay contests forPhiladelphiaschool students, a Naturalization Ceremony, Legal Advice Live at which we provide free legal advice to the public at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Lawyer for a Day and Lawyers in the Classroom among other programs.

a.)            Poster and Essay Contests

Contest wherePhiladelphiaelementary, middle school and high school students submit entries related to legal issues for a prize ranging from a savings bond to a college scholarship to a day in court.                                                   

b.)            Legal Advice Live

Public forum at which volunteer attorneys give free legal advice at Free Library of Philadelphia Branches.

c.)            Lawyer for a Day

Program where high school students go to court for a day.  There is a lunch program with a speaker who will have to be obtained.

d.)            Goldie Locks Trial 

Trial of Goldie Locks and the Big Bad Wolf put on for elementary school students before Court of Common Pleas judges. Recruit volunteers for each trial. Costumes are encouraged.

e.)            Lawyer in the Classroom 

Coordinate and recruit schools and volunteers to go to classrooms inPhiladelphiaschools and talk about being a lawyer.


2.         Harvest for the Homeless

Assists in coordinating donations and volunteers for the annual clothing and necessities drive for the homeless in mid-November.

 3.         Ronald McDonald House

Coordinates twice a year program to provide breakfast, dinner, etc. at the Ronald McDonald House charity.

 4.         Mock Trial

Help organize and run (including recruiting volunteer judges and coaches for local high schools) the regional competition for Temple University’s John S. Bradway High School Mock Trial Competition and organize the one-day training camp, which couples instructive sessions with hands-on training in the basics of trial practice.

 5.         Holiday Drive

Solicit and collect gifts and donations for local charities to give to children over the holiday season.  Usually in conjunction with the YLD’s holiday party.

 6.         Photography Contest

A photography contest for local attorneys of all ages. Topic and qualifications to be determined.

 7.         Technology

Responsible for the overall promotion of the YLD to gain new members and primarily to enlist members to use the YLD list serve.

 a.)            EZine – solicit and/or write young lawyer focused articles for the weekly e-newsletter.

b.)            Blog – prepare blog entries on the YLD’s blog – PhiLAWdelphia                 

c.)            Website/Facebook Page – update the YLD’s Facebook page



1.         People’s Law School

Assembles a panel of volunteer lawyers to provide a six-week adult education course that offers non-lawyers basic information about areas of the law that affect people’s daily lives. PLS takes place in the fall. 

2.         CLE  

Coordinates CLE courses throughout the year which will be valuable for young lawyers and are eligible to be offered at the Bench Bar Conference in the fall.3.              Law School Outreach

 3.              Law School Outreach

Organizes a day-long Bootcamp seminar program for law students and new graduates which is scheduled for February 2011. May also organize programs in area law schools to promote the bar association and to help with the transition from law student to young lawyers.

 4.         Legal Line

Coordinates the monthly program whereby attorneys provide free legal advice and/or referrals over the telephone to area callers. This committee also coordinates the special Legal Line program that runs during Law Week.

5.         Live, Lunch and Learn Series

Plans 4 or 5 educational seminars to benefit Young Lawyers.  Topics for 2011 may include Discovery in Federal Court and the Basics of Appellate Practice.

6.         YLD Diversity Scholarship

The YLD Minority Bar Association Scholarship Award aims to provide financial support to well-deservingPhiladelphiaarea law students who have excelled in the classroom and have shown a commitment to the community. Candidates are selected on the following criteria: (1) academic achievement, (2) demonstrated commitment to community service and involvement, (3) financial need, and (4) career aspirations and goals.

7.         Philadelphia 20/20

Presentations related to issues concerning the future of Philadelphia.


1.         Networking Happy Hours

Plans the various networking happy hour events.

2.         Annual Fundraiser to Benefit the Bar Foundation

Coordinates the annual fundraising event for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. Committee members will solicit sponsors and silent auction items. This event is tentatively scheduled for May 2011.

3.         Diversity Happy Hour/Summer in the City

Plans and coordinates our annual diversity happy hour with the affinity bar associations at which we present the Minority Bar Scholarships.  This event also is a networking event for Summer Associates and young attorneys. This event should be planned for late June 2011.

 4.         Family Event

This event is geared toward families. Prior locations include the Zoo,Sesame Place, and Camden Aquarium. This event is tentatively scheduled for July 2011.

 5.         Holiday Party

Plans the annual holiday celebration.

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