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Jennifer Williams
President, Young Lawyers Section
2014-2015

December 2014, President's Message

Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!

It is that time of year; the season of giving and receiving, reflecting on our many blessings, and remembering the less fortunate.  Recently, I heard a message that has stuck with me like the lyrics of a song you can’t rid from your immediate thoughts.  *It is our job to lift people up, all people.  We must lift people up in our thoughts when we cannot lift them up in our actions.*  This message emphasizes to me that I must not judge someone, must not define their situation, and I should not believe I know (or understand) the reasons for someone’s actions.  This is easy to think and say, when I think the person deserves or has earned my positive thoughts or helpful actions.  But what about the times I deal with the noncompliant, the difficult, the repeat disappointers, the seemingly underserving or unrelenting?  The answer is simply – It is my job to lift people up, all people!  I need not condone or excuse the action or behavior of a person, but I can understand that there is a “why” behind every action.  Thus, I am challenging myself to resist acting or thinking in a way that does not lift a person up.  And I want to test the holiday spirit in each of you—when dealing with the most difficult, seemingly undeserving, or unrelenting people, I challenge you to ask yourself: Am I lifting this person up

In the meantime, let me introduce you to three more Young Lawyer Board members.

Abigail Howard (3rd Circuit)



Why did you decide to be part of the Young Lawyers Board?  
The best piece of advice one of my law school mentors gave me was to pay it forward.  During law school, we were given so much support from the faculty, practicing attorneys, and the State Bar itself.  After graduation, and finding a solid footing practicing in Brookings, I was easily able to give back to the community I grew up in and love, but I still wanted to find a way to give back to the attorneys and the State Bar that had played such an integral role in my legal education.  Being on the Young Lawyers Board is a great opportunity to advocate the benefits of the State Bar, provide connections for new attorneys just starting out, and to be a voice for my legal community throughout the state.  Being a part of this group and helping young lawyers in any way that I can is my first step in paying it forward.

What do you want to do for the young lawyers in your Circuit?  I want to be a resource for new law school graduates to show them how great the Third Circuit is, and why moving to any of the great cities within our circuit is a great option when starting a practice.  I want to provide networking and social opportunities for the new attorneys in the Third Circuit to keep a connection to the veteran attorneys in this area.  Ideally, it is my goal to make sure that every young lawyer in the Third Circuit has a mentor/mentee relationship, whether developed on their own, or through the Hagemann-Morris Young Lawyer Mentorship Coin Program.  Finally, I want to find ways for young attorneys to give back in our area whether through service work or pro bono efforts.
What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share?  It has always been a source of pride for me that I have the same birthday as Bob Dylan.

Ellie Bailey (6th Circuit)

Why did you decide to be part of the Young Lawyers Board?  I initially ran for the Young Lawyers Board because several of my peers whom I admire and respect are on the Board and I was interested in working alongside these individuals to aid and promote the advancement of young lawyers.  I also hoped that serving on the Young Lawyers Board would give me the opportunity to get to know more of my colleagues in the 6th circuit and across the state.
What do you want to do for the young lawyers in your Circuit?  I want to serve as a resource for the young lawyers in my circuit by helping to facilitate mentorship relationships, hosting events, and providing meaningful opportunities for continued scholarship and growth.
What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share? It’s not exactly random, but my husband and I experienced a “hat trick” of important life events this year, including: welcoming our beautiful daughter, Eileen; purchasing our first home; and attempting to rein in our black British Lab puppy, Gus.

Jennifer Harvey (Law Student Rep.)



Why did you decide to be part of the Law School Student Bar Association? At the end of my first year, I wanted to run for SBA Treasurer because I wanted to get more involved in the law school.  After spending one year in the SBA office, I learned just how much better my law school experience was because of my involvement.  Additionally, I am a very talkative person, so the SBA President position was a perfect fit.
What do you want to do as the Young Lawyers Section representative to the Law School? I want to spread the word to the law students about the services and events the Young Lawyers Section does when you become a member of the board.  I think some students think that once you leave law school you’re on your own.  I want the students to know that the Young Lawyers Section is there to help.
What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share?
Although I love four wheeling and camping, I hate bugs so I don’t go as often as I would like.


Cheers until next month!
Jennifer Williams
SD YLS President




 

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Board Minutes

NEW KID IN TOWN:  MENTORED BY THE MASSES

Written by: Nathan Chicoine

Contrary to popular belief, it’s easy being the new kid in town.  Upon graduation, my wife, Catherine (also an attorney), and I moved to Rapid City, where neither of us had been raised or could follow a well-known friend or relative.  Yet, the attorneys in my new community have welcomed me.  Most have introduced themselves and have actively sought to learn about my background, interests, and direction. Many have joined me for lunch and stubbornly paid the bill.  Several have helped me get involved in the community and have accompanied me to social events.  I’ve met countless colleagues, none of which respond well to “Mr.” or “Ms.”  Although networking presumably plays a part in their approach, I sense a sincere desire to pay forward what their bar community did for them and ensure that the new attorney has a solid foundation on which to build.  The connections that I’ve made emphasize for me what a tight-knit bar we’re blessed with, and I hope to never take it for granted.

With so many new mentors, I ask myself how I can best absorb their lessons.  Primarily, I observe and gauge effectiveness.  How well does s/he know the law and facts?  How good is the legal and practical analysis?  How strong is the communication and persuasion?  How well does s/he treat peers, staff, and clients?  These factors indicate how worthwhile the attorney’s guidance may be.  Regularly, I ask questions. I welcome advice, and all want to share their secrets to success.  Sure, I'm naive, but I trust until proven otherwise.  I can learn something from everyone.  Above all, I strive to be honest and true to my character. I’ll only enjoy this profession if I’m genuine.  I’ve been told and I believe that an attorney’s most valuable asset is credibility. I’ll need to earn the trust and respect of others to be successful.  As I adopt the best traits of my many mentors and build a career, I’ll have a strong start if I fully assume the role of mentee while remaining grateful for the opportunity to “practice” law.

About Nathan:  Nathan recently completed a clerkship for the Seventh Judicial Circuit and joined Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore of Rapid City, SD as an associate in their litigation group. 


 

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