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Jennifer Williams
President, Young Lawyers Section
2014-2015

January 2015, President's Message

Greetings!

Over the past several months, you have had the opportunity to learn a bit about the YL Circuit Representatives.  Those board members are your representatives, the voice for the young lawyers in each circuit.  The YL Board also includes three officers—the President, President Elect, and Secretary/Treasurer.  These officers are not assigned to any specific circuit.  Rather, we have a duty to ensure that the YL Board programs and activities are successful and serve all the young lawyers of South Dakota.  Here are your officers: Jennifer Williams (President), Elizabeth Overmoe (President Elect), and Paul Tschetter (Secretary/Treasurer).

Jennifer Williams (President)


Why did you decide to be part of the Young Lawyers Board?

I joined the Board because the at-large position was open during the 2009 Annual Meeting.  I had wondered what the YL Board does besides organize the road race and host the social at the Bar Convention.  And I figured the only way to understand what goes on was to become a board member.     



What do you want to do for the young lawyers of this State with your position as an Officer on the Board?  

My goal this year is to get young lawyers, besides our Board members, involved in Board programs and activities.  Very talented, motivated, and awesome YL Circuit Representatives have been working hard to connect with and involve young lawyers.  It is my hope this momentum continues, and repeating what I said in my first president’s page, I want to make this year a stellar year of participation in the Young Lawyers
Section by young lawyers. 

What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share?  

I am very, very, very accident prone.  In fact, I ran into a door (actually running—for real!) and broke my face.  Not really, I only broke my brow bone.  Regardless, if ever you see me fall, laugh with me.

Elizabeth Overmoe (President Elect)

Why did you decide to be part of the Young Lawyers Board?

I think the YL Board is an incredible way to get involved in the state bar, to meet and have meaningful relationships with other lawyers across the state, and be able to have an impact in our communities.  I was able to participate as the student representative to the Board while in law
school and from that point I was hooked.  I witnessed the good work the Board was doing and I wanted to be a part of it once I joined the legal
community after graduation.   


 What do you want to do for the young lawyers of this State with your position as an Officer on the Board?

So many things!  I want to continue to support the good work of the YL Board on the projects we complete each year, including: The Hagemann-Morris Young Lawyer Mentorship Coin Program; The Nuts & Bolts CLE; YL Boot Camp; The Statewide Swearing-In Ceremony; Speakers Bureau; Donation Drive; We the People; Road Race; and The Young Lawyer of the Year Award (just to name a few).  I think our current projects make such a positive impact on our state.  As I continue to serve on the board over the next two years, I hope we can continue to develop programs our members will find useful within their own practice.  My other initiatives for my year as YL President are in the works.  Stay tuned…

What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share?

If there is karaoke nearby, that's where you'll find me.​

 

Paul Tschetter (Secretary/Treasurer)


Why did you decide to be part of the Young Lawyers Board?

It was a great way to connect with young lawyers from across the State with whom I otherwise would not have had the chance to meet.  I was searching for ways to connect with lawyers in other practice areas and with lawyers that wanted to work to improve the Bar and better meet the needs of young lawyers.


What do you want to do for the young lawyers of this State with your position as an Officer on the Board?

I view the role of an officer as a facilitator.  There is a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm amongst the young lawyers – especially the YL Circuit Representatives.  Officers are able to connect young lawyers with others in Bar leadership to set and accomplish goals.  Lawyers have a heart to serve others.  I view my role as being a resource for young lawyers in South Dakota, to serve them in their service to clients, community, and vocation.

What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share?

I successfully made a 40-yard field goal in October 2013 in response to a challenge from a friend (I have video to prove it!).  I keep my eyes peeled for unsuccessful NFL kickers every Sunday – place kicking is my back-up career.


Cheers until next month!

Jennifer Williams

SD YLS President




 

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The Puzzle of Law
Matt Campbell

I fortunately had an opportunity to be Law Clerk for South Dakota’s Fifth Judicial Circuit this past year. My time as a Law Clerk was beneficial in so many ways. I was exposed to countless areas of law which provided a solid foundation to begin a law career. Of course, my transition to private practice meant that my daily work would be limited to few areas of the law, but truthfully I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.       
I have now been with Siegel, Barnett & Schutz in Aberdeen, SD for about six months, and I am beginning to realize that every day is one of a kind. Truthfully, every client, every case, every issue is a new puzzle to solve. It does not matter if I am drafting a will or an easement; each client gives me a new set of pieces and my job is to put those pieces together in a way that fits the client.  The diversity in people and issues makes the practice of law completely rewarding each day.    
In order to help with the puzzles along the way, I have received two great pieces of advice that I think all young attorneys can benefit from:
First, ask questions. If you don’t know the answer or are looking to better understand, ask questions.  This is often harder than it appears because as attorneys, we want to have the answers to all the questions and, perhaps more to the point, we want to appear as if we have all the answers. The fact is, though, knowledge comes with time and experience, and questions are a vital part of gaining that knowledge. 
Second, under-promise and over-perform. This advice goes directly to client management. Even in my short time in private practice, I have promised a client their work will be done by a certain date and failed to meet that deadline. There are legitimate reasons for the delay – another client’s emergency, a last-minute hearing – but the client only notices that you missed your target date. To avoid that uncomfortable situation, I find it wise to set a more realistic completion date. Then, I strive to complete each task before that planned date. Do the same and you’ll be setting yourself up for success and a chance to really impress your clients.
The first year of practice is a time to put your head down and do what is asked of you, but it’s also a time to start growing your client base and to find your own niche as a young attorney. Applying those pieces of advice has come up again and again as I navigate this new position and solve the puzzles that are presented to me on a daily basis. I hope they can do the same for you.             

About Matt: Matt practices in Aberdeen as an associate at Siegel, Barnett & Schutz, LLP. He focuses his practice in the areas of general business law and estate planning.

 


 

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