CBA Record February-March 2019

YLS Special Issue– Diversity of Opportunity

Diversity of Opportunity Thrives at the YLS By Brandon Peck

T he CBA’s Young Lawyers Section has been a guiding force in the legal community for many years, providing young lawyers with the opportunity to expand their legal knowledge, cultivate their relationships, and, most importantly, serve their community. This diversity of opportunity is reflected in the work the Young Lawyers Section is performing this year and in this month’s articles for the YLS Journal. One distinction of theYoung Lawyers Section is its long-standing tradition of providing all members with the unique opportunity to create and develop newprograms and initiatives. In addition, the Section encourages members to develop new programs related to the area of law they practice, community service, or professional development. The Section has 28 substantive committees, and this year will be implementing over 50 member and public service projects. All of these projects are developed by Section members and change yearly based on member input. I am especially proud to say that the YLS never closes the door to hearing a new idea and actively works with our members to develop new programing. We reinforce this on the Section’s Website, which states: The YLS is continually seeking new ways to engage with the community and provide young lawyers with volunteer opportunities. If you have questions regarding the above programs, or are interested in proposing a new YLS program or community partnership, contact 312/554-2031 or My personal experience with the CBA Young Lawyer’s Section is an example not only of the wide diversity of opportunities to participate in current committees and programs, but also the ability to add and develop new programs within the YLS. My first involvement with the YLS came when I started to attend our executive committee meetings as a co-chair of the Estate Planning Committee. I spent the first few meetings listening and observing how things worked. But midway through the year, I was comfortable enough to start giving some input and commenting on pending issues. Over the next few years, I had the opportunity to serve as a director and work with multiple committees and engage in new areas of law. Additionally, I was able to serve as the Section’s public service manager, getting to work onmore programs based on community outreach and pro-bono opportunities. I am a firm believer that with an ever-expanding group of individuals across multiple generations, new ideas and new opportunities will continue to be generated. The Young Lawyers Section is one of the unique entities that allows these developments to flourish. During this year, the Young Lawyers Section has added a number of new programs focused on helping individuals at both ends of the age spectrum. The YLS has collaborated with DePaul College of Law to create a mentoring program for our future lawyers. Additionally, the Section has hosted seminars that focus on teaching new lawyers practical skills that they will need to practice law. These have included“Practice Basics: Communicating with Clients, Coworkers and the Courts;”“Intro to Civil Depositions; Tips and Pitfalls;”“Sharpen Your Jury Trial Skills;”and many more. The Section also is adding programs focusing on the largest-growing segment of our population: baby boomers and older adults. The Section is creating a series of video tapes for the general public related to this population. Once these programs gain traction, our goal is to expand the video topics to other areas of the law via the knowledge base of our fantastic committees. In other initiatives this year, we unveiled a new online blog, CBA’s @theBar. The blog allows Section members to engage in yet another medium, thus expanding our ability to hear from our members about the issues that interest them, as well as receive feedback from members and the legal community at large. The blog was developed not only to allow greater outreach, but also to complement the YLS @theBar podcast, which was developed by Immediate Past YLS Chair Jon Amarilio. The podcast is nationally syndicated through Legal Talk Network and garners 2,500 unique downloads per month. It continues to develop and release fantastic episodes–a recent one features William “Bill” Kunkle, the lead prosecutor in the JohnWayne Gacy“Killer Clown”case. I hope our readers will enjoy the articles we have included in this issue, which reflect the diversity of opportunity available to our membership, and the diversity of work that our YLS members are doing in different substantive areas of the law. First, Barbara Barreno-Paschall and Clifford Helm of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights describe

how Chicago can better build inclusive, affordable communities, and how lawyers have a key role to play in that effort. Next, Hillary Richardson and MeredithTurner-Woolley give a primer on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for undocumented immigrant children, found at the important intersection between immigration law and family law. Finally, animal lovers should pay close attention to Anna Morrison-Ricordati’s discussion of the limitations on traditional economic damages in tort cases involving pets. TheYoung Lawyers Section provides a vast variety of opportunities for members of the legal community to hone their legal skills, meet other lawyers, and serve their community. However, the most unique aspect of the Section is its ability to grow and change based on its members’ideas and needs. I encourage all members of the community not only to look at the current substantive committees and programs to see if one interests you, but also to consider working to create and develop a new program that you believe would benefit your fellow members and the community at large. YLS Chair Brandon Peck, a Partner with Peck Ritchey, LLC, concentrates his practice in the areas of trust, estate, and guardianship litigation and administration. Brandon has been selected by Leading Lawyers Magazine as a top emerging lawyer in Elder Law, Trust, Will and Estate Planning, and contributed to the book Alzheimer’s and the Law (American Bar Association 2013).


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