Thursday, October 17, 2019

Who wants to Be a Lawyer?

Maybe these kids! Annika Green and Jennifer Emens-Butler went to U-32 this week to speak with Sophomores and Juniors for career day.  On Your Own: Your Legal Rights at 18 booklets and pocket constitutions in hand, Annika and Jennifer told the two groups of kids all about the education prerequisites and the practice of law in Vermont.  Substantive areas such as criminal law and bankruptcy were discussed, but much time was also spent on the general skillset required to become a lawyer and how those skills can be used in a multitude of fields, within and outside the practice of law. 

Students asked pointed questions about how lawyers in tough fields take care of their own personal wellness--an astute and timely observation-- and also how they handle their own biases in difficult cases. There was also talk about international policy work, the environment and so much more. Even the teacher had his own questions. The second session was an all-girl group, so we made sure to let them know that women are needed in equity positions in law firms and encouraged them all to dream big!

Please join us as we strive to improve the public perception of lawyers, even if it’s for one kid at a time!  The VBA has pocket constitutions for all ages and On Your Own booklets for seniors as well as references for discussions on constitutional law for lawyers to go into schools to discuss legal rights.  Going to career day at your school? Please let us know and we can highlight your story on our social media and news pages.  We know lawyers work tirelessly to help others, yet still struggle with a poor public perception.  Why not take the time to inspire our youth about the fascinating, rewarding, noble, challenging and fun (yes fun!) practice of law? The VBA will see you there.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Comedy Tonight and More!

There really was something for everyone at the VBA Annual Meeting and Basic Skills events last week. We extended a warm welcome to new admittees and lawyers relocating to Vermont at our semi-annual Basic Skills event. The full day CLE on Thursday was packed with courses on professionalism, Vermont procedures, family law, admin law and real estate, along with full, hot and delicious meals at the Hilton waterfront.  The day was topped off with A Night at the Improv, as we brought the Vermont Comedy Club to our meeting for some skits and reflections on mediation techniques and quick-thinking.  While the selfie table was a bit lonely, some did make use of it…watch for an encore appearance at an upcoming meeting!

Friday was packed with Vermont practice and procedure CLE’s, ethics CLE’s, wellness CLE’s, implicit bias CLE and essential substantive updates in criminal, municipal, family, collaborative, environmental, non-profit, employment, immigration law along with some law practice management and cybersecurity programs to round out the offerings. President Gary Franklin awarded VBA service awards to Bob Paolini and Mike Kennedy for their decades of service to the bar.  He also awarded Justice Marilyn Skoglund with the President’s award upon her retirement, complete with a personalized gavel and a Spanish bartending book! Incoming President Beth Novotny then took the gavel and inspired attendees as she lauded attorneys for all the good work they do on a regular basis.

Smiles were shared, prizes were won, bellies were stuffed, cases were analyzed and collective wisdom grew as attendees enjoyed our 141st VBA Annual Meeting. Special thanks to all of our exhibitors and sponsors who made the meeting possible as well as to our esteemed presenters who donated their time to share their knowledge with us all. As always, if you have any ideas for programs you’d like to see or present, please contact me at jeb at vtbar dot org. See you next time!