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Young Lawyers: The 2010 YLS Trial Academy, Cultivating Collegiality, Civility and Skills for the Future

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december 2009
bY l aUra Granier, YoUnG l awYers cHair
“One of the incredible values of having a mentor can be your mentor’s ability to inspire you by seeing more in you than you see in yourself.”
In the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy, “civility is the mark of an accomplished and superb professional, but it is even more than this, it is an end in itself.” Civility is to be revered as the foundation of our democratic ideal of respecting individual rights. The question is, how do we cultivate an environment where new lawyers are trained and mentored to achieve outstanding legal skills that include the highest standards of professionalism and civility? While all law students are required to learn and pass an examination on professional responsibility and ethics, new lawyers must learn “in the trenches” how best to handle challenging situations with opposing counsel. How we learn is shaped, in part, by our experience and our mentors. In addition to a need to help new lawyers find mentors in civility and professionalism, we also perceive a need for the legal community to come together to provide “hands-on” training for new lawyers. Recognizing this, the Young Lawyers Section, in conjunction with the State Bar of Nevada, is working to provide a positive and unique environment where a dream team of Nevada lawyers and judges come together to work with new lawyers in a hands-on learning laboratory for the development of skills, civility and professionalism. It was on the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe, at the 009 Annual Meeting, that the Young Lawyers Section came up with an innovative project – the 00 Nevada YLS Trial Academy. Participating in the annual meeting, we observed first-hand the importance of and great benefit in bringing together our statewide legal community for a gathering that allows the group to socialize, discuss important legal issues and policy concerns for the bar and our state, attend continuing legal education presentations and begin or continue to nourish invaluable relationships with other Nevada lawyers and judges. Inspired by the experience, we spent hours brainstorming about an
exciting new possibility for Nevada – a trial academy that would bring lawyers and judges together statewide to work collaboratively on a trial problem and develop skills in a safe environment where the most seasoned and talented lawyers and judges could share their gifts to help strengthen the future of the bar and our legal system. With the support and approval of the State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors, we will make this dream a reality in Monterey at the 00 State Bar Annual Meeting, by hosting the first-ever Nevada Young Lawyers Section Trial Academy. Leaders with lasting impact understand the critical importance in developing the next generation of leaders. One of the incredible values of having a mentor can be your mentor’s ability to inspire you by seeing more in you than you see in yourself. Having that confidence from a positive role model can change you and motivate and drive you to accomplish great things. So, we are challenging new lawyers to dive in and become active members of the bar, to give back to the community and begin establishing or nurturing positive relationships with mentors who will help them develop their leadership skills. Of course, we only can succeed at this if seasoned lawyers step up to serve as mentors to help newer lawyers develop professional and leadership skills. Please help us ensure we have a strong and well-developed leadership team in place for the next generation. We are deep in the planning process now, putting together teams of instructors and recruiting participants. If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact me at or (775) 788-80. Thanks for your support of YLS, continuing to build a strong and collegial Nevada bar, and training new lawyers who are our future leaders.

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