by Van Ha
In light of today’s difficult economic environment, as evidenced by recent reports from the Labor Department of continued declines in the job market and unfortunate budget cuts to the California judicial branch, young attorneys must reinvent themselves. The traditional law firm culture may not be as accessible as it used to be. Young attorneys can adjust to this economic rollercoaster by seeking experience from pro bono legal opportunities and by becoming resourceful with technological advances.
Young attorneys have had to compete in a market flooded with attorneys who have various skill levels and experience. Therefore, it is crucial to find creative ways to gain experience both to avoid an experience gap and to become more marketable. Young attorneys should consider gaining courtroom experience, including trial work, through pro bono work and volunteer programs.
Furthermore, young attorneys in this technologically integrated society have practical knowledge beyond researching the letter of the law. Regardless of the firm setting, young attorneys can efficiently incorporate multimedia devices, social media, and the Internet generally to enhance a firm’s practice and meet the demands of its clients. As technology becomes even more prevalent, young attorneys who are technologically savvy will gain an advantage in transactional, litigation, and trial work.
Thus, the New Attorney must evolve with unique skill sets to compete in this struggling job market. It is part of the Young Lawyers Division’s goals to provide events that will further the education of its members about legal practice and technology, and encourage its members to gain legal experience through volunteer work.
In addition, the YLD encourages community outreach, educational, social, and sports events. These events facilitate a collegial environment for young attorneys to connect and learn from one another. The YLD also networks with other professional organizations for the benefit of its members. It is no coincidence that the YLD’s Chair, Van Ha, Committee Chairs, Jessica Hawari, Sarah Nowels, Simon Budhwani, April Quinn, and Chair-Elect Michelle Tran appear in Hawaiian attire in this issue. The YLD will hold a joint event with the Orange County Women Lawyers Association on July 19, 2012 for a Summer Luau Mixer. Additionally, YLD committees and committee chairs are planning many more events this year.
As the downturn in the economy has affected the entire Orange County community, the YLD organized a food packaging event for attorneys, law students, and friends to box meals for 700 low-income families. YLD will come together again for additional volunteer events. These events are organized by Jessica Hawari, Chair of the Community Outreach Committee. Jessica has long been involved in volunteerism as exemplified by her involvement with the UCLA UniCamp program, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, Family Violence Clinic, Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), and Children’s Law Center of California.
The YLD seeks to present Mandatory Continuing Legal Education events that cater to the interests of its members. The YLD presented a seminar to help new attorneys learn about all aspects of taking depositions. For young attorneys who have been tasked with client development, the YLD held a seminar called “Beginning the Client Relationship Ethically.” Furthermore, the YLD is preparing to offer an educational event on technology devices to introduce its members to useful tools for litigation and trial.
The Education Committee is chaired by Sarah Nowels. She is an attorney at Amezcua-Moll & Associates, a small, all-women civil litigation firm in Orange. Ms. Nowels began her community involvement with the Orange County Women Lawyers Association. She also volunteers with Women Helping Women, Downtown Women’s Center, Second Harvest Food Bank, Juvenile Drug Court, Camp Footprints, Orange County Community Action Partnership, Orangewood Children’s Home, and Public Law Center.
As a New Attorney, it can be difficult to network with attorneys in the community, particularly those with similar experiences. Thus, the YLD organizes social events for its members to network with each other and discuss current issues faced by members. The YLD had a well-attended social event and expects to continue that momentum with the upcoming luau.
Simon Budhwani sits as the Social Committee Chair. He is a principal partner at Core Law Group, LLP, a full service firm serving Orange and Los Angeles counties. In one year, Simon has precipitated the growth of Core Law Group from a boutique practice to a thriving firm handling diverse matters. Today, the firm’s practice areas include family law, criminal defense, DUI, personal injury, social security disability, and bankruptcy.
Allocating time for sports events is a great way to stay active. YLD is proud of The Bad News Bearristers, the YLD baseball team for young attorneys who meet weekly to play and network. For those who prefer to participate as a spectator, YLD gathered at the Angel Stadium of Anahaim on June 1, 2012 to cheer on the Angels.
April Quinn is the Sports Chair. She works at SmithTrager PC, an environmental law firm in Irvine. In addition to her busy schedule, Ms. Quinn is an active team member of The Bad News Bearristers.
Next year, Michelle Tran, the Chair-Elect, will serve as the 2013 Chair of the Young Lawyers Division. Ms. Tran graduated from Chapman University School of Law in 2010, is an attorney with Tustin-based Hughes & Hughes, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for OCWLA and OCAABA.
Van Ha is the 2012 Chair of the Young Lawyers Division and an associate with Bullard, Brown & Beal, LLP focusing primarily on first-party and third-party litigation for insurance carriers, general contractors, and subcontractors. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.