SBM Young Lawyers Section brings home first-place honors

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Pictured are (l-r) YLS Ex Officio Felicia Johnson, Shenique Moss, Kara Hart-Negrich, YLS Diversity Committee Chair Donald Rencher YLS Diversity Committee Chair, YLS Chair Hope Shovein, Mwanaisha Sims and YLS Chair-Elect Andrea Irons.


The State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section won First Place Awards of Achievement in two out of four categories from the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, as well as the Outstanding Public Service Award from the American Bar Endowment. The awards were presented at the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston on Aug. 9.

The SBM YLS won the Comprehensive Award of Achievement for the full breadth of new and expanded programs they offered throughout the 2013-2014 bar year, including their New Member Orientation, Sports & Entertainment Symposium, Annual Summit, public speaking workshop, immigration law workshop, back to school program, and much more. Visit the YLS website for a complete list of their programs and projects.

The YLS won the Service to the Public Award of Achievement for a new program they launched on March 1, "Cracking the Legal Field Pipeline Diversity Mock Trial Competition." The mock trial competition hosted approximately 80 metropolitan Detroit area students aged six to 18 at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. The day-long program taught students criminal courtroom procedures from attorney volunteers. Elementary students served as bailiffs in their respective courtrooms, and older participants were split by age into teams of four. Half of the students served as prosecutors and the other half as defense attorneys, and each team prepared an opening statement, direct examination and closing statement. Local judges presided over competition rounds, and attorney and law school volunteers served as witnesses and helped draft arguments and questions. A more complete summary of the program appeared in the May 2014 Michigan Bar Journal.

The YLS also received the American Bar Endowment Outstanding Public Service Award for its "Cracking the Legal Field Pipeline Diversity Mock Trial Competition." The American Bar Endowment sponsors a special award for outstanding public service in recognition of an exceptional, unique and exemplary project of a young lawyer bar group.

The first place finishes in the ABA Young Lawyers Division Awards of Achievement contest are especially significant because this year, for the first time, the SBM Young Lawyers Section exceeded 8,000 members, and they competed for awards with the biggest state bar association young lawyer divisions in the country.

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