Message from New YLD ChairBy Maria E. Bermudez
I truly believe the Young Lawyers Division provides young lawyers with the opportunity to substantially advance their careers by providing them with a network, practical experience and education. I am grateful for the years I have spent as a member of the YLD and I am so honored to be your chair for 2015. My journey with the YLD started five years ago, when former Chancellor Kathleen Wilkinson of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP approached me with an invitation to serve as a Young Lawyers Division liaison. At the time, I thought I was doing her and both organizations a favor by being their messenger. I knew very little about the Philadelphia Bar Association, and nothing about the YLD. I was lucky to have Jennifer Coatsworth of Margolis Edelstein as my co-liaison to guide me along the way. Thanks Jen! After my first year of involvement, I could see very clearly all the benefits of being an active Bar member. I could also see that Kathleen was the one doing me the favor by getting me involved. I decided to make it official and run for a three-year term elected position on the Executive Committee. As a member of the Executive Committee, I immediately gravitated toward the community outreach projects, such as Law Week and Harvest for the Homeless. Beyond the personal satisfaction volunteering provides, I found that being of service along side of my colleagues created a bond and friendship that I am confident will be maintained throughout our careers. I have found one of the most impressive aspects of the YLD to be the support it provides to its members in pursuing what is important to them. I have seen members be fully supported when proposing new resolutions, CLE ideas, 20/20 topics, networking opportunities or new programs. This is an attitude that was shared by our outgoing chair, Ed Beitz, and the chairs before him. I too believe that while I am leading the YLD this year, my job is to be of service to the membership, Executive Committee and Cabinet. Therefore, I welcome new ideas to move us forward as a group and as individuals. A few years ago, with the support of the YLD, I created a new community outreach project to benefit children and teachers in impoverished areas of the city - the YLD School Supply Drive. At the time, we didn’t need another project. Anyone involved with the YLD knows our schedule is packed. However, this was something important to me. Aneesh Mehta, the chair at the time, enthusiastically agreed to put the School Supply Drive under the YLD umbrella. That year we had two corporate donations and thousands of dollars in other donated school and office supplies that filled an entire conference room at my firm. This is the spirit of the YLD - both service and supporting other young lawyers. In addition to the obvious benefits of camaraderie, education and helping people in need, being a part of the YLD has had numerous practical advantages. We create and maintain a budget, raise funds and we coordinate with others to pull off more than 50 programs a year. I think the skills developed as part of the YLD Executive Committee have made me a better attorney and manager. They also translate into other areas of interest such as political and nonprofit board involvement. Over the next year, I plan to work with the YLD Cabinet and Executive Committee to encourage further YLD involvement to the membership at large. I want all of our members to know that they too can use the YLD and Bar Association as a resource for personal and professional development. In order to help get this message across, and encourage further involvement, the YLD Cabinet for 2015 plans to create a task force designed to strengthen our relationship with other Bar sections, affinity bar associations and other attorney organizations in the city. Once again, I thank the YLD and the Bar Association for giving me this opportunity. I am looking forward to what I know will be an amazing year. However, I am only able to fully commit to this service because of the support of my firm, Martin Law. I am grateful to my family at Martin Law for encouraging my Bar involvement, especially with the YLD. Maria E. Bermudez (email@example.com), an associate Martin LLC, is chair of the Young Lawyers Division.