Member Focus

Zack Kaplan Selected as a YLD Star of the Quarter

Zack Kaplan’s work in helping plan panels and tabling events at local high schools through the Legal LINK Committee and hosting the Regional Moot Court Competition through the Law Week and Liberty Bell Committee in the last quarter led to him being selected as a YLD Star of the Quarter.

Zack became involved with the YLD for two reasons. First, he knew it would be a great opportunity to build meaningful personal and professional relationships with other young, engaged lawyers across the state. Second, as a former teacher who missed engaging with students, he was excited to join YLD committees that work with young people, including the Legal LINK Committee and the Law Week/Liberty Bell Committee.

Zack’s experience being involved with the YLD this quarter was meaningful. At Legal LINK and Law Week/Liberty Bell events, he was reminded of the brilliance and boldness of young people when given an opportunity to engage in challenges.

So much adult rhetoric about young people right now is deeply skeptical of their potential: they’re on social media too much, they aren’t willing to work hard, blah, blah, blah. It’s “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” But when we do just a little bit of work to create meaningful opportunities for students to engage and grow, and then get out of their way, we might just find that the kids are alright.

This quarter, Zack is most excited for the finals of the high school moot court competition on Law Day, May 3. The four finalists will get to engage in live appellate advocacy at the North Carolina Supreme Court in front of real, live judges and justices on an interesting issue of criminal constitutional law. You get to see in real-time as the students face down their nerves, rise to the occasion, and–win or lose–gain an incredible experience that they will remember for years to come.

Oftentimes I get the strong feeling that it won’t be the last time these kids are stepping up to the podium at our Supreme Court.

Zack advises new YLD members to engage thoughtfully. There are far too many great Committees, Divisions and Sections in the NCBA for one person to meaningfully participate in everyone they’re interested in. Instead, Zack recommends surveying the field, reflecting on which programs would be uniquely meaningful for you, and then selectively diving into those.

For me, that was committees that engage with students, and I have loved my experience in those.

Zack and his wife, Ashley, at the North Carolina Supreme Court, where he had the opportunity to conduct his first appellate argument last week!

The Young Lawyers Division is often referred to as the service arm of the NCBA because so many young lawyers are involved in a multitude of worthwhile projects and public service endeavors. Interested in joining an upcoming event or program? View the events calendar.