YLD 2020: Who We Are and What We Do


2020-21 YLD Executive Leadership, from top left: Will Quick, Lisa Arthur, Jonathan Bogues, Cabell Clay, Brandon McPherson, Collins Saint, Sheila Spence, Andrew Atkins and Leila Hicks

The Young Lawyers Division has long been known as the “service arm” of the North Carolina Bar Association – both for the service we provide to young lawyers and law students in North Carolina, and for the YLD’s commitment to serving our communities.

This year, the need to live up to that moniker is more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges and new stressors to young lawyers and law students. Young lawyers must continue to juggle the demands of their careers and their families, many while adjusting to working from home and helping their children with remote learning. Law students are facing the added challenges of virtual classes, preparing for the bar exam remotely, and job hunting in a weakened economy. Many young lawyers and law students are also dealing with the mental strain caused by the isolation and uncertainty that the pandemic has created. Members of our communities are facing unique and growing legal needs arising from COVID-19, and yet may have less access to legal services now than they did before.

While we may not be able to gather in person or hold many of our traditional networking, pro bono or law school events this year, the YLD is ready to rise to this challenge and help our members, law students and communities through these unprecedented times. We are overcoming the obstacles that the COVID-19 pandemic has created for the YLD and embracing the opportunities that our current “virtual reality” has provided in allowing us to reach more of our members than ever with online programming.

Executive Committee

My confidence in the ability of the YLD to achieve our mission owes in large part to our strong team of leaders. The Young Lawyers Division is overseen by an Executive Committee comprised of the following individuals:

  • Will Quick, Chair-Elect — Will is a partner with Brooks Pierce in Raleigh and practices in the areas of complex business litigation and privacy and data security.
  • Lisa Arthur, Secretary — Lisa is an associate with Fox Rothschild in Greensboro with a litigation practice focused on municipal defense, employment discrimination, condemnation and general business matters.
  • Jonathan Bogues, Administrative Division Director — Jonathan is an associate at Jordan Price Wall Gray Jones & Carlton, PLLC in Raleigh, where he is a member of the real estate section.
  • Cabell Clay, Immediate Past Chair — Cabell is a partner at Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte and practices employment and commercial litigation.
  • Brandon McPherson, ABA District 9 Representative — Brandon is a partner at Schwartz & Shaw, PLLC where his practice focuses on education law.
  • Collins Saint, ABA State Bar Delegate and Division Director for the YLD’s Bar Outreach Division — Collins is an associate with Brooks Pierce in Greensboro and practices in the areas of education law and business litigation, with a focus on diversity and civil rights issues.
  • Sheila Spence, Division Director for the YLD’s Community Outreach Division — Sheila is a Strategic Policy Consultant with BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.
  • Andrew Atkins, Division Director for the YLD’s Civic Engagement & Pro Bono Division — Andrew is a construction and commercial litigation attorney with Smith Anderson in Raleigh.
  • Leila Hicks, Division Director for the YLD’s Law Student Outreach Division — Leila practices with the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in Durham where her practice focuses on personal injury litigation.

In addition to the leaders listed above, the Young Lawyers Division has created 14 committees to oversee our programs and events this year. Each of these committees is led by two co-chairs. Those committees and their co-chairs are listed below:

Bar Outreach Division
  • Membership and Outreach Committee – Zack Dawson (Fox Rothschild) and Denaa Griffin (Simpson Law)
  • New Lawyers in Practice Committee – Chris Edwards (Ward and Smith) and Dan Gibson (Stam Law Firm)
  • Wellness Committee – Holly Bannerman (Moore & Van Allen) and Logan Reilly (Moore & Van Allen)
  • Communications Committee – Christina Cress (Bailey & Dixon) and Claire O’Brien (Brooks Pierce)
Community Outreach Division
  • Legal LINK Committee – Larrisa Mervin (Legal Aid of North Carolina) and Terrie Nelson (Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog)
  • Legal Feeding Frenzy Committee – Erin Ball (Gardner Skelton) and Michele Livingstone (Kennon Craver)
  • Diversity & Inclusion Committee – Taylor Dewberry (Smith Anderson) and Sonya Rikhye (Bagchi Law)
  • Law Week & Liberty Bell Committee – Sidney Thomas (North Carolina General Assembly) and Will Walton (N.C. Department of Justice)
Civic Engagement and Pro Bono Division
  • Pro Bono Committee – Nisel Desai (CarnesWarwick) and Samantha Gordon (Jones Branz & Whitaker)
  • Foundation & Development Committee – Eleanor Gilroy (Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog) and Nick Leger (Atlantic Coast Law)
  • Civic Engagement Committee – Bryan Norris (N.C. Court of Appeals) and Kevin Sweat (Lord Law Firm)
  • Disaster Legal Services Committee – Brandon McPherson (Schwartz & Shaw) and Brad Piland (Legal Aid of North Carolina)
Law Student Division
  • Law Student Outreach Committee – Kayla Britt (N.C. Court of Appeals) and Matt Meinel (Berkeley Research Group)
  • Bar Exam Committee – Whitney Hosey (Narron Wenzel) and Lexi Narducci (Moore & Van Allen)
YLD Committees

Each of these committees has already been hard at work planning programs and creating resources for our members and our communities.

The Law Student Outreach Committee has undertaken a number of projects to assist our state’s law students. They recently launched a virtual version of the YLD’s Grab-a-Coffee networking program that pairs law students with practicing attorneys for networking and mentorship. This program will be especially meaningful for students this year, as they navigate law school in a virtual environment and face the additional uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In October, the Committee held Zoom panels for law students on “What I Wish I’d Known in Law School” and “Finding that First Job and Setting Yourself up for Success”. The Committee is planning a number of other panels for our law students, including a discussion on alternative legal careers to be held in December.

The Bar Exam Committee is working on a number of programs to help law students preparing for the bar exam. In November, the Committee held a virtual bar prep panel for Elon law students and published a blog post with important information for students taking the bar exam in 2021. The Committee is also planning additional panels related to bar prep and other programs for the spring semester.

The YLD’s Civic Engagement Committee aims to educate and empower young lawyers to be leaders in our communities by running for office, serving on boards and commissions or through advocacy. The Committee held a panel titled “Messaging Pointers and Media Pratfalls: Insight on Effective Campaign Communication” on October 16, featuring a stellar lineup of public messaging experts and journalists that answered questions pertinent to both political campaigning and issue advocacy. The Civic Engagement Committee intends to hold two additional online panels later this bar year.

This year, our Wellness Committee will be publishing quarterly blog posts on wellness-related topics relevant to young lawyers on the YLD Blog. The first article in the series was posted in October and focused on the importance of self-care during COVID-19. The Committee is also planning to hold free virtual fitness or meditation classes for the YLD membership.

To help the newest members of our profession connect with one another and lawyers from across the state, the Membership and Networking and New Lawyers in Practice Committees partnered together to a hold a networking social for newly licensed attorneys before the Professionalism for New Attorneys CLE in October. Members of the YLD leadership team also held a panel discussion entitled “What I Didn’t Learn in Law School” during the PNA and shared practical tips and advice with new lawyers.

Our New Lawyers in Practice Committee is working on a series of How-to-Practice guides designed to teach new attorneys how to handle certain matters that are not often taught in law school, such as how to form a corporation, file a complaint, probate a will or assist a client with an absolute divorce. These guides will be particularly helpful for new attorneys who are going into solo practice or do not have access to mentors who can help them in these areas.

The Legal Feeding Frenzy Committee has already begun planning for this year’s Legal Feeding Frenzy, which will take place during the month of March. The Legal Feeding Frenzy is a food and fund drive run by the YLD in partnership with Feeding the Carolinas. With the help of our legal communities, last year we raised a record-breaking $151,000 or 600,000 pounds of food through the Legal Feeding Frenzy. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased food insecurity across North Carolina, so our Legal Feeding Frenzy Committee is aiming to meet or exceed that amount this year.

Our Pro Bono Committee is partnering with the North Carolina Bar Foundation and our state’s law schools to encourage young lawyers and law students to engage in pro bono work.

These are just a few of the many programs and events that our committees are working on this bar year. To learn more about the work of the YLD, check out our YLD Blog. We also welcome all young lawyer and law student members of the NCBA to join one of our YLD committees and help us fulfill our mission of serving our members and our communities!

Kristen Kirby is the 2020-21 chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

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