YLD Column

YLD Launches New Lunch & Learn Series

In February, the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) launched a new lunch and learn series designed to introduce law students and young lawyers to a variety of legal fields and career paths. This new series was developed by Sheila Spence, Division Director for the YLD’s Community Outreach Division, in partnership with the YLD Council and YLD liaisons to the NCBA Sections.

In each monthly session, a member of the YLD Council moderates a virtual panel discussion highlighting a particular practice area or job type and providing a look into what it is really like to work in that field. The panels are also designed to be interactive and provide an opportunity for participants to network with, and ask questions of, the speakers.

The first lunch and learn session was held on February 17, and focused on sports and entertainment law. Sheila Spence, YLD Division Director and Liaison to the Sports and Entertainment Law Section, moderated a panel discussion with Whitney Frye, Director of SafeSport for USA Basketball, and Alexa Whiteside, an associate with Ramo Law PC who serves as production and distribution legal counsel in the motion picture, TV, and new media industries. A recording of the panel is available here.

The second panel, held March 17, examined the role and typical day of in-house counsel. The discussion was moderated by Collins Saint, an attorney with Brooks Pierce and YLD Division Director, and featured speakers Catherine Lane, General Counsel for Noregon Systems, Inc., and Patricia Kelly, Associate General Counsel at Novant Health, Inc. A recording of the panel is available here.

Part three of the series explored careers with public service and non-profit entities. This virtual session was held on April 21, included speakers Larissa Mervin, a Supervising Attorney with the Domestic Violence Unit of Legal Aid, and Taittiona Miles, a Staff Attorney with N.C. Prisoner Legal Services, and was moderated by Brandon McPherson, a partner at Schwartz & Shaw, PLLC and the co-chair of the YLD’s Disaster Legal Services Committee. A recording of the panel is available here.

The fourth panel in the series was held on May 19, and focused on “Working in Big Law.” This panel featured Xavier Lightfoot, an attorney with Ward and Smith, P.A. and YLD Liaison to the Litigation Section, and Jamey Lowdermilk, an attorney with Brooks Pierce and YLD Liaison to the Bankruptcy Section. Will Quick, YLD Chair-Elect and a partner at Brooks Pierce, moderated the panel. The panelists discussed what it takes to work for a large law firm, the pros and cons of working in “big law” and a typical day for an associate in a large firm.

In total, more than 75 young lawyers and law students participated in the first three lunch and learn sessions. These virtual discussions are a valuable resource for our law students and young lawyer members, as they are able to receive practical advice and insight from our speakers into fields that they may not otherwise be exposed to in law school or the early days of their careers. The lunch and learn series will be on a brief hiatus over the summer, but will return in the fall!

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

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