February 2012 Bar Bulletin
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February 2012 Bar Bulletin

From the Desk of the Executive Director

The Future of the Bar: KCBA's Young Lawyers Division

By Andrew Prazuch

Throughout last year, I spent a lot of time travelling down KCBA memory lane, sharing with you all the interesting details I uncovered about our proud heritage of 125 years serving the legal profession and general public in King County.

As important as that past is, planning for the bar of tomorrow is even more critical to our Association's long-term success. The foundation of that future is our Young Lawyers Division (YLD).

The Young Lawyers Committee, as it was originally called, traces its origins to the end of World War II. According to Marc Lampson's history of KCBA, From Profanity Hill, there was a large influx of returning veterans who sought a legal education. The Washington Legislature helped make this happen when it allowed these students two quarters of law school credit for their time in military service. The result was the largest number of "new" bar members in the bar's history.

Over the years that followed, these new lawyers became a source of fresh lifeblood for the Association, reenergizing the Legal Aid Bureau in the late 1940s and by the early 1960s engaging the bar in the civil rights and social justice movements. By the 1970s, the now-named Young Lawyers Section was at the forefront of the bar's programs, calling for a special prosecutor to look into the Watergate cover-up, publishing the first edition of the Washington Lawyers Practice Manual, and establishing the first KCBA Neighborhood Legal Clinic. The WLPM and clinics have since grown so successful that they draw the involvement of not just YLD members, but KCBA members of all ages.

Today, these newest members of the bar are organized as the Young Lawyers Division. YLD provides professional development opportunities and information resources to lawyers who have been in the profession for five years or less, or who are 36 years old or under. KCBA members who meet one of these criteria are automatically part of YLD.

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