June 22, 2014

Remarks on the 60th Anniversary of the Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association

By request, below is a copy of the remarks I delivered at the North Carolina Bar Association's 2014 Annual Meeting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Young Lawyers Division:

Matt Cordell speaks about the history and values of the NCBA YLD
while outgoing chair Clark Walton awaits the passing of the gavel.
Photo by Cabell Clay

Remarks on the 60th Anniversary of the Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association

by Matthew A. (Matt) Cordell

This Annual Meeting of the North Carolina Bar Association marks the 60th anniversary of the Young Lawyers Division, which is an occasion worthy of taking a brief moment to commemorate. 
The YLD was established in 1954 as the "Junior Bar Section" under the leadership of Charles Blanchard.  Its membership was small—only 5 lawyers, as best we can tell from the available records.  In the beginning, it was primarily composed of male lawyers in their twenties returning from military service overseas.  Its original mission was "to promote and carry out the programs of the Association and to improve the administration of justice."  Over time, the Junior Bar Section grew, and became known as the Young Lawyers Division in 1981.  The YLD has continued to grow in the 33 years since, and we now number 6,451.
From its inception, the YLD has been recognized as "the service arm of the Bar Association." It is the source of many of the Association's service initiatives, and has provided an enthusiastic workforce to carry out virtually all of the Association's service projects. 
In addition, the YLD is where the future leaders of the Association, the State, and the nation gain valuable leadership experience. This is evident from a brief summary of the accomplishments of the prior YLD chairs:
  • Six prior YLD chairs have become presidents of this Association.
  • One became president of the ABA. 
  • Seven became NCBA Section Chairs.
  • Seven chaired NCBA committees.
  • Two became president of the State Bar. 
  • Two more took the helm of Legal Aid. 
  • A significant number went on to hold public office. 
To underscore the point, note that these accomplishments reflect only the Division Chairs--one person each year. Scores of other YLD officers and committee chairs honed leadership skills in the YLD that enabled them to accomlish great things later in life. 
Today we honor all of the current and former members of the Young Lawyers Division for their dedication to the YLD's values of Service to the Public, Service to the Profession, and Leadership Training, and we thank each of you for your continuing support of the YLD.




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