The ABA Young Lawyers Division again recognized the projects of the VBA Young Lawyers Division in its Awards of Achievement as among the best in the nation in 2012-2013. Opening Statement earned a second place in the Newsletter category and the Backpack to Briefcase program took second place in the Service to the Bar category. The Capitol Region Town Hall Committee received special recognition in the Service to the Public category. Overall, the VBA YLD projects ranked second in a Comprehensive overview among state bars of our size.
In 2011-2012, the VBA YLD earned a second place in the Comprehensive category in consideration of eight projects, and a certificate of performance in the Service to the Public category for statewide bars of our size. The Service to the Public award recognized the Ask A Lawyer program.
In the 2010-2011 contest, the VBA YLD earned three Awards of Achievement from the American Bar Association YLD: first in Comprehensive, and seconds in the Service to the Bar and in the Minority categories.
Historical Highlights of the VBA YLD
1956: Special Committee for Younger Members of the Bar proposes the establishment of a Junior Bar Section. 1957: VBA bylaws amended to establish a permanent Junior Bar Section of members 36 years of age or younger. Section sponsors a special ceremony to introduce attorneys to the Supreme Court of Virginia. 1958: Section obtains authority to sponsor the regional competition of the 10th National Moot Court Competition of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York for 1959. 1959: Award of Achievement Committee established. 1960: Section is requested to handle all tournament arrangements at Annual Meetings. 1961: First Executive Committee composed; Manual and lectures for a “Bridge-the-Gap” course prepared. Annual Meeting Committee sponsors first program. 1962: The Basic Practice Handbook offered for sale. Junior Bar first referred to as “Young Lawyers Section.” 1963: VBA Executive Committee votes unanimously that Junior Bar Chair serve as an ex officio member; Junior Bar program of service significantly expanded. 1964: Law Day Committee established. 1965: First ABA Award of Achievement received; Legal Aid and Defense of Indigent Committees established. 1966: Panels of young attorneys speak before law school graduating classes for first time. 1967: ABA Liaison Committee established; Law School Liaison Committee implemented. 1968: Admissions Committee holds first qualification ceremony before Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. 1969: Law-and-Clergy Committee holds first all-day seminar for ministers in Richmond. 1970: Section endorses development of law-related education (LRE) programs for Virginia high school students as major project. 1971: Youth and the Law Committee formally established. 1972: Section Executive Committee endorses proposed legislation on indeterminate sentencing drafted by the Crime and Crime Control Commission. 1973: Disaster Legal Assistance Committee formed. 1974: LRE programs offered to all seventh-graders in Richmond public schools. 1975: Model Judiciary Committee formed to educate Virginia high school students about the judicial process through mock trial competition; Legal Services to the Public Committee formed to provide LRE through community colleges. 1976: Acclaimed film, “The Supreme Court,” is produced by Law Day/Liberty Bell Award Committee and shown regularly at U.S. Supreme Court. 1977: Disaster Legal Assistance Committee aids flood victims in Southwest Virginia; “The Supreme Court” honored by ABA as top young lawyer project in U.S. 1978: Joint Committee on Law-Related Education formed with VSB Young Lawyers Conference. 1979: Child Abuse Project sponsors TV public service announcements. 1980: First Fellows Award presented in recognition of members’ promoting the VBA’s mission through outstanding service. 1981: First ABA Award of Achievement Competition first-place comprehensive award received. 1982: First Town Hall Meeting Committee formed. 1983: First VBA executive director hired; VBA headquarters moved to Richmond from Charlottesville. 1984: First-of-its-kind “Statewide Call-a-Lawyer Program” is aired on public TV. 1985: Town Hall Meeting Committee sponsors gubernatorial candidates’ debate; Lawyers for the Arts Committee formed. 1986: VBA YLD receives three ABA Awards of Achievement for the first time. 1987: First Recruiting Roundtable held by Law School Liaison Committee; Law and Citizenship Studies Committee produces documentary on the Constitution. 1988: First woman chair of the YLD takes office. 1989: VBA YLD prepares a regular column in Virginia’s The Farm Bureau News. 1990: VBA YLD and Richmond Bar begin major pro bono initiative in housing and family law assistance to the indigent. 1991: Pro Bono Hotline concept first discussed; Minority Recruitment Program formed. 1992: Minority Recruitment Program develops relationships with numerous minority high school and college students interested in law as a career. 1993: The first Pro Bono Hotline is created in Richmond with Central Virginia Legal Aid and becomes a model for other areas. 1994: The Working Parent’s Handbook: A Guide to the Legal and Practical Aspects of Childcare is published. 1995: VBA receives ABA’s Harrison Tweed Award for Pro Bono Hotlines, recognized as the top U.S. pro bono project. 1996: First Pro Bono Hotline Summit held; NCAA Circuit Riders Program launched to assist Virginia high school athletes with understanding NCAA eligibility criteria. 1997: Hampton Roads Town Hall Meeting Committee sponsors attorney general candidates’ debate. 1998: Domestic Violence Project Committee offers training in Northern Virginia for advocates; Legal Services for Mentally Ill receives state and national honors. 1999: Child Support Enforcement Committee established. 2000: Disaster Legal Assistance receives top American Bar Endowment honors as Outstanding Public Service Project. 2001: VBA YLD sweeps Division IC first-place honors in the Comprehensive, Service to the Bar and Service to the Public categories in the ABA Awards of Achievement competition. 2002: “Protecting Children” video produced and distributed statewide to mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse. 2003: “Protecting Children” video honored by the ABA as the top public service project in the nation; “Wills for Heroes”project launched. 2004: VBA YLD publishes Division News, the VBA's first regular electronic newsletter. 2005: “Protecting Adults at Risk” video honored by the ABA as the top public service project in the nation. 2006: VBA YLD becomes involved in the "Choose Law" program started by the ABA 2007: As the VBA YLD celebrates its 50th anniversary, it assists the Attorney General of Virginia in launching the first statewide "Legal Food Frenzy "to fight hunger, the YLD hosts the first annual Diversity Job Fair 2008: VBA YLD received an award in all four categories (1 first place, 3 second) at the ABA summer meeting. 2009: VBA YLD sponsored Lieutenant Governor debate.