It’s no surprise that a young attorney from your company has requested to attend the DRI Young Lawyers Seminar. Before you decide, consider this:

• The seminar will help develop critical skills that in-house counsel need to successfully defend their corporate clients.
• The seminar provides an opportunity to meet and gain insight from other in-house counsel from across the country including several from Fortune 500 Companies. This is an opportunity to exchange ideas and build business relationships with corporate counsel from Ford, Invacare, Lennar, Pfizer, U-Haul, Dell, Wyndham, John Deere and other companies.
• The general session includes many topics particularly relevant to in-house counsel including preparing litigation budgets.
• There is also a corporate counsel breakout session with topics tailored to assist young in-house lawyers more effectively manage their varied job responsibilities, including corporate compliance responsibilities and cost management. This break out will provide your young lawyer a unique opportunity to collaborate with other in-house counsel in a forum open only to in-house counsel.
• Attending the seminar will give a young lawyer at your company the opportunity to build relationships with outside counsel from across the nation.
• The seminar provides excellent CLE from nationally recognized speakers, experienced and successful trial lawyers, a state bar investigator and others. Your in-house counsel will receive training from top litigators and learn the critical skills needed to defend their corporate clients successfully.
• The Young Lawyers community service project at Community Partnership for the Homeless provides a unique opportunity to give back to the community while making meaningful connections with other seminar attendees.
• Seminar registration is free if the lawyer is within their first ten years of practice and has not yet used their DRI Young Lawyer Certificate for a free seminar.

If there is one seminar that someone from your company should attend this year, it’s the DRI Young Lawyers Seminar, Advanced Litigation Techniques For a Successful Defense. For more information, go to

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Can a bunch of young lawyers talking about advanced litigation techniques in Miami Beach really yield any solid business leads for the firm? With the myriad of other substantive seminars and programs hosted by the DRI each year, it's easy to see why many young defense lawyers run into this question during their quest for CLE funding. Unlike these other seminars, the June 17-18, 2010 YL program extends across all substantive fields and is focused instead on one criteria: years in practice.

While they might not be there yet, the attendees at this conference will someday lead their firms and many will eventually move in-house with major corporations. While it's easy to make these kind of bold statements, I have recently observed this exact phenomenon in the political sphere where many of my student government friends from high school and college now hold significant positions at all levels of government. The same folks who hosted debates and designed campaign posters with me are now "running the show" and I have no doubt that the dedicated continent of young defense lawyers in Miami Beach will someday (perhaps not too far down the road) hold similar positions in their respective spheres of influence.

If you are a young lawyer (10 years or less in practice), you should seriously consider the long term benefits of attending this June seminar. If you're a senior partner, think about sending a couple of your "rising stars" who have shown a real interest in business development.

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June 17-18, 2010 - Eden Roc Miami Beach

DRI’s annual Young Lawyers Seminar is designed to develop the critical skills that defense lawyers and in-house counsel need to defend their corporate clients successfully. This program boasts distinguished faculty from around the country, including in-house lawyers from some of the most recognized companies in America, experienced and successful trial lawyers, a state bar investigator and some of the best speakers from DRI’s Young Lawyers Committee. In addition, there is a corporate counsel breakout session, open only to in-house counsel, which will provide corporate attendees with unique presentations designed specifically for them. Attendees also will have an opportunity for a truly rewarding experience through participation in a special community service project on Wednesday. Please join DRI’s Young Lawyers Committee in Miami to hone your trial skills and benefit from numerous networking opportunities.

Click here for online registration.

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Young Lawyers - The Future of Mediation

Posted on September 10, 2009 03:14 by David L. Campbell

Why is it that virtually every mediator I've encountered during my five years of practice has had grey hair? There appears to be a growing misconception that a mediator must either have 40+ years of practice under thier belt or have recently "retired" from the bench to a more lucrative mediation role. Do senior practitioners really have secret facilitative gifts that only begin to manifest themselves later in life?

Here's the problem. Spending your entire life deciding cases from the bench or battling in the trenches of litigation require a very different skill set than those necessary to successfully facilitate a positive and mutually acceptable agreement between bitter enemies. Simply placing the parties into seperate rooms (sometimes after a joint session) and throwing numbers back and forth is not real mediation, although it can be somewhat successful. The ability to identify weaknesses in the respective positions of each parties (from long years of experience), while great for judicial settlement conferences, also doesn't fit the bill as true facilitative mediation.

Having taken a 40 hour court-approved mediation traning course while in law school, and having continued to mediate a variety of cases every since, I can speak from experience in stating that some of the best mediators I have ever observed in action are not even lawyers. If folks who are social workers, teachers, and others with diverse educational backgrounds can successfully mediate, why not young lawyers?

Perceptions aside, most young lawyers view thier lack of experience as the greatest stumbling block to mediation. Regretfully, many of the senior practioners who snap up this work have little to no experience serving as mediators before hanging up their shingle. Sure they may have participated as counsel to a party at mediation or they may have presided over settlement conferences, but this experience rarely translates seamlessly into thier new role as mediator. Instead, the trenches of mediation experience are the community based mediation centers that can now be found in every corner of the United States.

Like many other young lawyers, I cut my teeth as a community based volunteer mediator working on a wide range of cases, from family and probate disputes, to contract claims and real property battles. With many district courts across the country now sending cases to community based mediation early in the litigation, you'll be thrilled at the wide variety of matters you will quickly find yourself mediating. I fondly recall putting together a parenting time agreement that included details no court order would ever consider. Both parties were reasonably happy with the outcome, something that never would have happened if the Court had been forced to intervene. Unlike evaluative mediation that requires the mediator to have a certain level of familiarity with the practice area, facilitative mediation often works better if the mediator does not have a strong background in the area, as it helps them remain an impartial neutral. This allows the mediator to fully control the process, while the parties work through and often resolve thier conflicts.

If you are ready to take the next step towards becoming a mediator, I highly recommend that you visit the National Association for Community Mediation at They can help you get connected with a local mediation center and the various training courses necessary to obtain court-roster approval. While the skills and experience you will gain through mediation are different than those employed in your legal practice, you'll be amazed at how these two skill sets complement each other. With the right experience and training, young lawyers can be great mediators. Let's dispell the myth and prove that its real experience mediating cases, and not grey hair, that makes the mediator!

David L. Campbell*
Attorney / Barrister & Solicitor
Bowman and Brooke LLP
50 W. Big Beaver, Suite 600
Troy, MI 48084
Direct: 248.687.5326
Mobile: 519.890.9041
Fax: 248.743.0422
* also licensed in Ontario, Canada

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