Dear Judge Julie:
It was good seeing you last week at the President’s Reception at the MSBA Annual Meeting, where we had a chance to talk while consuming some deep fried seafood and domestic beer. You made me promise that I start writing for Generation J.D. again, despite my insistence that my age and location in life no longer makes me a “young lawyer.”
Some days, I still feel young, ready to take on the world (or a dreadful opposing counsel) with energy and gusto; on others, I feel the weight of my age. I guess that is part of moving from young lawyer to middle-aged lawyer. The lenses in which I see the world and my career differs from five years ago or ten. I guess that is part of becoming an experienced lawyer.
With this year’s conference being a joint bench/bar meeting, talking with all of the attendees was impossible, but I am glad we could catch up (though am disappointed that you did not make the Young Lawyer’s Fun Run, which I can only confirm because you did not win). I never fully understood why lawyers, especially young lawyers, opt to skip the MSBA Annual Meeting. Between the CLEs and networking opportunities, the conference seems like a no-brainer.
After all, where else can a young lawyer go and chat with every judge in the state, as well as politicians, the MSBA Board of Governors and hundreds of other potential co-counsel, opposing counsel, or referral sources in one room? I understand that three days of small talk may be exhausting, and one’s firm may see it simply as a vacation, but the long-term benefits cannot be denied. A healthy portion of my work comes through referrals from other attorneys, some of my best friends were met through the MSBA, and it’s fun.
For example, toward the tail-end of the President’s reception, a group of us decided it was time to call it a night. We headed back to our condo and invited a couple of other friends. Before we knew it, we had nine attorneys enjoying each other’s company for a few hours. Of the nine attorneys, six were past MSBA Young Lawyer’s Chairs and one was the current chair. And, but for the MSBA, we never would have been in the same condo in Ocean City in June, laughing late into the night. That is what the conference (and the MSBA) is to me.
I look forward to seeing you sooner than next year’s conference, but I know where to find you in mid-June 2017. Hopefully other young lawyers will make the trek down Route 50.
Michael W. Siri
P.S. As this is an open letter, I decided to address you as “Judge” but also “Julie.” You will always be “judge” or “your honor” (a bit of advice that I previously blogged about when I was truly a young lawyer). As you know, I mean no disrespect.