Thursday, September 10, 2015

YLD President's Message: A New and Exciting Year for the YLD

By Dara Cooley

     As we begin a new year, I am delighted to have this opportunity to introduce myself and share my vision for the Hillsborough County Young Lawyers Division — a vision built on the successes of the past president and the entire 2014-2015 executive committee.

     To tell a bit about myself, I was raised in a small town in Northern Michigan with two disabled siblings and a family dedicated to advocating on their behalf. My upbringing informs why and how I practice law — fighting for those injured by negligence and misconduct. Also, I serve on the board of the Lawyers Autism Awareness Foundation, fundraise for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and have actively participated in the YLD since the start of my career. Now, I am honored to be the new YLD president and look forward to serving the needs of our young lawyers.

     This is an exciting year for the Young Lawyers Division. I, along with the entire 2015-2016 executive committee, am committed to providing young lawyers with events and programs that will catapult their professional development. We will strive to ensure that your membership in our organization makes you feel more comfortable in whatever you want to contemplate and achieve. This year, young lawyers will have many opportunities to not only network with other lawyers and judges, but also to find mentors and get more involved with the local Bar association. 

     The practice of law can be stressful; the hours are long, and clients are demanding. This is why your membership in the YLD is so important; it is an opportunity to establish and build relationships with other young lawyers and to simply smile, laugh, and have fun. We will continue to host quarterly happy hours and luncheons, in addition to promoting wellness and mindfulness to ease the demands of our profession.

     This year, we already have fantastic programs scheduled, including the Judicial Shadowing Program, Coffee at the Courthouse, the annual YLD Golf Tournament, the HCBA 5K Pro Bono River Run & Judicial Pig Roast/Food Festival, and the State Court Trial Seminar. I strongly encourage all young lawyers – new and old members alike – to get involved and participate in the YLD programs.

     We are fortunate to have more than 1,000 members in our section. It is amazing to think of everything we can accomplish. The Young Lawyers Division will continue our tradition of community service and build upon the successes of last years’ programs, which included pro bono services through Attorney ad Litem, Wills for Heroes, and Family Forms Clinic, along with community outreach through Law Week, Judge Robert Simms High School Mock Trial Competition, and youth service projects. 
For more information about the Young Lawyers Division, please check out our Facebook page, “Hillsborough County Bar Young Lawyers Division,” or the HCBA’s website, or please feel free to contact me at any time at