Spring is my favorite season. Flowers blooming. Birds chirping. The Blue Devils (hopefully) winning. And, as you know, spring represents renewal and hope, youth and growth. But while the days of being able to legitimately claim youth may have passed for me (and some of you), we can all celebrate renewal, hope and growth.
As I was thinking about the changing of the seasons, I was struck by how these themes are reflected in some of the MCB’s flagship programs.
For example, on the very day I wrote this column, representatives from several law firms and in-house legal departments completed their interviews of 27 finalists for the Charlotte Legal Diversity Clerkship (CLDC). Now in its 14th year, the CLDC program offers diverse 1L students from across the country the opportunity to work in a law firm for six weeks and a corporate legal department for three weeks. Sprinkled throughout the summer are programs (social and otherwise) to introduce the students to the MCB and the Charlotte community. The 2020 CLDC program will be the largest yet, with 22 employers and 14 clerks. Having met and interviewed these law students, I can assure you there is good reason to be hopeful about our profession and our community. And for these students, having completed just one semester of law school, the CLDC presents a rare opportunity for their own personal and professional growth. The program’s success is more evident with each passing year. Two CLDC alumni are now partners in Charlotte and approximately 30 alumni are currently working in the Charlotte legal market. That is something about which the MCB is rightfully proud.
Speaking of personal and professional growth, the MCB Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) kicked off its 17th class on February 6. The Honorable Albert Diaz from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was the keynote speaker and inspired the class of 20 lawyers who come from firms large and small as well as in-house and government. As a graduate of the 2007 BLI class, I know these young lawyers will benefit from building relationships with each other and renewing their passion and engagement in the practice of law and service to our profession.
Finally, the annual Hon. James B. McMillian Fellowship Fund Dinner was held at the end of February. The dinner is the primary funding source for the McMillan Fellowships which are awarded to deserving law students who serve at local governmental and non-profit agencies including the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, Office of the Federal Public Defender for the WDNC, International House, Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office, the U. S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. To date, almost 40 of the past McMillan Fellows are now members of the MCB, including two of this year’s BLI participants. Renewal, hope and growth easily come to mind when considering the work of these agencies and the students who choose to serve there.
I hope spring represents a time of renewal, hope and growth for each of you as well, particularly for my UNC friends who are no doubt hoping for a better season next year!