The Law Student Division of the ABA provides many young lawyers with invaluable resources, benefits, and leadership opportunities. However, many students who are interested in pursuing a deeper level of engagement in the ABA aren’t sure how to continue their involvement as they enter the legal market. In this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast, host Fabiani Duarte chats with guest Bryan Rogers about the Young Lawyers Division and the Emerging Leaders Program that is helping law graduates seek significant leadership roles within the ABA.
Bryan Rogers is an associate attorney with the law firm Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP. He also served as the Law Student Division representative to the ABA Board of Governors-Elect and as a 7th Circuit Governor. Bryan then moved on to be the Law Student Division representative member of the ABA Board of Governors. He also was a member of the inaugural class of the ABA Young Lawyers Division Emerging Leaders program. Bryan graduated from Valparaiso University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2013) and was the recipient of the ABA Law Student Division’s Golden Key Award.
ABA Law Student Podcast
Seeding Success: Cultivating YLD Opportunities with Bryan Rogers
Intro: Hello listeners. This episode originally aired in March of 2016 and we are re-broadcasting it because we thought it would be a nice diversion for the midterm grind to hear about opportunities afforded by the Young Lawyers Division of the America Bar Association. With that said, keep your chin up, stay tuned. We hope you enjoy the episode.
Intro: Welcome to the official ABA Law Student Podcast, where we talk about issues that affect law students and recent grads. From finals and graduation, to the bar exam and finding a job, this show is your trusted resource for the next big step. You are listening to the Legal Talk Network.
Fabiani Duarte: Hello and welcome to another edition of the ABA Law Student Podcast on Legal Talk Network. I am Fabiani Duarte, Chair of the ABA Law Student Division. I am a third year law student at Mercer University’s School of Law in Georgia. Our show today is presented by the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division.
In this monthly podcast we interview guests and cover topics of interest for law students and recent grads, from finals to graduation and the bar exam, to finding a job. We hope this show is a trusted resource for you, our listeners.
For today’s show it’s my pleasure to welcome Bryan Rogers of the Young Lawyers Division and former leader of the Law Student Division. Welcome Bryan.
Bryan Rogers: Well, thank you Fabiani. I appreciate the time being here and I appreciate the invitation from the Law Student Division.
Fabiani Duarte: No problem. No problem. As one of our predecessors, that’s something that the Chair apparently always has the right or the privilege to recognize past leaders of the board. So, I don’t think I have ever really exercised that before, so here I am doing it.
Bryan Rogers: Well, as the leader of the board I appreciate that. I spent a number of good years with the Law Student Division. First, I did a little bit of work as a Governor of the Seventh Circuit, so people over there in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I am a graduate of Valparaiso University, so I served in that circuit as a Governor.
Spent one very good year with the Law Student Division in that capacity, and then I moved on and I ended up becoming the Law Student Division representative to the ABA Board of Governors in my third year.
Fabiani Duarte: Wow. So these are significant roles. You did a lot, three years, that’s the max that you could probably be involved.
Bryan Rogers: Yeah, so I mean I —
Fabiani Duarte: As a law student.
Bryan Rogers: Exactly. The application period begins and we really start getting involved in the Law Student Division, I believe, correct me if I am wrong Fabiani, but it would be January, February of your first year is really your opportunity, and I jumped on that opportunity and was able to become elected to the Governor’s position and then have the opportunity to serve as a Governor my 2L year and kept moving up my 3L year. It was quite an experience and really kind of got me involved right from the get-go there.
Fabiani Duarte: That’s something that’s awesome and as a real I think credit to, not just your interest, but also a great model for a lot of our current law students out there who want to be involved in the ABA and are interested in being involved at a different level, at a deeper level. And one of the topics that we want to cover today is how your involvement then in the Law Student Division was a seed that was planted for your involvement in the Young Lawyers Division and the ABA for the rest of your legal career.
Could you talk to us about how you transitioned from the Law Student Division into the rest of the ABA after you graduated?
Bryan Rogers: Absolutely. So there’s a lot of different paths that you can take, but I was fortunate enough to have some positive mentors in my law student days, who exposed me to the ABA at a young age, which young age is a 1L. I guess we can say I was young, I don’t know. So they exposed me to the Law Student Division and from there, there’s a whole issue of then obviously becoming a new young lawyer and how do you stay involved.
I was a leader and Fabiani is a leader and how do we continue to be involved with the Young Lawyers Division. And so I was fortunate enough to be in the inaugural class of the Emerging Leaders Program of the Young Lawyers Division.
The inaugural class of the Emerging Leaders Program started in what would now be 2013, 2014 bar year. And it was essentially — it is a Bridging the Gap Program. It was developed to allow individuals who served as leaders of the Law Student Division to migrate into the Young Lawyers Division and have significant roles in leadership positions.
So the program itself is designed for people who have already started to establish themselves as someone who wants to be involved and wants to be committed to the American Bar Association.
Fabiani Duarte: Well, wonderful. So the Emerging Leaders Program, you were part of the first class and that, like you said, it was a bridging type of opportunity. So once you got in, what did it do?
Bryan Rogers: The program itself is really tasked as, is kind of mentioned, it’s to integrate you into the Young Lawyers Division on a fundamental level and really understanding what they do and providing you an opportunity to do substantive work in what the Young Lawyers does.
So as the emerging leader you are appointed to one of the many boards or teams or committees of the Young Lawyers Division. In my circumstance that included appointment to the National Conferences Team and the Credentials Board.
As a member of the National Conferences Team I was able to attend all of the Young Lawyers Division meetings, which is four of them, and we were in charged with helping kind of run the meetings, but specifically the CLE aspects of the meetings and kind of managing with the different speakers and so on and so forth.
And then the NCT team is also charged with welcoming the first timers, attendees to these new meetings. So we would often kind of call the new on the list of registrants, we would call the new first-time attendees, welcome them, welcome to the conference, give them a heads up of what’s going to be happening.
The Credentials Board duty is to make sure that the assembly runs smoothly, involve taking votes and circumstances where there are potentially tie votes and actually counting those and really just the administration of assembly overall.
Fabiani Duarte: All right. So there’s a difference in I guess being a YLD Emerging Leader and being just a YLD general member then, yes?
Bryan Rogers: Absolutely. So with being an Emerging Leader I was immediately exposed to those types of opportunities that often young lawyers who are just kind of joining their first year out of practice, their second year out of practice don’t have the opportunity to engage in.
So I mean, the Young Lawyers Division every year goes through an appointment process, hundreds upon thousands of young lawyers apply for different appointments within the Division, and it’s obviously a competitive atmosphere. As an Emerging Leader when you are selected to be an Emerging Leader for that year, you are guaranteed a position on one of those teams, committees or boards that other people have to apply for in the general process.
Fabiani Duarte: So what do you do now in the YLD and did the Emerging Leaders Program help you get there?
Bryan Rogers: Emerging Leaders Program absolutely helped me get there. I mean, I couldn’t say that it didn’t, I would be lying. And it’s funny, because now my positions in the YLD actually involve the Emerging Leaders pretty significantly.
Currently I serve as the Vice Chair of the Membership Board and in that capacity one of my main tasks is to help manage the Emerging Leaders Program. This year we actually have six Emerging Leaders. Those Emerging Leaders are funded to attend two conferences; the fall YLD Conference and this midyear meeting.
They, as I have explained before, have the opportunity to serve on a board or a team or a committee, and then a large part of the program is to expose them both to leaders within the YLD, so past YLD members who have played significant roles in the Young Lawyers Division; current YLD leaders, let it be the Chair, somebody who serves in another officer position.
And then another big thing that I try to do with this group is to expose them to individuals beyond the YLD. So for example, we went with a Past Chair of GPSolo, the General Practice, Solo, Small Firm General Practice Division today. She has also served as a past Commissioner of the Youth at Risk Commission, and to really kind of just speak to them about your life as a lawyer, my time in the ABA, how my time in the ABA has exposed me to the legal community, and just really opportunities that a lot of young lawyers don’t have fresh into the practice.
Fabiani Duarte: So Bryan, now that you have been fresh in practice for a little amount of time, right, you graduated in what year?
Bryan Rogers: 2013 now. So I am going my third year out.
Fabiani Duarte: Oh man. I mean, you are right there. It was just like it was yesterday I bet.
Bryan Rogers: More than I like sometimes.
Fabiani Duarte: And so it’s probably not hard for you to imagine or remember what it was like to be in law school, if I was your little brother, I don’t know, do you have siblings?
Bryan Rogers: I do, but I am the youngest.
Fabiani Duarte: Okay. Well, let’s say you had a younger brother.
Bryan Rogers: I can live with that.
Fabiani Duarte: Who wanted to go to law school.
Bryan Rogers: Well, I can’t, but yeah.
Fabiani Duarte: What would you recommend as like the biggest piece of advice, maybe it’s more than one piece of advice that you would give them, what nugget of wisdom would you say, go to law school and do this?
Bryan Rogers: In terms of advice I guess I have two things; one while you are considering law school and one while you are in law school, one piece while you are in law school. Considering law school, anybody I have ever spoken with, and as much as you can call me a mentor three years out, I don’t know if I can officially claim that term yet, but if you are considering law school I recommend you take some time off.
I took about two years off. I was a middle school teacher. I traveled in Asia. I worked in an orphanage. I really had an opportunity to find out what I wanted to do and really expand the kind of person I was becoming and in a firm that I wanted to go to law school. And I think that a lot of individuals finish out their undergraduate degree, grind it out hard, spend four years doing well and really working hard to become a lawyer, forget that they might need a little time to confirm that that’s their aspiration.
Now, if you are already in law school, obviously it’s a bit of a different conversation, and honestly the only advice I can give is work really hard. I really enjoyed law school because I took some time off. I was back in school, I enjoyed it. I don’t think I took it for granted. I did well. And anybody who ever talks to me I say, just do well. Do the best you can. It’s three years. As everybody who is probably listening to this knows, it’s three very difficult years, but you prove yourself in those three years and you can open yourself up for a lot of opportunities, and I think that’s what kind of the endgame is here.
Fabiani Duarte: Well, and so as we all reach that endgame, I know for me, I graduate in May so I can’t wait. I also know that I look for a lot of life wisdom and advice and I know a lot of our law students who listen and general listeners are always interested in the life’s motto that we usually ask our guests about. Is there something that your family or your community or even just growing up and walking through life, through law school some motto or mantra or affirming belief that has guided you that you think would be useful to share?
Bryan Rogers: It’s kind of a tough question there. I mean, I think affirming principle is, it’s one thing that you can — it’s kind of relative as you grow older. So I think it’s taking advantage of opportunities. It might not be the initial opportunity that you thought you were really looking for or the one that you really wanted, but if you can find some good in it and you take advantage of that opportunity, do a really good job at it, you can really do some other great things thereafter, and I think that applies throughout your life. It absolutely applies to the legal field.
I mean, I was speaking with some law students at California Western earlier this week, and I talked to them about my first experience with my first job out of law school and it was, I didn’t necessarily think I would be doing what I ended up doing, but I learned a lot, and it was a great fit, and I ended up doing really well, and I am now at a different place, but it was with the support of the people that initially gave me my first shot that allowed me to move on and do different things.
So, make sure that you are doing something you enjoy and you love. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are not going to enjoy it and you are probably not going to do a good job. But if there’s something out there that somebody presents you with, take advantage of it and do it well and keep moving.
Fabiani Duarte: All right. Well, I am so glad we were able to take advantage of some of the time that you had here at the San Diego midyear meeting for the ABA. I want to thank you, Bryan Rogers, while the Vice Chair of the Membership Board.
Bryan Rogers: I appreciate that Fabiani and good luck on the rest of your year.
Fabiani Duarte: So what’s the best way to reach you Bryan?
Bryan Rogers: If anybody has any questions about kind of what they are doing in their profession or just generally law school or the Emerging Leaders Program specifically; like you said, this program is really built for people who have been involved in the Law Student Division at various levels, ABA representative, Board of Governors, Lieutenant Governor positions, if you are interested in that position and you would like to reach out to me, the easiest way is through my email address, it’s HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” [email protected].
Fabiani Duarte: You grabbed the second one, huh? All right, that’s fantastic. Thanks so much Bryan.
Bryan Rogers: No problem at all. It was a good time.
Fabiani Duarte: Well, it looks like we have come to the end of another awesome podcast. We hope you have enjoyed this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast brought to you by Legal Talk Network. We would like to encourage you to subscribe to our show on iTunes, and once you have done that, take a moment and rate and review us as well.
You can also tweet to us at @abalsd and use the #lawstudentpodcast to tell us what’s on your mind. I am @FabianiDuarte. Thank you for listening. Work hard, play smart, and until next time podcasters.
Outro: If you would like more information about what you have heard today, please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com/”legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via iTunes and RSS, find us on Twitter and Facebook or download our free Legal Talk Network app in Google Play and iTunes.
Remember, US law students at ABA-accredited schools can join the ABA for free. Join now at HYPERLINK “http://www.americanbar.org/lawstudent”americanbar.org/lawstudent.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.