Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 42

TAKING THE STAND

HOW I PROPELLED MY CAREER
AS A YOUNG ATTORNEY

"Taking the Stand" appears periodically
in Washington Lawyer as a forum for
D.C. Bar members to address issues of
importance to them and that would be
of interest to others. The opinions
expressed are the author's own. For
submissions, email editorial@dcbar.org.

By Nakuma L. Wani-Kenyi

E

very year, young attorneys
pass the bar exam eager to
commence their careers.
However, they are often inundated
with the pressures of securing their
first job, publishing their first legal
article, and becoming involved in
multiple legal associations -
especially if they're first-generation
diverse attorneys. It is also
ingrained in the minds of young
attorneys that networking and
forging business relationships are
the keys to success.

Like many young attorneys, I found myself
feeling the pressures of succeeding in the legal
world. When I landed my first job after graduating from law school in 2017, I did not have an
expansive legal network outside the friends
I made while in law school. I also did not have
a group of experienced attorneys to serve as
my mentors and sponsors. I knew I wanted to
expand my professional network, but I did not
know where to begin.
I joined legal organizations, a variety of bar
associations catering to diverse communities,
and numerous GroupMe chats aimed at connecting attorneys. Feeling overburdened,
my participation in these groups started
to decrease until I reluctantly attended an
American Bar Association Young Lawyers
Division (YLD) leadership summit featuring
a panel of diverse young attorneys. At the
summit I was introduced to the YLD Scholars
Program, designed to encourage the participation of minority, solo/small firm, government,
private sector, and military service attorneys.
The program also propels young attorneys
into leadership roles within the YLD.

42 WASHINGTON LAWYER

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JULY/AUGUST 2020

attend the YLD spring and fall conference and
the ABA Midyear Meeting, where many of the
YLD leaders, district representatives, and
members are also in attendance. In addition,
Scholars have the opportunity to be involved
in YLD governance, attend many relevant
panels, and socialize with YLD members to
start forming those necessary connections.
Getting Published. All attorneys know the
importance of getting published, yet many of
our ideas rarely turn into completed written
pieces. The YLD Scholars Program was the
push I needed. Scholars must complete a
writing requirement on a topic of their choice
and get it published in multiple ways, including
in the YLD's official publication, the Young
Lawyer; in After the Bar, an ABA digital publication; or as an assembly resolution to improve
the legal profession.

The program was the holistic approach
I needed to build my professional portfolio.
In addition to forging long-lasting relationships,
I was also given the opportunity to continue
enhancing my résumé by publishing my first
article as a barred attorney and building a
network of my peers as well as attorneys of
all levels and practice areas.
My experience as a YLD Scholar became the
foundation of my legal career. Here are some
of the benefits I gained as a Scholar and the
reasons I would recommend the program to
those who are just starting out in their legal
careers.
Legal Network. Networking is the underpinning of the legal world, yet many of us feel
overwhelmed at the thought of attending an
event and sparking a simple conversation with
the hopes of it leading to a relationship. As a
Scholar, the space to foster those relationships
is already created. I formed my network with
15 of my fellow Scholars who are based all over
the United States. Scholars are required to

Opportunities to Pay It Forward. Scholars
have the opportunity to become involved in
their own communities by implementing a
diversity pipeline program called "What Do
Lawyers Do?" (WDLD). The program is aimed
at providing information to high school
and college students, particularly students
attending a historically black college or a
Latinx-centric institution, about the different
facets of the legal profession. Scholars may
partner with other attorneys to implement
WDLD at their local high schools or colleges.
The Scholars Program is designed to springboard every Scholar into a leadership position
within the YLD. Many Scholars become leaders
of different committees and teams within
the YLD, and as they progress in their careers,
they continue to serve in other roles within the
American Bar Association. For more information about how you can become a Scholar,
visit americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/
leadership/scholars.
Nakuma L. Wani-Kenyi was admitted to the D.C.
Bar in 2019. She is a senior judicial law clerk to
Judge Denise M. Francois of the Superior Court
of the Virgin Islands.


https://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/leadership/scholars/ https://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/leadership/scholars/

Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Staying Afloat feature
Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Annual Report
Taking the Stand
The Learning Curve
On Further Review
Member Spotlight -
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Women's Suffrage special section
Speaking of Ethics
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 10
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Staying Afloat feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Annual Report
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 38
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Member Spotlight -
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Women's Suffrage special section
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover4
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