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By: James H. Whalen, Esq.   
Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis, Ltd.     
Chicago, Illinois

Thanks to the hard work of too-many-to-name Young Lawyers Section members and Primerus staff over the past five years, I am proud to say that the YLS is poised reach new heights in 2015-2106 and I am humbled that is my responsibility to lead the organization for the coming year. I begin my tenure as the chair of the Young Lawyer’s Executive Committee riding the momentum of our most successful YLS Boot Camp to date, held in San Diego in March 2015.

The Boot Camp is the premiere annual event for the YLS and is a great way to network, contribute to your professional growth, and maximize your firm’s Primerus membership. Oh, and it can be fun, too (that is another column for another day). Planning for the 2016 YLS Boot Camp is already underway. Although it will be a daunting task, we believe that the upcoming Boot Camp will surpass 2015 event in both quality of content and quantity of YLS attendees. The working theme of the 2016 Boot Camp is “client service” and the tentative location is Orlando, Florida. We hope to have Primerus clients in attendance who can enlighten future firm leaders about attorney dos-and-don’ts, giving guidance to young lawyers about how to provide the highest quality legal service and create long-lasting partnerships.

One of the key components of YLS networking outside of the Boot Camp has been the periodic YLS telephonic conference calls. In keeping with the times and thanks to Primerus, future YLS conferences will be conducted using the interactive video conference platform WebEx, providing members with the ability to see and hear each other and share content.  WebEx is easy-to-use, convenient and can be accessed by computer and smartphone. We believe that this feature will create and strengthen relationships between the future leaders of Primerus.

Stare Decisis is also a tried and true vehicle for introducing yourself to other YLS members and share ideas with fellow practitioners. As an author of several columns in Stare Decisis, I encourage all of you consider writing a column. If you are interested, please contact the inimitable and hard-working Emily Campbell at Dunlop Codding (, without whom Stare Decisis would be just an idea.

The YLS is still in its infancy and is only scratching the surface of its potential. Like many enterprises, the growth of the YLS is subject to the amount of firm resources available to its members. In the coming year, the YLS is exploring two proposed budget-conscious initiatives to help the YLS begin to realize its potential and to maximize the investment of resources that Primerus firms allocate to their young lawyers. We believe that these proposed initiatives will provide an efficient way for the YLS expand its reach, improve the connectivity of its members, create new professional development opportunities, and add value to YLS members and their clients.  These proposed initiatives are:

YLS Marketing Teams: in this project-based initiative, YLS members will work together to find direct-marketing opportunities that they can develop and act upon in small teams of 3-4 attorneys.  Young lawyers in different firms from across the country who have a shared interest in a developing a relationship with a particular client or industry will be teamed up to develop and put on presentations for current or perspective Primerus clients. To accomplish this, YLS-member attorneys wishing to participate will contribute the names of up to three current or perspective Primerus clients to a Primerus staff member who will be responsible for organizing this information and acting as a clearinghouse for vetting the interested participants and matching up YLS members for marketing opportunities.

YLS Regional Meetings: because there is only one annual meeting for young lawyers, we propose to include YLS programming at existing regional meetings of Primerus firms. Meetings will be chaired and organized by a designated regional representative and hosted by a member firm. Ideally, young attorneys will be able to travel to these meetings by car or inexpensive flight.

I look forward to serving as chair and am excited about what the future holds. I welcome the input and advice of the YLS membership. Do not hesitate to contact me to share your thoughts!

James H. Whalen

Chairperson – Primerus YLS Executive Committee

Advisory Board Member – Primerus