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HNBA conference’s Law Student and Young Lawyer CLE Track offers valuable skills


Law schools have traditionally focused on teaching law students about the theory and doctrine of the law.  However, with the higher demands and expectations of new associates, it is imperative to learn skills not traditionally taught in law school.  Anyone performing an online search will find numerous articles addressing the skills that law school graduates lack when entering the workforce.  Lacking a basic grasp and understanding of these skills makes new associate’s life stressful. 

To address this gap in legal education, the Hispanic National Bar Association created a Law Student and Young Lawyer CLE Track to provide training in these areas.  The sessions are part of the next HNBA conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico from March 20 to March 23, 2019

Legal Writing.  Legal writing is the bread and butter for all attorneys.  Most law schools provide two basic courses of legal writing during a law student’s first year of study.  These courses give students a foundation on the type of writing they will encounter in practice.  For this session, the HNBA is bringing a legal writing consultant to provide participants a roadmap that will take them beyond the law school writing courses.  This is a highly valuable session law school students and young professionals alike should not miss this. 

Soft Skills.  Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people such as emotional intelligence, attitude, and self-confidence.  The panelist(s) for this session will also address public speaking, responsiveness, navigating your corporate waters, and business development within your firm (internal and external clients).   

Career path.  A law school graduate’s career path is more than litigation or transactional work at a law firm.  Lawyers work in various roles within the government sector, in-house counsel, non-profit organizations, the judiciary, teaching, consulting, politics, business development, mediators, and many others.  The panelists for this session come from a variety of backgrounds.  They will share their experiences in roles outside of the traditional legal career. 

Wellness.  Numerous studies point to the high levels of stress lawyers experience at work.  It is essential to develop good habits at an early stage of our career, even before graduating from law school.  To support this vital aspect of personal and professional development in the legal field, the HNBA is bringing an expert to address stress management, fitness, meditation, and other areas that can help law students and young professionals successfully develop healthy habits.  These healthy habits help create a better environment for professional and personal growth in the legal field.

Networking.  Networking is another essential component of the law student and young professional’s life.  Unfortunately, networking gets a bad reputation as another work function one has to undertake.  In reality, networking can be fun if done right by attending conferences, local events, fundraisers, and numerous other events that resonate with the attendee’s interest.  The networking panel will address how to network within your company and at outside events like the ones mentioned above. 

Networking With High-Impact Legal Professionals.  The HNBA is setting up a networking session for law students and young professionals to practice the tips and suggestions provided during the networking panel.

Moot Competition.   The HNBA’s Annual Uvaldo Herrera National Moot Court Competition brings together 32 teams of law students from the nation’s top law schools to argue a case of first impression that will effectively challenge students and allow them the opportunity to argue and brief either position creatively and persuasively.  (Added bonus: some students found last year’s moot competition problem helped them prepare for the bar exam.) 

A team can be up to four individuals (including a coach/advisor). The team registration includes access to the Moot Court Competition and Gala only. Plenaries, receptions, and other evening activities are not included in the standard Moot Court Competition team registration. If individual team members wish to attend all other conference-related events, each team member must purchase a Moot Court Team Plus Registration.

The deadline to register a law school team is Friday, January 11, 2019, at 5 p.m. EST. 

Business Cards.  Attending a conference can be both work and fun.  If you already have business cards, make sure to bring them to the conference.  If you do not have business cards, talk to someone at your law school’s career services office to get professional assistance in making one. 

Have Fun!  Attending a conference is an investment in time and resources.  Make sure you get the most of it by going with a positive frame of mind. 

I have been fortunate to meet fantastic professionals at conferences I attended for both at the ABA and the HNBA.  Some of these relationships have flourished into friendships I cherish. 

I am happy to help anyone who wants to discuss attending the HNBA conference, participating in the moot competition, or any other aspect of the law student and young professional life.  I invite you to join me at the conference! 

Veronica Canton Veronica Canton is a challenge-fueled and solution-driven litigator at Michael Best and Friedrich LLP. She is a member and leader in the ABA-IP Law Group’s Women in IP and Landslide® Magazine. She is the HNBA’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section Chair. She enjoys connecting over a good cup of coffee.