From the YLD President, 0821 GABJ, GSB Vol. 27, No. 1, Pg. 10

AuthorELISSA B. HAYNES, YLD President State Bar of Georgia
PositionVol. 27 1 Pg. 10

From the YLD President

Vol. 27 No. 1 Pg. 10

Georgia Bar Journal

August, 2021

ELISSA B. HAYNES, YLD President State Bar of Georgia

The Path to Leadership: Finding Your ‘Why’

For the last few years, people have asked me, “why?” Why did I decide to get involved with the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia? Why do I voluntarily choose to write and edit briefs, for free, as chair of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association’s Amicus Committee? Why do I serve on various committees within my law firm? Is work not exhausting enough? While I can assure you that work is, indeed, exhausting, it is the non-billable work that embodies who I am as a lawyer.

Those who know me know that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of my greatest inspirations (and the namesake behind by Pelo-ton username, @RideLikeRBG). Thanks to YLD Past President Rizza O’Connor and our then-YLD Newsletter Editor ShaMiracle Rankin, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and be sworn in by Justice Ginsburg at the YLD Spring Meeting in March 2019. Justice Ginsburg had many traits that made her one of the most influential leaders of our profession. She spoke her mind, fought for what she believed in and advocated with passion. While Justice Ginsburg had many noteworthy quotes, one is particularly relevant for the work many of us do for our profession. When she was asked how she would want to be remembered, she said, “I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid.” The same applies for me and the work I do for the YLD and the State Bar of Georgia.

Many people think that the Young Lawyers Division is just a group of brand new “baby lawyers” fresh out of law school, when in reality our membership consists of lawyers under the age of 36 or lawyers in their first five years of law practice, regardless of age. My journey to YLD leadership was a bit delayed and did not begin during my “baby lawyer” days. During my first four years of practice, extracurricular involvement was never encouraged or financially supported. It was not until 2016 and my sixth year of practice when my former colleague and friend, Kevin Patrick, encouraged me to apply for the YLD Leadership Academy that I got involved.

During my six-month Leadership Academy program, I had the privilege of serving, networking and building friendships with 30-plus lawyers who practiced in various areas of the law...

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