Dr. Artika Tyner, author of two leadership books, signs a book at the conference, after speaking on the steps to becoming a leader.
Visit the State Bar’s Facebook page for more photos of this event.
April 4, 2016 – It starts where you are. And only needs to start with one hour per week.
There’s no need to travel far to begin making a difference in your community, according to Dr. Artika Tyner, a passionate educator, author, speaker, and advocate for justice.
Tyner spoke to about 160 young lawyers at the Seventh Annual Young Lawyers Division Leadership Conference, which took place Friday, April 1, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. The conference is sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin Young Lawyers Division.
Find Your Passion
Tyner, who gave the G. Lane Ware Keynote Leadership Address at the conference, is a public policy/leadership professor at the University of St. Thomas College of Education, Leadership & Counseling in St. Paul, Minnesota.
She recently published the book “The Lawyer as Leader: How to Plant People and Grow Justice,” about becoming an effective agent for social change, and in 2014 gave the talk “Education for Social Change” now available as an independently-produced TED Talk.
Michael Moore speaks to a full room at the 2016 YLD conference about thriving on chaos and meeting the professional challenges of being a young lawyer.
Lawyers in particular are suited to becoming leaders, according to Tyner. Lawyers have learned to speak the language of power – the power to lead and to make a difference. “It’s power with, not power over,” Tyner said. “It’s about agency and the ability to make a difference.”
Working as a lawyer is more than about simply holding a law degree. “We have to serve as sentinels … to make justice a reality,” Tyner said.
Tyner spoke of steps to start becoming a leader: Learn leadership skills by finding a mentor who is a leader – and to become a mentor. Another way to learn leadership skills is by volunteering – such as in a committee with the State Bar or local bar association. And it’s critical to learn about yourself – what kind of leader are you? Study the leadership profiles of those you admire.
“There’s a list of great lawyers we can learn about from their legacy,” Tyner said.
A good first step is to find your passion. “What are you passionate about?” Tyner asked the young lawyers. “It first starts with addressing a dire need,” Tyner said. Listen to those around you. Then, come up with a plan. But you don’t need to go far.
“Start where you are,” Tyner said.
Robert Mochel, second from right, won the 2016 Outstanding Young Lawyer award. Standing with him, from left: State Bar President Ralph Cagle; YLD board member Clayton Kawski, chair of the nominating committee; Mochel; and State Bar President-elect Fran Deisinger.
Leadership is not always about standing ahead of others – it is also about service. “Serve, and make an impact” in your community, Tyner said.
And to do that, “get busy,” and find a way. But that doesn’t necessarily require using all your available time.
“Take a small action” to begin – work one hour a week doing pro bono work – and build relationships with those in our same community.
And do one more thing: “Get involved in the lives of young people. Mentor, uplift, redirect,” Tyner said. So much change can happen just by these small steps. “Justice is something we can make come alive.”
Thriving and Networking
Other highlights of the event included:
The awarding of the 2016 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award to Robert Mochel, a public defender in Milwaukee who specializes in juvenile cases, for his work with the Expungement Project, which assists expunging qualifying juvenile records in an effort to remove work and life barriers for those with juvenile records.
A lively discussion on finding balance between life and lawyering with keynote presenter and attorney Michael Moore, who talked about effective management of yourself, your time, your clients, and your career.
Presentations on “The Ethics of the Billable Hour,” by Tonya Turchik, Milwaukee; “Life & Lawyering: Finding the Balance,” by Thomas Watson and Katja Kunzke, Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company (WILMIC), Madison; and “Sick about Student Loans? A Prescription for Relief,” by Karen Bauer, Legal Action of Wisconsin.
And plenty of time for networking, including a concluding reception sponsored by WILMIC.
Shannon Green is communications writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. She can be reached by email or by phone at (608) 250-6135.
The event was a great success, said Danielle Kranz, conference co-chair, who said she is looking forward to reviewing feedback and planning for next year’s conference. “I am thrilled our committee could pull together 5 CLE credits for the young lawyers of Wisconsin.”
To see photos of Dr. Artika Tyner and of the conference, visit the State Bar’s Facebook page.