I am taking most of the afternoon off today to have a nice quiet lunch with my daughter, Claire to celebrate a few important events in her life. She has just completed her second year at Bentley University in Boston, and had a great finish. Tomorrow morning she is on an early flight back to Boston in order to begin her summer internship with a small marketing firm on Monday. And on June 1st, Claire turns 20! She will return home mid-August for two weeks before heading to Dublin to study abroad for the fall semester.
So this morning I woke to the reality of counting the days and hours that I will have with Claire between now and the end of December when she returns home from Ireland. Part of me wants to know that Claire will be down the street from home this summer working at Great Northern Pizzeria as she has done for the last 4 summers. But that is not to be. And despite how I may feel today, I am happy and excited for Claire. So over lunch I plan to remind her that she will be grabbing a train and commuting to work, and that the Boston experience will be the resume builder. I will remind her that she will have a great time living with her Aunt Jeanne and two young cousins, Charlie and Will, right on Beacon Street. The boys LOVE Claire, and are thrilled to have a cousin for the summer. I will remind her that she has many friends in the Boston area, and that it is now her City, and she will have plenty to do. And of course, I will remind her to be safe.
I also plan to remind her to take full advantage of this wonderful internship opportunity by leaning in and asking the people around her for what she wants and needs to be successful. I will remind her to not be afraid to ask questions, and to fail, as we learn from our mistakes. I will remind her that we were all new and young at one time.
But in telling Claire, I was really trying to convince myself that this is what it is all about. It is about bringing these little people into our world, watching them grow and explore, and take chances, and step out of their comfort zone. It is about giving them wings of opportunities to learn, grow and observe, and to ultimately launch their lives and careers. It’s about being part of a community — which initially may be a pub in Dublin with some new friends (minus any large quantities of Guiness!).
In just a few short weeks, we will begin to welcome the 11 new Rochester Diversity Clerkship students to town. This will be the 9th summer of our award-winning program and plans are already underway for a jam-packed summer of both educational and social events. All are an attempt to show them what a great legal community resides in Rochester.
In addition to the Diversity Clerks, Rochester is also welcoming a whole bunch of new 2Lsummer clerks to many of the firms. Last night while in attendance at the GRAWA Installation Dinner of Melanie Wolk, I met several summer interns already busy in their respective firms. I thought it was so great that their supervising attorneys were bringing them to GRAWA and exposing them to this special Rochester community.
Later in the evening, we heard Melanie share her story about what brought her to her first GRAWA Dinner just 5 years ago. She walked into the room, new to Rochester, knowing no one. But within minutes found 2-3 people, while in line awaiting a glass of wine, and then another 4-6, and then before the night was over, she had met almost everyone in the room. I can not do justice to Melanie’s remarks, but the message was about being welcomed and embraced as a new young attorney, into a community of women that cared about one another, and all aspects of each other. Melanie’s story is not her’s alone. I guarantee many of you have a similar story as to how you became involved in either GRAWA, the Rochester Black Bar Association or the MCBA.
Over the years I have observed there are MANY willing participants — both attorneys and law students — that would welcome an opportunity to get engaged. But for some, they need that personal invitation to bring them to the table. Once there, my observation has been that they flourish.
I would like to challenge every engaged member (you know who you are) this summer to connect with either a dis-engaged member, a non-member, or a young lawyer or summer clerk, and have a conversation with them about their MCBA involvement. Find the person standing along the perimter and find out what you can do to get them engaged. As we heard last night, and as I witness every day, we make a difference in the lives of our members.
The future of our community, our legal community, our state and national communities depends on our young people, and whether or not we are giving them the “wings” they need to experience the opportunities they deserve to make our world a better place.
To all the law clerks coming to town…welcome!!
To Claire, bye Pooks!
Thanks for checking in…