The Young Lawyer’s Division again hosted the beloved Mid-Winter Thaw in Montreal over the MLK Holiday weekend. Vermont legal professionals turned up in droves for two days of camaraderie and learning at the Hotel Omni on Sherbrooke Street.
There were nearly 200 registrants – an impressive showing, especially given the deterioration of the weather in Montreal on Saturday. A total of 7.75 CLE credits was available over the two days of the meeting. In addition to earning those credits, attendees and their guests were invited to a cocktail reception on Friday night, sponsored by Vermont Law School, and another on Saturday night sponsored by the YLD. The always-popular brunch on Saturday morning included an excellent program of speakers.
VBA Pres. Elect, Rich Cassidy, kicked off brunch with an appeal for the Vermont Bar Foundation, where he also serves on the Board. He was followed by Zachary Dayno of Gravel & Shea, who was there to present the third-annual Judge Peter W. Hall Integrity Award. Judge Hall died of cancer in March 2021 and the award, in addition to honoring Judge Hall, is intended to highlight the critical role of integrity in the legal profession. It went this year to Vermont Bar Counsel Mike Kennedy. (To read Zach’s remarks on Mike and the award, click here). Mike was equally gracious in accepting the award, sharing his own fond memories of Judge Hall, and encouraging those who knew him to continue to keep his memory alive and to follow his example.
Monica Allard, an attorney at Downs Rachlin Martin who has been active in building up Vermont networking and support for Queer Legal Professionals, spoke next. She shared her own story of the importance of legal and societal support for equal rights for LGBTQIA individuals and encouraged members of the bar to get involved and take a stand in support of equal rights here and around the country.
Immediate Past Chair of the YLD, Kevin Lumpkin, of Sheehy Furlong & Behm, introduced the keynote speaker, Tina Friml. Friml is a native Vermonter and rising comedy star who, by fortunate chance, had been performing in Montreal the same weekend. Lumpkin noted that she will soon be “too famous” for a repeat engagement with the VBA and that we were fortunate to have caught her now. Friml’s performance left little doubt of that. She quickly had the crowd in stitches and they got to their feet in appreciation at the end of her performance.
The entire event was a great success thanks to the hard work of the YLD organizers, notably current YLD Chair, Pam Eaton of Paul Frank + Collins, all the CLE presenters, the staff at the Omni, and the crowd. As Tina Friml noted, there was a lot of good energy in the room. Make your plans to come to Montreal next year!