Oklahoma Bar Journal

Young Lawyers Division | So Here Is My Swan Song

By Caroline Shaffer Siex

Members of the YLD Board of Directors pose with puppies at the Hug A Pup event during the Annual Meeting. From left Taylor Venus, Caroline Shaffer Siex, Laura Talbert, Clayton Baker and Allie Gage.

A great tradition of the YLD board is to have the new bar admittees join the celebration of the last chair. When you come on after a strong board, you feel an energy between the board members. I remember the thought that came to my mind for the outgoing chair was that this must be bittersweet. Many who have not served on the YLD board do not realize that by the time you are chair of the YLD, you have volunteered for many projects, traveled many miles and given up many hours of sleep. When all is said and done, you do not regret one part.

This year was no exception. Just coming out of enjoying our Annual Meeting while writing this article, I have a lot of highs. The Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City was held Nov. 1-3. As always, it was a success. The event kicked off with a great YLD meeting. We were joined by our longtime YLD friends, Phil Fraim and Laura Stone with Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Co. They provided great information to the board and helped brainstorm for our future.

Then, my time finally came to give out my awards to board members. The first was the Executive Member of the Year. This went to my long-time board companion, Laura Talbert. Laura and I came together at that first meeting years ago. We have put together many bar exam survival kits, filled many ice buckets and coordinated many outfits. She received this award as any time I needed to reach out to an executive member, she was there to support me. Even when I had a trial conflict with an ABA trip, she was willing to take additional time off of work to fill in for my spot.

My second award was given to someone I met as just a 1L in law school, Clayton Baker. Clayton has set an example to other board members. He has consistently demonstrated his dedication to the YLD for years as a district representative based out of Jay. This past year, he planned, organized and executed a Wills for Heroes event in his county. This was the first Wills for Heroes event we had following COVID. The follow-through and compassion he has kept for this board have been remarkable. Even when facing adversity in his personal life, he never stopped his commitment.

Young Lawyers Division Chair-Elect Laura Talbert and outgoing Chair Caroline Shaffer Siex enjoy the YLD events during the Annual Meeting.

After the YLD meeting was the Welcome Reception. Of course, no Annual Meeting would be complete without a YLD hospitality suite. Thanks to OAMIC and the OBA Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Section, our suite was a great success. These sponsorships mean more to the YLD than our sponsors realize. Our goal was to provide a party that extended beyond the young lawyers. I always find these suites provide a great hub for networking.

Of course, I would be remise if I did not mention the great CLE content at the Annual Meeting. I particularly enjoyed the Wellness Matters CLE from the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Assistance Program. I was ecstatic to see the topic of gratitude as a part of this CLE. I have written an article about the practice of gratitude, and I received more exercises to practice this. Many CLEs at the Annual Meeting were unique and enjoyable. Likewise, the Diversity Awards Dinner has always been an inspiring and thought-provoking event. Finally, I must highlight the best part of the Annual Meeting: the cuddly and fluffy puppies!

Now, it is my time moving into the end of the year, where my focus is shifting to my family at home. I will decorate the tree, make my famous eggnog and enjoy my son and my annual tradition of pasta making on New Year’s Eve. When I leave, I will bring in my dear friend, Laura Talbert, as the new chair. The most exciting part is that after all the hours given to this board over the years, it is still bittersweet. I will always cherish my time serving and leading.

Ms. Shaffer Siex practices in Tulsa and serves as the YLD chairperson. She may be contacted at cshaffer@gablawyers.com.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 95 Vol 10 (December 2023)

Statements or opinions expressed in the Oklahoma Bar Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff.