Oklahoma Bar Journal

A Tradition of YLD Service

By Caroline M. Shaffer Siex

Past OBA YLD leaders Molly Aspan, Hannah Hawkins, Jennifer Castillo and Briana Parmele attend the ABA YLD meeting in February 2010.

            The OBA Young Lawyers Division was established in 1966 to provide an avenue for Oklahoma’s young lawyers to work on bar-related and public service-related projects. While the term “young” is in the division name, the YLD encompasses any lawyer who has been in practice for fewer than 10 years, regardless of age. Ten years just refers to your “practice age.”

            In writing this article to explain our division’s history, I reviewed articles going back more than a decade to see how the YLD has changed and evolved. I found that no matter who the chair was, what “hot issues” were buzzing around or how time passed, the YLD never swayed from being the “service arm” of the bar. Here are just a few examples of the amazing work of YLD leadership:

  • In 2010, YLD Chair Molly Aspan established the “Statewide Community Service Project Day.” Each YLD director assembled young lawyers in their district for a service project benefiting public libraries. The goal was to get everything “done in a day.” The event provided an avenue for lawyers across Oklahoma to network while giving back to their local communities.

    Past OBA YLD leaders Jennifer Castillo, LeAnne McGill, Lane Neal, Karolina Roberts and Collin Walke work in the community during the 2013 Day of Service.

  • In 2011, YLD Chair Judge Roy D. Tucker titled his first article in the January Oklahoma Bar Journal “YLD to Continue Dedication to Public Service.” Judge Tucker discussed how the YLD board was compiling “legal handbooks” to assist volunteer lawyers in providing the highest-quality legal advice. The handbooks were also distributed to veterans and active members of the armed services.
  • In 2012, under YLD Chair Jennifer Kirkpatrick, the division received two ABA YLD Awards of Achievement: first place for overall activities and achievements and second place for Outstanding Service to the Public Project for the young adult guide project.


            I could go on about how YLD chairs brought something to the table every year. However, the human attention span is not infinite.

            Today, the YLD is continuing to carry the torch. The division now has legal handbooks referred to as the Young Adult Guide. The guide provides helpful legal information tailored to those new to adulthood. The information helps new adults, parents, teachers and school administrators. Recently, it was presented as a PowerPoint during the 2023 Oklahoma Children’s Behavioral Health Conference, so members of the community could be informed on the information and help the young adults in their lives.

In August 2015, YLD members organized the first Kick It Forward Kickball Tournament to raise funds for the Kick It Forward Program to support bar members in need of financial help with membership dues.

2014 OBA YLD Chair Kaleb Hennigh (right) assists an emergency responder preparing legal documents as part of the Wills for Heroes project.

            Likewise, the bar exam survival kits are an ongoing tradition that appears to become better with time. The kits, which are small care packages for bar examinees, are assembled by YLD members and are a great way to get everyone together. When I joined the board, it had medicine, candy, pencils, earplugs and more. During the pandemic, facemasks and hand sanitizer were added to the kits. Now, we have expanded to include protein snacks as well. We will always keep the stress balls, so everyone has some sanity to cling to during the exam.

            Another service project that has a dear place in my heart is the Will for Heroes program, which provides free wills to emergency personnel and veterans in Oklahoma. The YLD has been traditionally charged with implementing the program in Oklahoma, and we are currently planning this year’s event. We’ve had consistent participation in the past apart from “COVID years.” Of course, everyone felt the chilling effect of the pandemic, but it certainly paused the YLD’s service focus.

            The YLD will always continue to answer its call to service. As history has shown, we have been here to serve the community and our young lawyer membership. May young lawyers continue to serve so we can maintain our division’s history and keep our dignified legacy.

            To better serve young lawyers, the YLD Board of Governors will now be answering questions and concerns from YLD members at yld@okbar.org.


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


Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 94 Vol 5 (May 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.