Bench & Bar

MAR 2016

The Bench & Bar magazine is published to provide members of the KBA with information that will increase their knowledge of the law, improve the practice of law, and assist in improving the quality of legal services for the citizenry.

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Page 17 of 87

| MARCH/APRIL 2016 16 IMPROVE KENTUCK Y A TEMPLATE FOR YOUNG LAWYERS TO Kent uck y's Youth Mo vement: By : J. Tanner Watkins & R . Brooks Her r ick Features: YOUNG L AW YERS DIVISION M uch has been made about the 2015 election results in Ken- tucky, with almost all of the spilled ink focusing on voter turnout or the partisan aspects of the election results. After the dust settled, and with the beneft of hindsight, Kentucky's 2015 election results have the potential to be remembered for some- thing far greater. However, much of how 2015 is remembered will depend upon whether we, as young lawyers, are willing to follow in the footsteps of our colleagues by using our skills and energy to ensure that 2015 is remembered as the year that our generation took ownership of our Commonwealth by stepping forward to make it a better place to live. In 2015, the Commonwealth of Kentucky elected four Young Law- yers—Alison Lundergan Grimes, Allison Ball, Andy Beshear, and Ryan Quarles—to statewide public ofce. Because our elected of- cials live in the limelight and are frequently featured on television programs or quoted in newspaper stories, we sometimes envision them as being larger than life, or, at the very least, hold them in a diferent regard than ourselves. However, when talking to our newly elected (or re-elected) ofcials, it quickly becomes apparent that Treasurer Ball, Secretary Grimes, Attorney General Beshear, and Commissioner Quarles are no diferent than any of us. Tey are proud Kentuckians, born-and-raised, who, despite possibilities elsewhere, decided to stay home and seize an opportunity to make a diference in the future of Kentucky. When asked, all four of these individuals quickly and graciously agreed to talk with us about what it means to be a young Kentuck- ian serving the public. While we all know these elected ofcials hold varied beliefs, they share certain fundamental ideals and princi- ples that led them to public service—fundamentals and ideals that should inspire all of us to take responsibility for helping Kentucky grow. At age 37, Secretar y of State Alison Lundergan Grimes , a native of Maysville, is the youngest Secretary of State in the United States. Secretary Grimes obtained her Bachelor's degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., and her law degree from American University in Washington, D.C. 1 Even though Secretary Grimes attended universities outside of Kentucky; she never doubted that she wanted to come home to be close to friends and family, and to serve the public. True to this plan, after obtaining her law degree, Secretary Grimes returned to Kentucky where she was in private practice until she was elected Secretary of State in 2011. Secretary Grimes was driven to public service due to her pro bono work in domestic violence cases as a private attorney, and by com- munity activities outside her law practice, including involvement with the National Kidney Foundation. Secretary Grimes saw the diference she could make by volunteering her legal services and believed running for ofce would provide her the platform to make large scale changes across the Commonwealth. Finally, Secretary Grimes says that her decision to run for Secretary of State in 2011 was due in part to the fact that, at the time she ran, no women held Constitutional ofce in Kentucky. Alison enjoys being Secretary of State because it mirrors many of the passions she pursed in her private practice. For example, her role as Secretary allows her to attempt to make Kentucky as busi- ness-friendly as possible, and overseeing elections reminds her of the many times she volunteered as a precinct worker on election day. When asked whether she considered returning to a successful private practice rather than seeking re-election, Secretary Grimes showed no hesitancy in answering that seeking re-election was the obvious choice due to the signifcant changes she has overseen as Secretary, including historic changes to voting procedures for Ken- tucky citizens serving in the military, of which she was most proud. For any young person that is interested in bettering the community, Secretary Grimes suggests fnding your passion, and dedicating yourself to that passion, which allows a person to achieve anything. Whether serving on a board, helping a nonproft, or providing legal services pro bono, Secretary Grimes stresses that law- yers can always make a diference in the community. She further emphasized that youth should not be a deterrent in a world where experience is often stressed, because experience is just a line on a resume and will not guar- antee future success.

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