Fresno County Young Lawyers Association (FCYLA) is composed of those members of the Fresno County Bar Association who have been members of the State Bar of California for five years or less or are 36 years of age or younger. Those who meet these criteria are automatically members of FCYLA without payment of dues. FCYLA is formally affiliated with the Fresno County Bar Association, but has its own independently elected Board of Directors and generally operates as an autonomous entity.
FCYLA strives to build camaraderie and provide opportunities for new lawyers to interact in order to continue the tradition of a close-knit association between local practitioners. To achieve this, FCYLA begins by providing organizational support for the swearing in ceremonies for new lawyers. The effort continues with several social gatherings during the year, which allow lawyers to interact in informal settings.
At the same time, FCYLA continues to sponsor and organize events focused on helping new lawyers develop in their practice. FCYLA sponsors "Wine, War Stories and Words of Wisdom" (formerly Bridging the Gab) where judges and seasoned attorneys address vital and practical aspects of law practice not commonly covered in the law school curriculum. FCYLA also sponsors the George A. Hopper Memorial Scholarship Luncheon, which awards a scholarship to a local law student and brings a prominent member of the judiciary to address the local bar. In addition, FCYLA sponsors the Blaine E. Pettitt Memorial Mentor Award, recognizing the contributions of a local attorney toward the development of new lawyers.
Motivated by increasing concern about the public image of lawyers and the lack of understanding by none-lawyers of how the legal system operates, FCYLA provides lawyer volunteers to help coach high school students in mock trial competition sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the California Young Lawyers Association and also provides, on a continuing basis, Career Day speakers and classroom lawyer advisors to local elementary and high schools.
FCYLA has received numerous awards, including the 1983 ABA national first place award for the outstanding bar association of its size.