Hon. Glenn A. Norton
BAMSL President, 2020-21
Of Counsel, Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, L.C.
Mediator, Special Master, Alaris
Originally published in the July 2020 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. View in the archives.
We all know that the last few months have taken a toll on many—both mentally and emotionally. As leaders, it is our responsibility to find ways to help overcome the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also is important to help facilitate the positive societal changes we all hope for after the killing of George Floyd. Both of these will continue to significantly impact not only our society but also the way we practice law and carry out justice for all.
As leaders, we also are charged with envisioning the future. That usually means planning what is best for the organization not only for today, but next year and even bar years to come. Unfortunately, with the ever-changing and unpredictable circumstances that come our way each day, the future is not so easy to anticipate, even from one hour to the next.
The COVID-19 pandemic came in so swiftly that most of us barely had time to grab the necessary tools from our offices to work remotely during the government stay-at-home orders. Some people have begun the slow path back to working in the office setting while facing the uncertainty of how that will affect everyone's safety and health. Many of us struggle with the refusal by some to socially distance or wear the required face masks at the same time we are drawn to join the demonstrations for cultural and legal reform. Doing the right thing is rarely simple or easy, but we must stay committed to protecting ourselves as well as the rights and freedom of everyone.
We constantly revise our plans, reschedule events, reevaluate when to open our law firms while still protecting our employees and clients, and even redline the budget just one more time for any potential available cuts. BAMSL's leadership has continued to work remotely to ensure that we do our due diligence while also ensuring we provide what our members need and expect from their local bar association.
It has been a team effort, collaborating on numerous issues and topics to ensure that we have the proper checks and balances in place so that all BAMSL members feel represented and respected. Please contact me, another officer, or BAMSL staff if you see things we should do better. We also are looking for ways to slowly be able to meet and mingle in person.
Most of you know that one of my favorite BAMSL events is the annual Bench & Bar Conference, usually held the last week of May right after Memorial Day. This usually is a great way to kick off the summer in a more relaxed atmosphere while we still learn from our peers and even all of the judges on the Missouri Supreme Court. This year, the difficult decision was made to postpone and it has been rescheduled for a Monday-Wednesday, Aug. 31-Sept. 2. We essentially will close out the summer this year at Bench & Bar. Fortunately, the wonderful staff at Camden on the Lake Resort has been gracious in helping us reschedule.
My President-Elect reports throughout the 2019-20 bar year consisted of me giving the Executive Committee and the Board a Bench & Bar update. My report each month was simple—that we indeed would be having a Bench & Bar. Since organization has never been my strong suit, I offered few details. I joked during the June 17, 2020, virtual Board of Governors meeting that I might, in fact, have been lying. Sadly, we may not be able to have Bench & Bar in 2020. But we are moving forward with the rescheduled date as planned, still with a wary eye on that uncertain future, and having a back-up plan if necessary.
That being said, I hope that we in fact are able to meet at the Lake of the Ozarks. The best part of the Bench & Bar conference is the collaboration between our bar and the very active representatives from the bench. It is a great way for attorneys of all ages who practice in various areas of the law to have a chance to network with judges outside the courtroom. It is a valuable BAMSL member benefit to be able to interact and get to know the judges in a much less formal setting. There is so much we can learn from our bench. This is an event that should not be missed. From a judge's perspective, it is great to meet new and younger attorneys who will be taking over the fight to promote equity and the rule of law. While we are there to learn and earn CLE credits, the Bench & Bar Conference also allows us to network, socialize and even play some golf, partake in an early morning run, or just hang out poolside on a sunny afternoon.
I truly hope to be able to see all of you at the 2020 Judge Kintz Memorial Bench & Bar Conference Aug. 31-Sept. 2. And, if necessary, BAMSL President-Elect Bob Tomaso has made the never-before-seen offer to wrap the 2020 event into the 2021 Bench & Bar Conference. I am not sure what that means, but it should be twice the fun. Put next year's conference on your calendar now for June 2-4, 2021. Hopefully sooner rather than later, we will see you at the lake.