Hon. Glenn A. Norton
BAMSL President, 2020-21
Of Counsel, Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, L.C.
Mediator, Special Master, Alaris
Originally published in the January 2021 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. View in the archives.
It was the most wonderful time of the year when we were finally able to close the door on 2020 and ring in a new year. As we start fresh in 2021, we say a hearty goodbye to the old and welcome in all the hope that a new year promises.
Unfortunately, we are still dealing with a pandemic, and the effects that will last for a long, long time. But with vaccines being distributed across the country, perhaps we will be able to look forward to and plan a year filled with more optimism.
As we start anew, many like to make New Year's resolutions, which some of us probably have already broken by the time you read this. However, I thought I would share some thoughts for BAMSL to resolve to accomplish in 2021. So here is a compilation of "BAMSL's 12 Months of New Year's Resolutions," or at least a glimpse at what we have planned for the year. Let's see how many we are able to fulfill.
The new year brings with it a new Executive Director, Susan McCourt Baltz, who takes over the helm on Jan. 4. I know she will bring a lot of great ideas and positive energy to her new position. We look forward to collaborating and implementing her ideas to bring BAMSL further into the future.
This also is a time to plan ahead for BAMSL's upcoming events, with some already on the calendar. Some of these still may need to be virtual but we are committed to providing these events in some way, hopefully in person at some point.
I know it is difficult to plan events with so much uncertainty remaining, but if 2020 proved anything, BAMSL leadership, staff, supporters and members are adept at quickly altering plans to fit the situation. We will have back-up plans for everything this year. I encourage you to visit www.bamsl.org/events frequently for the most updated information. Also, make sure you read the weekly Legal Pulse e-newsletter every Tuesday and this monthly magazine for updates.
This also is a good time to set personal and professional goals of your own. BAMSL's Well-Being Committee is working to help you stay with them, as you will be receiving a post card in the mail encouraging you to set and fulfill your wishes in 2021.
February is not only the month to show your love to your loved ones, it also is a time to show appreciation for BAMSL members. During Member Appreciation Month, we want to make sure our leadership, all of our members, our Sustaining Members and our Firm Ambassadors know how thankful we are for them. Please make sure you also reach out and thank your colleagues for making this organization so great.
The Membership Committee will cap off the month with a hybrid appreciation event on Feb. 25 at Schlafly Tap Room.
BAMSL always hosts its Judicial Retirement Dinner (this year on March 4) to honor members of the judiciary who retired the previous year. It is difficult to believe that the 2020 Judicial Retirement Dinner was the last formal in-person event BAMSL was able to host before we were sent scrambling into quarantine.
While [the Saint Louis Bar Foundation] normally hosts the Spirit of Justice Awards Celebration in October, it had to be postponed. It is slated for April 9 to show our appreciation for individuals and groups in our community who are doing their best to promote, literally, the spirit of justice in our community.
The 2021-22 bar year, which officially begins on May 1, 2021, will kick off the day before at Law Day, on April 30, for the traditional passing of the gavel. I am hoping to be able to present the gavel in person to Bob Tomaso, but if not, as we proved last year, we can "toss" the gavel virtually to one another and it still counts.
I also ask you to continue your support of BAMSL and your colleagues by renewing your membership before May 1 to remain an active and important member of this organization.
May brings Lawyer Well-Being Week. We hope everyone is more aware and focusing on their own mental and physical health throughout the year. The Well-Being Committee will have some activities to remind you to take care of yourself as well as provide guidance on assisting someone you know who might be struggling.
We could not have an in-person Bench & Bar at the lake last year, but Bob Tomaso promises it will happen June 2-4 this year. This is always one of the highlights of the year so I hope his prediction and resolution is correct.
Why not take up a sport in 2021? How about starting with BAMSL's annual Golf Outing, slated for June 14 at Greenbriar Hills Country Club. You do not have to be a stellar golfer to enjoy this annual outdoor, and perfectly socially distanced, event.
Don't forget to learn something new throughout the year with BAMSL's numerous offerings of CLEs, which currently are virtual. And if you need some extra offerings, do not miss out on the popular 15-Hour CLE in late June to ensure you receive all the credits you need.
During the lazy days of summer, how about taking the initiative to make a new friend? Reach out to a fellow BAMSL member you do not know but want to get to know better, and invite him or her to join you at the fun Rendezvous on the Roof summer social.
August & September
Before the official "giving" season begins around the holidays, let's start earlier this year and give back to our community. There are plenty of opportunities at BAMSL, including donating to or volunteering through our St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger initiative.
There also are numerous opportunities to provide Pro Bono services to less fortunate individuals in our community who need legal guidance and support. These volunteer opportunities are available year-round.
We usually host a Welcome to the Bar reception for the new attorneys who just passed the bar in July. I encourage everyone to reach out to a new young lawyer in your firm or via BAMSL to help guide them and perhaps develop a mentorship relationship. Supporting our new attorneys is more important than ever and we want them to succeed just as we wanted to prove ourselves when we became lawyers.
During the month of gratitude, let's show our continued support for those who support BAMSL. Express your thankfulness for the partnerships with our Sustaining Partners and the numerous sponsors of events throughout the year.
Hopefully by the time the holidays roll around again, we will be able to gather once again for the fun-filled Member Holiday Party to celebrate all the blessings of the holiday season.
Motion for Kids also will continue to help children impacted by the justice system. We hope that we can return to an in-person party for the festivities. But if that remains impossible, we still have the drive-through options that we had planned for 2020. No matter what, we will have a Motion for Kids celebration to ensure children receive their gifts.
Whew! That is a lot to resolve to do, but I know that if anyone can accomplish all of this, and more, it will be BAMSL. Here is wishing all of you a better year in 2021.