Hon. Glenn A. Norton
BAMSL President, 2020-21
Of Counsel, Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch, L.C.
Mediator, Special Master, Alaris
Originally published in the March 2021 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. View in the archives.
Traditionally, the March issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine is devoted to highlighting and honoring the judges from the metropolitan region who retired the previous year. The issue normally provides a look at each judge's career and previews the Judicial Retirement Dinner to be held in their honor each March. Well, we all know that 2020 and now 2021 are not normal years for conducting BAMSL's usual events and programming.
BAMSL's last big formal in-person event was actually last year's Judicial Retirement Dinner, held just days before we went into lockdown mode.
The seventh annual Judicial Retirement Dinner was scheduled to be held March 4, 2021, to honor the 2020 retirees. Due to the ongoing pandemic and related gathering restrictions, BAMSL's leaders made the difficult decision to postpone this year's event. Instead, we plan to host a larger Judicial Retirement Dinner in March of 2022 to honor both the 2020 and the 2021 class of judicial retirees.
Those to be honored for 2020 include:
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Missouri: Hon. Charles Rendlen, III
- Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District of Missouri: Hon. Robert G. Dowd, Jr., and Hon. Roy L. Richter
- 21st Judicial Circuit (St. Louis County): Hon. John R. Essner (posthumous), Hon. Gloria Reno, Hon. Mary Pat Schroeder and Hon. John Warner, Jr.
The Judicial Retirement Dinner is one of my favorite BAMSL events because the retiring judges are "roasted" by a close friend, family member or colleague who are encouraged to share untold stories, the more embarrassing the better. While it is a formal event, the evening provides great fun and laughter for the judges and their families and friends.
I look forward to the time when we are able to gather and celebrate the amazing achievements and contributions that the 2020 and 2021 retirees have provided to the local legal community.
In the meantime, I still would like to share some thoughts about our judiciary and those who serve on the bench throughout Missouri. BAMSL has an active and enduring relationship with our judges. BAMSL members have the unique ability to interact and engage with members of our judiciary outside the courtroom on numerous occasions, with the highlight being the annual Bench & Bar Conference (which is now a hybrid event rescheduled to Aug. 18-20, 2021).
The work I am doing now puts me in contact with lawyers from all around the country. I never get tired of hearing how unusual it is, and how lucky we are, that we have a judiciary that is accessible. The lawyers in Missouri can get to know their judges. And the interaction that takes place outside the courtroom is what really makes the relationship between our bench and bar special.
Our attorneys and judges consistently strive to ensure fair and equitable administration of justice for each and every citizen who enters a courtroom. Judges make important decisions, some that can affect most or all of us at some point. But while they maintain decorum and appropriate control over their courtrooms and dockets, they are engaging and active in the community.
Judges have a tremendous amount of responsibility as they are tasked with making decisions that will change lives. Some decisions judges must make are incredibly difficult ones. But judges understand the importance of following the rule of law to ensure the justice system works for and protects everyone's rights, and that everyone can have complete confidence in the process.
We salute everyone who has retired from the judiciary, and everyone who continues to serve on the bench. Never take a judge's commitment, dedication or sacrifice for granted.