Sara G. Neill
BAMSL President, 2019-20
Shareholder, Capes Sokol
Originally published in the July 2019 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. View in the archives.
Many congratulations are in order for two great teams: The St. Louis Blues and the BAMSL Bench and Bar Planning Committee. And coincidentally, these two teams have more in common than one might expect.
As BAMSL members know, the Blues have been our partner in the Motion for Kids project since 2016. The Blues – along with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Isaac Bruce Foundation, and Saint Louis University and Delaware North Companies – graciously volunteered to pitch in and fill the void when the Team Who Shall Not be Named left town. Since then, the Blues have contributed $10,000 annually; brought their mascot, Louie, to visit with the children; and provided the Blues Crew with the inflatable hockey slapshot game each year.
The Blues, of course, won the Stanley Cup last month. Every member of the team had some major contribution that helped carry the Blues to victory. For example: Ryan O'Reilly had eight goals and 15 assists post-season; Pat Maroon had a double-overtime goal to win the Dallas series; and Jordan Binnington had an average of .925 save percentage on the road. It just so happened that my family was vacationing in Boston during game 7. We had been on a road trip from St. Louis to Acadia National Park, and Boston was one of our stops on the route home. We watched the game in a crowded bar in downtown Boston, cheered for the Blues, and somehow avoided conflict.
The morning after the Blues won, I had hoped to enjoy a leisurely brunch and walk before packing up the car, and then to spend the afternoon slowly making our way back to St. Louis while listening to the second audio book I had purchased before the trip. (The kids selected Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the way to Acadia). However, when we woke up, it was pouring and everyone in the city other than us was in a bad mood having just lost the cup. So instead of taking our time, we rushed out of the hotel and Boston and proceeded to listen to 21 straight hours of the NHL Network on Sirius radio. I enjoy hockey, but this was a bit much.
Just like the Blues season, this year's Bench and Bar Conference held at Camden on the Lake during the Stanley Cup finals, was a great success. Attendance was higher than it had been in years with more than 250 attorneys and judges present.
The Missouri Supreme Court was there for a reception in their honor followed by dinner and the Hon. Duane Benton of the Eighth Circuit’s version of Supreme Court "Jeopardy." John Gore and his Elton John cover band, Dogs of Society, performed one evening and attendees "enjoyed" karaoke the other. Attendees played golf, poker, participated in a 5K run, and had the opportunity earn 8.5 hours of CLE. Some of this year’s CLE highlights included John Gunn's presentation on lawyer health and wellness; Eric Walter's presentation on Missouri marijuana law; and several programs targeted toward young lawyers on topics such as judicial selection, ethics, and professional development.
The biggest highlight of this year's Bench and Bar Conference was, without a doubt, when all of the hockey fans in attendance took a break from telling courtroom war stories and networking to gather together to watch the Blues win game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. The Blues victory left everyone in a great mood, even if a little tired the next morning. Like the Blues' success this season, the success of the Bench and Bar was based on great teamwork by the Bench and Bar Committee. Attorneys from law firms of all sizes as well as members of the judiciary and the BAMSL staff worked together for several months to organize and plan all aspects of the conference, and did a stellar job promoting the conference and bringing other attorneys from their firms along. I enjoyed working with this exceptional group of attorneys and judges.
There is, of course, a big difference between the Blues and our BAMSL Bench and Bar Committee. In all likelihood, there are not any committee members, or St. Louis attorneys for that matter, who are going to be lacing up the skates to play for the Blues. But every lawyer in St. Louis is welcome to be a part of BAMSL and join the Bench and Bar Planning Committee for next year.