Closing Argument

Issue: Winter 2022

Letter from the President


In my first message as president, I wrote about the importance of alumni staying connected and helping law students with scholarships. A lot has changed and some things always stay the same. I planned on writing this article about the financial challenges faced by today’s law students and how we, as alumni, can help. I will hold off on that message for now. Instead, I will just say stay healthy and stay strong.

I certainly don’t need to tell you that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, changed the practice of law, changed the needs of our clients, and changed our own personal lives. I am writing this message in my home office where I have been holed up since March 13. I work in the same little office with my husband who also practices law. Our two daughters in college are back in the house going to college online. Our daughter who is a senior in high school has also been doing school online and will graduate this week in a strange partly virtual and partly live graduation. Everyone will be in masks. Our 10-year-old daughter has staked out the family room as her “office” for online school. The six of us work in our smallish house and are getting to know each other much better. I have done client conference calls in my bedroom closet. I could not have imagined any of this in the first week of March.

I am sure your life is similar in many ways and maybe also different. You are probably working at home or carefully making your way into your office washing your hands as you go. Many of us are taking care of young children at home or “supervising” distance learning— when do teachers get a raise? We work in shifts with our partners, taking turns to work and parent. Grandparents visit their grandchildren on Zoom. Law offices are talking about “re-opening” with masks, enhanced cleaning, and symptom checking. Some of us don’t have jobs anymore at all. Law students are wondering if there will be jobs for them. And we really don’t know what the future holds. Will there be more lockdowns? Many more deaths? When will this end? We are learning to live in the gray. Learning to live with uncertainty. So stay healthy and stay strong.

Stay healthy both physically and mentally. Live within the new health guidelines the best you can. Take extra walks outside. Drink a cup of tea. Seek mental health care if you need it. Be extra kind to those around you. Help your older parents and other high-risk people in your lives. If you are high-risk, take extra good care of yourself. Ask for assistance.

Stay strong. We will live through this. COVID-19 has dramatically changed the legal landscape in three short months. My area, employment law, has been impacted not only because of how employers and employees have to respond to the issues created by the pandemic, but also because of governmental rule changes in reaction to the pandemic.

Other changes have impacted the way lawyers are practicing and the way legal services are being delivered. For the first time in history, most appellate arguments are being heard remotely. Lawyers are holding client meetings over Zoom. We are learning and adapting.

The message I was originally going to write about staying connected and helping students is still a good one. We all need community. So attend some virtual law school events, join a webinar, or mentor a student. I will see you all on the other side and maybe we can have a not so virtual party. Until then, stay healthy and stay strong.