When I last wrote to you we were struggling with the ongoing pressures of the pandemic. And it continued, on and on and on. Throughout the last year we have gotten more used to living in a virtual world, working from home and juggling all the respective demands on our time. It has been hard to balance home-schooling for children, demanding pets, work (which probably should have been first on the list, but often fell to last) and not getting enough sleep because work happened after everyone else had gone to bed. Despite the challenges, difficulties and stress, one thing I have learned from the last year is that we can make anything negative or positive and a lot of positive has come from the pandemic.
I have changed the way I connect with people. Instead of not connecting in person, I now connect using different tools. I will say, however, that many of my co-workers dread getting a phone call from me because they know it will go on forever. Phone calls have been the one time there is one-on-one connection instead of being in a meeting environment. That need for human connection never goes away but we have learned that we can reach out to people using virtual tools. The added bonus is that we can reach people we have never reached before using those tools.
One prime example of this is the Class of 1995 online reunion. Three members of that class took charge, found classmates, sent out emails, made phone calls and sent reminders. The reunion was scheduled for an hour and half and went over twice that long. Many of the class members on that call had never been to a reunion before because they couldn’t afford it in terms of time, travel, or money. It was heart-warming to see people connect that had been prevented by external forces from being able to attend a reunion before now.
Another benefit is the ability to put on webinars quickly and with high-quality presenters. In the past it was a challenge to coordinate everyone’s schedule, including the availability of venues. (Thank you to all the Salt Lake firms that hosted us!!!) Now that we are able to do them virtually, presenters are able to step out of whatever they are doing instead of having to travel, even across the street. Plus, we are able to present to all of our alumni instead of just those in Utah.
Our students have also been brave and resilient. They will leave law school with the new skills necessary to practice law in any environment: in-person, virtually or over the phone. The pandemic has required all of us to change and adapt and we have learned and grown from the experience. We have attained new abilities and are able to deliver our best whatever the circumstances demand.
Because we are now moving into a brave new world that will be some combination of in-person and virtual I would love to have you host a class event without the worry of travel schedules or venue availability. We can create the event you want for your class, and I promise you, it will be a richly rewarding experience.
Thank you all for the things you do to promote the law school by being the best lawyers in your community and for all the other ways you provide a benefit to our school and students. You are the BEST.