DARRELL SUTTON President State Bar of Georgia
In the Face of Difficulty, Hope Can Be Found
This edition of the Georgia Bar Journal went to press and is being delivered to you during a time that for most of us is filled with uncertainty, worry, fear, anxiety and grief—all unlike any we have ever before experienced. Our world as we know it has been shuttered—in many cases literally.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought previously unimaginable devastation. Lives lost. Businesses closed. Jobs eliminated—and millions upon millions of unemployment benefit claims. Nearly all of us ordered into isolation from our extended families, friends and co-workers. All amid more than 1 million confirmed cases and growing worldwide at the beginning of April, with forecasts of up to 100,000 deaths in the United States alone.
The devastation extends to our very “way of life” through the cancellation of popular entertainment and sports events. Just here in Georgia, the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball championship did not take place. A ballpark in Cobb County sat empty, devoid of Braves’ baseball. And the world of golf will now wait until November for its return to Augusta, Mediainstead of the annual April pilgrimage to the Masters.
Georgia lawyers are no different from any other professionals having to adapt to this “new normal” in American society. Law firms large and small have closed their offices and have their partners, associates and staff members working from home. Client “meetings” now take place online or on the phone except when absolutely necessary.
On March 14, Supreme Court of Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton declared a statewide judicial emergency, essentially grinding the wheels of justice to a temporary halt, except for matters critical or essential to protecting the “health, safety and liberty of individuals.” And on April 6, that declaration was extended through May 13.
Even though many of us—and those we know and love—have already lost so much, perhaps the worst part is the unknown: what is yet to come. I suspect that for so many of us, we will look back upon the first half of 2020 as the most difficult time of our lives.
In the face of this difficulty is a struggle to find hope. But over the last month, I have time and again seen strength; time and again witnessed demonstrations of support and...