President's Message

JurisdictionUtah,United States
CitationVol. 34 No. 3 Pg. 11
Publication year2021
President's Message
No. Vol. 34 No. 3 Pg. 11
Utah Bar Journal
June, 2021

May, 2021

Reflections on 2020: Did We Rise to the Challenge?

by Heather Farnsworth

It was nearing midnight, and I was loading the last of a few items into my suitcase preparing to head to St. George. Then I got the message. We needed to have an emergency meeting - it was time to call off the 2020 Spring Convention - a first in the history of the Bar. It was a punch to the gut. I was over the planning and knew firsthand the countless hours of careful planning that the chair, Abby Dizon-Maughan, the committee, and bar staff members, Richard Dibble and Michelle Oldroyd, had put into the event. But, if the Utah Jazz was calling off games, it was serious. This was the moment the pandemic became "real" for me.

We all have those moments -some individual, some collective, some joyful, some devastating - where we remember exactly what we were doing in that moment, and after that moment, life became defined as before and after. However, unlike other monumental moments, I, like most of us, still had no real insight into the scope of what was to come. At first, we thought this may just be a few weeks, then a few months. Now, a year later, we have just wrapped up the 2021 Spring Convention. Of course this year's convention did not look like last year's convention would have. For starters, it was not in St. George. There was no annual bike ride or golf tournament. There was no browsing the "And Justice for All" auction during breaks, no welcome cocktail hour, no continental breakfast. Instead the event was 100% virtual. Still, we had record participation with over 720 registrants - which begs the question: will we ever get back to normal? More importantly, should we?

In reflecting on this past year, I stumbled upon the President's message from Herm Olsen in the May/June 2020 Utah Bar Journal. That article would've been written shortly after the cancellation of the Spring Convention, just weeks into the beginning of the lockdown and restrictions, before mask mandates, and as we were just beginning to shift to a new, virtual normal. In that article, Herm reflected on forecasting, fear, and faith. He discussed precedent to our current pandemic and how those before us handled similar plagues. He asked the question: " [I] n 2020, what are we to think? Do we accept the paraphrase of Queen Elizabeth: 'It is an Annus Horribilis?'" Herm Olsen, Fear, Faith, and Forecasters, 33 Utah B.J...

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