President’s Column

Publication year2021
Vol. 46 No. 4 Pg. 5
Vermont Bar Journal
Winter, 2021

Pandemic Practice Diary

We made it through 2020. In late 2019 I had all sorts of big plans and aspirations for the year ahead. It is, perhaps, a touch of an understatement to say that those plans changed. And here we are again, at the beginning of a new year, and again I have all sorts of big plans and aspirations for the year ahead.

I’m inspired by and proud of how our profession – on very little notice – nimbly changed course and kept on working. Everyone has a story about how life and practice changed in 2020. I’m very curious to see what lessons and practices we decide to keep, what we improve, and what we replace.

I re-created part of my year last year, and thought I’d share.

March 9, 2020. In 2 days I’m supposed to travel to Chicago with Teri Corsones and Bob Fletcher for the ABA Bar Leadership Institute. Things are shutting down all over the place. As of now the conference is still on. Before I go to sleep I think about if I go how I’ll get back to Vermont if I go and airlines stop flying. I mentally plan to rent a car and drive to Kalamazoo, Michigan where my parents live, spend the night there, and then drive back to Vermont the next morning. If I have to rent a car and drive back from Chicago I think about the fact I might not be able to cross the border if the virus gets worse, and I’ll have to drive through Ohio and Pennsylvania (rather than cutting through Ontario like I usually do) to get back. Oh, and also that my own car will be at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire. I probably shouldn’t go. I’m concerned that the conference hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’m pretty sure lots of people are deciding not to go.

March 10. The conference is cancelled. I’m disappointed but relieved. I go to court in Windsor County for an arraignment. There are a lot of defense lawyers in the building that morning, and we’re all sort of chatty with one another. It’s nice. At one point about seven of us are standing around, pointedly not shaking hands, talking about the fact none of us wants to get sick. Nikki South declares she’s going to greet people with “jazz hands” from now on. I talk to a client in New Jersey later that afternoon. He comments that all of a sudden everyone is an epidemiologist.

March 16. I go to Burlington for some juvenile hearings. I’m a little iffy on going in person, but I have a language interpreter coming for one hearing first thing in the...

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