January 2021Volume 109Number 1Page 8

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President's Page

Looking Out for You

The ISBA continues to adapt to the pandemic while learning from members’ experiences.

Dennis J. Orsey

When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold in Illinois last March, Gov. Pritzker issued the first in a series of executive orders that impacted businesses throughout Illinois and remain in place today. Law practices were some of the businesses that were exempt from the orders and were allowed to remain open. However, in spite of that, Illinois lawyers and law firms around the state have been affected by the pandemic in one way or another. As the pandemic continued into the summer and fall, we began hearing anecdotally how the pandemic was impacting our legal community. As a result, in October 2020, at my direction, the Illinois State Bar Association commissioned a statewide survey of its members administered by Readex Research. The purpose of the survey was to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected ISBA members and their law practices, revenue generation, and operating expenses. Fourteen percent of members surveyed provided usable responses. The results are insightful.

In this issue of the Illinois Bar Journal, we explore the survey results (see “Looking Past COVID-19” on page 18) and comment on how these results can be used to better understand what our members are experiencing and how the ISBA can better serve them in these troubled times. Thank you to all who took the time to respond to the survey and share your comments.

Events and highlights

The ISBA has already begun formulating programs to assist our members. One such continuing legal education program will be conducted on Jan. 29, 2021, entitled, “Promoting Attorney Health and Well-Being.” This master series is presented by the ISBA in collaboration with the Association’s Section on Trusts & Estates. This interactive, online seminar will focus on how to sustain emotional wellness during challenging times. The program is free to the first 500 registrants! Register online.

While the pandemic has upended our traditional way of presenting programming, the ISBA has continued to adapt by providing virtual events for members. I was pleased with the attendance and participation at our first virtual Joint Midyear Meeting, held Dec. 10-11. We conducted our Board of Governors and Assembly meetings addressing important issues facing the Association. Most impressive, our CLE programs, held in conjunction with the Illinois Judges Association, were filled to capacity with a record-setting 500+ registrants. My thanks to all who participated in or helped organize these great events. Perhaps the highlight of the Midyear Meeting was the virtual Town Hall. This first-time event drew participants from around the state who learned about ISBA programs and had the opportunity to share their perspectives. I enjoyed presiding over this event and hearing from so many of our members, whose feedback was very useful. In case you were unable to attend, the town hall was recorded and is available for viewing.

Finally, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke and I met to plan round two of the Access to Justice Listening Tours, which will begin in February 2021. The first round took place throughout Illinois between August and October 2020 and provided insightful and useful comments from judges, state’s attorneys, public defenders, court personnel, members of law enforcement, and practicing attorneys. They were recorded and are available for viewing.

As our country begins administering vaccines to fight COVID-19, I hope you and your families remain healthy and safe.

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