March 2021Volume 109Number 3Page 8

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President's Page

Looking Back and Moving Forward

How the ISBA continues to serve you.

Dennis J. Orsey

While the vaccine rollout continues throughout the country, ISBA events continue to remain virtual for the time being. I am pleased with the success the ISBA has had with planning and carrying out virtual events during the pandemic and delivering quality programs for our members.

Access to Justice Listening Tour

February brought us the second round of the Access to Justice Listening Tour, which the ISBA is hosting with the Illinois Supreme Court. The first two “home counties” were Kankakee County and Lake County on Feb. 24 and 25, respectively. We continued to hear from judges, court personnel, practicing attorneys, and others about how the pandemic has affected the practice of law. Downstate sessions will take place on April 7 in Vermilion County and on April 22 in Jefferson County. If you have an interest in being invited to participate, please let us know. Attendance is by invitation-only from the Supreme Court. Visit our Access to Justice page for more information.

Strategic planning

In January, the ISBA Board of Governors met (in three separate virtual meetings) to conduct strategic planning sessions to plan the future direction of the ISBA. The practice of law and how we deliver services to our clients and members are changing; these sessions, led by Molly Flood from the ABA, were helpful in focusing our goals.

In February, my fellow officers and I attended virtual meetings of the National Conference of Bar Presidents and the American Bar Association. Both events featured leaders from bar associations from around the country with outstanding programs relevant to dealing with the pandemic and racial sensitivity. Both events provide opportunities for our bar leaders to network with other bar leaders from around the country and focus on programs and projects that will benefit our members.

Virtual CLE and innovative programs

The ISBA has conducted two separate continuing legal education programs addressing the challenges of the pandemic and how it has affected our practices and physical and mental health. The first program was in October 2020 as part of the Solo and Small Firm Conference conducted by Diana Uchiyama, executive director of the Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program.

The second program took place on Jan. 29, titled “Promoting Attorney Health & Well-Being,” and featured two outstanding speakers from the O’Connor Professional Group who provided valuable insights to our members. We registered 500 lawyers for this sold-out event! Both programs are now available as part of our free ISBA On-Demand CLE library and I would encourage all members to view them.

In February, the ISBA partnered again with the Appellate Lawyers Association and presented a well-attended, year-end roundup of the Illinois Supreme Court presented by ISBA Past-President J. Timothy Eaton, Second District Appellate Court Justice Ann B. Jorgensen, and Michael T. Reagan.

Our ISBA Leadership Academy is accepting applications for its second class through the end of March. If you are interested in developing your leadership skills and participating in the ISBA at a higher level, consider visiting Leadership Academy page for additional information.

I am excited to report we have had a large number of lawyers, law students, and law firms who have applied for participation in our Rural Practice Initiative (RPI). I would like to again thank the Special Committee on the Rural Practice Initiative for its hard work in screening applicants and looking for the right matches to make this program a success.

Distant shores

Finally, the pandemic has had a significant impact on my entire year as ISBA president, including the president’s trip to Italy and Greece, which had originally been planned for April 2021. The good news is that with the rollout of vaccines worldwide, we anticipate we will be back to traveling by 2022!

Cathy and I are pleased to announce we have rescheduled our president’s trip for April 14 to 21, 2022. This seven-day “Venetian Vignettes” cruise on Oceania Cruise Lines will depart from Venice with stops in Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Messina, Sorrento/Capri, and, last but not least, Rome. We expect a great turnout based upon the pent-up demand for travel as we begin to put the pandemic behind us. Please mark your calendars and join us on this unique travel opportunity by calling Michelle Mayclin with the Go Next travel agency at 800-842-9023.

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