There have been many changes that have occurred in the past five months with the onset of the COVID-19 virus pandemic and the ensuing masking and social distancing guidelines. The legal profession and the judicial system have instituted many new restrictions and regulations regarding the practice of law, the operation of the courts and the administration/management of legal matters. The social distancing and the diminished personal interaction have affected bar related organizations, especially continuing legal education sessions, meetings, social gatherings and networking opportunities. The most significant aspect has been the advent of virtual everything—the Zooming of society. In just the past two weeks, the voluntary WV Bar Association held a daylong strategic planning session with most judges and lawyers from all parts of the state participating through use of the Zoom program and the mandatory WV State Bar hosted a Disrupting Bias webinar with hundreds of WV lawyers using the Zoom format. Additionally, the American Bar Association held its multi- faceted Annual Meeting, virtually, including presentations by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Finally, the National Conference of Bar Foundations held its first virtual Annual Meeting for two days and had more than double the number of attendees as for its previous in-person meetings. Everyone is hoping for a successful COVID-19 virus vaccine in the near future, but virtual lawyering, virtual court systems and virtual law-related meetings are apparently part of the new normal.
The Bar Foundation’s Strategic Planning Committee will meet this coming week to make necessary plans for the current fiscal year–July 2020-June 2021. President Harry G. “Chip” Shaffer, III (Madison) has various actions for the Committee and, later, the Board of Directors to consider and act upon. The Committee will consider the holding of the 10th Lunch and Laughs event, which is scheduled for Friday, September 11, at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown. A decision will be made to have the Lunch, postpone it for some period of time or cancel it until 2021. The April, 2020, Bar Foundation Fellows Dinner was postponed and consideration will be given to a date this fall or postponement until April 2021, when both the 2020 and 2021 Fellows classes could be jointly inducted. The Committee will also review possible new initiatives and the Board’s important fiduciary responsibilities. ______________________________________________
NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEMBERS
The Bar Foundation Board of Directors has welcomed three excellent leaders to begin serving three year terms with each of them receiving orientation materials and guidance in the past two weeks. These three individuals bring their talents and skills as members of the diverse group. They are: Judge Jack Alsop-Webster Springs
Dean John Taylor-Morgantown David Morrison-Bridgeport