What a year to be Bar President—a worldwide pandemic, natural disasters, and budget challenges were just some of the everything and the nothing we had before us (to continue with Dickens). While it has been a challenging year, it has truly been my honor to serve as your Bar President.
Thanks to the efforts of a tremendous staff at the Bar, including the recently retired John Baldwin, the diligent Richard Dibble, and the amazing Christy Abad to name a few, and to the efforts of the Bar Commissioners, we’ve made it through this year relatively unscathed and with several notable achievements.
The Bar worked with Governor Herbert to declare attorneys as essential workers allowing us to continue moving forward throughout 2020 and 2021. However, with COVID restrictions in place, the Law and Justice Center was closed, but the Bar pressed on with processing licensing, pro hac vice applications, and certificates of good standing. During its closure, the Law and Justice Center received a much- needed update with fresh carpet, paint, and repairs to the steps and parking lot. We are excited to have you back to the building as restrictions are being lifted.
Since all live meetings were cancelled, the bar exam could not be administered traditionally, and all CLE events and conventions had to quickly move to a virtual format. The Court adopted a diploma privilege process for July 2020 (the applicants of which provided 3,025 hours of pro bono service to the community) and the Bar administered virtual bar exams in February 2021 and July 2021.
The CLE Department was incredible, facilitating 250 remote CLEs with over 35,000 attendees! We were able to work with local police departments and activists to bring excellent programing like the Use of Deadly Force Program (which will continue at the Summer Convention).
The well-being committee for the legal profession offered opportunities to address the new challenges and stressors brought about by the pandemic. Access to Justice continued, with virtual legal clinics, which actually expanded our reach to serve more clients in need, with 60 lawyers regularly volunteering in over 20 legal practice categories.
The Bar Commission and Hiring Selection Committee narrowed down resumes and conducted multiple interviews, ultimately selecting Elizabeth Wright to be our new Executive Director. We are excited for her new ideas, her experience, and the leadership she will bring to the bar, along with Heather Thuet who will be stepping in as your next President at the upcoming Summer Convention.
This will be our first in person opportunity since COVID restrictions have been lessened and we will also provide virtual options for those who prefer to attend remotely. We hope you will join us! If you haven’t yet submitted your updated compliance report, this is a great opportunity to obtain those last few credits (though a late fee will apply).
Thanks again for allowing me to serve and for continuing to honor our profession with your work. I can’t wait to see all your faces (and all of your face!) in Sun Valley!