NEW - Judge Lisa Wilson, Chair of the Tenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, has released a Call for Justice 2021 article. To read, click here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reached its first anniversary. No one could accurately predict the full impact of the pandemic on our country or the rest of the world. While each of us may have different experiences or views about its adverse impacts, we all know that we have arrived at a newly changed and different world. For example, the idea that office work always has to be performed at an office has run aground. Our prior practice of attending routine hearings in person at a courthouse has also greatly diminished. We even have courts using video software platforms to conduct jury selection, mediations, and trials. Moreover, to the extent we received mailed correspondence, discovery responses, and pleadings before March 2020, the pace of movement to only using email or other digital or software platforms has only accelerated. Most offices have replaced their physical fax machines with guest Wi-Fi systems. Yet still standing at the core of our practices is the unchanged dynamic of having to advise or represent a client in court proceedings or transactions. The legal substance of such matters is largely unchanged. However, in 2021 we should expect changes in legal substance. State and federal legislatures are besieged with demands for changes of so many varieties that the demands for our skills will grow, but our delivery formats will have to adjust. The challenge posed by our circumstances is to adapt and add to our respective toolboxes of skill sets so that we are able to provide our services in a more client-focused manner that also dots the i’s and crosses the t’s of our existing and amended codes, rules, laws, and statutes.
In response to our present circumstances and what awaits us as lawyers, the Peoria County Bar Association stands ready to help you with your business plans to adapt. Unlike every prior year, our Winter series of CLE programs were all presented via Zoom. The comments received to date report on the continuing high quality of our CLE programs. That effort continues this month with our Brown Bag series, free to all PCBA members who register to attend. The programs start on March 3rd “Our Family Wizard”; March 10th “An Overview of Recent Changes to the PAAR Residential Sales Contract”; March 17th “Trial Practice in a Digital Courthouse”; March 24th “Real Estate Tax Assessments; and March 31st “Motion to Suppress & 4th Amendment Issues.” All seminars will be presented on the Zoom platform hosted by the PCBA.
As first noted, other PCBA events held in the past may skip a year or be presented with a changed focus and format. We will take notes from former and present luminaries. Scientist Albert Einstein advised us what to do in these circumstances. “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Current writer Naomi Jackson concurs and takes it further. “[I]t wasn’t so much the mistakes that people made but how flexible they were in the aftermath that made all the difference in how their lives turned out.” It is uncomfortable. But we have little say in the matter. So when you pack up your cables, computers, mobile phones, and other digital devices that help you do your job, also remember to bookmark the PCBA website and Directory so we can all stay in touch. Have a great Saint Patrick’s Day! We’ll talk soon.
Ambrose V. McCall