President's Message



Posted by: Christopher Lam on May 1, 2020

 

To say these are unprecedented times is an understatement.  My previous column referenced spring and what that season represents by way of renewal, hope and growth.  Who could have imagined then that March Madness would have an entirely different meaning in 2020?  Stay at home orders, working from home while homeschooling[1], Zoom meetings dictating the frequency of showering and shaving… As I sit in my dining room office to write this, on March 97, 2020[2], I have no idea what the status of our community, state and country will be at the time of publication.  I certainly hope the curve will have flattened (or, better yet, declined) and that our citizens, particularly those health care heroes on the front lines, will be safe and healthy.

Actually, I am writing this on April 1 and it’s no joke that we may all feel we are living through Groundhog Day.  We may not know what day of the week it is or the time of day, but I am still thankful it is spring and not winter.  I appreciate being able to break up the day with a walk outside.  I am grateful our family has so much (OMG, so much) time together without the frenetic pace of school, going to the office, evening events and meetings and extracurricular activities.  That may be the definition of finding the silver lining during a pandemic, but this time together and our shift to a more relaxed pace is more precious than gold.  

Don’t get me wrong, though: these days are not without stress and worry.  Concerns and anxiety about our health, the health of our loved ones and our law practice and livelihood are real.  We don’t yet fully know or feel the true economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  But we have all seen firsthand the impact on businesses large and small, including law firms of all sizes.  In times like these, no one is immune. 

You may have seen from the MCB social media platforms that May 4-8 is National Lawyer Well-Being Week.  We have all heard some of the sobering and grim statistics about how the legal profession is particularly impacted by issues with substance abuse and mental health.  These challenges can be exacerbated during our current environment due to the social isolation and the broader health and economic challenges.  In addition to resources like the North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program (https://www.nclap.org/), the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being has created a website which contains numerous helpful resources:  https://lawyerwellbeing.net/well-being-week-resources/.  I commend them to you.

And I encourage you to find connection, in whatever form, in your personal and professional lives.  For after multiple months of quarantine and social distancing, I appreciate even more the importance and power of community, interaction and engagement.

Yes, technology affords us the ability to practice law remotely without really missing a beat in terms of communication and responsiveness.  We can even see and talk to each other thanks to Zoom, WebEx and Skype for Business.  But for me, a virtual meeting – even a virtual happy hour – pales in comparison to sitting across from someone, sharing a laugh or lending an ear in person.  I look forward to when I can share those things with many of you again soon.

If everyone is still working remotely when this newsletter is published, I don’t even know when you will receive it since they are mailed predominantly to our members’ offices.  But regardless when you may read this final column, I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to serve as MCB President this year.  It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the over 5,500 members of this great Bar.  I have made new friends, strengthened existing relationships and more importantly, witnessed the varied talents, expertise and spirit of service that exists across the MCB.  I also extend a special thank you to Leah Campbell and the exceptional staff of the MCB who have made my job considerably easier and more enjoyable.  This opportunity will always be a high mark in my professional career, and I look forward to passing the baton (whether in person or virtually) to Heath Gilbert at some time and place TBD due to the rescheduling of the Annual Meeting!

Thank you for your support and be well.

 

[1]      Currently, my third grade daughter is on Zoom with her class and my seventh grade daughter is recording “pass offs” for her band class.  She plays percussion.  So, unlike Eminem, I know the exact location of “my snare.”

[2]      H/T: Heather Culp

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