Supporting you and your practice safely into the new year
Message from Missouri Bar President John Gunn
I hope this holiday season finds you and your practice faring well. As we all look forward to a new year and progression toward the semblance of a pandemic-free world, I wanted to talk to you about what your Missouri Bar has been doing and what’s to come. Earlier this year we were reacting to the pandemic, but we are now being more strategic about how we can best support you and your practice safely in 2021.
A year of innovation through crisis
Looking back over this year, The Missouri Bar has worked to improve the administration of justice on behalf of the public as Missouri works to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To achieve this, your Missouri Bar has helped lawyers do an even better job for their clients safely and has worked with our courts to allow utilization of remote tools so justice can be obtained safely and without delay. Some of those successful efforts include:
- Electronic notarization, executive order and statutory changes
- Virtual hearings, depositions and jury trials (including free trainings on each)
- Virtual oaths, including virtual enrollment ceremonies
- Removed in-person requirement from certain proceedings
- Free COVID-19 MoBarCLE Series (10,000+ registrations during Apr.-Sept. 2020 limited offering)
- Extended MCLE Reporting Year and Deadline (Sept. 30 and Oct. 31, 2020)
- Coronavirus Resource Center for Lawyers
Virtual meetings will continue through August 2021
Having adapted, we are now planning for how to best continue to support you and your practice safely until a vaccine becomes readily available and the health risks associated with large events diminish. That is why the Board of Governors recently voted to continue with virtual formats only for all Missouri Bar events, multi-day conferences and programs through August 2021. This enables us to continue to provide the quality, Missouri law specific programing you expect and deserve in the safest ways possible for you and our staff. We will continue to monitor changes to the pandemic to see if the Annual Meeting of The Missouri Bar, set for Sept. 22-24, 2021, could be our first hybrid event of virtual and onsite offerings.
Are you okay?
As lawyers, we are susceptible to feelings of isolation. The unique environment in which we do our work is not easily translated to many of our closest family and friends. Combined with the restrictions placed on our communication by confidentiality and privilege, a large part of our lives is locked away. Pile on pandemic precautions such as social distancing and the stress of the holidays and it is easy to see why one might not be okay.
This fall, I partnered with Chief Justice George W. Draper III to convene a Roundtable on Lawyer Well-being with national experts and Missouri judges and lawyers. The group generated many great ideas for new lawyer wellness initiatives in Missouri and I look forward to announcing these new projects as they are launched. In the meantime, I encourage you to connect with others who can help through our current programs:
Lawyers Living Well is an online community for lawyers to discuss self-care, mindfulness and more in a supportive environment of their peers. To sign up, visit the Join a Committee/Discussion Group page and select Lawyers Living Well under "Other Community Opportunities".
The Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program is available 24/7 to help you with substance and mental health concerns. For help or a confidential screening, call 1-800-688-7859 to talk now or get the link for a face-to-face session through a new, secure telehealth platform. MOLAP is a free, confidential counseling program that serves lawyers, judges, law students and immediate family members.
All the resources you need to manage your practice
As a small firm practitioner, I know that help with managing a law office is something we lawyers in solo or small practices crave. The Missouri Bar’s newly expanded law practice management program features consultations and a bank of resources to help you even better serve your clients. The program is free to Missouri Bar members and includes access to more than 150 white papers, checklists, comparison charts and other resources for lawyers looking to open, build, manage, protect or wind down a practice.
Members also now have two easy ways to ask an expert their legal technology and law practice management questions. At no cost, you can email your question to an expert or schedule a one-on-one, remote consultation with Affinity Consulting Group. These resources are available to all Missouri Bar members at MoBar.org/LPM. The expanded practice management resources are the newest addition to The Missouri Bar’s member benefits.
While we were all working to continue to adapt to life and practice amidst this global pandemic, please know we are thankful for your service to the profession, the law, and, especially, your clients. Please contact me with your concerns, ideas, or just to chat.
Please take care of yourselves and each other,
2020-21 Missouri Bar President