Executive Summary: Spring forward
Vol. 78, No. 2/ March - April 2022
Mischa Buford Epps
Mischa Buford Epps is executive director of The Missouri Bar.
This time of year always makes me smile as bright daffodils and colorful tulips awaken my senses and remind me how much we have to be grateful for.
That’s especially true as we’ve entered our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic; been horrified by the needless death and destruction from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine; and seen many Americans struggle with the day-to-day realities of economic insecurity. Yet, spring is the season of hope. It compels us to focus on the beauty and the good around us. There are things to celebrate.
One cause for celebration is the privilege that we have living in the United States of America and the freedoms we enjoy here. As Ukrainian residents endure unimaginable losses and fight for their democracy, we are reminded not to take our privileges for granted. In his State of the Judiciary address last month to a joint session of the Missouri General Assembly, Chief Justice Paul Wilson emphasized that government is people – well-meaning, hard-working people who may do different jobs and serve in different ways but who “are united in the spirit and goal of service.” He also stressed the importance of continued communication and collaboration among our three branches of government to best serve Missourians. I encourage you to read the full text of the State of the Judiciary address included in this issue.
For me, another cause for celebration is the historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the upcoming vacancy due to the retirement of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. I am inspired that for the first time in my life and the Court’s 232-year history, a working mom who looks like me may serve on the highest court of our land.
This spring at The Missouri Bar, we continue to strive daily to help you even better serve your clients. If you haven’t visited The Missouri Bar’s 2021 Annual Report on MoBar.org, take a look when you have a few minutes. You will gain a better understanding of the range of services provided to lawyers at no additional cost and the ways our bar is serving the public. We think you’ll see things to celebrate and even more to help us look ahead to the challenges yet to be met.
In May, as part of Juror Appreciation Week, The Missouri Bar will join with judges, court personnel, and legal professionals across our state to celebrate and thank all Missourians who reported for jury duty in state courts in 2021 and 2022. Each year, thousands of Missourians perform one of the most significant civic duties granted to citizens – they serve as fair and impartial jurors in communities. Missouri is one of only a few states that hold a statewide Juror Appreciation Week, with more than 50 courts participating annually. This year’s statewide Juror Appreciation Week will be May 1-7. Contact us or your local court if you are interested in joining as we thank jurors.
We also look forward to seeing you at the virtual Missouri Bar Spring Committee meetings to be held May 2-6. Thirty committees are holding business meetings and/or offering CLE programs at no charge that week. Check MoBar.org for the schedule.
Noticing and celebrating what is happening with the weather, temperature, plants and flora, and general vibe can help us be more centered and connected. The rapid changes in our personal and professional lives over the last year have laid bare the importance of lawyer well-being. Members of the bar’s Lawyers Living Well Special Committee have worked tirelessly to identify and recommend programs and initiatives aimed at improving lawyer well-being. Several special activities are planned for national Well-Being Week in Law (WWIL), also May 2-6. WWIL seeks to raise awareness about mental health and encourage action and innovation across the profession to improve lawyer well-being.
Your well-being has many dimensions – your physical, mental, and social wellness are critical to the health of your practice. Diet, exercise, and mindfulness improve your physical and mental health and support your social well-being. With spring’s arrival, open those windows, get outside, plant something, ride a bike, have a picnic, or cook with family or friends. When engaging in activities, try to be mindful and fully in the moment. If you enjoy the time without worrying about your to-do list or deadlines, you will be more refreshed, fulfilled, and optimistic. Who wouldn’t want that?
Let’s spring forward together with appreciation and optimism.