President's Page by Jeff Rose
I’m missing the energy of a fully-staffed law office, the comradery of walking into the courthouse for the 9 am docket call, and the unintelligible, gritty post-it notes stuck to the podium from previous cases. No matter how accustomed I’ve become to trying cases via WebEx, I cringe every time I notice a five-second delay in loading the next page of the exhibit on the witness’s screen. If I hear one more lawyer say “please bear with me while the exhibit loads on everyone’s screens….”
Despite frustrations with this new normal, our legal system turns on thanks to the daily efforts of so many. Last week I had the pleasure taking another case to trial, and it was obvious to everyone just how much additional work it took to submit the case to the Court. Judges and law clerks doubled as IT support. Legal assistants in offices throughout the front range helped to convert conference rooms to counsel’s tables and virtual witness stands. Most of the witnesses in the case testified from their living rooms or home offices.
Thanks to everyone’s extra efforts, the judge took the bench in an otherwise empty courtroom at 9:00 a.m. With the familiar inquiry of whether everyone is ready to proceed, a week-long trial kicked off almost like any other. Despite the virus, power-outages, and inconsistent internet connections, the parties got a fair trial. The world kept turning.
By the looks of things, my transactional colleagues are experiencing a similar reality. Parties and counsel might be sitting far apart, but the substance of the work continues. Wills are being drafted and signed. New entities are being formed. Business transactions close, disputes arise, deals go south, and the cycle repeats.
Our local bar community keeps going, too. The BCBA has excellent, highly relevant, online programming. Our first Side Bar presentation is on September 10 at 4:00 pm, with CU Law Professor Aya Gruber giving an all-bar virtual CLE that addresses how criminal procedural law enshrines bias. Jack Peters is giving a Civil Litigation CLE on qualified immunity and the basics of civil claims against law enforcement officers on September 15 at 12:00 pm. Our Side Bar series will continue virtually this fall, and we’ll soon announce its schedule of excellent programming through the end of the year.
I’m as sick of Zoom meetings as everyone else, but it’s important to keep interacting within the community of our local bar. With a little extra effort from everyone, we keep interacting with our colleagues, attending CLE’s, and furthering the BCBA’s mission. We also keep looking forward to that first in-person all-bar happy hour once the clouds part. I can’t wait to see you there, in person, whenever that time comes. Until then, I’ll look forward to seeing you online.
Jeff Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.