President's Page by Brett Landis
The only constant is change.
I have repeated this phrase to myself multiple times since March 2020, but I had heard it many times before. It is something that I have had to keep reminding myself throughout my life and my career, and I am certain I will need to keep reminding myself of this for the rest of my life. Change is scary, necessary, and an opportunity all at once.
After living through the past year and three months of “unprecedented times” (a phrase I have both come to loath and use too frequently), as a society we should expect significant changes in the next several months. As a legal community and a bar association, we should expect the same. A large part of my job as your new BCBA President is to help our organization transition through these changes and to support our membership and our staff as we do so. I look forward to using this monthly article as an opportunity to discuss many of these changes directly with you, our membership.
While not officially a “Colorado Native”, I spent most of my childhood on the Eastern Plains of Colorado (Ft. Morgan) where I graduated from high school. During that time, I was able to visit Boulder for school trips. While many people in Ft. Morgan referred to it as the “People’s Republic of Boulder”; for myself and a lot of my fellow students, Boulder was our “shining city on the hill”, a home to open minds, new ideas, and acceptance of many different types of people. Because of that, this community and its ideals remain close to my heart.
Those ideals (equity, openness, and compassion) prompted me to seek a career in public interest law. After graduating from the University of Oregon School of Law, I worked with domestic violence survivors in Eugene, Oregon and followed that with several years with a rural office of Legal Aid Services of Oregon. Due to family reasons, I returned to Colorado in 2015 (working with a wonderful small firm), and I continued to take pro bono work through Boulder County Legal Services. In September of 2016, I began my current position with BCLS as Managing Attorney, and it has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve our local low-income and senior communities. It was my dream job. That being said, the transition to this job was intimidating at first.
Following in the footsteps of prior Managing Attorneys who had done notable and incredible work in our legal community, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of Imposter Syndrome. Was I smart enough? Was I experienced enough? Would I be able to do enough for our clients and our community? I am relieved that after almost five years in this position, most of these feelings have dissipated, and the challenges of this job taught me important lessons about myself, the practice of law, and human nature. I learned the important lessons that even good changes can be terrifying, but change is also an opportunity for growth.
I see this coming year as an opportunity for growth in our community. With increased access to vaccines, the BCBA can engage with members in important and meaningful ways, as well as, utilize the technological skills we developed during the height of the pandemic. We look forward to in-person gatherings to fuel our human connections, such as our summer happy hours, Bagels with the Bar, and other opportunities. (Please keep an eye on your emails for more opportunities to engage with our board and staff!) We also plan to continue to offer virtual CLE programs along with our in-person CLEs. We want to continue to work on how to respond to the challenges of our times, including working on Access to Justice issues, as well as continuing our work on the Virtual Legal Clinic.
I am excited to work with you to help our organization and our community transition through the changes of the past year, as we move from surviving to truly thriving in the future. I am really looking forward to seeing many of you in person in the coming months. Thank you.