February 08, 2021 PERSPECTIVE

Hope in the Era of the Not Normal

June M. Besek

©2021. Published in Landslide, Vol. 13, No. 3, January/February 2021, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

As we enter 2021, we think of the painful past year. Our personal and professional lives were thrust into upheaval, and we are aware of the devastating consequences coronavirus has brought. All of us—colleagues, clients, families, children, teachers, neighbors, and people throughout the world—are experiencing the most challenging time we can recall, and it is still far from over. What we face is certainly “new,” but most of us still can’t regard the way we live as “normal.”

With deadly statistics continuing, “We’re in this together” has added meaning. In every way we share wide-ranging challenges: offices closed, many of us continuing to work from home, loss of jobs and businesses, limited social interaction, and all in the midst of great human suffering on a global scale. But there are things we can and should do together, and there is hope and promise in dealing with the adversities we face in common that affect our lives and profession.

Within this climate of continuing loss and uncertainty, we all see and benefit from creativity, energy, and new ways for doing just about everything, everywhere. The ABA and your ABA-IPL Section community are working for you without interruption. We are adjusting to challenges and creating new opportunities to serve you as we advocate for our profession. We rely on a variety of platforms, like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex, and BlueJeans, for connecting with others, sharing our content, networking with our peers, leveraging expertise, and providing education. At the same time, we see science, technology, and art explode and expand. Existing technologies and countless new ones will help us connect with each other, develop new ways to work, and find answers to crucial questions.

We have shown that we effectively can work together to find solutions. The resulting ingenuity is as much a hallmark of the human spirit as it is for our profession.

The ABA is a vibrant community with a wealth of resources, information, content, and connection for you and your practice. It can help you directly with resources to assist in dealing with anxiety and depression, including those that focus on COVID-19 (https://www.americanbar.org/groups/lawyer_assistance/resources/covid-19--mental-health-resources).

This truly strange period will improve, but moving beyond it will still take time. Thankfully, safe and effective vaccines are on the way, but they will have to be widely distributed and achieve widespread acceptance. We can see already how many of us are surviving, adapting, and flourishing, even as we carry with us memories of those not so fortunate.

I look forward to seeing many of you virtually on a new dynamic platform that we are excited about. IPLSPRING Virtual will occur from April 7 to 16, 2021. Through more than 30 CLE programs, you can learn about the most current issues in intellectual property law presented by the world’s experts. At our online events, you will be able to visit with each other and meet new contacts who will add to your network and enrich you and your practice. (See the facing page for further details.)

On behalf of ABA-IPL, I urge you to connect with our Section and the American Bar Association to benefit from what we do together for you and our profession. Please also feel free to reach out to me directly.

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June M. Besek is chair of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law. She is the executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts and a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School. Her research and teaching focus on copyright and related rights, particularly as they relate to new technologies.