It has been my distinct honor to serve as the 2021-2022 Chair of the Lawyers Conference. I had hoped we would finally resume our in-person activities during the Midyear Meeting in Seattle, Washington; however, fate had other plans. Nonetheless, I am thrilled that we will have the opportunity to close out the bar year reconnecting at the Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois on August 3-9, 2022. In a way, it is befitting that our first in-person meeting will be in the home of ABA headquarters. The Windy City has so much to offer whether you are a first-time visitor or a longtime caller. There I will have the pleasure of passing the gavel to our next chair, Dan Gourash. Dan, a partner at Seeley, Savidge, Ebert, & Gourash in Westlake, Ohio, is no stranger to the conference having previously served as the 2005-2006 Chair. He will undoubtedly provide steadfast leadership as we continue to engage our membership and work closely with judges on advancing judicial administration in these changing times.
This year’s JD Annual events will kick off on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 3, 2022 with the Standing Committee on Diversity’s youth outreach program and followed by its evening diversity panel and reception aimed at creating a more diverse judiciary. On Thursday, the JD will sponsor two CLEs and host a Welcome Reception with an Awards Ceremony. During the Welcome Reception, the LC will present its 2022 Burnham “Hod” Greeley Award to the Honorable R. Fred Lewis (Ret.), former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and its Robert B. Yegge Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Judicial Administration to Zennell Brown, Wayne County Executive Court Administrator. You may recall I shared some of the wonderful things Justice Lewis was doing in Florida in our Spring column. Similarly, I would like to tell you about some of the amazing things Mrs. Brown has accomplished in Michigan since recently being selected.
Mrs. Brown, a consummate advocate, was instrumental in establishing the Friend of the Court Consortium aimed at raising awareness of and providing education regarding child support issues with community partners. She also created the facilitative medication program for the family domestic relation and piloted the first agency led bench warrant amnesty program. Moreover, Mrs. Brown authored a book titled “Coffee and Conversations: Inclusion and Belonging”, which addresses belonging and inclusion in the courts and in the legal field. Both Justice Lewis and Mrs. Brown have truly demonstrated what it means to be servant leaders who utilize their platform to make a difference in the communities they serve.
I hope you will join us at the Reception as we celebrate these two well-deserving individuals.
The Annual Meeting will conclude with JD business meetings on Friday and Saturday. Members of the LC attending the Annual Meeting are welcome to attend our business meetings to hear our Executive Committee conducting the business of the LC. If you are unable to join us in person during the Annual Meeting, there are other ways to get involved. Visit our committee webpage to learn how you can get more involved with the Conference. Finally, as always, I would encourage you to consider donating to the JD through the Fund for Justice and Education. Any monies received will help support judges in the fair administration of justice in the federal, state, local, and administrative courts, ensure that protection of fair, impartial, independent and diverse courts will remain a focus of legal and policy decisions, and advance educational programming and resources for judges and legal professionals nationwide. I am also happy to announce that the Judicial Division has been selected as on the featured entities for the 2022 ABA Giving Day this October. Please stay tuned for additional details.