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September/October 2020


Gaining Perspective in Unprecedented Times

Traci Ray

Sitting in our backyard in the middle of May while our children water the garden, writing my first column for the  September/October 2020 issue of Law Practice and looking ahead to my year as chair of the Law Practice Division, the idea of “not knowing” what the future will hold is really a unique sense of being. Before the pandemic, I rarely remember feeling uncertain—about anything. Now, the idea of plotting and planning seems almost like a cruel joke, as all the plans we’ve had for our families, friends, firms, LP and beyond have been unceremoniously discarded these past few months. The loss of control we all have experienced in our lives, from health to daily living, has proven to be a collective roller coaster of emotions—from hope to fear to continuous concerns. New challenges at home, work and throughout our lives have become the new normal, the new constant.

Enter, perspective.

While planning to lead the Division over the past three years, I was focused on membership happiness and satisfaction, creating new member launchpads, and working with our chair chain to ensure long-term continuity and collaboration. Now, with a very challenging year ahead, the landscape looks different, but the goals remain the same. Even though aspects like meetings and budgets have changed, our phenomenal work as a motivated entity that works hard—together—remains. Yes, this is not how we planned for things to be, but we are a strong Division with the exact abilities needed to thrive during this time in which challenges are palpable. We have been writing, leading, partnering and sharing our expertise in legal tech, marketing, finances and management for decades, and now more than ever, lawyers are turning to us for support, strategies and resources.

As we move forward in these unprecedented and unsure times, we are fortunate to have each other and a Division framework that has been built by every member over the years that supports a fantastic foundation. We have a trifecta working in our favor: a wonderful team of staff members supporting us; unparalleled knowledge among our membership; and platforms, such as this magazine and our webzine, CLEs and TECHSHOW, that carry our voices to those who crave legal education and practice insights. Even though the year ahead might look and feel a little different, perspective shows us that the year ahead is a time to innovate and capitalize on our strengths. And, most importantly, a time to be thankful for our health, the solid group of folks who make up the Law Practice Division and for the collective successes in our future. We may not be able to plan things we once could, but we can plan and count on our Division to deliver resources that our membership and professional community rely upon. I am excited for the year ahead and thank every Law Practice Division member for your time and talents. You are smart, creative and incredibly hardworking, and I couldn’t be more proud to work together over this next year.

Traci Ray

Executive Director

Traci Ray is the executive director at Barran Liebman LLP, Portland’s employment, labor and benefits law firm. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar and serves as the 2020-21 chair of the Law Practice Division. [email protected]

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