As I write this column, we’ve just completed the Midyear Meeting of the Senior Lawyers Division Feb. 19-20. The meeting was well attended, with more than 50 participants on day one and more than 30 participants on day two. On day one, we began at 9 a.m. CST, 7 a.m. PST for the hale and hearty.
We have four main meetings each year: Fall, Midyear, Spring, and Annual. Due to the pandemic, we’ve conducted all meetings using Zoom. Our Spring meeting will also be virtual. We do hope to convene in person at the Annual Meeting.
This year’s Midyear Meeting began with a gathering of each SLD committee chair. Vice chairs were also invited. We have 31 boards, committees, and task forces. Of these, 16 concentrate on one aspect of law or activity of interest to SLD members. Each chair reported on activities so far this year. By March, we’ll have produced 24 different webinars or seminars this year. We plan to produce 15 additional seminars and possibly more by August.
As I write, we’ve had 4,044 attendees sign up or actually attend one or more presentation. An additional 1,081 members have watched our webinars on demand, for a total of 5,125 participants. That’s quite an achievement, and the ABA is recognizing us for that significant increase in activity.
I hope each of you will sign up and attend our presentations. They are all free to members and will help fulfill your CLE requirements, as well as educate and entertain you. We can always use more ideas and presenters. If you have an idea, please contact the appropriate committee chair, or send an email to Emily Roy, our director.
The remaining activities on day one consisted of meetings of the Book Board, Experience magazine, and Voice of Experience newsletter. All our publications are doing extremely well, and our book sales are ahead of budget. In the afternoon, the Section Officers Committee met and heard presentations on membership, budget, and future plans for the ABA.
On Feb. 20, I updated the SLD Council on our plans and programs. ABA President Trish Refo and President-Elect Reggie Turner also spoke. Both lavished praise on the SLD for the tremendous activities we have underway, especially SLD’s Opioid Summit 2 and our Elder Law and Dementia Center for Excellence.
Kelly Dineen and Jack Young, the SLD’s former chair, are organizing the Opioid Summit 2 and have assembled an amazing team of participants, including the presidents of the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Kerry Peck, Jill Sauber, and Cathy Krendl are leading the effort for the Elder Law and Dementia Center for Excellence, with plans for several webinars soon.
The centerpiece of the council meeting was a presentation by our Member Benefits Committee, led by Leonard Gilbert and assisted by Al Harvey, Mike Jones, and Orlando Lucero. The committee commissioned a member survey and got almost 1,000 responses expressing knowledge and appreciation for the many benefits SLD offers members.
The presentation also listed member benefits most of our members don’t recognize. We’ll post this presentation on our website under the Member Benefits banner. And we’re planning to create an electronic brochure highlighting our benefits that will be sent to each new SLD member and used as a recruiting and retention tool in the future.
Finally, we heard reports on the Opioid Summit and our strategic plan. The Nominating Committee presented recommendations for leadership positions for next year, and those will be posted on our website and acted on at the Annual Meeting.
Our Pickering Award nominee is Professor Stephen Saltzburg of George Washington University, a long-time ABA leader. The council unanimously approved Saltzburg’s nomination.
As we proceed through this year, I ask each of our dedicated members to keep up the good work we’ve accomplished so far. We look forward to a day when we can meet again in person. In the meantime, stay healthy, happy, and free.
Michael J. Van Zandt
Michael J. Van Zandt is a partner and co-chair of the Environmental & Natural Resources group at Hanson Bridgett in San Francisco. Van Zandt is chair of the Senior Lawyers Division; a member of the SLD Council; a representative for the ABA SLD to the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources; a Litigation Counsel of America senior fellow; and an American Bar Foundation life fellow. He served as the chair of the Experience editorial board before becoming chair of the SLD.