What follows is a transcript of an interview of Joseph A. Woods Jr. (JW), chair of the SLD’s Travel Committee, by Judge Edward Schoenbaum (ES), chair of The Voice of Experience newsletter committee.
ES: Why on earth should anyone select an SLD travel program when there are so many other offerings out there, including other affinity programs and the Internet?
JW: For several years, the SLD has been well served by Fugazi Travel, and before that by its predecessing travel agent to the Division, Peck Judah. The agency offers experienced agents with full access to all programs offered by numerous providers. Your Travel Committee carefully selects trips from among the thoughtful suggestions of Fugazi. That process does not necessarily guarantee your satisfaction, but it does provide, I think, a level of additional assurance that the offering will in fact provide what it says it will.
ES: What criteria does the Committee apply to making that selection?
JW: The Committee, being made up of senior lawyers, focuses, among other things, on subject matter that it feels could be especially appealing to other senior lawyers, as well as the timing of the various offerings in relation to each other.
ES: Couldn’t I save a bundle by doing some shopping on my computer?
JW: Possibly, and you could also develop carpal tunnel syndrome in the process. The objective of the SLD’s travel program is to provide you a benefit: doing some of this grunt work for you. If you used to enjoy shepardizing cases and statutes, there may actually be some benefit to you in doing that shopping. Otherwise, your time being of value even now, why divert it to the Internet when you could be working on your craft project, lying about your golf game, or playing with your grandchildren? Part of the committee’s vetting process is to focus on value, and you may be assured that we think the price is right; otherwise, the item would not be on the list.
ES: Is there anything else special about these programs?
JW: Isn’t that enough? Also, though, there is the prospect of traveling with other senior lawyers, with whom one might have much in common. Sometimes it works out this way; sometimes it doesn’t. Whether you welcome the opportunity is a personal question. Maybe you want to avoid them like the plague. Maybe it’s a happy renewal of an old acquaintance or the beginning of a new friendship. Who knows?
ES: Have you any last words before we fold this up?
JW: Yes. Don’t put it off. At age eighty-four, and dozens of trips later, I have a lot of things to remember fondly and some to regret. One of the latter is that all-too-frequent decision to do something next year instead of now. One runs out of next years, of course, but even more serious is that each year imposes its own new limitations on what one can do. Take that trek in Nepal before your knees give out. Snorkel in Baja while you can still swim with the sea lions (not that you could ever keep up). No one is holding you back, so why should you?
Editor’s note: At the time of the interview, Mr. Woods was in apparent good health. He has since experienced rapidly declining health. We all wish him the best and are grateful for his Division work.