November 25, 2020 Chair's Column

Chair's Column: November 2020

Senior Lawyers Division Ripple Becomes A Wave

By Michael J. Van Zandt

We are already in the fourth month of the ABA Bar year. There are so many activities underway within the Senior Lawyers Division that I am thankful for the support our members have given to the Division and to the ABA. At the recent Fall Council Meeting, we heard from nine different committees and three boards concerning the progress in organizing these entities and the initiatives underway to create webinars and presentations, as well as articles and other written resources. We are well on our way to implementing our multi-year strategic plan.

Our newly formed Communications Committee under Carole Worthington and Jim Schwartz has organized itself into four subcommittees. The subcommittees are formulating plans to reach out to our newest SLD members, our existing 46,000 division members, the rest of the ABA sections, divisions and forums, and finally to state and local bar associations with similar interests to SLD's. I described these efforts at the Fall Council Meeting as a small ripple that gathers momentum as it crosses the vast expanse of the ABA world and transforms itself into a wave of legal action that spreads the reputation and the brand of the Senior Lawyers Division.

SLD has created a Master Calendar and it is quickly filling with activities and events that our many committees and boards have undertaken. Our very efficient SLD staff is hard at work supporting our activities and scheduling our Continuing Legal Education ("CLE") webinars. Our Staff Director, Emily Roschek has developed a plan for approval of CLEs. CLE proposals should be submitted at least eight weeks in advance of the presentation date. The proposals shall be reviewed by our CLE Committee. Three weeks in advance of the presentation, written materials should be provided to staff and again our CLE Committee will review for content and consistency. We have enjoyed large numbers of persons attending our webinars, usually over 250 persons.

The ABA Board of Governors has announced that our Midyear Meeting in February 2021 shall be virtual. In these unfortunate times, it is sad that we will not be together for our Midyear Meeting. However, as we learned at the Annual Meeting, a virtual get together allows for many more of our members to participate in our committee and board meetings. We will have quite a few of our webinars completed by February and our plans for an Opioid Summit II are well under way and in the capable hands of Kelly Dineen and Jack Young. We will be teaming with members of the American Medical Association to help create legal/medical solutions to the opioid crisis. The Opioid Summit will most likely be held in May of 2021 at a place to be determined.

We continue to solicit members to participate in our many activities. We will soon have a presentation by members of our Book Board on how to become an author for SLD. Our book sales continue unabated and have made a significant impact on our members and the ABA. I hope that you will consider taking the next step and become a book author for SLD. We have so much experience and talent in this Division and so much to offer to our members, it is important that more members of our Division write books for our diverse membership.

Speaking of diversity, our Diversity and Inclusion Committee is working on plans to ensure that all of our SLD activities are inclusive of our entire membership. It is important for SLD to reach out to all members of our community to ensure that they know we admire their contributions and talents and with their participation, our division becomes stronger every day. You should understand that we welcome your presence and know that what you bring to SLD is what makes SLD such an important part of the ABA and the broader legal community.

I hope everyone enjoys happy and safe holidays and that we soon can meet as a community in person.     



Michael J. Van Zandt is a partner and co-chair of the Environmental & Natural Resources group at Hanson Bridgett in San Francisco. He is the current Chair of the Senior Lawyers Division; a representative for the ABA SLD to the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Special Committee; a Litigation Counsel of America senior fellow; and an American Bar Foundation life fellow.