March 31, 2021 Chair's Column

Chair's Column: March 2021

Returning to Normal May Involve Some Virtual Visits to Faraway Museums

By Michael J. Van Zandt

Spring has sprung here in California, with trees and flowers already in bloom. My first roses appeared in my not-so-carefully nurtured bushes on my back deck, giving me an opportunity to fill my recycling bin with plenty of clippings. I still have a bumper crop of oranges in my fruit tree, still ripe for picking and making juice or, my favorite, orange chicken. All of this normality leads me to the inevitable conclusion that normalcy, whatever that is, may be upon us in short order. I qualified for an early vaccination times two and suffered no ill results besides feeling a little tired. My church is now holding services inside but still limited to the first 100 who sign up. The restaurants are now permitted to serve meals at 25% capacity, but many are experiencing a brisk business on the sidewalks. For the first time, gathering places are talking about using vaccine passports to identify those who may congregate together without supervision. I am now planning a visit to see my grandchildren, whom I have not seen in ten months, except by FaceTime.

What this portends for the ABA and the Senior Lawyers Division is still unknown, but it does appear that we are on our way to gathering once again in-person. We are still awaiting a decision on in-person meetings from the Board of Governors, but we have set the Spring Meeting on April 22-24, 2021, as a virtual meeting this year. Agendas for the meetings on those two days are published here. We are still in need of help on several of our committees, so if you are interested please let Emily Roy or me know where you’d like to participate.. Our committees have been extremely active all along with over 5,000 attendees at our webinars and presentations. We fully expect to see that number exceed 10,000 by August as the numbers and types of webinars we are offering significantly increase, most with CLE credit. Overall, webinar attendance and activity across the ABA has risen significantly during the pandemic.

We may never go back to doing business as usual, and one of the areas which may be slow to recover is travel, especially international travel. But this reminded me that one can still travel virtually to many of the most interesting spots in the world. After the U.S. Capitol was invaded in January, I wanted to see the inside in its pristine condition and learn a bit more about the history. Just a few keystrokes led me to "The Architect's Virtual Capitol" an interactive guide of the U.S. Capitol Building and grounds. Go to www.capitol.gov.

This is not the only virtual tour you can take. Here are some world-famous museums you can visit from the comfort of your own living room, courtesy of Genworth:

Sit back and relax. Click on any of  these links, and dream of the day when you can fly away to these magnificent destinations and explore these wonders in person. Until then, stay happy, healthy, and safe. 

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Michael J. Van Zandt

Partner, Hanson Bridgett LLP

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; a Litigation Counsel of America senior fellow; and an American Bar Foundation life fellow.