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Experience July/August 2023

The Last Waltz

Jennifer J Rose


  • The outgoing editor writes of their departure, noting that while the theme of death is uncomfortable, their last issue has been adventurous and engaging, in a mix of reflection, gratitude, and anticipation for the magazine's future and its themes.
The Last Waltz Kulagina

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Passed away, left, expired, succumbed, fell victim, battled, in a better place, no longer with us, eternal rest, six feet under, at room temperature, gave up the ghost, brown bread, called back home, joined their ancestors, bought the farm, taking a dirt nap, made the ultimate sacrifice, didn’t make it, gone to the big mansion in the sky, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, hung up their sneakers, crossed the River Styx, at peace, kicked the bucket, rode the pale horse, joined the great majority, got their wings, met their maker, joined the choir eternal.

Only sex has more euphemisms than death.

Going all the way back to Ecclesiastes or maybe the Epic of Gilgamesh, death has been tabbed “the great equalizer,” despite wide variations in death quality and end-of-life-planning. It’ll happen to me, and it’ll happen to you, and sometimes when we’re least expecting it.

Tackling an uncomfortable theme, this issue has been one of the most interesting and fun ones we’ve produced. We were blessed with an abundance of topics and content for this issue, enough spilling over for another issue on this theme. Two topics that kept popping up were why you should always go to the funeral and ethical wills.

This is the third time I’ve written a farewell column for an American Bar Association magazine, and I promise it’ll be the last. Since the most important part of any good act is knowing when to leave, I really am retiring this time around.

It’s been a genuine pleasure shaping and curating this magazine, which is delivered quarterly to some 45,058 Senior Lawyer Division members, most often by a uniformed servant of the U.S. government and bearing the recipient’s name right on the cover. My tenure as chair of Experience’s editorial board has been among the most satisfying and rewarding professional experiences of my life, within and beyond the ABA.

The credit for shaping Experience into the standard-bearer and premier magazine published by the ABA belongs to our contract managing editor, Gabriella Filisko, the designers, the members of our editorial board, the SLD leadership and staff, and, of course, every member who reads and receives the magazine. Our mission is to create content the reader just won’t find anyplace else.

Seth Kramer, a retired lawyer living in Malibu, Calif., will take over the reins come August, and he’ll do a fantastic job of filling my size 10 Ferragamos. During his 38 years practicing family law, he’s been president of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists and chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Family Law Section, and he co-wrote a family law column for California’s largest legal newspaper.

Don’t be fooled by that Southern California veneer: his parents were Hawkeyes, and he was a Longhorn. I know he’ll take the magazine to a new level. I’m thrilled Experience is being placed in his capable hands, and I’m eager to see where he’ll take us next.

And wait for it…Our October/November issue takes you to the only thing you need more than money and health. We’ll keep you guessing, but we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.