Thursday, October 26, 2017

The VBA Welcomes New Admittees!


Chief Justice Reiber swore in 52 new admittees (admitted within the last year) before the Vermont Supreme Court, the Board of Bar Examiners and guests in the House Chamber at the Statehouse yesterday.  The Chief gave an inspiring speech encouraging the new lawyers to use their gifts and talents to not only uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law but to contribute to the public good as public citizens.  He encouraged local community involvement as well as a focus on individual wellness.  As a parting note, the Chief recommended that the new admittees save a bottom drawer in their desks for thank you notes from clients which will serve as future inspiration and a reminder of the reason they chose law in the first place -- to help people. 

The ceremony was followed by a reception hosted by the Vermont Bar Association.  The VBA executive director and staff were on hand to congratulate the new admittees and talk about Vermont practice over cookies and cider.  Flyers demonstrating the benefits of VBA membership, of belonging to the Lawyer Referral Service panel, of joining low bono and pro bono panels and projects and of attending upcoming VBA CLE’s were also on hand.  Other goodies included pocket constitutions, courtesy copies of the most recent Vermont Bar Journal and VBA logo trinkets such as notepads, tissues and lip balm.

As the below pictures demonstrate, a good time was had by all the attendees.  Welcome to all Vermont’s new lawyers!  We hope to see you soon.
The Court enters
The Oath
The Chief also specifically recognized the admitee-baby.
Members of the Supreme Court met with the admittees at the reception

Thanks for coming!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

We the People (and other highlights)

Of course our 139th Annual Meeting was chock full of quality, informative and entertaining CLE’s.  That goes without saying.  We are so fortunate to have a dedicated and knowledgeable volunteer pool of members to choose from when organizing our annual meetings.  So first stop, in this post-meeting blog, is to give a HUGE thank you to all of our volunteer presenters that helped make our meeting a success.  But wait, there’s more!

New on the agenda this year, was a 2-hour ethics seminar using movie clips to highlight the best, but more often than not, the worst, legal ethical violations on screen (and hopefully just on screen!).  Larry Cohen delivered a hilarious and enlightening presentation, while members were treated to popcorn and a cash bar throughout.  The most surprising moment?  When we suggested a break at the half-way point so folks could stretch and refresh at the bar and the majority vote was to keep going! Members were thoroughly engaged—the presentation was a real treat.

Another notable event?  The luncheon business meeting!  No, that wasn’t a typo.  Yes, the required business meeting can be dry at times, and long, but, alas, it is the members’ annual business meeting containing many mandatory elements.  To kick off the meeting, we were treated to a speech from Governor Scott who commended the essential and beneficial work of lawyers in the State on many planes.  Also, this year during the meeting, Chief Justice Reiber led the entire membership through a restatement of the Oath of Admission.  Hearing all of us recite the oath in unison was inspiring and reinvigorated a sense of loyalty and a common duty of service.  For further motivation, we heard from the VBF and Access to Justice Campaign as well as from the Attorney General about the food drive results.

Most would agree that the top feature of the luncheon meeting was the karaoke treat by outgoing President Mike Kennedy.   As promised in his blog, if a person or firm gave $1,000 to the Access to Justice Campaign, he would perform a song at the Annual Meeting.  And perform he did!  President Kennedy recited a statistic indicating that only 40% of polled Americans knew even ONE of the protections afforded in the First Amendment.  So, facing laughter, tears, surprise, awe, a chorus of members and applause, Mike sang the preamble to the Constitution from the Schoolhouse Rock series.  The video clips won’t be in this blog, but hope to post video to our website.  It was incredible, with the whole crowd joining in!  After a performance like that, we can understand why incoming President Dan Maguire scrapped his speech and had to just give props to Mike.  What’s on the agenda next year, Dan?

Throughout the 2-day event, members networked, laughed and brainstormed cases.  It is always fun to watch members connect, or re-connect at our large gatherings.  The seminar rooms were all well-attended and the questions were flowing.  The pictures from the event are below, including glimpses in each room, from wellness to real estate, from employment law to cemeteries, from bias to Casemaker, from probate to Act 250 and from evidence to pro bono, among others.  

Hopefully our attendees still had time to visit our exhibitors and sponsors offering products and services to help attorneys streamline their practices.  We had an amazing batch of sponsors and exhibitors this year, so special thanks to them as well!  

As we wind down from an amazing event, don’t forget Real Estate Law Day on November 15th, ESOPS on December 6th and our Mid-Year Meeting on March 22nd-23rd.  We encourage our members in attendance to complete the survey as we strive to constantly improve our service to our members.  Also, even if you weren’t in attendance, please feel free to drop me a line with any CLE suggestions or suggestions for the VBA.  We are here and we are always listening.  Enjoy the event pictures, below and see you next time!

Ethics AND popcorn? Score!
Anyone? Anyone?
Ready to pass the gavel!
Can't beat the view!

Exhibitors Ready for the Stampede!
I, State Your Name,...
"...Provide for the Common Defense..."

No, you just HAND it to him...
Like this

And, last but not least, congratulations to Kim McManus for winning our Exhibitor Scavenger Hunt!