Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wellness Wednesday

Like Throwback Thursday, Wellness Wednesday is trending on social media now, but is doomed, like all trends, to fade into the background.  I’m a huge fan of Wellness Wednesday, don’t get me wrong.  Anything that brings wellness and work-life balance into center stage gets an A+ in my book.  But why can’t every day be #LoveYourLawyerDay or #WellnessWednesday? Memories, love and wellness are not like pie. Highlighting one does not preclude the other and all are available in infinite quantities.

Seeing that today is Wednesday, and it is summer, why not post in honor of Wellness Wednesday? Taking a page out of Mike Kennedy’s Wellness Wednesday playbook, I found myself enjoying last Saturday to its fullest, despite the long list of chores and neglected life admin duties awaiting me at home.  Summer is beautiful and short in Vermont, and every moment should be savored and stored.

And here at the VBA, we practice what we preach! Whether it’s our Executive Director, Teri Corsones, enjoying many gorgeous weekend hikes; or our Lawyer Services Coordinator, Michelle Abajian, spending time at the lake (while doing headstands on her paddleboard!); or our Programs Coordinator, Laura Welcome, feng shuiing her home to make a cozy retreat to curl up with her critters and a book (or taking long walks with Boris), or our Office Administrator, Tami Baldwin, traveling all Vermont locales in pursuit of her fantastic wildlife photographs; or our Legal Access Coordinator, Mary Ashcroft, singing in the choir or just enjoying her sleeping porch on her beautiful farm; or our CFO, Lisa Maxfield, relaxing while photographing flora and fauna from her Kayak, joined by myself and Fiona on my paddleboard, we’ve got this Vermont summer nature-thing covered! Most of us also take the time to enjoy downtown Montpelier or Hubbard Park during our lunch hour.

Photographic evidence? Well, I will spare you the bathing suits and honor the privacy of our staff.  But here is a sample of some of what we see and do to inspire you to get out there. Summer is fleeting. Act now!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Third Annual VBA Trial Academy a Great Success!

Thanks to the invaluable contributions of many, including: presiding judges from the state and Vermont Supreme Court benches; experienced trial practitioners who offered critiques with the presiding judges; VBA Young Lawyers Division members serving as witnesses; and volunteer student timekeepers from the Vermont Law School, the 3rd Annual VBA Trial Academy was a great success! The event was roundly applauded by participating lawyers and all who were involved in the day-long program at the Vermont Law School on July 12.  Early returns from requests for feedback include the following: “Happy to participate again -- this was one of the best CLE's I've attended;” “I think the program is very well done and organized. I would be willing to participate again next year;” “Practice and critiques from judges and experienced attorneys are invaluable assets;” and “…would love to participate next year.”

The VBA was delighted to organize an opportunity for lawyers to present a variety of trial segments in a criminal, a civil, and a family mock trial setting. Each participating lawyer was critiqued in individual courtrooms by either Justices Harold Eaton and Karen Carroll, or by Vermont Superior Court Judges Helen Toor, Cortland Corsones, Timothy Tomasi, Alison Arms, Nancy Waples, David Fenster, John Treadwell and Megan Shafritz, who each served as presiding judges.  Veteran trial practitioners David Cleary, Karen McAndrew, James Murdoch, Mary Kay Lanthier, Jim Spink, Susan Flynn, Dan Burchard, Tracy Shriver, Bill Counos and Eileen Blackwood joined the judges in offering thoughtful and detailed assessments of the lawyer participants’ trial practice techniques as they presented opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations and closing arguments in classrooms set up as courtrooms at VLS.

YLD members Devin McKnight, Katelyn Atwood, Jeff Guevin, Mairead O’Reilly, Kienan Christianson, Sarah Cornwell, Caryn Connolly, C. Justin Sheng, Ashley Moore and Kassie Tibbott served as the witnesses being examined, while VLS students Katherine Kral, Naveed Nanjee, Elizabeth McAndrew, Harrison Drapo, Allison Berg, Beth Bowles, Frank DiMora, Bobby Appleyard, Kelly Olszuk and Austin Nichols served as timekeepers in each courtroom to ensure equal time for the presentations and critiques. Vermont Law School Dean and President Thomas McHenry welcomed all to the Trial Academy, while VBA Executive Director Teri Corsones thanked everyone for their generosity of time and expertise. The VBA is more than happy to oblige the participants’ requests for the planning of a 4th Annual VBA Trial Academy next year.  We hope to see you all there!