By President Kimberly M. Zimmer, Esq.
At our Annual Meeting last December, I expressed some of my goals and hopes for the FCBA in the coming year, including continuing to foster collegiality, mutual respect, and friendship among our members. I had hoped that we could both increase camaraderie and grow membership in the Organization, and one of the ways I thought this would happen was through social events.
Social events and social distancing are, however, diametrically opposed. COVID-19 has changed everything for all of us, as individuals and organizations, and the FCBA is no exception.
As Heraclitus correctly noted, “The only constant in life is change.” I am not quite sure who said “change is good.” It seems that several people want to take credit for that one. COVID-19 has been horrible for many. Thankfully, as it has turned out, the FCBA has been able to move forward even with the pandemic, and some of the changes that have been made in response to the pandemic have been good for the Organization.
As COVID-19 forced us to cancel some really great social events we had planned, in April, the Organization began presenting our Continuing Legal Education Programs virtually – for the very first time. Many thanks to Daniel Rubin and Suzanne Messer, the Co-Chairs of the Continuing Legal Education Committee, and our Executive Director Shelly Childers, who have worked (and continue to work) very hard to provide the membership with many excellent CLE offerings. These CLEs have been highly attended and well received by the membership. And, these virtual CLEs have actually resulted in an increase in members in the Organization.
In May 2020, Board Meetings went virtual as well. In June, the FCBA awarded 20 students within the District prizes for their contribution to this year’s Constitutional Scholars Program. And, this month, recognizing the hardships that COVID-19 has inflicted upon many within the communities we serve, the FCBA established a matching gift program with Feeding New York State. Feeding New York State allows FCBA members throughout the district to donate to their local food banks and the FCBA will match those gifts.
So, things are not as we envisioned in the beginning of this year, but the Organization has adapted, made important changes, and the good news is that COVID-19 has not stopped us from moving forward. As we continue to work through the challenges COVID-19 presents, we welcome any input from our members as to how we can continue to do better and do more to serve our members.