President’s Message: A Message of Strength, Growth, and Gratitude
Anthony F. Sos, Esq.
The Briefs, May 2020 / Vol. 88 No. 4
During this period of unprecedented times, first and foremost, on behalf of the OCBA, I wish all of you safety, health, and wellness. I thought I had a pretty good idea about the general topic of my last “President’s Message.” Then COVID- 19 happened. Everything stopped. And now I’m just staring at a blank screen.
Here is what I know without a doubt: We are strong. One of our members recently lost her dad to COVID-19. The next day, her young daughter was surprised by a visit at her home from her Jiu Jitsu sensei honoring her with a formal invitation to join the black belt club. While still mourning, the young student courageously accepted the invitation. I recently took a picture of my daughter after schools closed. She was studying a map while sprawled out on the floor learning from home. Note the collage of photographs on the cover of this Briefs edition depicting chalk artwork and messages of hope. Seeing many uplifting images and hearing stories of perseverance gives me hope about our future. From elder generations to younger generations, we are strong.
Part of what I originally wanted to write about seems even more pertinent now. I had intended to highlight how we, as busy attorneys who manage similar stressors, experience the journey of life together. We deal with client pressures, court deadlines, trials, etc. A lot of us have “grown up” together. Friends we watched get married now have children approaching adulthood. Conversely, young lawyers are now forming new relationships that will last for years.
To illustrate this passing of time, I had planned to include pictures of long-time members from many years ago. Think Gary Salzman at the YLS golf tournament when he was 30. Actually, the tournament probably doesn’t go that far back (love you, Gary). Point is, I planned to write about how, in our shared profession, we have been there for each other, tackling life together. We’ve celebrated and mourned together. And now we are going through COVID-19 together.
It has been comforting to see us rise to the occasion and lean on each other for support and friendship. We have seen heartwarming displays of kindness, especially towards those risking their lives to save others. In early March, I recall feeling like the December holidays were just yesterday. I was not alone in my feeling that time was moving even faster than usual. Then, time stopped. While I hate what is happening, I must admit I appreciate the slower pace. When this is over, I challenge us not to forget the kinder, gentler versions of ourselves that emerged when we were forced to slow down.
Shifting gears, as this is my last “President’s Message,” I want to express gratitude and thanks to the people I had the privilege of working with this year. I will not mention all of them by name, as that would lead to a very lengthy “President’s Message.”
Thank you to our new executive director, Jenny Brown. I did not know what to expect during this year of transition. Jenny has proven to be a super star, exceeding all expectations. She is a quick study, always prepared, and forward thinking. Jenny’s work ethic, intellect, judgment, and leadership skills embody the mission of the OCBA. It has been an absolute pleasure to lead the bar with Jenny.
Coming into this job, I had often heard many past presidents compliment the OCBA staff. Having had first-hand experience working closely with them, I can tell you the gratitude previously expressed is indeed warranted. They genuinely care about their work and ensuring the bar is meeting the needs of its members. We are fortunate.
Thank you to the OCBA Executive Council. The council’s unity and focus in response to COVID-19 is emblematic of how they have been all year. We have had lengthy discussions about budgets, policies, events, by-laws, our mission, and priorities. Above all, these discussions centered on doing good work for the benefit of our members and community. I have served with most of the Executive Council members for many years and have come to know them well. They are selfless, hardworking, and care deeply about our profession. With a long line of talented leaders in place, our future is bright.
Above all I want to express gratitude to our members and volunteer leaders. We are an active bar. We’ve networked together at luncheons, a 5K, happy hours, community projects, committee meetings, and more. In working with members on projects too numerous to mention, I have observed the wealth of talented, thoughtful, and smart people that make up our bar. It has been an uplifting and humbling experience to lead such a group.
P.S. I still have the old pictures I collected of many of you that I had planned to include in this message. I’m not afraid to publish them if warranted!
Anthony F. Sos, Esq., is a partner at Dellecker Wilson King McKenna Ruffier & Sos, LLP. He has been a member of the OCBA since 2005.