Living with the Pandemic
Monday, July 27, 2020
Posted by: Frank Bailey
I hope that everyone is safe and healthy.
On August 6, 1880, the Greater Bridgeport Bar Association held its first annual dinner meeting. According to Record of the Bridgeport Bar Association 1880-1908, thirteen attorneys traveled to Meadows End in Milford to hold a Rhode Island style clambake. The event was highlighted by speeches and even poetry readings. The dinner was so successful that the following year it was repeated on a larger scale. On July 10, 1881, it was “…universally voted to make the lawyers’ clambake a permanent annual institution.”
Our founders, however, did not anticipate a pandemic that has killed approximately150,000 Americans and has shut down virtually all public activities. So, our 2020 annual dinner was postponed, and it is uncertain when it can next be held. The way that law is practiced in Connecticut will be irrevocably changed by the coronavirus.
Our bylaws require us to hold an annual election in the month of May to elect our officers and board of directors . Without an annual dinner, we amended our bylaws so that we could hold a remote election. The election concluded on May 15th and I am privileged to be elected as your new President. The remaining officers are :
- Steven Levy – President- Elect
- Etan Hirsh – Vice President
- Charleen Merced Agosto – Secretary
- Venoal Fountain – Treasurer
Joining our Board of Directors are Mary Beth Rapice and Joanna Haddad. Tom Maxwell and Peter O’Connell are retiring from the Board after many years of service. Tom and Peter both served as president of the GBBA and have been devoted to this organization and to improving the practice of law in Bridgeport. On behalf of the Board and membership, thank you.
I would also like to thank Matt Reale for serving as our President. The last few months of his term were challenging but Matt never let that diminish his enthusiasm for this organization and its mission.
Much has occurred since May.
We are actively searching for a new executive director. There is a search committee and we are conducting interviews. We are also considering changing the role of the executive director to a more limited position, especially considering the social restrictions caused by the pandemic.
We now have a membership committee which is carefully reviewing and updating our membership records as well as our website. We are contacting members to see how they feel about the GBBA and to encourage them to renew their membership and to join and participate in a committee.
We have hosted remote seminars about video depositions and mindfulness. Some committees have held meetings by video conference, and I encourage all our committee chairs to schedule remote meetings as soon as possible.
The way that our Association functions must adapt to the conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic. Although large social gatherings cannot be held in the foreseeable future, we can meet remotely. Seminars will now be held remotely for the foreseeable future.
Also, we have a new website: bridgeportbar.org Go to site and open your account by entering your email address as your username. Through the website, you can register and pay for events, communicate with members and see announcements. It is our hope that the website can serve as a newsletter and a tool for our members. Lastly, if you have not yet renewed your membership for 2020, please do so through the website or by simply mailing your renewal to the office. Now, more than ever, it is critical that our members support the GBBA so that it can continue to serve our members and our profession. Please be sure to renew your membership as soon as possible. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email our office at GBBA@bridgeporbar.org
Frank Bailey President, GBBA