Dear Members and Friends:

August is here, and we are less than a month away from the start of the Washington Bar Association’s 2021-2022 bar year on September 1. I hope you are all having a safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer.

The WBA executive leadership team has been closely monitoring recent developments related to COVID-19, as we continue to make plans for the upcoming bar year. The health, safety and well-being of our members and the community at large remain a top priority. It will always be my goal to effectively communicate the WBA’s plans with respect to officially resuming in-person programming and events. Any plans to do so, will, of course, be subject to the health and safety protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control, as well as any mandates issued by the federal and District of Columbia governments. I welcome input from the WBA’s members and supporters on this important issue.

Last month, I hosted a board orientation and training session, where members of the WBA board of Directors heard reflections on the organization’s rich history and exceptional legacy by Past President Wendell Webster, received board governance training from Sarah Fort, Esq., Counsel at Vinson & Elkins LLP, and had a parliamentary procedure refresher presented jointly by National Bar Association (NBA) Parliamentarian and WBA Member James “Jim” Jones and Registered Parliamentarian and WBA Past President Kevin Judd. This weekend, I will host the WBA’s leadership retreat, which will be an organizational planning opportunity for members of the WBA board, committee chairpersons, and other appointed bar leaders. We will use this time to build relationships, clarify goals, and develop strategies to help advance our plans for the year.

There are still lots of opportunities to get involved with the WBA before the bar year begins. You can join a committee, help plan or organize a program, host an event, or share your expertise as a consultant. And you can always donate to the WBA Educational Foundation. As we transition to a new membership management platform, you will have an opportunity to not only seamlessly pay membership dues and make donations, but you will also be able to indicate your interest in joining specific committees or serving in designated roles when you set up your new membership profile. But in the interim, please feel free to reach out to me or any other WBA leader to let us know if and how you’d like to get involved.

Speaking of membership, I am pleased to announce that the WBA Board recently approved discounted membership rates for lawyers who can verify their employment in the government or nonprofit sectors. This is one of several membership initiatives I look forward to launching in the near-term to increase the WBA’s ranks. This year I plan to focus on continually improving, clearly articulating, and consistently demonstrating the WBA’s membership value proposition, which will ideally grow and strengthen our membership. Stay tuned for more information in the weeks to come.

You may have already seen or heard about the tremendous success and recognition achieved by so many deserving WBA members during the NBA’s 96th Annual Convention, held virtually last month. This includes the re-election of WBA Member Ashley Upkins for a second term as Secretary of the NBA, with WBA Past President Henry Floyd and WBA Board Member Nicholas Austin continuing in their respective roles as NBA Vice President and Treasurer. In case you missed it, a list of the WBA members who were honored during the convention is available here. So many of them are to be commended! I would also like to applaud WBA Board Member Nicholas Austin and WBA Life Member Carla Jordan-Detamore for their recent recognition by the American Bar Association as Top 40 Young Lawyers On The Rise. Congratulations—you represent the WBA well! If you, or other WBA Members you know have a professional accomplishment, award, or achievement that should be recognized, please send an email with full details to the WBA Secretary and Communications Committee Chairperson here.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the life and legacy of civil rights activist, Gloria Richardson who recently passed away at age 99. The WBA honored Ms. Richardson in 2019 with a Civil Rights Legacy Award, presented by Past President Nicole Austin-Hillery, for her courageous leadership of the Cambridge Movement, a grassroots civil rights and economic justice campaign on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. May her memory be an inspiration to each of us in our ongoing pursuit of equal justice under law.

In closing, I hope you will all take some time during these final weeks of summer to recharge and rejuvenate. I look forward to sharing details soon about what the WBA has in store for the 2021-2022 bar year. In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy and take good care.

Onward and upward,

Kendra Perkins Norwood

PRESIDENT

Washington Bar Association

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