Unprecedented. Challenging. Difficult. These are words with which we are all familiar after two years of living in a pandemic. But our individual experiences of this collective global crisis also gave new meaning to words we thought we knew: Hope. Resilience. Opportunity.

Leaders, including me, were keenly aware of the two options we had. We could help our organizations navigate through a collective pause, accepting the hand dealt to us by lockdowns and a devastating virus. Or we could get to work on practically reassessing, adapting, and rebuilding based on the reality of our “new normal.”

HLAI paused gathering in person. We were committed to the health of our community. But that didn’t stop us from working with our membership. They knew we were still here because we involved them in the work of rebuilding. The unprecedented pause in our otherwise event-packed year gave us time to join our minds, reanalyze our purpose, and direct our attention to achieving new goals.

There’s never enough time for all the tasks we must complete. That’s true for individuals and organizations. Everyone has backburners. HLAI had several filled with the task of implementing dynamic ideas. HLAI accepted the challenge of the pandemic as an opportunity to tend our backburners and accomplish milestones previously kicked down the road.

Most importantly, HLAI never forgot to listen. As president I empowered board members to voice bold ideas, young lawyers to pursue innovative options, and members of our judiciary to think outside of the box. The organization’s attention, like mine, is beyond the challenges of the pandemic and towards the success earned by unity, resilience, and hard work.

Our concept of “normal” will undoubtedly change. I know there are challenges ahead. I know they will be difficult. But I also know that HLAI is made of amazing lawyers and judges who volunteer their time daily to pave the road for those who will follow. We are improving the experience of the next generation. That’s what matters. That’s why HLAI is on the right track.