With the pandemic easing, the VBA was able to host the Mid-Year Meeting live and in-person on Friday, March 25. With 120 registrants it was the largest live event for the Bar since the Before Time. The gathering, at the recently-refurbished Lake Champlain Hilton on Burlington’s waterfront, featured six CLE’s along with the annual business meeting. Also returning was that feature that no digital meeting could offer, the exhibitors hall– where meeting sponsors provided information and take-aways, where the menu included breakfast, and where coffee and conversation flowed all day.
Honors, elections, and some debate were the main features of the business meeting, which was presided over by Board of Managers President Bob Fletcher. Honors went to the Pro Bono Award winners for 2022, Matthew Garcia, Joy Karnes Limoge, Sara North and Laura Savall. Paul Gillies was awarded, in absentia, a VBA President’s Award in the form of engraved marble book-ends for his 30-year contribution of Ruminations columns to the Bar Journal along with numerous other services to the profession. A stealth award (not on the agenda) was presented to Bar Counsel Mike Kennedy on the occasion of his 250th “Five for Friday” online open book ethics quiz. Chief Justice Paul Reiber co-presented the award (an engraved Yeti water bottle for the runner and athlete). Mike and the crowd gamely, and accurately, answered some of his historic quiz questions.
The slate of candidates for next year’s VBA Board was approved without debate. They are: President-Elect – Judith Dillon; Treasurer – Matthew Valerio; Secretary – Edward J. Tyler; 1st Two-Year Seat-James Rodgers; 2nd Two-Year Seat – Alfonso Villegas; 3rd Two-Year Seat – Kate Lamson. Elizabeth Kruska was also elected as VBA Representative to the ABA House of Delegates.
Members were asked to vote on a proposal to allow the VBA to access some of the funds now in the Client Security Fund (which stands at approximately 1.5 million dollars) for purposes consistent with the VBA Mission. A summary of the question and the background can be found here. In the end, after spirited debate, the matter was tabled until the Annual Meeting.
Josie Leavitt of the Vermont Bar Foundation gave an update on the group’s activities for the year. This includes the current (promising) search for a new leader for the VBF. Poverty Law Fellow Emily Kenyon also gave an overview of some of her work over the last year, which included joining with Vermont Legal Aid at the end of 2021 to sue the Vermont Department of Labor over their untimely processing of unemployment benefits appeals.
The afternoon program featured two CLEs along with a break for networking and then – even more food – a lavish charcuterie spread in the lobby. This encouraged attendees to linger and provided an opportunity to fortify themselves at day’s end. Although, strictly speaking, the end of the day wasn’t the end of the meeting. CLE programming continues via webinar for the entire week of March 28. The VBA CLE calendar is linked HERE
Missed out? Don’t worry. Our videographer was there to make sure the CLE’s were recorded and the digital recordings of all the CLE sessions will be available soon. Also we have pictures, linked HERE!
Special thanks to all our sponsors and exhibitors, our extremely generous and knowledgeable presenters and of course all of the attendees who made the event hum.