Oklahoma Bar Journal

2021: The Year That Almost Was, But We Didn’t Break It

By John Morris Williams

As I sat down to write this article, my first thought was, “Where did this year go?” For the December article, I generally do some sort of a recap and congratulate us for achievements of the year. The article is usually a bit of an opportunity for reflection, where besides the pats on the back, I am also glad to see that we have moved past some things.

2021 was pretty much a total “glad we got past that” rearview-mirror experience for me personally and professionally. I know many of you feel the same. There were several events we planned and canceled because of COVID. I had regrets about each of those. For me, 2021 seemed like the year that almost was. It was almost the year we got back to “normal” before the second wave hit. I am not a half-empty or half-full glass person. I am more of a “grateful we have a glass and didn’t break it” person. In 2021, there were seldom times our cup ran over, and there were many times it seemed a bit empty. But we didn’t break it.

To President Mike Mordy, a huge thank you. Being president of the OBA during the pandemic has its own set of difficulties. It also deprived our president and Board of Governors of the opportunity to participate in the fun part of the job. President Mordy continued to help us embrace technology and find ways to better communicate digitally. Mike and his wife, Christy, are two of the nicest and most conscientious people I know. Even though we had challenges because of the pandemic, it was an absolute delight to get the chance to work with him and spend time together. Mike Mordy has been an exceptionally attentive and caring leader of our association. Because of him, 2021 was a much better year than could have been expected. Thank you, 2021 Oklahoma Bar Association President Michael C. Mordy, for making what otherwise would have been a painful year much more tolerable.

I hope I never again have to write about waiting until next year for something to happen. It is with great optimism that I report we did not break the glass, and we are gearing up to fill it in 2022. Start shopping now for that perfect resort wear because we’re going to the Choctaw Casino in Durant for the Solo and Small Firm Conference. My guess is it will be one for the books on both content and fun. Be watching for details and registration.

In 2022, we will be opening the building for meetings and continuing legal education programs. Our Director of Educational Programs, Janet Johnson, has not been able to host a full-blown in-person CLE since she started last year. So I want you to sign up and attend all the meetings and CLEs you possibly can in 2022 and come meet Janet in person.

The pandemic, while it did not break our glass, created opportunities for us to better serve our members through the use of technology. While we already had the rule in place for OBA members to get all their CLE credits online, we had not perfected the total digital production with speakers and participants all in different places. Starting with the 2020 Annual Meeting, we learned much and have advanced greatly in this area. The experience we have gained and the ability to enhance our production of high-quality virtual programs will serve us well in 2022 and beyond.

In the area of communications, we continue to grow and learn. In 2022, we will merge our digital publications, the OBA Enews and Courts & More, into a weekly publication that will include essential information about OBA activities and opinions and news from the courts. It is our desire to send you more information and fewer emails. We understand communication is more than just hitting send. Our new Director of Communications, Lori Rasmussen, and her team are working hard to develop a strategic plan to send the right information in the right way at the right time.

Lastly, I want to wish you a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. Come join us at the OBA as we refill the glass and make 2022 truly a year to remember.

To contact Executive Director Williams, email him at johnw@okbar.org.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 92 Vol 10 (December 2021)