Oklahoma Bar Association

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Special President's Message - March 2020

With So Much Happening, How Can We Fix Anything?

By Susan B. Shields

Remember last week? How about yesterday? This is a challenging time that none of us expected and information about the COVID-19 outbreak is changing minute by minute. We are stressed out. Our clients are stressed out, and we all are facing a lot of uncertainly that a few weeks ago we did not anticipate. I am thankful I have a job I can do remotely but am finding it hard to focus on my law practice with the constant distraction and anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus and the accompanying economic hardships. I am worried about my college-age sons and my 86-year-old mother, my colleagues and my family and friends, near and far. It has helped me in recent days to keep in touch and let people know I am thinking about them.

As we all try to adjust to the current “normal” and the many difficulties that lie ahead, I wanted to take a moment to remind you that the OBA is a resource for up-to-date legal information about the pandemic and also a community of support. If the OBA can be of service to you, call or use the staff email directory, and they will do their best to assist you. If you encounter a legal issue and need resources, check out the OBA's COVID-19 webpage, which the OBA staff is working diligently to keep as up-to-date as possible. I am so grateful for the OBA’s executive director, John Williams, and all our OBA team who are working overtime to help our members and the public navigate the changing legal landscape.

I wrote in my March OBJ president’s message about the Murrah bombing and the “Oklahoma standard.” The current events are another reminder about how Oklahomans come together in difficult times. During this time of crisis, I have full confidence that Oklahoma lawyers will rise to support one another and our communities. These are challenging times to be sure – for lawyers and their practices, for those with family members requiring care (old and young), for those in high-risk categories facing more severe effects of the virus, for our OBA members without family support and for those living paycheck to paycheck or without health care resources. This time also creates an added burden on lawyers struggling with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. Let’s all help one another and try not to let the fact that we can’t fix everything keep us from doing what we can.

Our OBA community will get through this together. Be prepared, be generous if you are able, ask for help if you need help, be kind to one another, be patient, be forgiving, be supportive and keep in touch with your colleagues, your families and the OBA. Most of all – be well.

Susan Shields

OBA COVID-19 UPDATES: Get information and resources at www.okbar.org/covid19.