President’s letter – September, 2020
Mississippi is home. But I am writing this letter to you from my daughter’s and son-in-law’s home in Washington, D.C. I am here awaiting the imminent debut of my granddaughter, my first grandchild! I cannot go to the hospital with my daughter because health and safety protocols prohibit all visitors except my son-in-law – yet another comeuppance caused by COVID-19.
But, even in the midst of a global pandemic, is there a more potent reminder that life goes on than the birth of a child? Despite the disruption, loss, and grief spawned by this virus and its economic repercussions, there are still new beginnings to celebrate. There are still reasons to hope, plans to make, successes to commemorate, and opportunities to serve that keep us moving forward.
As NAWCJ pivots to a new year, we remain committed to the goal of promoting justice within the workers’ compensation system by educating the judiciary on a national scale. Education enhances our abilities as jurists and thereby benefits those we serve: employers and employees, directly, and the community at large, indirectly.
If you have not yet joined NAWCJ, the membership fees are sweet and the returns on your investment will be even sweeter. The New Judges’ Boot Camp in the spring of 2021 and the Judicial College from August 21-24, 2021 will be informative, fun, and entertaining at a price that can only be described as a bargain, whether it is your first or thirty-first year on the bench. Also consider joining an NAWCJ committee and volunteering for the Earle Zehmer Moot Court Competition on August 22, 2021 and the Give Kids a Chance Work Day on August 21, 2021.
Engagement at the “hands-on” level will offer you the greatest rewards of membership: closer relationships with peers who can motivate and encourage you on and off the bench. Your fellow judges are not just contacts, they are colleagues and resources at the ready that you can rely on for counsel on how to handle an unwieldy pro se claimant, the occasional, obstreperous attorney or a backlogged docket. Frankly, without the support and inspiration provided by my peers in NAWCJ, I am not sure I could have maintained the enthusiasm needed to continue honing my craft as a jurist. For me, the value added by NAWCJ has far exceeded the price of a membership fee.
So please join me and the many smart, funny, interesting, and creative members of NAWCJ to help make 2020-2021 a year to remember. In a good way. We all want and need to make the world a better place than we found it. My granddaughter is counting on it!