JULY/AUG 2021 BAR BULLETIN July | August 2021 - Page 3

PRESIDENT ’ S MESSAGE

PRESIDENT ’ S MESSAGE

Julia Wyda 2021-22 PBCBA President
For my first President ’ s Message , I want to start by acknowledging and thanking our Immediate Past President , Dean Xenick , for his leadership during the most challenging year in our Bar ’ s history . No one was prepared for COVID-19 and the chaos it brought to our personal and professional lives . The financial health of the Bar and the physical health and safety of our members felt uncertain , but Dean remained focused and faced each challenge with calm and resolve . He made the Bar ’ s financial health a priority while caring deeply for our members ’ safety . Under his guidance and direction , our Bar quickly and creatively shifted its programming and events , using virtual platforms and joining with other bar associations to create webinars to help our members . All the while , we continued to raise funds for our community , hosting food drives and toy drives for those in need , as well as encouraging and supporting our Young Lawyers Section in their adopt-a-school project for children at Belle Glade Elementary School . With Dean ’ s support , this was the first year that we celebrated the legacy of Palm Beach County ’ s Black judges with a very well-attended virtual event and video presentation . Dean also brought an emphasis to mental health , adding a mental health and wellness page to our Bar ’ s website and initiated the # PBCBAStayWell effort , which included webinars and a mental health first aid course . We thank Dean for his steadfast leadership in such a difficult time .
We were hoping to be back at the Breakers this year for our annual installation gala , normally attended by 300-400 people , but we ultimately decided to put our members ’ health and safety first once again and opted for a small swearing-in ceremony . For the first time in the history of our Bar , the installation of our board of directors and officers occurred at the Fourth District Court of Appeal , where I had the privilege of clerking at the start of my legal career . Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer led us in the invocation and pledge and Judge Jonathan Gerber swore us in . We used this opportunity to raise funds for the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County . Our members and area firms donated $ 6,325 , which will help provide legal services for those hit hardest by the pandemic . Bob Bertisch of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County was present at the installation to celebrate with us and receive these funds . The ceremony highlighted the abilities of the Bar , the Fourth District Court of Appeal , the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit , and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County to all remain connected and strong , regardless of any challenge , including the many challenges we each faced on account of the pandemic . There will be challenges ahead as we move out of the pandemic , but our mutual support will enable us to address any issues that arise .
This leads me to my theme for this year . As we face the backlog of cases that will begin to move through our courts , as we address the increase in evictions as the moratorium is lifted , as we address the needs of children as a result of lapses in education especially for those children who did not have the technological ability or parental support for virtual learning , and as we begin to restore and reenergize our legal practices , I ask that we all consider what we can do to help others . My theme for the 2021-2022 bar year is We Rise by Lifting Others . This is truly what the Palm Beach County Bar Association excels at . We are one of the best bar associations in the state , and as we have risen , we have brought other bar associations along , sharing our resources , helping in any way we can , and we have tried to do more and more for our members , and have continued to increase our support for our community . As we all now begin to come out of the pandemic , let ’ s come out lifting a colleague , someone in need of legal services , our courts and court staff , and our young lawyers . There are many young lawyers who have had more than a year without the type of mentorship and guidance they would have otherwise received in the physical office or at live bar events . As we recover , think of them and consider becoming a mentor . Think of our female attorneys with young children who had to take on extra child care responsibilities during the pandemic and will now be delayed in reaching the career goals they set for themselves like partnership and board certification . Encourage them to stay the course and remain committed to the legal profession .
I am so grateful to be your president during this time of continued recovery . In many ways , I feel like I have grown up with all of you in our Bar . I started in the Young Lawyers Section with Patience Burns . With the volunteer work we did as young lawyers , I felt instantly that the Palm Beach County Bar Association was my second home . I became president of the Young Lawyers Section in 2013 and have been on our Bar ’ s board of directors since then . I have had the pleasure of watching so many great leaders of our Bar address difficult issues with grace and skill , and I have been mentored by many members of our Bar who have taken the time to guide me . Members of our bar association supported me and cheered me on in my journey to become board certified . Over the past 15 years of my career , while our Bar Association has continued to rise , it has been lifting me , and I suspect it has been lifting many of you . Now is our time to lift as many others as we can as we all rise from this pandemic to what I hope will be a supportive , social , prosperous , active , successful and joyful year for our Bar , each other , and our community .
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