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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 7, 202105:30 AM EST

Goodbye 2020, hello new challenges

The JBA is in the forefront to facilitate solutions for the community.

By Christian George • JBA Board of Governors

Happy New Year and cheers to 2021. On behalf of everyone in the world, I am thankful that 2020 is in the rearview mirror.

That being said, 2020 was not all bad. My wife and I had our first child, a perfect son named Parker. Similarly, many of you likely spent more time with your families than you otherwise would, which hopefully reminded you how much you love those people.

As an industry, ours is lucky, as the legal profession is suited to weather the pandemic and its resulting challenges. Most of our practices allow us to work remotely without too much problem thanks to modern technology.

Sure, we miss seeing each other and having live trials and hearings, but all things considered, it is a blessing to be able to fulfill our work responsibilities, even if it means arguing an hour-long injunction hearing from a small closet while your dogs and kids run around the main part of your home.

We may all be “Zoom-fatigued,” but that is a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.

The sad truth of the matter is that many in this world are not as lucky. Many industries have been impacted in a negative way. While we are hoping the vaccines will soon return the world to “normalcy,” they will be too late to curb the permanent impact of COVID-19 on certain segments of society.

By the time you are reading this, the moratorium on residential evictions may be lifted. The moratorium was a temporary solution as there is no magic wand to fix the problem of high unemployment or reduced employment hours for many people. 

The Jacksonville Bar Association is happy to be in the forefront of addressing this issue. The city of Jacksonville needed a partner to help administer and manage its Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program. We stepped to the plate and agreed to take on the challenge.

The board of governors did not agree to this because it would be easy. To the contrary, it is a complex program. But, as a civic-minded organization, we seek ways to help the community and in this case, the city needs an organized group to distribute more than $6 million to families and small businesses.

As I write this, I did not expect that the world’s crises would stop Jan. 1. If there is anything that history shows us, it is that we should expect the unexpected and the universe will present challenges.

As lawyers, we remain in a unique position to help those in need and to fix problems for others, even if it involves a virtual meeting from the aforementioned closet.

The renowned legal scholar John W. Davis said:

“True, we (lawyers) build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures – unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men’s burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

The equally renowned scholar Robert Van Winkle said, “If there is a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.” Yes, Vanilla Ice was referring to lawyers’ abilities to solve problems.

I sincerely hope 2021 is a bit easier on the world than 2020. But either way, this year will present challenges. As ever, we stand ready to help solve those problems.

Christian George is the office managing partner of the Akerman law firm’s Jacksonville office and practices commercial litigation.

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