Reflections on the end of my year as JBA president

I look forward to my next phase in Bar involvement and to finding my new mentors.

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  • | 5:10 a.m. July 1, 2021
  • The Bar Bulletin
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By Michelle Bedoya Barnett, JBA President 

Michelle Bedoya Barnett
Michelle Bedoya Barnett

I was on a text string recently planning my next girls’ trip. While discussing the current state of affairs and whether it seems prudent to travel, one of my friends responded “YOLO.”

I tried to figure out what she meant by before finally succumbing to Google and learning that YOLO is shorthand for “you only live once.”

It seems so obvious now. I blame my lack of teenage children for my lag in knowledge of pop culture, but will catch up soon.  

This is my final article as president of the Jacksonville Bar Association. I have been reflecting a lot on the end of this era in my life.

I must admit I have a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) in addition to JOMO (joy of missing out).

This is ironic to me because I remember suffering from FOJI (fear of joining in) when I first got involved in the JBA.

This organization has provided me so many opportunities to not only meet, but get to know, my colleagues, our local judiciary and court officials. The JBA has allowed me to engage in community outreach to the elderly, the hungry, to our youth, to the battered, and to the unemployed.

I have greeted new American citizens and watched law students’ first oral arguments and mock trials. Each one of these experiences has changed me in ways both big and small.  

Just when I was thinking I had reached the pinnacle of local Bar involvement and could take a break, local attorney and former JBA President (1998-99) Tom Edwards posted a quote on Facebook that said, “If you’re over 45 and don’t have an under-30 mentor, not mentee, then you are going to miss fundamental shifts in thinking that are happening.”

That post hit me like a ton of bricks. Since I am not quite 45, I am going to catch my breath, but I certainly do not want to miss fundamental shifts in thinking.

I look forward to my next phase in Bar involvement and to finding my new mentors. I clearly have a lot to learn and need someone to show me the way.

After all, YOLO. I need to get it right.

Michelle Bedoya Barnett is a founding partner of Alexander DeGance Barnett, focusing on labor and employment law.