My name is Michele Beckwith, and I am honored to serve as President of the Sacramento Chapter of the Federal Bar Association for 2020. I want to thank Julie Yap, whose service as Chapter President in 2019 resulted in a successful year that was packed with interesting and well-attended events. I also want to congratulate Julie (now Judge Yap) on her appointment to the bench of the Sacramento County Superior Court. Kudos, Judge Yap, on this well-deserved accomplishment.
When I was handed the baton of the FBA Presidency in February, I did not anticipate that our organization’s plan for a busy year of events would be thwarted by a pandemic that has completely transformed our way of life and resulted in the tragic loss of so many lives.
The pandemic has profoundly affected our personal and professional lives, and it is still unclear when things will return to some semblance of normal. Nonetheless, in the face of these challenges, I believe it is more important than ever to remain connected to one another and to stay active in our communities. Our local federal bar community is one that has strong traditions of quality programming and opportunities for building and strengthening relationships among the bench and bar. Despite the impossibility of continuing with many of our usual in-person events this year, our board remains committed to offering valuable programs that will advance our mission to serve the interests and needs of federal practitioners, the federal judiciary, and the public they serve.
We have already taken steps in that direction by co-hosting, together with the San Joaquin Chapter of the FBA, a district-wide Zoom event in April that featured Chief Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, several of her judicial colleagues, and Clerk of Court Keith Holland. This event was highly informative, as it provided the opportunity for a direct interface between the Court and members of the bar regarding the many changes that the pandemic has brought to our local federal practice. This event facilitated an open dialogue about those changes and provided valuable information about how practitioners could adapt to new procedures.
Following the success of this event, we co-hosted another successful event on June 19 that featured Judge Mendez and Judge Boone, Clerk of Court Keith Holland, and two seasoned practitioners, all of whom provided excellent practical advice on integrating Zoom into our litigative practices.
As we forge our way through these uncertain times, I encourage you to reach out to me and to the members of the board to let us know how we might better serve you and our federal legal community.
I want to conclude by linking to the Federal Bar Association’s Statement on Equal Justice , which expresses sorrow in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death and reaffirms the FBA’s dedication to promoting equal justice under the law. The statement notes that the “arc of the moral universe does not bend toward justice on its own,” and it thanks those members of the legal profession who have dedicated their lives to equal justice. I echo that expression of gratitude, and I am thankful for all of you as we walk through this tumultuous year, and beyond, in community with one another.
Federal Bar Association Sacramento Chapter, President
June 19, 2018
Members of Congress within the Judicial Eastern District of California:
The linked letter below is sent with the utmost concern for the more than 8 million people in the District. Its importance is illustrated not just by the content, but also by the fact that each and every District Judge in the judicial district is a signator.
Frankly, it’s a notice of an existing crisis, and an opportunity to avert an approaching disaster.
—Lawrence J. O’Neill, Chief Judge, Eastern District of California
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