July 31, 2020

President’s Address:

ABPLA President

We certainly live in difficult times.  Covid-19 has reshaped everything about us.  Our courts are, for all practical purposes, closed.  We will see no jury trials anytime this year, at least not here in Northern California.  Our social interaction is strangely altered, and our professional work is for the most part, remote.  Zoom depositions have become the norm.  (I didn’t even know what Zoom was before the pandemic, and yet now I spend hours on it each day). 

Just today, many states saw more Covid-19 cases than ever before.  Let that sink in – this disease is growing!!  The death count in the U.S. has breached 152,000, and continues to rise daily.  Total U.S. cases top 4.4M and continue to rise.  Predictions for the death cases in the U.S. now top 250,000.  Masks and medicine have become the latest political football. (How in the world did a pandemic become politicized?)    

Sharing time with the pandemic is widespread social unrest stemming from the George Floyd tragedy.  Peaceful demonstration (an invaluable First amendment right) has been met with disturbing response, including the deployment of federal forces, as never before seen.  And then there are those clearly out of line, looting, burning, and destroying.

Also sharing time with the pandemic, perhaps inextricably intertwined with the pandemic, is the onset of a depression-like economy.  The 3rd quarter showed the GDP drop in excess of 30%.  Not since the depression have such drops been experienced.

So, there can be no question we live in difficult and strange times.  A plague, a depression, and social inequality rolled into one year – 2020!!  However, I am here to tell you that we at ABPLA are staying positive and looking forward to an eventual return to normalcy.

To that end we have started hosting a regular Zoom Happy Hour, with a little more substance than just a Happy Hour, as we have an introductory speaker address us on unique case issues. 

Our next happy hour, will be Thursday, August 6, 2020 (7 PM EDT/4 PM PDT) and will feature Jon Lommuro discussing how to manage Audit Trails.  I strongly encourage you to participate in this relaxed informal happy hour if you are able.  I will have Reeve circulate the Zoom invite, but please go ahead and calendar.

Due to popular response, we will regularly hold these Zoom conferences on the first and third Thursday of each month.  We have speakers lined up for the next two months already, and they will include David Drexler, William McMurry, Grace Weatherly and Linley Jones, among others.  Please shoot me an e-mail if you are interested in presenting.  Also don’t forget to get on our list serve and start a discussion about topics you would like addressed. As always drinks of all kinds are encouraged – though it is BYOB!!  

Turning to a more difficult topic, after much consideration, we have decided to cancel the National Legal & Medical Malpractice Conference this year.  It is disappointing to cancel a meeting that I believe is one of the best conferences – ever!!  The CLE is by far the most engaging, but I will miss spending time with each of you most.  I truly believe those in ABPLA have gone beyond the call to demonstrate their expertise in professional liability.  I guess we will have to remotely gather until we can physically meet. 

However, even in the face of the pandemic, the state of the union for ABPLA remains strong.  As you may be aware, the ABA has accredited the ABPLA since it began accrediting specialization programs, providing validity with the state bars and ensuring confidence in the consumers of legal services.  The ABA, while navigating its business practices during the pandemic, has recently reassured the ABPLA, and all national certifying organizations, of the ABA’s commitment to specialization. Our hope is that the ABA can provide the same recognition for board certification that Texas, Florida and California have been able to provide. 

Lastly, I have directed Reeve to design an update of the ABPLA website.  One of the luxuries ABPLA board certification affords us, is our placement in search engines when searching for professional liability.  In most markets the first organic search result for “medical malpractice” is the ABPLA.  This is no small feat, I can assure you.   

We are hoping that with the website “overhaul” we will be able to gain the same top placement for the search term "legal malpractice' as well as we currently enjoy for “medical malpractice”.  In reworking the website, the goal is to have your personal profiles (and links to your website) appear in the organic search results top ranking along with the ABPLA.  As we make progress on this we will reach out to you with a request to update your profile, and provide you with keywords and phrases that you may want to put on your own current site to increase traffic. I expect the new version of the site to be fully functioning before the end of the year.

So I end with the new admonitions of 2020 – “Stay safe and stay strong.” 

Randall H. Scarlett
Scarlett Law Group
536 Pacific Avenue
Barbary Coast Building
San Francisco, CA  94133