Today started off bright and early with a beautiful, cloud-free sky and a coffee bar, the Alabama Law Foundation trustees’ breakfast, a senior lawyers’ breakfast and an Inns of Court coffee, all at 7:30 a.m. – a touch too early for my tastes, but that’s probably why I don’t get to plan the Annual Meeting. Then, at 8:00 a.m. the Legal Expo opened and the Emerald and Coral Ballroom foyers were flooded with people, especially those wanting to check their email at the Alacourt.com booth, find out more about the bar’s newest member benefit CoreVault online backup, and get their vendor cards initialed and check out the other products and services for lawyers and law firms before heading off for CLE sessions or a day of surf and sand.
The Succeeding in Your Practice plenaries were very well attended, as were the breakout CLE sessions, but the programming highlight of this first day of the Annual Meeting had to be the Bench Bar Luncheon with Jan Crawford Greenburg.
As an Alabama native and graduate of the University of Alabama, Jan was right at home with the overflow audience. In her soft but strong voice, still touched with just a trace of a southern accent despite her years on TV, she filled the unusually attentive and hushed crowd in on some of the unknown stories of the U.S. Supreme Court from her book Supreme Conflict: The Untold Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court. Her insights into the true intellectual relationship between Justices Thomas and Scalia and the events leading to the unexpected retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Conor, in place of the expected retirement of Chief Justice Rehnquest, were especially enlightening.
Following the presentation of the President’s Award, the Commissioners’ Award and the Volunteer Lawyers Awards, the winners of which will be included on the bar’s web site next week, the crowed traveled across the hall to the Emerald Ballrooms for a breakout session with Jan entitled At the Center of America’s Cultural Wars: The Role, Decisions and Influence of the U.S. Supreme Court, and a reception to honor her.
More festivities followed at 5:00 p.m. as everyone migrated, yet again, to another ballroom for the 12th Annual Volunteer Lawyers Program Reception in honor of the day’s award recipients. With great food and a jazz pianist, the VLP reception has become one of the most looked-forward-to events during the meeting.
It wasn’t long, though, before the emphasis shifted back onto the kids, as everyone changed into shorts and headed for the pool deck for the Family Night Coastal Carnival, sponsored by ISI Alabama and Your Legal Pages.
The pool deck was spread with all kinds of carnival food – that wonderful stuff that we used to eat every year, but only once a year when the county fair was in session, all set up on a long low table just the right height for the little ones to help themselves without assistance. (There was also adult fare set up at a discreet distance.) After the feast, young and old alike headed down to the beach for rock climbing, bungee bouncing and a water balloon battle. As 9:00 p.m. arrived, everyone settled in to watch the spectacular fireworks show that capped off Freedom’s Off the Record. Once the show was over, the band moved inside and the music continued for those who don’t have to be up too early in the morning. (Oh, how I wish I were one of them!)
So far, everyone seems to be having a great time! Look for photos on the bar’s website.