President’s Message – April/May 2021

PCBA President Nick Cooper

Even in a “normal year” there is nothing easy about being a lawyer. Whether you practice in a firm, the government sector, in-house, or elsewhere, the 24/7 buzzing of emails hitting the inbox is a constant reminder to lawyers of the ongoing demand for immediate, high-quality, low cost, legal service. Not enough? Okay, let’s add in family, money, health, politics and other “traditional” stressors we face in our lives. Still not enough? Okay, let’s add in a lethal global pandemic that eliminates nearly all in-person interaction for so many. Enough already!

The last year has been isolating and difficult for nearly everyone and incredibly difficult for some. The pressures of work (or lack of work) and life continue, but for many, they now face it alone, working remotely without supportive collegial and professional networks. No matter the scenario, if you are struggling with stress or any other mental health issues, I sincerely hope you are finding support amongst your family, friends, church, and/or a mental health professional. But if you are not, I want to remind you there is an excellent, confidential, free resource right here in Polk County. The Iowa Lawyers Assistance Program.

For over 25 years, and throughout the pandemic, the Iowa Lawyers Assistance Program has helped lawyers, judges, and law students cope with stress, depression and substance abuse. Your call is confidential as a matter of law. You do not even have to give your name. Director Hugh Grady has “been there and done that” and is available to help. If you are struggling, please call 800-243-1533, 515-277-3817, or cell number 515-360-1668.

As I still sit in my home office (a folding table in my basement) one year later, I miss seeing my colleagues and peers. I miss the laughs, and I miss the opportunities to interact with the members of the Polk County Bar Association. It has been a long, stressful year. But warming spring days and declining infection numbers give me hope. In fact, I am optimistic that in-person PCBA events will resume this summer, including some great outdoor health and wellness CLEs from our membership committee and our traditional golf event in June. While our profession will continue to be stressful, help is always available and I am hopeful that our in-person fellowship will resume soon! I may be the one with the ridiculous looking beard.