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From the President

A time to reflect

By Luis J. Rodriguez
President, the State Bar of California

Well folks, it’s time to say goodbye.

Luis RodriguezOver the last few weeks, I have had time to reflect on this past year as president. Yet, before I attempt to fill this column with thoughtful and insightful words, it is very important to thank all of you who made my year a memorable and fulfilling one.

To my wife, my daughters, my brothers, our mother and my nephew: Your love, understanding and patience gave me the strength and freedom to go beyond what could be expected. To my compadres, comrades and mentors: Your constant reassurance and never-ending cheering gave me the energy to always forge ahead, no matter how difficult the times. To the Board of Trustees: Your collective wisdom, dedication and friendship helped create an amazing partnership that I hope will continue beyond my term. To the bar’s partners: You put up with us as we cycled through, always treating us with the utmost professionalism and patience. Because of your support, the bar is able to do many great things.

To the executive team, with Joe Dunn at the helm: The State Bar of California has become a widely respected and recognized entity that is sought out for advice and support by local, state, federal and international entities. Finally, to the one who holds it all together for us: Sonja Oehler, Dunn’s executive assistant. Without Sonja, many of us would not be able to meet our potential. Her caring personality is genuine and can never truly be measured. 

Thank you all.

I could finish by talking in detail about all that we have been able to accomplish, but I’m afraid I would lose you past this sentence. So let me leave you with this.

Recently, we have seen the plight of children as they attempt to enter our country. Some see the children as victims, others as a threat to our laws. We have seen the loss of life, and have attempted to look for answers, seek justice, assign responsibility and gain peace. These instances in our lives make us realize that life is not black and white, but full of gray. But as we continue to seek answers, we must be brutally honest with ourselves and open-minded with those across the table from us. We can start by leaving labels, preconceived ideas and anger outside. Figuratively or literally, we have to sit down and start to work together because we have seen that all the ideological rhetoric regurgitated by each side has not brought us any progress. This can bring us solutions.

Therefore, we should only fear complacency, not failure.