It is that time of year when many of us find ourselves, amid the crush of holiday preparations and year-end driven work deadlines, taking stock of where we are and thinking about those things for which we are grateful. How appropriate this is as Thanksgiving passes by and we prepare for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other cultural holidays, and the beginning of a new year.
I am one of those traditionalists who finds myself, no matter how busy things are at this time, focusing on all those things for which I am grateful. Although the past year has been one of great personal loss for me, it has made me even more thankful for those people and things that have helped me through it, given me joy and satisfaction, and reminded me of how fortunate I am.
So here, in no particular order, are some of the things for which I am grateful:
- A legal practice that that completely engages my intellect and interpersonal skills, gives me tremendous personal satisfaction in the service of my clients, and allows me to practice law with dignity, integrity and autonomy.
- My work family — colleagues and staff who support me in my work, go above and beyond to serve our clients, and have supported me personally through the past difficult year and for over 27 years of practice in my own firm. In addition, they have not complained once about the additional burdens imposed on them because of my service as MCBA president, making it possible for me to serve in this role.
- The MCBA internal team — individuals who are flexible, hardworking and supportive every day, of me personally and as president of the MCBA, and of countless other attorneys who are served by the MCBA. They have been cheerful, optimistic and dedicated through staff changes, illnesses and other unexpected challenges.
- The members of the MCBA board of directors, program speakers and organizers, and our committee and section chairs and members, many of whom have served for years, and who are dedicated to improving the MCBA, our profession and the legal system.
- So many attorneys and judges who have offered support in my role as president, and who have said yes when I asked them to take on a first, or yet another, job for the MCBA, from committee chairs and members to speakers and event volunteers.
- Our sponsors, whose financial support allows us to present programs and services to our members and the community at large, which would not otherwise be possible.
- The spirit of collaboration among the MCBA, GRAWA and RBBA, which has resulted in several co-sponsored programs and thoughtful discussions about how we can work together for the greater good.
- Ray at the Telesca Center for Justice, and Tim, Tony and Mike, the parking attendants for the lot adjacent to that building, for never failing to cheerfully greet me cheerfully and make me feel welcome and cared for every time I arrive for or depart from a meeting at the Telesca Center — sometimes more than once in a day.
- Clients and other professionals who have been patient and understanding of my reduced availability due to my MCBA commitments, and who continue to be supportive of me and my staff as we adjust to life without my late husband, Paul MacAulay.
- Maggie Robb, who will be joining our firm as of Jan. 1, and who promises to bring enthusiasm, commitment, extraordinary people skills, a sharp intellect and more than a decade of practical experience as an attorney.
- The warmth and understanding I have felt from our entire legal community, as I have tried to cope with my personal grief while serving in the very public role of MCBA president.
- Many, many friends and family members who have been incredibly supportive of me and my daughter during the past year. They have fed us, attended events to show support for us and to recognize Paul, called, emailed, texted, and simply been there when we needed them.
- My daughter, Claire, who although she is away at college, inspires me, warms my heart, and makes me laugh every day. She is a kind, smart, funny, fierce and beautiful young woman, and being her mother is, quite simply, a joy.
- It has been almost exactly a year since my husband died. He was a well-liked and respected lawyer, a wonderful father, and a great husband and a remarkable man who saw only the good in others and, consequently, brought out the best in us. Even as I grieve, I recognize that I was so fortunate to have him in my life for 27 years.
I hope you will forgive me for making my president’s column for this month so personal. But as we celebrate this holiday season, I encourage you all to slow down and take a few moments to think about those people and things for which you are grateful. I guarantee that it will lift your spirits and remind you to make time for the things that are truly important to you. Happy holidays.
Jill M. Cicero is president of the Monroe County Bar Association and is the managing partner of The Cicero Law Firm LLP. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.