We Go Forward, With Hope
By Monica Bay
PAIN and hope. When I think back on the fall of 2001, those two words will resonate in my memory. The excruciating horrors of September 11, tempered by the profound solace of community as we embrace life and move on.
Amanda and Andrew Bird with Donna Killoughey.
Never were both so evident as on October 4 at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Mesa, Arizona, where family and friends of Donna Killoughey (past chair of the ABA's Law Practice Management section) gathered to circle her with love, as she and daughter Amanda and son Andrew said goodbye to Gary Bird, their husband and father.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Bird was on the 99th floor of Tower Two, on his second day as a new senior vice president of Marsh U.S.A. We all know the rest of the story.
But despair was not the dominant mood among the 1,000-plus mourners (including ABA/LPM chair Bill Gibson and vice-chair Susan Boswell) at the music-filled mass. Rather, there were joyful memories of a life lived well. A celebration of -- as brother Tom Bird described -- "a decent, generous and practical man."
Andrew picked the day of the service -- the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (the patron saint of animals) -- to honor his father's love of horses. The songs, selected by Amanda, were upbeat and happy. Donna was literally radiant in her pride, love and faith. After the mass, on a day that eerily was as warm and balmy as Sept. 11 in New York City, Gary Bird's family released his spirit -- and about 30 white doves -- to the skies.
It was bittersweet, but good, to get back on an airplane for the trip to Phoenix. One thing is certain, United Airline frequent fliers (esp. the 1K fliers) are mobilized. Topic A on all flights was the fact that we will not let any terrorists get anywhere near any cockpit on any plane we're on.
I also was glad to see that the flight to Denver was full, as were all the flights out of Phoenix.
Nor was security the hassle I expected, and you can still check-in at the Red Carpet Club (just be sure to bring a paper print-out of your e-ticket itinerary to get past checkpoints.)
But my first flight -- on a 757, departing LaGuardia on a flight path that flew over Manhattan -- was tough. As the bruised skyline appeared through the windows, I burst into tears.
Legal Tech N.Y.
LegalTech New York, held Sept. 24-25, at the New York Hilton & Towers also did wonders for our spirits.
Kudos to the organizers --AmLaw's Henry Dicker and Jill Windwer, Ernst & Young's John Janes and Marc Adams, and consultant Ross Kodner, who scrambled to put together four panels designed to help Manhattan firms who were displaced.
Suzanne Ray, of Ernst & Young.
Disaster Recovery Resources: How to Jumpstart a Damaged Law Practice offered tangible and practical advice for firms coping with problems both major and mundane. Panelists included Kodner, consultant Storm Evans; New York State Bar Association's Steve Gallagher; Ernst & Young's Suzanne Ray; and Brian Drier, of Davis & Kuelthau.
They covered everything from how to reconstruct documents to how to help survivors with probate paperwork. AmLaw editor David Horrigan and I also participated, describing our experiences at Ground Zero on Sept. 11.
The other last-minute panels included Data Recovery: Finding What You Knew Was Once There (Greg Ossinoff, Stephen Barsony and Christopher Brown); Coping with Crisis: An Enterprise Risk Management Approach (Jack Hampton); and Protecting Your Systems from Disaster: Data Backup, Electrical Protection and More. (Kodner, Drier, Richard Ciccotto and Ellen Freedman).
Consultant Storm Evans.
Finally, LegalTech N.Y. also organized a "Technology Triage" service that offered free technology consulting during the show to help affected firms create post-trauma tech strategies. For more information, you can visit www.nysba.org/wtc.
Finally, a special thank you to Barbara Deacon, of Anderson, Kill & Olick, and to Anthony Pratt, of LexisNexis, for a creative LTNY panel on Intranets: Knowledge Management Tool or Black Hole? I subbed at the last minute for a moderator who could not attend, and it was a complete blast -- thanks in large part to the energetic, question-laden audience and Deacon's irreverant wit.
Barbara Deacon, Anderson Kill & Olick P.C.; Anthony Pratt, LexisNexis.
The WTC tragedy pre-empted my reports from the August sessions of the 2001 LawNet convention, so let me do a quick recap. It was, by all accounts, fantastic -- if you discount the nasty heat (it got up to 120 degrees). It was so hot that Yvonne Dornic, of eSentio Technolo-gies landed in the emergency room when she was foolhardy enough to try to golf! (She's O.K.)
We had the Big Fun on my panel about fortunetelling the future of legal technology, thanks to goofy props and assistance from a bevy of pals, including John Shaugh-nessy, Brook Boehmler, Matt Heath, Cathy Kenton, Kevin Moran, Loren Jones, Michael Kraft, Tom Collins, Sally Gonzalez, Stan Wasylyk, Joe Bookman, Doug Caddell.
Of course, in addition to seminars and exhibits, LawNet is downright infamous for its parties. This year was no exception. Hands down, the most memorable 2001 LawNet moment was during the Talent Show competition. Taking first place, leaving everybody in the dust, was the San Francisco chapter. Their entry: a duet of You Don't Bring Me Flowers, featuring Morrison & Foerster's Bruce Phillips in the Neil Diamond role, and burly Jim McKenna --dressed in not much more than a terry cloth robe -- singing Barbra's lines. (McKenna is the technology manager for the San Francisco, Walnut Creek and Sacramento offices; Phillips is currently on loan from the accounting department for MoFo's Elite conversion.) To say these two brought down the house is an acute understatement.