A Message from KBA President J. Stephen Smith
So, everyone, it appears that push has come to shove after all. Due to the COVID-19 issues and restrictions, we are left with little choice but to cancel the 2020 KBA Annual Convention this June in Covington. To my knowledge, I will have the distinction of being the only KBA President ever to cancel this amazing event, and it’s not a distinction that I welcome. Of paramount importance, however, is the health and safety of all KBA members.
By June 24th we might be clear of the present restrictions. That is possible. The problem lies in the unknown and the time between now and then. Will restrictions lift soon enough for people to plan and reserve? Will people feel comfortable coming to such a large and crowded gathering by then? With all the disruption we are experiencing now, will attorneys choose to spend the money and attend so soon afterward? For everyone’s safety and due to all the unanswered questions, cancellation is necessary.
Be sure that we did not take this decision lightly. We had a fabulous convention planned and waited until we felt we could not wait any longer to cancel. The speakers we engaged would have been informative and entertaining, the many social events were coming together, and the Reds were supposed to be in town all week. Sponsors had lined up with generous donations to ensure our success, and all appeared golden. Then this insidious virus hits. We are listening to the people with the data and training and doing what we are able to flatten the curve. Kentucky has performed admirably so far, and we will do our part too.
Because I will not have the platform to do so in June, there are a number of people who deserve great and profound thanks for all of the hard work on the convention, and for helping me through this year (frankly the last decade) in general. My final Bench & Bar column will likely be dedicated to doing just that, thanking people, because when this year comes to an end, there is a good chance I will not have seen anyone on the board or staff in person since the January 2020 meeting. That comes as a blow. We have spent 10 or so years together, and this is not the ending anyone planned for.
Our convention is typically one of the largest of its kind in the USA. We take a great deal of pride in that fact, and I promise to do all that I am able to ensure that NKY shows up large in Lexington for the 2021 Annual Convention. Let’s shoot for the biggest and best KBA Convention ever then. I look forward to seeing everyone as soon as possible and I am very sorry not to have the opportunity to thank people, to give awards, to see old friends, or to show off NKY this June. Take care and stay #HealthyAtHome.
J. Stephen Smith