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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    December 08, 2020

    Your State Bar: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot

    May the season be a time to recharge and reflect as we look to put the past in its proper place.

    Larry J. Martin

    I must admit, I am ready to see 2020 in the rear-view mirror. A global pandemic, racial injustice, economic distress, the growing consequences of climate change, and the endless bickering and nastiness that has become our political discourse make me ready for a reboot.

    Larry J. MartinLarry J. Martin is the executive director for the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    I am ever hopeful that a new year will bring new opportunities, not just at the State Bar of Wisconsin, but throughout society to move us in a positive direction. With the election behind us, regardless of who you supported, it is vital we come together and find common ground if we are to begin to address what ails us. Our society and our democracy can no longer afford those we elect to be unwilling to listen to or work with those who may not share their own point of view. Compromise is not a dirty word if it advances common-sense solutions that address society’s needs.

    Medicine and science alone cannot stop a pandemic without the cooperation and coordination of all of us in ensuring each other’s health and safety. No one is more eager than I to reopen the State Bar Center to both members and colleagues, but not until it is truly safe. Until then, we must all keep wearing our masks, washing our hands, and socially distancing.

    Racial and systemic injustice won’t go away with the end of the calendar year, but progress can be made if we continue to roll up our sleeves and work together to advance meaningful change in the profession, the State Bar, and the broader society. I encourage you to check out to learn more about how you can help move our agenda forward toward greater racial and social justice.

    Since I was a kid, on the stroke of midnight marking the new year, I head outside. First with my siblings and now with my own kids, we loudly bang on pots and pans while yelling “Happy New Year” to any neighbors who may be asleep. Going back in, but before we uncork the champagne, Guy Lombardo will serenade us with “Auld Lang Syne.”

    I’ve never given much thought to the meaning of the song. It turns out that its words encourage us to forget our experiences of the past year. Not the good, but the unpleasant, the hurtful; the ones that bother us and those that lead to grudges. The song encourages us to let go of the past and to forgive and forget.

    Regardless of how you mark and celebrate this time of year, best wishes to you and your loved ones for good health and good cheer. May the season be a time to recharge and reflect as we look to put the past in its proper place. As for me, when the calendar flips and the clock strikes midnight, I will step out onto my porch and into a new year.

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot
    And never brought to mind?
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot
    And days of auld lang syne?
    For auld lang syne, my dear
    For auld lang syne
    We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
    For days of auld lang syne.
    – Robert Burns, 1788, Scottish poet

    Cite to 93. Wis. Law. 5 (December 2020).

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