James S. Bowman American Inn of Court

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated quarantine measures put an end to in-person meetings for the James S. Bowman American Inn of Court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Instead, the Inn maintained a connection with members virtually.

The April meeting featured a presentation on the challenging role of the courts in the implementation of new law and also touched on issues relevant to the pandemic and its disruption to courts and legal professionals. A total of 67 members tuned in.

The May meeting was also held virtually, with 66 members in attendance. The presentation dealt with the role of deference in an administrative agency’s interpretation of a statute. Attendance at our April and May meetings was higher than what the Inn typically experience in these months.

The Inn’s mentoring committee also rescheduled several mentoring events to be held virtually. In May, the committee hosted a virtual happy hour with Inn member Judge Michael H. Wojcik of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. Wojcik spoke about his experience and career path prior to becoming a judge and his experience running for election to the bench. He also talked about the importance of remaining open to new opportunities as they come along, even if they are different than what you had planned at the time.

Two virtual mentoring events were held in June. The first was geared toward members in private practice, and the second was for attorneys in the public sector.

The use of modern technology has allowed the Inn to shift work from the office to home and to maintain connection to Inn colleagues. This has had the dual benefit of continuing the Inn mission of providing education and mentoring opportunities and has allowed members to check in with each other to maintain some human connection during this period of relative isolation.