April 6, 2021

Dear Members,

The pace of U.S. vaccinations has been outpacing new cases of Covid-19. It is anticipated that 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations by April 19 and by May 1st, and vaccines are to be available to everyone over the age of 16. The pace of U.S. vaccinations has been averaging about 2.5 million doses per day and this past weekend, the U.S. administered 4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in just 24 hours. Although we are not in the clear yet, the future looks promising.

As we shared in our last seminar update, the decision to proceed with an in-person event is the product of a comprehensive review process that includes an initial review by members of the Executive Committee, the CEO, and leaders of the Law Institute and then a final review by the entire Executive Committee. Last week, this group convened several meetings and made decisions not only for the June seminars, but hopefully for the remainder of the year. This decision, like all the decisions that have faced DRI this past year, was not an easy one to make. DRI considered various data points including surveys, input from committee and seminar leadership, review of in-person programing for similarly situated organizations, response to the upcoming DRI Board meeting and of course, state, local, and CDC guidelines.

After considering all the available information, DRI has decided to convert the Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar, scheduled for June 17-18, 2021, into a virtual seminar. DRI will host the Diversity for Success seminar, however, in-person in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 16-18, 2021. The Expo will remain virtual to allow for maximum member participation. DRI will also host the Young Lawyers Seminar in-person, June 23-25, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition, beginning in July, all DRI seminars will be held as in-person events in accordance with recommended safety protocols and protections. As always, we will continue to monitor the situation to address circumstances that may change in the future.

We recognize that each member’s decision to attend an in-person event is deeply personal, involving many factors including personal health, comfort with travel, family structure, firm support, prior commitments, and other factors. We expect all members, including committee leadership and seminar leadership to make the choice that best fits their own circumstances and comfort level. Throughout the coming months, and long into the future, DRI will continue to develop and provide robust and timely virtual content through webinars, on-demand programs, and other virtual events for all members – regardless of ability to travel. Committees will also continue to host virtual networking opportunities, committee meetings and other events on-line as well to keep members involved and engaged.

For those members ready to travel: We are excited to welcome you back. Our seminars will look a little different as a result of safety and health protocols. However, all the outstanding networking and education you’ve come to expect are also a priority. Our hotel partners are working hard with us to reimagine the in-person experience and we feel confident our seminars will meet and exceed your expectations while maintaining safety protocols.

If 2020 was a year of lockdowns, 2021 is a year of transition. June presented DRI with the opportunity of a path of partial virtual programming and partial in-person events. We are hopeful that from July forward we will be able to offer all of our seminars in-person along side a robust webinar calendar. However, if conditions dictate that we pull back again on our events, we stand prepared to do that. The vaccinations are promising, and we hope pulling back will not be necessary, but our members’ safety remains our top priority.

Thank you to all of our DRI family for the support, commitment and tireless dedication over the past year. This is truly an amazing organization.

 

Sincerely,

Emily CoughlinEmily Coughlin
President

Dean MartinezDean Martinez
CEO

Todd PresnellTodd Presnell
Law Institute Chair

Laurie MillerLaurie Miller
Law Institute Vice-Chair

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