2020 – A Year in Review

2020 – A Year in Review

By: D. Keith Dunnagan, Esq.

December 29, 2020

I think it is safe to say, none of us saw 2020 coming. As we entered the year, a major theme was rent control and what impacts it may have on California real estate. We looked at AB 5 and the unintended effects of the bill on the gig economy, which is a major component to California economy. In January, we watched as COVID-19 gripped China and Wuhan was locked down. By early March COVID-19 was beginning to infiltrate California and the state entered its first lockdown. Today, as we say goodbye to 2020, we end the year much like we did March, in a strict lockdown.

Almost as fast as 2020 rolled in, everything changed. Rent control quickly gave way to things like social distancing, remote work, essential services, shelter in place, PPP, mortgage forbearance, eviction moratoriums and high unemployment. Suddenly it wasn’t business as usual, and businesses had to pivot and re-think the way services were delivered to survive. The real estate industry had long used things like Docusign to facilitate transactions, but had to adapt to virtual showings as the primary mechanism to attract buyers as open houses were not allowed.

The real estate community showed us all how business could be done in a virtual environment. Our business, like many others, invested in technology. Taking advantage of video conferencing and VoiP phones to facilitate remote work. We learned how to deliver legal services outside the comfort of our conference rooms.

If COVID wasn’t enough, we had to deal with civil unrest. Although this Country has made great strides in racial relations since the days of slavery, there is still much work to be done. The Great American experiment set in motion in 1776 is predicated on continued progress as we work to form that more perfect union. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together to improve race relations so that we leave this Country in a better place than we inherited.

As we began to breathe a little from the struggles we faced early in the year, by August we realized we couldn’t breathe at all. Fires again touched corners of the West destroying millions of acres of land, burning towns and homes across the West, and filling the sky with ash as land burned. Out of this we saw the American spirit alive and well. As politicians fought with each other over how to respond, Americans rose to the challenge and helped one another. A reminder that the greatness of this Country is not found in its politicians, but in its PEOPLE.

Normally, as we reflect at the end of the year we look back at the changes in the law that occurred, including decisions made by Courts or bills passed by the Assembly. This year has been anything but normal. While small businesses continue to struggle as a result of lockdowns, we are seeing businesses respond by adapting to the challenges they face. This has been a difficult year for sure, but “the strongest steel is forged by fire.” (Author Unknown). We know that the businesses that have been able to adapt with these difficulties will endure.

There is much to be excited about: a vaccine to begin to stem the COVID tide; improved technology to make delivery of business services more efficient; and the launch of our Reno office in January 2021. We look forward to 2021 with great anticipation.

To all, we thank you for trusting BPE Law with your legal needs. We look forward to continuing to partner with you on your legal needs.

Have a Prosperous New Year!

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