ABA Annual Meeting Brings National Leaders of the Legal Profession
More than 7,600 lawyers and guests will gather in San Francisco next week for the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association. The master program for the meeting, opening Aug. 5 and concluding Aug. 10, features nearly 1,500 programs on topics ranging from advances in technology and social media to access to justice, finance and business, airport security, immigration reform and environmental concerns.
While the Moscone Center West is the meeting headquarters, sessions and activities will be scattered among more than 20 hotels and other venues. Programs and panelists will address issues touching virtually every person in America.
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States will be among national newsmakers participating in the meeting, when she receives the ABA Medal — the highest award the association confers — Aug. 9 during the ABA House of Delegates Meeting in the Moscone Center West.
Five former solicitors general of the United States will convene in one panel 10:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 6 to discuss and debate timely legal developments, in “Shaping the Law: A Solicitor’s General Roundtable.” Giving their analyses will be Drew S. Days III, Charles Fried, Gregory Garre, Theodore Olson and Kenneth W. Starr, each of whom represented the United States in litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court, and supervised other lawyers representing the United States in the positions they took.
Future of the Profession
Technology-driven realities that did not even exist a few short years ago have had a profound impact on the practice of law. The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 was created to study the system of lawyer regulation in the United States in view of technological developments and globalization of legal practice, and — with 20/20 vision — recommend policies to better the public, courts and the legal profession.
The commission will launch the ABA 2010 Annual Meeting, with a panel of experts detailing ethical challenges for lawyers with virtual law offices and the consequences when clients access their own files through online portals maintained in cyberspace. “The Impact of Technology and Globalization on Ethics for the 21st Century Lawyer” is set for 10:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 5 in the Moscone Center. The commission will also convene a public hearing Aug. 6 on ethics issues raised when law firms outsource work, to either domestic or foreign service providers.
Additional Programs of Interest:
Technology, Social Media and Legal Practice:
“Legal Issues Resulting from the Social Media Explosion” will explore the civil and criminal issues associated with social media and the blogosphere. Social media legal experts and professional blogger Heather Armstrong, who ignited a national debate on privacy issues when she was fired for posts on her personal blog, will lead the program. 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 6, Moscone Center West.
“Ethical Traps in Cyberspace” will examine the increasing use of social networks, blogs and microblogs used by employers for information about employees and applicants. Attorneys involved in investigating and litigating issues about these communications are facing unique ethical problems. Some attorneys, too, have become directly involved in ethical issues as a result of their own use of social media. Panelists will explore the pitfalls. 10:30 to noon Aug. 6, Moscone Center West.
Access to Justice:
The Department of Justice has recently created an Access to Justice Initiative. Laurence Tribe will address indigent defense, representation for members of the middle class and the poor, and the legal needs of the most vulnerable members of society, in a conversation with Norman Lefstein, professor and dean emeritus of Indiana University School of Law, and Virginia Sloan, president of The Constitution Project, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Aug. 7 in the Moscone Center West.
“Enforcing a Right to Counsel for Children” explores the role of lawyers representing children in court proceedings that would remove them from their homes and place them in state custody, and looks to barriers to representation. 10:30 to noon Aug. 5, Moscone Center West.
“Law Firm Legal Aid: Where Are We One Year Later?” assesses the impact of reassigning law firm associates — deferred from their initial placements over the past year as a result of the recession — to do pro bono work for non-profits, government agencies, and domestic and international NGOs. Among questions on tap: Will the deferrals continue? 2 to 3:30 p.m., Aug. 5, Moscone Center West.
Finance and Business:
The panel, “Regulatory Reset: Consumer Financial Services Regulation under Federal Reform Legislation,” will look at key legal aspects of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, including jurisdiction, funding oversight and enforcement. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Fairmont Hotel.
“Financial Services Reform: What You Need to Know Now” examines financial reform legislation with a special focus on systemic risk regulation, impact on bank proprietary trading activities and hedge fund investment and sponsorship, derivatives and securitization provisions and what those provisions mean for banks. 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 7, Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel.
Legal Issues Related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity:
“Same-Sex Marriage—Moving Beyond State Courts” features lawyers on the front lines of litigation asserting constitutional claims in federal courts. Among the panelists is former solicitor general Theodore Olson. 10:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 5, Moscone Center West.
Panelists of “Liberty and Justice for All? Impact of Civil Rights on LGBT Rights” will apply the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to challenges facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community today with respect to legal struggles involving employment, benefits, housing, marriage, adoption and more. 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. Aug. 6, Palace Hotel.
“Debunking the Myth of a Post Racial Society” discusses recent legal and political developments that signal that race and ethnicity remain unresolved issues in our society, including issues such as police brutality, racial profiling, political race baiting and immigration. The panel will look at the impact of these on legal and political systems in the United States. 2 to 3:30 p.m., Aug. 6, Moscone Center West.
During “Priorities & Perspectives on the Civil Division,” the work and priorities of the Civil Division of the Justice Department will be explored. The division’s approach to critical issues such as the BP oil spill, Guantanamo detainee lawsuits, protecting consumers and taxpayers, and access to justice will be addressed. Speakers include Tony West, Department of Justice; Robin Conrad, National Chamber Litigation Center; and Gregory Katsas, Washington, D.C. Judge Marsha Berzon, San Francisco, will moderate. 2 to 3:30 p.m., Aug. 6, Moscone Center West.
Panelists for “Citizens United: A Unique Journey through Campaign Finance — Separating the Law from the Rhetoric” will outline the history of Supreme Court jurisprudence leading up to the case and the strategy of each side before the justices. The decision in the case will be dissected, and the likely consequences will be debated. Former Federal Election Commission Chairs Trevor Potter and Scott E. Thomas will serve on the program. 2 to 3:30 p.m., Aug. 6, Moscone Center West.
“Immigration Reform: Court Reform and Beyond” addresses the potential for reform of the immigration system — in particular the removal adjudication system — from the perspectives of experts from the courts, government and private practice. 8:30 a.m. to noon, Aug. 6, Moscone Center West.
“Balancing Liberty and Security at the Airport” examines imaging scanners in the context of posing the question of how much intrusion on freedom is required to protect it, and whether less invasive technology can do the job. 2 to 3:30 p.m., Aug. 8, Moscone Center West.
The panel, “Marijuana Regulation and Federalism: A Clash of State and Federal Policy,” will look at the conflict between state marijuana control laws and federal statutes. It will explore the issues of confusion for legislatures, executive branches, the courts, doctors and patients given the lack of standardized enforcement. 10:30 a.m. to noon. Aug. 7, Moscone Center West.
At the “20th Annual Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award Luncheon” five women will be recognized and receive awards for professional excellence and for having paved the way to success for other women lawyers. Recipients are Marsha Brooksley E. Born of Washington, D.C., Elizabeth J. Cabraser of San Francisco, Willie Stevenson Glanton of Des Moines, Iowa, Hon. M. Margaret McKeown of San Diego, and Laura Stein of Oakland, Calif. Noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 8, Moscone Center West.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.