Canadian Justices, Cross-Border Law Practices Headline American Lawyers’ Annual Meeting in Toronto
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 21, 2011 — Differences between Canada and the United States in the practice of law, an address by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, and the implications of social media across national borders are among the topics that will be on tap at the 2011 American Bar Association Annual Meeting, Aug. 4– 9, in Toronto.
With more than 1,400 top-quality legal programs and events, and presentations by the foremost law experts and speakers, the ABA Annual Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals.
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin will be making opening remarks and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer will be presenting the keynote during the Opening Assembly on Aug. 6. The event begins at 5:30 p.m., and takes place in Koerner Hall, The Historic Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor St. West, Toronto.
On Aug. 7, retired Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor, and ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System Co-Chairs David Boies and Theodore B. Olson will join Rod Snow, president of the Canadian Bar Association, in “Current Crisis in Court Funding: Efficiency, Effectiveness, Accountability and Education.” The program takes place from 2 – 4 p.m. in Room 714A, 700 Level, South Building, Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Also on Aug. 7, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession will host its annual Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Luncheon. The Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in 1991, recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. McLachlin will be a special award recipient. The luncheon begins at 11:45 a.m. in Exhibit Hall F/G, 800 Level, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building.
The 566-member House of Delegates, the association’s policymaking body, will meet on Aug. 8 and 9 in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Exhibit Hall F/G, 800 Level, South Building. Canadian Justice Rosalie Silberman Abelia will present welcoming remarks at the beginning of the meeting on Aug. 8.
Among the policy recommendations expected to come before the House is one that urges courts and counsel in cross-border class action cases involving the United States and Canada to adopt as best practices protocols on court-to-court actions and coordinating notices to the classes in multi-jurisdictional class proceedings.
In addition to McLachlin, other members of the Supreme Court of Canada appearing at the Annual Meeting include Justice Rosealie Abella, who will keynote the Thurgood Marshall Award Dinner on Aug. 6; and Justice Marshall Rothstein, who will be featured at the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Awards Reception on Aug. 5 as well as the Section of Intellectual Property Law Luncheon on Aug. 6.
On Aug. 8, the ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards Luncheon will be held beginning at noon in Room 801A/B, 800 Level, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building. U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson will present the keynote address.
Local programming (all of which will take place in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, unless otherwise noted) highlights include:
“Trial Practices and Tactics in Canada and the United States” will feature barristers from Canada and trial lawyers from the United States facing off in trying a hypothetical case in which a plaintiff claims wrongful termination and a hostile work environment. The program will look at distinguishing characteristics of trial practices in the two nations.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 701A, 700 Level
“Cross-Border Practice in a Shrinking Global Economy” explores the practicalities of international practices in today’s global economy. The discussion will include the importance of knowing customs of foreign jurisdictions, and will address hot topics in international practice such as discovery, and privileges and enforcement under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
3:45 – 5:15 p.m., Room 716A, 700 Level
“The Perils of Social Media under the Laws of the United States and Canada: A Cautious Tale for Lawyers and Clients” Lawyers, litigants, judges and jurors have joined the social media craze. Topics to be discussed during this program include lawyer communications on social media; the use of social media in the courtroom; evidence-gathering through social media; and cross-border issues, especially relating to privacy and copyright laws.
3:45 – 5:15 p.m., Room 718A, 700 Level
“Justice for All: A Comparison of the Crime Victims’ Rights in the U.S. and Canada” will provide a comparison of victims’ rights in the United States and Canada while examining the role of evidence-based research and its effect. The session will also address the topics of “How are legislation and case law affecting victims’ rights? and “What trends may be next?”
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 703, 700 Level
“Our Highest Courts: A Comparison of the Canadian and U.S. Supreme Courts”
A panel of justices and legal appellate advocates from the Canadian and U.S. Supreme Courts will conduct a roundtable on the courts’ differences and similarities, focusing on constitutional roles especially in light of terrorism and civil rights issues. Panelists include Drew S. Days III, New Haven, Conn.; Ken Starr, Waco, Texas; Justice W. Ian C. Binnie, Ottawa, Ontario; and Thomas Heinztman, Toronto.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 716A, 700 Level
“Ensuring Real ‘Win-Win’ Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions” Recent reports indicate that mergers and acquisitions’ activity and venture investments are on the upswing. Such corporate transactions implicate a variety of legal disciplines and require a team of lawyers on each side from several practice areas. Differences in laws among jurisdictions add a further layer of complexity. This panel will examine the key issues in cross-border corporate transactions involving U.S. and Canadian parties.
9 – 10:30 a.m., Forest Hill Ballroom, 1st Floor, Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville
“Question Time with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien” Three-term former Canadian prime minister, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, will host a question-and-answer session with Annual Meeting attendees. As prime minister he led in several areas, including climate change, multilateral diplomacy and the elimination of the national deficit. Chrétien remains involved in global affairs and transnational negotiations as counselor, advocate and facilitator. Also during this program, the Honourable Louise Arbour of Brussels will be presented with the ABA Section of Litigation’s 2011 International Human Rights Award.
12:15 – 1:45 p.m.; Ballroom A/B, Lower Level, InterContinental Toronto Centre
“CSI Toronto: The Role of the Court in an Age of Developing Science & Technology” A much anticipated report from the National Academy of Sciences, “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” has criticized forensic science today as “badly fragmented.” The binational panel will examine the uses of complex scientific and technical evidence in the courts of the United States and Canada, including the pressing issues such as admissibility of evidence and the need to ensure that expert testimony is both grounded in science and acknowledges the uncertainties in any findings.
1:30 – 3 p.m., Toronto Ballroom II, Convention Floor, Hilton Toronto
“The Omar Khadr Case: America’s War on Terror” Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was captured by American forces at the age of 15 in Afghanistan and accused of war crimes for throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier. United States and Canadian panelists will tell the story of the case from the perspective of the prosecutors, who argued that Khadr was a terrorist, and defense counsel, who referred to him as a “child soldier.”
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 716A, 700 Level
“What Every Lawyer Needs to Know about Health Privacy in the U.S. (and Canada)” Privacy of health information has long been a cornerstone of the physician-patient relationship. However, with the acceleration of technology into the delivery of health care and the storage and transmission of health information, the emphasis on health privacy has also accelerated. This program will review issues relating to internal policies lawyers may need to initiate within their practices relative to health information. The U.S. perspective will be reviewed, with insight from Canada on the approach to health privacy across the U.S. northern border.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 717B, 700 Level
“Human Rights, Domestic and Sexual Violence: A Cross-Border Perspective” Domestic and sexual violence will be assessed through the lens of a human rights perspective by legal experts from both the United States and Canada. The experts will discuss cases including the U.S. Supreme Court case, Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, legislation, and policy impacting victims of domestic and sexual violence across borders. The history of third-party records case law and its impact on the confidentiality of victims will be discussed.
2 – 4 p.m., Flavelle House, 78 Queen’s Park Crescent West, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law
“Do-It-Yourself Historical Trial: Louis Riel Treason Trial — Traitor, Patriot or Insane?” Lawyer Louis Riel was the founder of Manitoba, a leader of the Metis of indigenous people and an elected member of Canada’s Parliament. In 1885, he was tried and hanged for treason. Was he really a patriot, a traitor or criminally insane? Attendees of this program will explore the case with aboriginal rights advocate Jean Teillet, great grandniece of Riel.
2 – 5 p.m., Room 709, 700 Level
“Multi-Jurisdictional, Cross-Border and International Class Actions: Where Are We Heading?” Class litigation now crosses borders and national legal systems. Senior judges from the U.S. and Canada will forecast the future in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent guidance on access to American courts for foreign class members and the ongoing work of several national and international task forces.
3:45 – 5:15, Room 718A, 700 Level
“Redefining the U.S.-Canadian Border: Current Issues in Visitation and Migration” – Around 300,000 people cross the U.S.-Canadian border every day and the equivalent of $1.6 billion in goods is earned daily through this bilateral trade. Panelists will discuss how the United States and Canada contend with immigration issues including temporary and permanent options for migration, differences and similarities in immigration policies, and NAFTA.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 706, 700 Level
“Cross-Border Legal Issues: A Judicial Perspective” This panel will bring together judges from the United States and Canada. Canadian judges will discuss such issues as: 1) the judiciary and judicial administration; 2) protection of children, including cross-border adoptions, child abduction and child pornography across borders; 3) domestic violence; 4) collateral consequences of criminal convictions, including border crossing after criminal convictions; and others.
3 – 5 p.m., Toronto Ballroom II, Convention Level, Hilton Toronto
“WikiLeaks, National Security and Free Speech” The program will look at the issues raised by the WikiLeaks release of documents, balancing national security concerns against protections for free speech and freedom of information. Speakers will look at the controversy from both a Canadian and U.S. perspective.
3:45 – 5:15 p.m., Room 803B, 800 Level
Organizing for Environmental Justice: Transboundary Lessons and Opportunities” The environmental justice movement in the United States emerged during the civil rights movement in the 1960s in the context of individual and group rights. Growing environmental justice efforts in Canada draw more broadly from sustainable development, public participation and human rights. The panel will explore the ways in which Canadian and U.S. communities pursue environmental justice, including how they organize and the legal rights and principles that guide their work.
8:30 –10 a.m., Room 803B, 800 Level
“Investigating and Forgetting on the Web” A panel of Canadian and American attorneys will examine the privacy, liability and other potential problems raised by the constantly expanding social media universe. The panel will examine potential solutions, including whether the use of “cleaners,” social media expiration dates and other mechanisms to purge online histories could be used to benefit employees or to hamper employers, and in so, what the legal implications would be of using these new technologies.
10:30 a.m. – noon, Room 701B, 700 Level
During the Annual Meeting, accredited journalists should register on-site at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Level 800, Hall E, beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 4. A separate press room behind the main registration area will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Aug. 9.
Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are at http://www.abanow.org/reporter-resources/media-credentials/.
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.
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