History of the Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Workshops

In 1993, the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession (“the Commission”) successfully initiated its first program on breast cancer advocacy. This program brought together over 100 attorneys interested in issues affecting women with breast cancer. The program featured a wide variety of speakers such as Gloria Steinem, U.S. Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) and several notable public health experts.

Because of its prominence within the ABA, the Commission was ideally positioned to lead and implement this new public education initiative designed to protect the legal rights of breast cancer patients. During the ABA 2000 Annual Meeting, the Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Initiative kicked off with a day-long series of events. The program featured a host of distinguished experts addressing issues relating to breast cancer treatment options, public policies and related legal issues. Free continuing legal education (CLE) seminars were provided for attorneys wishing to serve as legal advocates for breast cancer patients. These seminars were the precursor to the Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Workshops described in this Toolkit.

Over the years, the initiative has evolved into one that draws on the expertise of many lawyers in a variety of disciplines. The ABA Health Law Section (“Health Law Section”) assumed responsibility for the project on January 1, 2008. Led by an executive committee with members from both the Health Law Section and the Commission and supported by a Breast Cancer Task Force of over 70 volunteer members, the Health Law Section is committed to continuing the excellent work of the Commission and expanding the scope of the Breast Cancer Task Force’s activities.

Goals & Objectives of Toolkit

This Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Workshop Toolkit was created by the ABA Health Law Section Breast Cancer Task Force. The mission of the Breast Cancer Task Force is to train and educate attorneys across the country to provide legal assistance to individuals with breast cancer and other catastrophic illnesses.

In furtherance of the mission, this Toolkit is designed to assist you in planning and conducting a three or six hour Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Workshop in your area. The Toolkit contains instructions, information, tools, resources and sample materials – everything you need to create and promote a CLE seminar, regardless of your knowledge and experience base. The Toolkit shares resources and experiences of attorneys and ABA staff members who have successfully held Workshops and scores of other continuing legal education seminars. The enclosed materials contain all the tools and resources necessary to guide you through the planning and execution process of your own seminar. The more attorneys that can be trained, the more advocates we have to help breast cancer patients to focus on their survival and not on legal issues.