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Gun control, NSA leak aftermath, social media ethics are among highlights at American Bar Association meeting Aug. 8-13 in San Francisco

Gun control, NSA leak aftermath, social media ethics are among highlights at American Bar Association meeting Aug. 8-13 in San Francisco

By Edward McEneely

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2013 — Gun control, the ethics of using social media as evidence and for promotion, and cybersecurity as it relates to law firms as well as national security in the wake of the recent National Security Agency leak are chief among legal topics that will be explored at the 2013 American Bar Association Annual Meeting Aug. 8-13 in San Francisco.

Attorney General Eric Holder (Aug. 12, 10 a.m., Moscone Center West) is among high-profile speakers as well as several federal and state Supreme Court justices, including California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Texas Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson (Aug. 8, 10:30 a.m., Moscone Center West). Also, several bestselling authors, including Marcia Clark, Sheldon Siegel, David O. Stewartand Talmage Boston, will discuss law as a platform for writing (Aug. 10, 9 a.m., Moscone Center West).

In addition to the more than 1,400 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policymaking body — will meet at 9 a.m. on Aug. 12-13 at the Moscone Center West in the third-floor ballroom. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the two-day session, click here.

During the two-day session, on the afternoon of Aug. 12, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will receive the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor, for her exceptionally distinguished service to the cause of American jurisprudence.

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are at

Programs include:

Thursday, Aug. 8

“Are Courts Dying? The Decline of Open and Public Adjudication”  State supreme court justices and federal judges will discuss the pressures affecting open, independent courts, including decreased funding despite a growing number of litigants without resources, the cost of lawyers, contracts mandating outsourcing adjudication to arbitration and other efforts to privatize decision making.
10:30 a.m. – noon, Rooms 2014/2016, 2nd Floor, Moscone Center West

Friday, Aug. 9

“Internet Governance: What It Is, Where It’s Going”  Panelists will discuss the current state of Internet governance, including the various stakeholders within the international community and the differences of opinion that have consistently arisen and policy positions the ABA has taken with respect to the direction and tenor of international debates on this topic.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 3008, 3rd Floor, Moscone Center West

“Lawyers, Guns and Money: Prohibitions, Restrictions, Guns in Schools, Civil Liability” — Panelists — including San Francisco Chief of Police Greg Suhr and Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Johnson — will debate proposed solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in America and answer the questions on everyone’s mind: Which evidence-based approaches will save the most lives, and does America have the will to do what it takes to stop the violence?
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 2018, 2nd Floor, Moscone Center West

“Elusive Equality: When Will Women Achieve Pay Parity?”  Panelists will examine the Equal Pay Act, its enforcement over the past 50 years and the necessary steps to realize the congressional goal of achieving pay equity for women. This session is part of a series of Aug. 9 programs on women in the law, Day of the Woman.
10:30 a.m. – noon, Rooms 2001/2003, 2nd Floor, Moscone Center West

“The New Ethical Terrain of Global Legal Services” — Lawyers from the United States, Australia and England will review the new global practice landscape and concepts including alternative business structures and other means by which to deliver legal services in the 21st century. The program will also explore relevant ethics rules, such as those on fee-sharing, conflicts of interest and nonlawyer ownership.
10:30 a.m. – noon, Rooms 2014/2016, 2nd Floor, Moscone Center West

“Legal Issues for Employers and Health Care Providers Complying with the New Coverage Rules” — This program will focus on implementation issues facing both employers and health care providers, as the Jan. 1, 2014, implementation date for many of the health care reform requirements approaches.
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Pavilion, Lobby Level, Fairmont

“Ethical and Practical Challenges of Social Media”  Facebook Policy Manager Katie Harbathis among panelists who will discuss the impact of social media on lawyers, judges, jurors and the public perception of courts. Additionally, lawyers and judges will discuss the ethical challenges of using social media and explore ways to use it effectively to represent clients, win re-election or retention, and ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice.
1 – 3 p.m., Golden Gate Hall C1, B2 Level, Marriott Marquis San Francisco

“Cybersecurity: Resources for Attorneys, Law Firms and Business Professionals” 
— According to the recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, law firms and government departments are prime targets due to their vulnerability and the valuable client information they safeguard. To help address the problem, the ABA Cybersecurity Task Force will discuss its newly released handbook, theABA Cybersecurity Handbook — A Resource for Attorneys, Law Firms & Business Professionals.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 3001, 3rd Floor, Moscone Center West

“More than an Equal Sign: DOMA, Prop 8, the Supreme Court and Your Practice”  The Supreme Court’s recent decision in two historic cases regarding marriage equality — Windsor v. United States and Perry v. Hollingsworth — will be analyzed by panelists.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 3006, 3rd Floor, Moscone Center West

“Too Big to Fail: Deja Vu All Over” — A panel will discuss issues surrounding the “too big to fail” debate, including the effectiveness of the Dodd-Frank Act, how the Brown-Vitter legislative proposal addresses the perceived problem and the policy considerations involved in calls to break up the big banks.
2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Peacock Court, Lobby Level, InterContinental Mark Hopkins

Saturday, Aug. 10

“RFID, NFC and Mobile Payments” — The use of radio frequency identification and near field communications technology for mobile payment methods are becoming more prevalent. Industry experts will address the law governing these emerging payment products, privacy issues, liability for unauthorized transactions and government access to RFID/NFC information.
8 – 10 a.m., French, Lobby Level, Fairmont

“NSA Surveillance Leaks” — Panelists will examine the implications of the disclosure of the National Security Agency’s PRISM data-gathering program and the hot-button issues of government secrecy, intrusion into American citizens’ privacy interests, the beginning of the era of Big Data and the role of the free press in emerging national security technology.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 2009, 2nd Floor, Moscone Center West

“The Extraordinary Legal Implications of Billions of Mobile Devices” — Panelists will share the results of the ABA’s yearlong exploration of the opportunities, challenges and risks of mobile devices, and best practices for organizations adopting “bring your own device” policies.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 2024, 2nd Floor, Moscone Center West

“Can Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism Be Effectively Regulated?” — A panel will evaluate how the International Monetary Fund has performed as one of the assessors of global progress toward conformity with Financial Action Task Force standards and what challenges regulation and monitoring of anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorism pose for national and international regulators, financial institutions, and illegal markets and producers of dirty money. The session will include a preview of a report on these topics, which is slated for release in September 2014.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 3016, 3rd Floor, Moscone Center West

“Race-Conscious Diversity Efforts in Higher Education After Fisher v. UT Austin” — A panel will assess the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and its implications for the consideration of race in admissions.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 3016, 3rd Floor, Moscone Center West

“Legal and Ethical Consequences of Medicinal Marijuana Representation” — A faculty will discuss the state-level policy work undertaken by the Marijuana Policy Project; provide an overview of the arguments regarding federal authority versus states’ rights to develop law in this area; and review the extant laws in the various states, comparing and contrasting them, considering their approaches to patients, dispensers and growers.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 2005, 2nd Floor, Moscone Center West

Sunday, Aug. 11

“Spotlight on Human Trafficking: New Law + Next Steps” — This program will focus on a new uniform law to fight human trafficking that addresses criminal prosecution, victims’ services and access to legal services, and the potential liability of businesses for trafficking offenses.
10:30 – noon, Rooms 2014/2016, 2nd Floor, Moscone Center West

“What’s Next with Immigration? Behind the Scenes with the Decision Makers”  A panel including Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton, Department of Homeland Security, and Executive Office for Immigration Review Director Juan P. Osuna, Department of Justice will analyze and debate steps to successfully implement potential reform. Panelists will provide an up-to-date status on current and upcoming reform efforts.
10:30 a.m. – noon, Room 3020, 3rd Floor, Moscone Center West

“Constraints on Public Spending: The New Austerity and Its Aftermath” — Presenters will discuss how federal agencies are responding to sequestration, what it means for federal programs and for those who contract with the federal government. Presenters will also discuss the ramifications for state and local governments, many of which were already facing austerity measures, and the effects on public procurement and the contractor community.
2 – 5 p.m., Room 3020, California West, 2nd Floor, Westin St. Francis

Information on these programs and other Annual Meeting events are available here.

During the Annual Meeting, accredited journalists should register on site at the Moscone Center West, Exhibition Hall, first floor, beginning at 8 a.m. on Aug. 8. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided in 2014 Overlook, located on the second floor of the Moscone Center West, starting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 8. The room will be open daily thereafter from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close one hour after the House of Delegates adjourns on Aug. 13.

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