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Fracking, “Dram Shop” Act, Notarios Among Local Highlights at American Bar Association Meeting Feb. 6-11 in Dallas

Fracking, “Dram Shop” Act, Notarios Among Local Highlights at American Bar Association Meeting Feb. 6-11 in Dallas

By Brian Graupner

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 22, 2012 — Fracking, Texas’ “dram shop” law and notarios are chief among Texas legal issues that will be explored at the 2013 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting Feb. 6-11 in Dallas.

Notable speakers at the meeting include Sen. Rodney Ellis (Feb. 8, 10 a.m.) and Texas Bar President Buck Files (Feb. 9, 1:30), both of whom will speak about indigent defense improvements, as well as former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Feb. 7, 12:30 p.m.), who will discuss constitutional reform among Arab Spring nations.

In addition to the more than 900 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policy-making body — will meet at 9 a.m. on Feb. 11 at the meeting headquarters, the Hilton Anatole, in the Chantilly Ballroom, Lobby Level. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are at http://www.abanow.org/reporter-resources/media-credentials/.

Programs related to local interests include:

Thursday, Feb. 7

The Arab Spring: Doing Business and the Rule of Law— Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison keynotes this all-day symposium on topics at the intersection of U.S. interests and reform among Arab Spring nations in the Middle East and North Africa. Hutchison will speak on constitutional reform at 12:30 p.m.
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Karcher Auditorium, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

“Beyond the Fracking Wars” — Experts, including Texas attorneys Kinnan Golemon and Terrence Welch, will explore the controversy on the shale-oil and gas-exploration process of fracking and its environmental, community and economic effects.
2:45 – 4:15 p.m., Senators Lecture Hall, Lobby Level, Tower, Hilton Anatole

Friday, Feb. 8

“Lawyering for Child Victims of Human Trafficking” — Panelists will address practical considerations in representing child victims. The response to trafficking victims in Texas will be a specific focus.
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Lone Star 2, 4th Floor, Renaissance Dallas

“A Recap of State Referenda From the 2012 Election” Panelists will analyze the 2012 post-election state referendums that were passed regarding same-sex marriage, immigration and recreational marijuana use.
9:15 – 10:15 a.m., De Soto B, Lobby Level, West Wing, Hilton Anatole

“Stand Your Ground Hearing” This is the first of four regional public hearings of the newly created ABA National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws. Local leaders will provide testimony on personal experiences with Stand Your Ground laws to assess their greater social impact, among other goals.
10 a.m. – noon, Morocco, Mezzanine Level, Tower, Hilton Anatole

“Gideon in the 21st Century: A Roundtable” Criminal justice experts — including Texans Sen. Rodney Ellis and Judge Barbara Hervey — will discuss the future of effective defense representation in light of systemic problems in ensuring access to competent, diligent counsel.
10 a.m. – noon, Topaz, Lobby Level, Tower, Hilton Anatole

“Liquor and the Law: Legal Issues Relating to the Sale of Alcohol” In light of the fact that Texas has the highest number of fatal drunken driving accidents in the nation, local lawyers Sarah Rogers, John B. Gessner and David A. McFarland will lead a discussion on Texas’ Dram Shop Act and other laws under which the provider of alcohol can be liable for damages to the third party who was injured by the bar patron.
9:15 – 10:15 a.m., De La Salle, Lobby Level, West Wing, Hilton Anatole

“Safe Harbor Laws for Victims of Sex Trafficking & Commercial Sexual Exploitation” — Panelists, including Dallas attorney Laura Burstein, will discuss model state statutes known as “safe harbor laws” that divert trafficking victims from criminal prosecution and guide them toward community supportive services. Immigration issues will also be addressed.
1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Lone Star 2, 4th Floor, Renaissance Dallas

“The Unauthorized Practice of Law: Responses From the Bar on Notarios” This program discusses how lawyers are responding to the problem of “notarios,” unscrupulous people posing as attorneys to help immigrants obtain legal status, often ruining chances for legal status. Dallas immigration attorney Michelle Saenz-Rodriguez is among the panelists.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Plum Blossom A, Lobby Level, Atrium II, Hilton Anatole

Miller v. Alabama: Implications for Justice Practitioners” — Houston attorney Cathryn Crawford will be among the panelists discussing the practical implications of Miller v. Alabama, which ended mandatory life sentences for juveniles.
4 – 5:30 p.m., Steuben, Mezzanine Level, Atrium II, Hilton Anatole

Saturday, Feb. 9

Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement— This program will review national developments in indigent defense, such as new court decisions, legislation, funding, standards and federal actions that affect indigent defense. State Bar of Texas President Buck Files is among the panelists.
7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Coronado Ballroom A, Lobby Level, West Wing, Hilton Anatole

Monday, Feb. 11

“Center for Human Rights Luncheon” — As Texas is among the top five states with the highest incarceration rate in the nation, professor Patricia Williams of Columbia Law School will provide keynote remarks on the mass incarceration crisis in America.
Noon – 1:30 p.m., Peacock Terrace, Lobby Level, West Wing, Hilton Anatole

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register on-site at the Hilton Anatole, Lobby Level, Atrium III, beginning at 2 p.m. on Feb. 6. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided in the Khmer Ballroom, located on the third level of the Hilton Anatole, starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 7. The room will be open daily thereafter from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Feb. 11.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations 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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