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2014 Midyear Meeting: A recap from Chicago

2014 Midyear Meeting: A recap from Chicago

By John Glynn

Highlights from entity programs and messages from ABA leadership.

House of Delegates adopts policies on human trafficking, courthouse security, more
The American Bar Association adopted policies related to the right to food, human trafficking and courthouse security, among other topics, when the association’s policymaking body convened during the 2014 ABA Midyear Meeting in Chicago. 
More on new ABA policies >>

House hears from legal leaders on issues facing ABA, profession
During the ABA House of Delegates meeting Monday, members heard from leaders of the association, including President James R. Silkenat and Executive Director Jack Rives, about the state of the ABA and its initiatives. Delegates also received an update on the health of state courts from the president of the Conference of Chief Justices. 
ABA president on access-to-justice paradox >>

Midyear program tackles Olympic Games, Russia’s anti-gay laws
An expert panel discussed appropriate responses to Russia’s anti-gay legislation enacted this past summer. Among them, former Olympian Nancy Hogshead-Makar weighed in on whether the United States should have boycotted the Sochi Games.
Possible consequences of pro-gay demonstrations by athletes >>

Air Force SVCs advocate for sexual assault victims
Col. Dawn D. Hankins and Capt. Amanda K. Snipes spoke about the Air Force Special Victims’ Counsel program, which trains Air Force lawyers to advise sexual assault victims. 
More than 600 victims aided in first year >>

Nanny-state regulations: Limits on personal choice debated by experts
The New York appellate court struck down New York City’s ban on the size of sugary drinks in July. But a panel at the Midyear Meeting showed the spirited debate about the extent of the government power in personal choices might only be beginning. 
Reasonable criteria for intervention? >>

Challenges of bitcoin use, regulation discussed by experts 
The proliferation of bitcoin payments presents governmental regulators new challenges, but this and other forms of virtual currency do not raise red flags per se, experts agreed. 
More than three dozen virtual currencies in use >>

Structure of profession presents obstacles to resolving justice gap, panelists say There is a problem out there: That problem is the lack of access to justice for the working poor and middle class. During a panel discussion at the Midyear Meeting, one speaker issued a call to action to his fellow lawyers to help find solutions to this justice gap.  
The billable hour among obstacles >>

Lawyers, community activists seek to end the school-to-prison pipeline 
A 14-year-old boy was charged with a felony for hurling a pen out of a school bus window, and instead of going to school, he sat in a prison cell. This is one of many troubling examples of a trend analyzed during a town hall forum. 
“Schools are becoming prisons under the guise of ‘security’” >>

Pivotal Supreme Court decisions transformed sentencing of child offenders, experts say 
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that it is unconstitutional for jurisdictions to have a mandatory sentence of life without parole for a child convicted of any crime, including murder. Now states must adjust their sentencing guidelines in order to comply with this new precedent. 
“Post-Miller litigation is incredibly robust” >>

Experts discuss consumer, industry privacy issues in the digital age 
Privacy and data security must be strategic considerations for every business, experts said at a Midyear Meeting panel. For those who manage electronic data, risks include not just security breaches but also a variety of privacy glitches. 
Complications with “reasonable expectation of privacy” >>

Midyear program touches on benefits of public interest work
A Midyear Meeting presentation provided an overview of the benefits that public interest jobs offer, including the financial benefits associated with student loan forgiveness. 
Debt-free in 10 years >>

7 diversity trailblazers honored by ABA
The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession recognized seven lawyers with its 2014 Spirit of Excellence Award for their outstanding achievements toward advancing diversity in the legal profession.
Diversity “requires constant vigilance and hard work" >>

For more stories from the 2014 Midyear Meeting, see AmBar.org/News.

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