Deborah A. Smith is the current YLD Assembly Speaker for the 2007-2008 year. She is Senior Counsel with Gordon & Rees, LLP in San Francisco, California
The ABA YLD Assembly convened on February 9, 2008, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles. If you missed this meeting, you missed a terrific opportunity to hear from several distinguished guests and to participate in some exciting and lively debates. We had a total of 180 delegates certified from ABA YLD affiliates all across the United States.
Some of the distinguished guests who addressed Assembly included: William Neukom, President of the ABA; Laurel Bellows, Chair of the ABA House of Delegates; H. Thomas Wells, Jr., President-Elect of the ABA and former Chair of the House of Delegates; Stephen N. Zack, Chair of the ABA Day Planning Committee, former Chair of the House of Delegates, and a Board of Governors Representative; and Charlie Sabatino of the National Healthcare Decisions Day Executive Committee and Director of the ABA’s Commission on Law & Aging. We also awarded the first ever National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award to Sean Reyes of Salt Lake City, Utah.
As part of its policymaking function, the Assembly featured passionate and thoughtful debates on several resolutions including Resolution No. 112, which sought to adopt a proposed model rule on the conditional admission to the practice of law; Resolution No. 113, concerning the sufficiency of a law school’s bar passage rate under the Standards for Approval of Law Schools; Resolution No. 106, concerning the importance of increasing public understanding of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the U.S. Constitution in our public elementary and secondary schools; and Resolution No. 111A, which sought support for fee levels for immigration and naturalization benefits that are not so burdensome as to deter eligible applicants and encourage the budgeting of appropriate funds to address the costs of providing these benefits. As part of its consent calendar, the Assembly also adopted numerous resolutions including Nos. 100, 101, 102B, 105A-C, 107, 108, 109, 110D, and 111B. One of the approved consent items included late-filed resolution No. 10D from the New York State Bar Association, which expressed support for the rule of law and restoration of the Pakistani Constitution, reinstatement of judges, and the release of protestors who were wrongly arrested.
While almost all of the resolutions passed either on the consent calendar or following debate, there were two notable exceptions. Resolution No. 102A, which expressed support for the establishment of independent state commissions to address congressional redistricting was removed from the consent calendar but was not debated. The Assembly also debated Resolution No. 113, which provided a proposed interpretation of a standard for approval of law schools concerning the sufficiency of a law school’s bar passage rate, but the Resolution lost. The Assembly voted to accept the negative for No. 113, which bound the ABA YLD House of Delegates Representatives to oppose the resolution in the ABA House of Delegates.