The 25th anniversary of ABA Day starts next week! On April 5 and 6, from 1:00 to 2:30 ET each day, the ABA will host its annual association-wide advocacy event with our State Bar colleagues. Please join us by registering here and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
Because of ongoing security and health concerns on Capitol Hill, ABA Day will again be virtual, but we have a great program planned so that you and your colleagues can advocate on issues important to the legal profession from your home offices.
What are our key issues this year?
First, ABA Day advocates will urge Congress to provide robust funding for legal services. Millions of low income Americans do not have access to justice or due process in civil cases because they cannot afford adequate legal representation. The need for action is even greater now due to a sharp increase in cases caused by the pandemic. Congress must act to increase funding for the Legal Services Corporation so it can in turn provide more funding to legal aid offices nationwide to better meet this increased demand for help.
Second, advocates will urge Congress to extend student debt relief for our members. Student debt affects most law school graduates, and it takes a disproportionate toll on lawyers of color. For many, student loan debt grows after graduation. The government’s current pause on the repayment of federal student loans until May 2022 and the streamlined eligibility changes for Public Service Loan Forgiveness are helping, but those are temporary fixes. Congress must provide more permanent relief to help ease the incredible burden of student debt across the country.
Last, we will urge Congress to strengthen the attorney-client privilege by passing the Effective Assistance of Counsel in the Digital Era Act (EACDEA). Currently, prisoners confined in federal facilities can communicate with their counsel using traditional letter mail, unmonitored telephone calls, and in-person meetings and have those communications protected by the attorney-client privilege. Access to email services, however, requires prisoners to consent to having those emails searched, thereby requiring them to waive the attorney-client privilege. Passing the bipartisan EACDEA would finally give email communications with counsel the same protection as other attorney-client communications, thereby strengthening the privilege.
Throughout the ABA Day program, all participants will have the chance to urge their members of Congress to act on these issues by using our online tools that make communicating with congressional offices easy and effective. Congress needs to hear from YOU – their constituents. Don’t want to wait until the event to advocate? Click here to send your letters now.
Join us to be part of the collective voice of the legal profession and tell Congress what you think about these critical issues. Tune in to hear from a great lineup of speakers, including four Senators, four Representatives and special guest speaker Angelina Jolie, humanitarian, actress and citizen advocate. Visit ambar.org/abaday to learn more.