April 01, 2019

Division connects members and honors worthy public lawyers

Message to the Members from Honorable Susan N. Burke

The Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division (GPSLD) was created to bring government lawyers together to help each other in their practice. Our goal is to provide tools to increase your knowledge and skills in order to make your job easier. Our CLE webinars and live programs provide information on ethics, FOIA, Touhy regulations, federal labor issues and more. GPSLD delivers deposition, legal writing, oral argument, and negotiations skills training. Our publications bring you timely articles on legal issues such as the update on Lucia v. SEC and its possible long- term implications for federal and state ALJs in this issue. We provide practice pointers — one page tip sheets — on various topics such as how to deliver bad news to clients or how to deal with difficult opposing counsel. We are also adding video how-tos for a quick hit of the nuts and bolts of a particular topic. Check out the first one here on preparing for an office crisis. All these resources require the participation of dedicated lawyers who choose to contribute their time and expertise in order to help their colleagues.

GPSLD provides the opportunity to learn from lawyers across the country with different approaches to regional problems and gain valuable insight from colleagues with diverse backgrounds and experiences. GPSLD brings federal Department of Transportation attorneys in D.C. together with city attorneys who are working on highway safety issues in California, district attorneys from New York together with states attorneys in Illinois who learn how to reduce sexual assault rape kit backlogs and Washington State Assistant Attorneys General with city attorneys in Oregon who are tackling climate change at the state and local level. GPSLD facilitates these collaborations.

If you have ideas for Division projects or activities, I would love to hear about them. Please feel free to contact me at GPSLD@americanbar.org. I always enjoy hearing from our members and welcome your suggestions.

GPSLD provides a forum that helps public lawyers assist each other. Working together we improve the practice of public sector law. This has a correspondingly positive effect on government agencies and ultimately the lives of community members who public lawyers faithfully serve.    

Honor a Public Lawyer or Public Law Office

The Division is accepting nominations for its three national awards to be presented at the ABA’s Annual Meeting at the General E.E. Anderson Awards Reception in San Francisco. The Dorsey Award recognizes exceptional work by a public defender or legal aid lawyer; the Hodson Award is presented to a government or public sector law office (not an individual) that has demonstrated sustained, outstanding performance or has performed a specific and extraordinary service; and the Nelson Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the ABA by a public lawyer. One of the main purposes of the Division's awards program is to highlight the often-overlooked achievements of our nation's public lawyers.

Take advantage of this opportunity to recognize the outstanding efforts of a public law office or individual public lawyers and help publicize some of the extraordinary work accomplished in the public sector.

The 2018 General E.E. Anderson Awards Reception was sponsored by Thomson Reuters. The Division is grateful for their generous support.

See nomination requirements here. Nominations must be received by the Division no later than Monday, April 8, 2019. Contact Alison Hill at 202-662-1024 or alison.hill@americanbar.org with any questions.