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June 11, 2018 Asked and Answered

Attending the ABA Annual Meeting? Here’s a sneak peek

By Lee Rawles

This August, lawyers from around the country will come to Chicago for the ABA Annual Meeting. Wondering whether to make the trip yourself?

In this special bonus episode of Asked and Answered, we’re joined by ABA President Hilarie Bass and Marty Balogh of the ABA meetings and travel department.

They discuss the new offerings, event highlights and local attractions attendees should be sure to check out in the ABA’s hometown from Aug. 2-7.

One highlight will be the return of the CLE in the City series, which debuted at last year's annual meeting in New York City. In its second year, CLE in the City has been streamlined into one day of seminars Thursday, Aug. 2, where attendees can earn 3.0-3.6 CLE credits. Eight specialty tracks of study will be available at law firm and law school venues around downtown Chicago. The eight tracks are: cybersecurity law; ethics; family law; gaming, sweepstakes and franchise law; legal writing, ethics and persuasion; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; and privacy and security. The CLE in the City sessions are included for free at the all-access registration level, or can be purchased individually for $35.

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In This Podcast:

Lee Rawles
Marty Balogh is currently the associate executive director of the meetings and travel group at the American Bar Association. He has been at the ABA for 38 years and has held numerous positions within the meetings and travel Department, including most recently the director of the department from 2000 to 2014.

Hilarie Bass is the president of the American Bar Association and co-president of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig. She previously served as chair of the Section of Litigation, the ABA’s largest section, where she spearheaded the creation of a Task Force on Implicit Bias in the Justice System. She also served as chair of the Committee on Rules and Calendar, as a member of the ABA Commission on Women, and as a member of the Board of Governors, House of Delegates, the State of Florida representative, and on the Nominating Committee.

Bass discusses some of the planned speakers, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who will be speaking at a forum Aug. 2, and Just Mercy author Bryan Stevenson, who will be delivering the keynote speech to the General Assembly on Aug. 4. She also shares details about the Aug. 2 panel “#MeToo, Time’s Up - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace,” for which she will be moderator. The scheduled panelists include Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Tina Tchen, who co-founded the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and once served as chief of staff for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Opportunities for networking and socializing will also be plentiful. One event Bass highlights is “It Is Only Fair 2,” a concert Aug. 3 to raise awareness of the LSC’s important work, featuring Chicago-based performers from Broadway, cabaret and local companies as well as stories from some of the people who have benefited from legal aid assistance. A similar event was held at last year’s annual meeting. The ABA has been a strong advocate for the LSC as the country’s largest provider of civil legal aid, and successfully lobbied to save its funding when the Trump administration proposed in 2017 to eliminate its budget. The LSC has again been targeted for elimination, and Bass has been outspoken in urging Congress to preserve and increase its funding instead.

Balogh explains some of the nitty-gritty registration details for listeners, including the various registration packages available. At the all-access registration level ($495 for members and $695 for nonmembers), attendees will also be able to purchase reserved tickets to Cubs games and the musical Hamilton.

A date to keep in mind is July 6, the last day that annual meeting attendees can register and still get the ABA’s negotiated discounts for hotels. Since the Lollapalooza music festival will also be in town during the annual meeting, hotel rooms will be hard to come by, and Balogh says that visitors aren’t likely to find a better value.

July 6 will also be the last day to audition for ABA Cabaret. Between 10-15 musically inclined annual meeting attendees will be selected to perform at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the President’s Reception on Aug. 4. 

Complete information about the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting, including links to register, can be found at 

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