2021 Midyear Meeting: Judicial Division Guide


The 2021 ABA Midyear Meeting will be held virtually, February 17-21, 2021.  In order to access the links to your meetings,  you will need to register in advance.  Registration for the Midyear Meeting is complimentary.
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Meetings and program times are listed in Central time. 

Judicial Division schedule (as of January 4)

Dark Money Program

Judicial Division members may register for this program for FREE using our promo code. Login  to your MyABA profile to reveal the promo code at the bottom.  Registration for this program is available through ABA Midyear Meeting registration.

Friday, February 19

10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  

CLE: Dark Money in Judicial Elections (Part I)
The Growing Influence of Dark Money in the Judicial Selection Process

Moderator:  Professor Stephan Landsman, DePaul College of Law, Chicago, IL

Panelists:     Robert Clifford, Esq., Chicago, IL
                        Laurence Pulgram, Esq., San Francisco, CA
                        Professor Abby Wood, USC Gould School of Law, Los Angeles, CA

This portion of the program will focus on (1) the rise of “dark money” funding of media campaigns to influence state and federal judicial selection processes; (2) recent efforts to combat the influence of outside political ads, including administrative rules relating to transparency of donors, the landmark $250 million settlement in Hale v. State Farm and proposed federal legislation on judicial ads; and (3) the role of the organized bar in confronting misinformation about judicial candidates.  

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

CLE/Ethics: Dark Money in Judicial Elections (Part II)
Maintaining Public Confidence in the Courts in the Age of Dark Money

Moderator:  Carolyn A. Dubay, North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission, Raleigh, NC

Panelists:     The Honorable Virginia Kendall, U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois
                        The Honorable Louis Butler, former Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
                        Professor Tom Tyler, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT

This portion of the program will focus on the psychological and ethical perspectives of dark money ads in judicial selection processes, including (1) the erosion of public confidence in the impartiality and independence of the courts, (2) implications for disqualification and recusal, and (3) how judges can ethically combat disinformation campaigns funded with outside money through public statements, civic engagement and other strategies.    

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

CLE: Dark Money in Judicial Elections (Part III)
Combatting Dark Money Influence: Procedural Strategies and Innovations

Moderator:  The Honorable Michelle Childs, U.S. District Court, D. South Carolina

Panelists:     Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, UC Berkeley School of Law
                        Professor Stephen Saltzburg, George Washington University School of Law
                        Professor Charles Silver, University of Texas School of Law
                        Paula Frederick, General Counsel, State Bar of Georgia

This portion of the program will focus on procedural strategies and innovative approaches to combatting the damaging effect of dark money influence on the perceived fairness of federal and state judicial proceedings.   The discussion will focus on possible procedural rule changes, disciplinary actions, changes to existing rules for recusal, revisions to rules relating to amicus briefs, and use of the contempt power against parties attempting to influence judicial outcomes through dark money ads.

Volunteer Opportunities

Judicial Clerkship Virtual Program
The Judicial Clerkship Program will take place virtually February 17-20, 2021.
Times do not conflict with your Conference meetings.
Volunteer Now

Youth Outreach Program 
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Copy: Volunteer with the Youth Outreach Program at Midyear.  The Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary is partnering with multiple middle and high schools from across the country to match our judge and lawyer volunteers with classrooms to explore the role of the judiciary, individual rights, and the need for civic engagement.  The program will be held virtually, with volunteers joining the students over a video conferencing platform.  The Committee will have materials available to assist volunteers in leading the Program and conversations, and if you are a new volunteer we can pair you with someone who has volunteered with the Program before.  Please email julianna.peacock@americanbar.org to volunteer.


The Judicial Division is flexible and works “one-on-one” with each sponsor to design an approach that meets your needs and maximizes your goals for your product or service.  If you are interested in learning about opportunities at the 2021 Midyear Meeting, contact Kris Berliant at 312.988.5700.

Thank You to our Division Sponsor

Thank You to our Division Sponsor

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