January 03, 2020 Judicial Division

JD Chair's Column

By Hon. Elizabeth Lang-Miers, Dallas, TX

We are looking forward to more great Judicial Division programs in 2020. The messages that follow in this issue from the conference chairs will tell you more about what all of the conferences are doing this year. To obtain details about upcoming webinars and other programs please visit our Events & CLE page.  You also can learn about JD and Conference activities, projects, products and upcoming meetings and programs through our quarterly publication, Judicial Division Record.  And another great way to keep up with what is happening in the judiciary is to read the excellent and award-winning articles in another JD quarterly publication, The Judges’ Journal. This is one of the nation’s foremost judicial journals and the authoritative source on innovations in the justice system. Your membership includes your digital and print subscriptions. 

We continue to add to our great Gavel Talks series.  These short podcasts are available online and are designed to give you information on significant topics of interest to judges and lawyers. If you would like to create a Gavel Talk episode, please let us know by contacting Tori Wible. The JD also has webinars available for online CLE at reduced rates for JD members.

The JD will present programs and meetings during ABA Midyear Meeting in Austin, Texas from February 12 -18, 2020. Please check our Midyear Meeting Guide  for the full JD schedule and register to attend. One of the premier programs at the Midyear meeting will be the Judicial Clerkship Program, which begins on Thursday, February 13, 2020 and concludes on Saturday, February 15, 2020.  This is the 20th year of the program, with 15 law schools, approximately 75 law students and 30 judges participating. This is a joint effort of the Judicial Division and the ABA Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline and is designed to bring judges and minority law students together through structured networking and educational activities that encourage them to apply for judicial clerkships. Please consider participating in this great program.

On the Thursday night of the meeting, February 13, 2020, please join the other members of the JD at the Welcome Reception at the State Bar of Texas Headquarters. It is a great opportunity to catch up with friends and make new ones and to visit the adjacent grounds of the Texas State Capitol.

On Saturday, February 15, 2020, please join the Judicial for two great programs, “The Disenfranchised Among Us,” sponsored by the Tribal Courts Council (part of the Public Interest, Diversity & Pro Bono Track) and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: The validity of Risk Assessment Tools in Setting Bail and Drafting Sentences,” sponsored by the National Conference of State Trial Judges.

On March 9-11, 2020 the annual Traffic Court Seminar will be presented in New Orleans. This is always a great program and is designed for judges, judicial officers, prosecutors and defense attorneys who appear in these courts and to provide them the opportunity to meet and network with others from throughout the country to discuss the latest developments in traffic court law, technology and scientific evidence.

The JD will launch its first National Institute, ABA Bench & Bar Academy on April 16-17, 2020 in Chicago. The programs planning committee, chaired by our JD Vice-Chair Chris Browning, has created a program that will help lawyers hone their skills as advocates and obtain views from the bench from expert judges and advocate panelists. Registration for this program is now open.

Finally, thank you so much for your membership and support.  Our six conferences continue to do excellent and hard work to support courts and the lawyers and litigants who appear before them. I want to particularly thank the lawyers who are members of the Lawyers Conference, the Council of Appellate Lawyers, and the Council of Staff Attorneys.  These lawyers work hard every day to support our courts and judicial conferences by planning and presenting programs as well as raising money to support programs.  Raising money is especially important now because, as you know, the Judicial Division experienced significant budget cuts last year.  The Judicial Division Sustainability Committee and the Non-Dues Revenue Committee are developing ways to raise money. Now more than ever, we have called upon the lawyers to help raise needed funds this year to continue the Judicial Division’s work, but they cannot do it alone.  For that reason, we also continue to encourage you, our members, to contribute to the Judicial Division and the conferences through our ABA Fund for Justice and Education (FJE). The FJE accepts gifts and grants to support the public service work of the Judicial Division and the ABA and qualifies as an exempt fund under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions to the FJE are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. An easy way to make your contributions is to go to donate.americanbar.org/jd, select the amount of your contribution and the designation for your contribution and complete the rest of the information on the form. You may want to consider making your contribution in honor of a judge or lawyer who has been particularly significant to you and the profession. We appreciate and need all your contributions so that the Judicial Division can continue its work.  Thank you so much for all you do to support the Judicial Division and the American judicial system.

Hon. Elizabeth Lang-Miers, (Ret.)

Hon. Elizabeth Lang-Miers, (Ret.)

2019-2020 Judicial Division Chair