November 27, 2018 Chair's Column

Chair's Column: November 2018

Marvin S.C. Dang

Aloha (greetings) from Honolulu, Hawaii!

As the Chair of the Senior Lawyers Division for the 2018-2019 bar year, I want to thank you for reading the November 2018 edition of our Division’s Voice of Experience e-newsletter.

Starting with my Chair’s column in August 2018, I’ve introduced a Hawaiian word every month, and I’ve linked that word to activities in our Division. For this month’s column, I want to share the Hawaiian word kokua, which means “help, assistance, or aid.”

In November, as we begin the season for giving thanks, we should also note that November 15 was first proclaimed as National Philanthropy Day by President Reagan in 1986. Annually on this day, donors and others are recognized for their philanthropy―for their help and assistance.

As attorneys, we can help increase our impact through our personal philanthropy. We can do so by contributing to the American Bar Association’s Fund for Justice and Education, a 501(c)(3) charitable fund that supports about 200 public service and educational programs.

One of the Senior Lawyers Division’s premier public service and educational programs is our ongoing project on the opioid health crisis—a crisis which has been called the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history. This epidemic affects the lives and well-being of our Division members, our families, our clients, and our communities.

Our Division decided to take action. We led an Opioid Summit on May 4, 2018, in Chicago to develop specific, meaningful, and practical solutions to tackle this epidemic. The Summit was a collaborative effort organized by our Division. We brought together twenty ABA entities and non-ABA organizations, a multidisciplinary group of experts from a range of legal areas, nationally recognized speakers, ABA staff members, and volunteer law students.

Incorporating the extensive discussions and recommendations generated at the Opioid Summit, we produced an insightful report to address the opioid crisis. You can read the Summit Report (which provides an overview of the crisis and contains 9 paramount recommendations and 45 action points) and other useful Summit documents at ambar.org/opioid .

After the Opioid Summit, our Division created an Opioid Initiative Task Force to, in part, advance the recommendations and action points from the Summit. The Task Force consists of representatives from the various collaborating entities that participated in the Summit.

On September 27, 2018, the ABA’s Section Officers Conference honored our Division with the “Outstanding Collaboration Award” for organizing the Opioid Summit. The Award recognizes significant collaboration between ABA entities on a program, project, or initiative that provides substantial value to the ABA membership, profession, or society. Here’s the link to more information about the Award.

Following up on the Opioid Summit Report, a few weeks ago on November 14, 2018, our Division introduced a Resolution to be considered by the ABA House of Delegates at the Midyear Meeting in January 2019. Our Resolution urges all courts, governmental entities, bar associations, public health agencies, lawyer assistance programs, lawyer regulatory entities, institutions of legal education, law firms, and other entities to consider the recommendations and action points in the Opioid Summit Report.

Next spring on Thursday, May 2, 2019, our Division will present a one-hour ethics program about working with clients or colleagues with opioid and other substance use disorders. For a client, this could trigger ethics rules surrounding diminished capacity, confidentiality, or conflicts of interest. For a colleague, there could be a duty to report, competency issues, or client abandonment. This continuing legal education program will be held in New York City when our Division meets with the ABA Litigation Section and the ABA Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division for their CLE Conference which starts on May 1. You’ll be able to find more information on our Division’s website [https://www.americanbar.org/groups/senior_lawyers] closer to the Conference.

Those are examples of our opioid initiative. And that’s just one of our Division’s public service and educational programs.

Your donation to the Program Support Fund of the Senior Lawyers Division will enable our Division to continue to produce public service and educational programs covering many timely issues.

Please join me by making a donation of any amount at:  donate.americanbar.org/sld

Your kokua—your help, assistance, and aid―will go a long way to harness the power of our legal profession and our Division to make a positive difference. Thank you!

Author

Marvin S.C. Dang, 2018-19 Chair, Senior Lawyers Division

Marvin S.C. Dang is the managing member of Law Offices of Marvin S.C. Dang, LLLC in Honolulu, Hawaii and has been an attorney since 1978. He’s the 2018-2019 Chair of the ABA Senior Lawyers Division, a member of the ABA Nominating Committee, a Delegate in the ABA House of Delegates, and a Commissioner on the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic  Diversity in the Profession. Over the past 42 years, beginning as a law student member of the ABA, he’s held leadership positions in various ABA divisions: Law Student Division, Young Lawyers Division, General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division, and Senior Lawyers Division. A former legislator in the Hawaii State House of Representatives, he’s now a registered lobbyist. His law firm’s practice areas include legislation, lobbying, creditors’ rights, and real estate matters. He received his law degree from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.