February 26, 2019 Chair's Column

Chair's Column: February 2019

By 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 taking the time to read the February 2019 edition of our Division’s Voice of Experience e-newsletter

Starting with my Chair’s column in August 2018, I’ve monthly introduced a Hawaiian word or phrase which I’ve linked to activities in our Division.

This month’s word is “alaka‘i,” which means “leader, guide, or director.”

Our Division has been a leader in addressing the opioid crisis.

Last month on January 28, 2019, the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association adopted Resolution 108 which was submitted by our Division as the sponsoring entity. Our Resolution’s co-sponsors were the following ABA entities: Commission on Law and Aging, Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, Section of State and Local Government Law, Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division, Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, and National Conference of the Administrative Law Judiciary.

With the passage of Resolution 108, the ABA adopted the recommendations and action points in the report, Experienced Lawyers, American Families, and the Opioid Crisis–Report of the Opioid Summit May 2018, and urged all federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal courts, governmental entities, bar associations, public health agencies, lawyer assistance programs, lawyer regulatory entities, institutions of legal education, and law firms to implement the recommendations and action points in that report.

Here are two links to Resolution 108:

  1. https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/directories/policy/midyear-2019/108-midyear-2019.pdf
  2. https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/senior_lawyers/Opioid_Resolution_108_12_12_18.pdf

At the January 28, 2019, House of Delegates Meeting, I had the honor of moving for the adoption of Resolution 108 and speaking in favor of it. I told the Delegates:

“Fellow Delegates. I’m also the Chair of the ABA Senior Lawyers Division which is one of the sponsors of this Resolution. I’m asking you to vote for this Resolution.

“The opioid crisis has been called the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history. It has claimed more than 360,000 lives since 1999. It negatively affects the lives and well-being of members of our legal profession, our clients, our families, and our communities. All demographic groups are impacted, including multi-generations from senior citizens to infants.

“The American Bar Association … which is the voice for our legal profession … is a critical partner in addressing this issue because we are uniquely positioned to support, inform, and advocate for effective policies and laws.

“For this reason, the Senior Lawyers Division convened an Opioid Summit at the ABA headquarters in Chicago on May 4, 2018. The Summit was a collaborative effort of 20 ABA and non-ABA entities, and a multidisciplinary group of experts, to take a holistic approach to the opioid crisis.

“Incorporating the productive discussions, recommendations, and actions items generated at the Opioid Summit, a Report was prepared. The Opioid Report, and other documents for the Summit, are found at www.ambar.org/opioid. Attached to Resolution 108 is a Report with the key portions of the Opioid Report.

“There are 9 recommendations and 45 action points in the Opioid Report. Among the 9 recommendations are:

“Recommendation 4: Increase the legal profession’s capacity to respond to and meet individual and family needs through partnerships, collaboration, and dissemination of information and resources in support of those needs.

“Recommendation 5: Promote policies and laws that support families and caregivers struggling with opioid and substance misuse disorders.

“Recommendation 7: Identify state laws and initiatives that have been shown to decrease opioid and substance misuse while ensuring access to pain medications for those with chronic pain.

“With this Resolution, the ABA adopts the recommendations and action points in the report and the ABA urges all key stakeholders to implement these recommendations and action points.

“I should note that after the May 4, 2018 Opioid Summit, the ABA Senior Lawyers 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 various collaborating entities that participated in the Summit. Efforts to implement this policy will come from those collaborating entities and the Opioid Initiative Task Force.

“In conclusion, adopting this Resolution will be a significant and important step by the ABA to confront the opioid crisis … as well as to provide leadership and a commitment to reshaping policy and regulations to better support individuals, families, and communities that are being impacted by the crisis.

“I urge you to vote for the adoption of this Resolution. Thank you.”

Resolution 108 was unanimously adopted.

I want to acknowledge and thank the following Delegates who had submitted written requests (called “salmon slips”) and were prepared to speak in favor of Resolution 108. Because there was no opposition to the Resolution, each waived their right to speak:

  • Albert Harvey (Senior Lawyers Division)
  • Scott Partridge (Intellectual Property Law Section)
  • Carole Worthington (Woman Member-at-Large)
  • Harry Truman Moore (Arkansas Bar Association)
  • Anthony Barash (State Bar of California)
  • Saul Wolfe (Delegate-at-Large)
  • Sheila Hollis (Environment, Energy & Resources Section)
  • Orlando Lucero (Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section)
  • Judge Ruth Kleinfeld (Senior Lawyers Division)
  • Llewellyn Pritchard (Delegate-at-Large)
  • William Horton (Health Law Section)
  • Savannah Potter-Miller (Delegate-at-Large)
  • Larry Hunter (Idaho State Bar)

Our Senior Lawyers Division will continue to be a leader—an “alaka‘i”—in addressing the opioid crisis and other critical issues affecting our members, their families, their communities, and our legal profession.

Author

Marvin S.C. Dang
2018-19 Chair, ABA 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 currently 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.  During the past 42 years, he’s held leadership positions in various ABA divisions and sections.  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.

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