January 29, 2019 Chair's Column

Chair's Column: January 2019

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 perusing the January 2019 edition of our Division’s Voice of Experience e-newsletter.

Commencing 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 “hana hou,” which means “to do again, repeat, or encore.”

One of the many successful activities and events organized by the SLD is our annual trip to the U.S. Supreme Court Trip.

In my column last month, I urged you to consider participating on June 2-3, 2019, with our U.S. Supreme Court Trip in Washington, D.C. Lawyers who meet the qualifications to be newly admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will be sworn in during a ceremony at the Court session on Monday, June 3, 2019. To qualify for admission to the Bar of the Court, a lawyer must have been admitted to practice for at least three years before the date of application, must not have been the subject of any adverse disciplinary action within the past three years, and must be of good moral and professional character.

Last year as part of the SLD’s U.S. Supreme Court Trip package, 40 lawyers from 20 states and the District of Columbia applied for admission and paid a registration fee to participate. Many lawyers also brought a guest.

On Sunday June 10, 2018, the lawyers and guests gathered for an orientation session led by Los Angeles lawyer and former SLD Chair, Charles (Chuck) Collier. I explained my role as the movant for the admission ceremony to occur the next morning before Chuck and I discussed pending SCOTUS cases. Later, everyone networked during a splendid dinner, which was included with the SLD package.

At the hotel on Monday morning June 11, 2018, the lawyers and guests enjoyed a breakfast which was part of the SLD registration. After a short walk, we assembled in the front of the Supreme Court at 8:00 a.m. Once past a security checkpoint in the building, we were guided to a conference room exclusively reserved for our SLD group. We were personally welcomed by the Clerk of the Supreme Court who briefed us about what to expect in the courtroom.

Before the Court convened that morning, our group of lawyers and guests passed another security checkpoint to enter the courtroom without phones or cameras. The lawyers being admitted and I were directed to sit in assigned rows in the front of the courtroom behind the counsel table. SLD guests were seated toward the rear of the courtroom. (Because of limited seating in the courtroom, only one guest per admittee is permitted inside but even that is not guaranteed.)

Chief Justice John Roberts presided when the Court convened at 10:00 a.m. Three decisions were announced by Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The admission ceremony was next on the Court’s agenda. Having been admitted in the same courtroom in 2014, I had the honor to be the movant for our group. Chief Justice Roberts called my name. While standing at the lectern facing the Justices, I moved the admission of the 40 lawyers. Each lawyer stood as I announced the lawyer’s name and state. After I confirmed that each lawyer possessed the necessary qualifications, the Chief Justice granted my motion. Other groups of lawyers were similarly admitted that morning. A few individuals were also admitted by family members who acted as their movant.

When the Court adjourned, our SLD group returned to the West Conference Room for a luncheon. After Chief Justice Roberts entered the room, he welcomed the new admittees and commented about the portraits of some of his predecessors in the room. Next, Justice Ginsburg came to the room and patiently joined us for a group photo. Then, we gathered around her as she spoke and answered our questions.

After the lunch, the new admittees and their guests toured the historic building, took photographs, and purchased souvenirs.

Everyone was responsible for their own travel arrangements. Last year, many of the lawyers and guests from outside Washington, D.C. arrived a few days before the Sunday and Monday activities. Some extended their stay past the Monday admission ceremony. While the SLD registration fee didn’t include the cost of airfare and hotel, the SLD did have group hotel rates for those who wanted to stay at the designated SLD hotel.

As members of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, the new admittees received a certificate in the mail. Not only can they practice before the Court, but there is an additional perk: they have preferred admission and a special seating section (subject to availability) in the courtroom when the Court is in session.

After that well-received and memorable 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Trip, we’re saying “hana hou” – we’re organizing an encore event in 2019.

If you’re interested in being admitted to SCOTUS, please mark your calendar for the SLD’s 2019 U.S. Supreme Court Trip, which is planned for Sunday, June 2nd and Monday, June 3rd. The format for this unique opportunity will generally mirror the 2018 trip. We’ve again invited a Justice to meet with us in the Conference Room after the admission ceremony. And we’re planning an additional networking and sightseeing activity for the lawyers and guests.

More information about the 2019 U.S. Supreme Court Trip will be in upcoming issues of our Voice of Experience e-newsletter and on our website at this link https://www.americanbar.org/groups/senior_lawyers/ or at this link https://www.americanbar.org/groups/senior_lawyers/events_cle/supreme-court-trip/

US Supreme Court Trip 2018 Admittees with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

US Supreme Court Trip 2018 Admittees with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

During the U.S. Supreme Court Trip organized by the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, newly admitted lawyers to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States gathered on June 11, 2018, for a photo with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (front row, center, in white). On her left (with a yellow necktie) is Marvin S.C. Dang, current Chair of the Senior Lawyers Division, who was the movant during the admission ceremony earlier that morning at a session of the Supreme Court.

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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