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State & Local Government Law

2021 Resiliency Virtual Conference

Wednesdays: May 12, 2021 & May 19, 2021

Resiliency in nature

Resiliency in nature

Joint meeting with the ABA Young Lawyers Division

Jefferson Fordham Fund

If you would like to be a personal, firm or corporate sponsor of the Resiliency National Institute, you may do so by contributing to our Jefferson Fordham support fund, which is our 501 (c) 3, FJE fund.  When you contribute there, the funds can be designated for use for the Resiliency Institute.

Contributions can be made online here, and the gift will be directly allocated to the Section of State and Local Government Law, Jefferson Fordham Support Fund.

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2021 Resiliency Institute On-Demand CLE Webinars

In times likes these, accessing current professioal resources is incredibly important. Please take advantage of these webinars as they are spot-on in the wake of natural disasters.

Day 1 Keynote Speaker - Dr. Akilah Watkins
Listen to the keynote address
Resilience and Equity In Our Neighborhoods [CC] Register Now

Day 2 Keynote Speaker - Beth Osborne
Listen to the keynote address
Making Transportation & Infrastructure More Resilient and Who Pays for Disaster Risk? [CC] Register Now

Wednesday, May 12th

1 - 1:30pm ET  |  Welcome Remarks

  • Patricia Lee Refo, Esq., President, American Bar Association
  • Erica Levine Powers Esq., Chair of the ABA Section of State & Local Government Law

1:30-2:pm ET  |  Day 1 Keynote Address   

  • Dr. Akilah Watkins, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for Community Progress
    (Introduced by: Janice C. Griffith, Institute Chair & Professor of Law, Suffolk)

2 - 3:30pm ET  |  Resilience and Equity In Our Neighborhoods: How Do We Build Sustainable and Environmentally Just Communities? [CLE]

CLE-On-Demand - Register now  

Learn more about the intertwined challenges of social and environmental justice. Which historical and present-day practices lead to inequity in disadvantaged communities, and what can be done legally to improve lives in the face of climate change, sea level rise, disparate public health outcomes, and the wealth gap? The panel will look at how to improve communications, accountability and structural legal frameworks to bring real-world solutions. To be truly resilient, communities must not only survive, but be allowed to thrive.

  • Jordan Lesser, Legal Counsel, New York State Assembly [Moderator]
  • Andrea McArdle, Professor of Law, City University of New York School of Law
  • Alicia Smith, Executive Director, The Junction Coalition & Associate Director of Policy, Freshwater Future
  • Jazz Watts, Community Advisor Consultant, Vulnerable Coastal Communities Initiative; Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Commissioner; Land Retention Advisor, Sapelo Island Cultural & Revitalization Society

3:45–5:15pm ET  |  How to Finance a Fair and Resilient Future [CLE]

Panelists will provide an engaging primer on the many legal ways that governments, communities, property owners and developers can obtain funding to reduce the vulnerability of residences and businesses to damage from disasters. While disaster risk reduction is accomplished best by assuring that new construction meets resilient codes and standards, there are many programs in place to help fund the more difficult but critical work of making existing structures less vulnerable to the disaster events most significant to their location – be it wind, water, fire, or earthquake.

  • Ernest B. Abbott, Of Counsel, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz [Coordinator]
  • Pamela Williams, Executive Director of the Build Strong Coalition [Moderator]
  • Joe Rossi, Flood Specialist, RogersGray InsuranceRoderick Scott, Certified Floodplain Manager, L & R Resources LLC and the Flood Insurance Industry Association
  • Annie Vest, Planning and Grant Department Manager, Meshek & Associates

Wednesday, May 19th

1 - 1:15pm ET  |  Welcome Remarks

  • Erica Levine Powers Esq., Chair of the ABA Section of State & Local Government Law

1:15 - 1:45pm ET  |  Day2 Keynote Address  

  • Beth Osborne, Director, Transportation for America, the transportation arm of Smart Growth America
    (Introduced by: Janice C. Griffith, Institute Chair & Professor of Law, Suffolk)

1:45 - 3:15pm ET  |  Making Transportation & Infrastructure More Resilient [CLE]

CLE-On-Demand - Register now  

This session will address the legal measures municipalities, counties, states, and other public entities should undertake to enhance resiliency to climate change. Speakers will address the challenges presented by the intergovernmental nature of transportation and infrastructure sustainability. They will also explore legal issues raised by financing mass transit expansion and infrastructure development through such measures as tax increment financing and transit improvement and development districts (TIFs and TDDs). The program will highlight the interconnectedness of mobility with land use controls, green infrastructure, and economic development.

  • Janice C. Griffith, Institute Chair & Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School
  • Robert L. Ashe III, Partner, Bondurant Mixson & Elmore
  • Roy J. Koegen, Partner, Kutak Rock LLP

3:30-5pm ET  |  Who Pays for Disaster Risk? Landowners, Governments, Lenders, Insurance Companies… [CLE]

Laws effectively allocate the financial burdens of natural disasters: landowners, government agencies, financial institutions and insurance companies all have roles under the legal system, all have some degree of knowledge, and all bear part of the risks. This panel examines the different legal aspects of risk allocation, ranging from privately-enforced requirements such as financial institutions requiring flood or fire insurance as a condition of lending, to the public legal requirements in building and zoning codes. Even setback and brush clearance requirements imposed by insurance companies can function to allocate risk and determine who bears the burden of risk avoidance.  It is important for all stakeholders to consider the interrelatedness of the laws that attempt to address risk allocation, as well as the impact of private operational requirements. Without the political will to make difficult decisions and allocate the risks efficiently, the burden of planning for avoiding resiliency failures ultimately falls on the taxpayers.

  • Dwight Merriam, Attorney at Law [Moderator]
  • Harriet Tregoning, Director, NUMO Alliance, World Resources Institute
  • Stephen R. Miller, Professor of Law, University of Idaho College of Law
  • TBD - Insurance & Financial Industries Representatives

5 - 5:30pm ET  |  Closing Remarks & Discussion

  • Erica Levine Powers Esq., Chair of the ABA Section of State & Local Government Law
  • Janice C. Griffith, Institute Chair & Professor of Law, Suffolk

Thank you to our sponsors

Roy J. Koegenl, Esq.
Kutak Rock
Deborah M. Rosenthal, Esq.
Squire Patton Boggs
Austen & Gowder LLC
Baker Donelson
Carlton Fields
James C. Hanks, Esq.
Dwight Merriam, Esq.
Ellen F. Rosenblum, Esq.
Seyfarth Shaw, LLP
Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP
Janice Griffith, Esq.
Marilyn J. Harbur, Esq.
Erica Levine Powers, Esq.
Steve Stapleton, Esq.
Pearlman & Miranda, LLC
Tomasi Salyer Martin

Resiliency Institute Sponsorship Levels - Learn more


Scholarships to defray tuition expense for ABA Center for Professional Development programs are available upon application on a program-by-program, case-by-case basis. Preference will be given to public interest lawyers, government lawyers, full-time law professors, solo or small firm practitioners of limited means, and unemployed attorneys. Click here for more information and to complete a scholarship request for a specific program.