2021 Virtual Spring Conference Schedule

ABA President-Elect Reginald M. Turner, Jr.

ABA President-Elect Reginald M. Turner, Jr.

Wednesday Panelist

Tuesday, April 13 - Thursday, April 15

Joint meeting with the ABA Young Lawyers Division

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View full Conference Speaker line-up

Special thanks to our Meeting Sponsor

Special thanks to our Meeting Sponsor

Tuesday, April 13 

1  - 1:15pm ET
YLD Meditation Series

With all that is happening in the world, many of us have begun new mindfulness practices to remain hopeful, centered, and tranquil.

Take a 15-minute break and join attorney and certified health counselor Ritu Goswamy as she shares positive affirmations that will help guide you through the start of your conference day.  

  • Today's focus—Connect with our Mind: What does it mean to think like a lawyer today? 

1:15 - 1:30pm ET
Introduction

1:30 - 2:30pm ET
Opening Plenary - When Your Career Chooses You

Sometimes you choose your path, but just as often, the path chooses you! Hear from experienced attorneys about how their career paths emerged and developed, the choices they made (or didn’t make), and how those experiences can be helpful to you as a young lawyer.

Panelists

  • Erika Robinson, Jackson Public School District Office of The General Counsel, Jackson, MS
  • Donna Frazier, Caddo Office of the Parish Attorney, Shreveport, LA
  • Elizabeth Yang, Attorney. WStrong LLC, Reston, VA
  • Steve Stapleton, Attorney. Clark Hill PLC, Grand Rapids, MI

Moderator

  • Daiquiri Steele, Attorney / Professor, Tulane University Law School and ABA House of Delegates Representative

3 - 4pm ET
Student Debt: Is it a consumer protection issue? (CLE)

We’ve heard many descriptors for the student loan debt mess many of our young lawyers know too well, but is it really a consumer protection issue at its heart? Spoiler alert: Yes!  Hear from leading state and local experts on consumer protection about the consumer protection overlay—from encouragement to max-out the available loans, to repayment issues, and even dischargeability (or lack thereof).  Our speakers will also discuss potential solutions for combatting these issues and the ongoing crisis—the number one issue facing young lawyers today. 

Learning Objectives

  • Recognizing the consumer protection overlay throughout the life cycle of a student loan (from signing up through repayment and discharge), 
  • Identifying solutions to those issues on a micro scale (what young lawyers can look for/ward against), and 
  • How a consumer protection focus can help combat the larger crisis (macro scale, industry wide) 
  • What legislative actions have been taken and what the landscape looks like during this Administration.

Panelists

  • Creola Johnson, President’s Club Professor of Law, The Ohio State Univ. Moritz College of Law
  • Farah Majid, Legal Services Birmingham, AL
  • Daniel A. Zibel, National Student Legal Defense Network

Moderator

  • Aaron Sohaski, Counsel, Henry Ford Health System and ABA YLD Student Loan Debt & Financial Wellness Director

4:30 - 5:30pm ET
Women of Criminal Justice: Why Do They Leave? (CLE)

This diverse panel of leaders from the Criminal Justice Section's Women's Task Force will report briefly on the Task Force findings on why women leave the practice of criminal law. They will also openly discuss the successes and failures of their own career paths--prosecutor, defender, judge, and professor.  

The panel will offer perspective to attorneys on issues of accessibility, diversity, and inclusion. Employment law and policy concerns will be discussed generally and specifically as they relate to impact on women practitioners of various biases including the so-called motherhood penalties.

Panelists

  • Maryam Ahranjani, Professor, School of Law, University of New Mexico
  • Honorable Denise Langford Morris, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge, Pontiac, MI
  • Kim T. Parker, Kansas County and District Attorney's Association

Moderator

  • Bianca Brown, Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

5:30 - 6:30pm ET
Flash-Back Dance Party Break  

DJ Aroc will play a wide range of flashback music and take requests for first 20 minutes. Speed Networking follows for the next 20 minutes. 

Wednesday, April 14

12  - 12:15pm ET
YLD Meditation Series

With all that is happening in the world, many of us have begun new mindfulness practices to remain hopeful, centered, and tranquil.

Take a 15-minute break and join attorney and certified health counselor Ritu Goswamy as she shares positive affirmations that will help guide you through the start of your conference day.  

  • Today's focus—Connect with our Heart: How can we, as lawyers, heal ourselves and be more inclusive of others?

12:30 - 1:30pm ET
Making a Difference—People of Color as Attorneys General (CLE)

There are 56 Attorneys General who serve as the chief legal officer in their respective states and territories. These attorneys counsel their government agencies and legislatures, and serve as a representative of the public interest. This CLE will discuss how the addition of people of color is changing the conversation of justice in the United States and its territories. 

Specifically, this panel will discuss: 

  • How they are addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, 
  • The policies they have enacted or want to enact to counteract systemic racism, and 
  • The challenges faced, and efforts made to restore the public’s confidence in our legal system.

Panelists

  • Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota
  • Aaron Ford, Attorney General of Nevada
  • Gurbir Grewal, Attorney General of New Jersey
  • Kwame Raoul, Attorney General of Illinois

Moderator

  • Jonathan Bogues, YLD Men of Color Chair

2 - 3pm ET
People of Color in Bar Leadership & High-Level Leaders

Learn from past-presidents of the National Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, and the National Native American Bar Association about the impact their engagement has had, the importance of minority bar associations, and their relationship with the ABA. There are more people of color serving as state Attorneys General than ever before. Bar Associations serve as a central point of engagement for lawyers and help maintain the integrity of the legal profession.

Hear from this esteemed panel about:

  • Their paths to being the top attorney in their states, and why representation in their offices is more important than ever.
  •  How diverse bar leaders can help report on legal trends and advocate for reform.
  • The importance behind ensuring those most impacted by the law are represented in the law.

Panelists

  • Victor M. Marquez, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs; Chair, ABA Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Commission; Past President, Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Juan Thomas, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer; Chicago, IL
  • Reginald Turner, Attorney. Clark Hill PLC, & ABA Chair-Elect
  • A.B. Cruz III, President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • Robert O. Saunooke, Past President of the National Native American Bar Association
  • Amanda Green Alexander, Founder of Alexander Law; National Conference Women's Bar Association, Past-president.

Moderator

  • Linton Clarke, YLD Men of Color Project; Tax Attorney, Total Tax Inc, Sugar Land, TX

3:30 - 4:30pm ET
Alternative Paths: People of Color in Less Common Legal Practice Areas (CLE)

Much of innovation comes from adding new perspectives to old ideas. As organizations battle to remain relevant, many are adopting new diversity hiring practices to promote both social and financial advancement. This CLE will explore how people of color have entered lesser known legal arenas like academia, tax law, environmental law, and marijuana law to encourage equitable and remedial practices.

Specifically, this panel will discuss:

  • the challenges of shifting an organization's focus from "white centric" to "people centric";
  • the initiatives created to address inadequacies in their respective fields; and 
  • the need to further incorporate POC in all disciplines, but especially in those areas that impact POC the most.

Panelists

  • Jerome Crawford, ABA YLD Men of Color Project Past Co-chair , and Director of Legal Operations for Pleasantrees. Detroit, Michigan
  • Janet Steverson, Douglas K. Newell Professor of Lewis Professor of Excellence, Lewis & Clark Law School. Portland Oregon
  • Jeffery Page, Attorney Advisor Office of General Counsel Operations , US Department of Transportation. Washington, DC
  • Linton Clarke, YLD Men of Color Summit; Tax Attorney. Total Tax Inc, Sugar Land Texas.

Moderators

  • Marcus McGhee, Ethics & Compliance Attorney at Indiana Supreme Court; and Vice Chair, YLD Men of Color
  • Lawrence Pittman, Attorney, US Environmental Protection Agency; and YLD Men of Color

5 - 6pm ET
Networking Breaks
Meetup Mixer, presented by MoCP Break  & Speed-Networking Event

7 - 8pm ET
Virtual Cooking Demo

Thursday, April 15  - For the Land

12  - 12:15pm ET
YLD Meditation Series

With all that is happening in the world, many of us have begun new mindfulness practices to remain hopeful, centered, and tranquil.

Take a 15-minute break and join attorney and certified health counselor Ritu Goswamy as she shares positive affirmations that will help guide you through the start of your conference day.  

  • Today's focus—Connect with our Intuition: What can we do to ground ourselves amidst our lawyer lives?

12:30 - 1:30pm ET
Voting Rights in Indian Country (CLE)

How do elections work in a nation inside another nation? Unfortunately, as with many other vital systems, United States elections and voting rights of indigenous peoples on tribal lands often lack the resources of other political subdivisions in the country. Learn more about developments and the people fighting for these rights.

Attendees will:

  • Understand the legal framework for elections in Indian Country
  • Identify inequities in elections, which prohibit full electoral participation  
  • Learn how to overcome legal and practical obstacles, ensuring equitable engagement in the electoral process

Panelists

  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee,  Director, Indian Legal Clinic and Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University 

Moderator

  • Spencer Rubin, Attorney, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP; and ABA YLD NCT Member.

2 - 3pm ET
Energy and the Climate Crisis: Are We Entering a New Energy Paradigm? (CLE)

Join us to learn from legal experts about new trends in energy generation and equitable access to clean power. The panelists will discuss critical developments in energy law and regulation, focusing on the necessary federal action to move the United States towards compliance with the Paris Agreement targets, and what legislation is likely to be enacted during the current congressional term. 

You will also learn about regulatory barriers for siting land-based solar, and what mechanisms are effective in providing equitable access to clean energy in low-income neighborhoods, including positive trends in shutting down heavily-polluting peaker plants.  Additionally, state laws and agency regulatory interpretations are instrumental in moving successful renewable energy projects to completion on tribal lands - what has been successful, and what can your state do to improve access to renewable generation in indigenous communities?

Panelists

  • Craig Hart, Executive Director Pace Energy and Climate Center
  • Pilar Thomas, Partner. Quarles & Brady LLP
  • Ilan Gutherz, VP of Policy & Strategy, Borrego

Moderator

  • Jordan Lesser, Secretary of State Relations for the Congress of Nations and States

3:30 - 4:30pm ET
Closing Plenary - An Appetite for Risk: Embracing Change

Prior to the pandemic the forces of change were redefining the rules for all of us, including cities.  Now, in the midst of the pandemic, the choices on where to live, shop, work, play have been turned upside down.   Cities will succeed or languish depending on how they respond.  The leadership of a city must be nimble, curious and have an appetite for risk.  Cities that are succeeding have a clear strategic vision of their strengths and their future, understand multilayered financing and how to build great partnerships and most importantly, have dynamic leadership to galvanize the community. 

The leadership of a community can be public leadership but also is increasingly coming from civic, university and business leaders.  Change is tough; protecting the status quo or only reacting to projects rather than proactively pursuing them might seem easier and more politically safe, but successful cities are intentional in their choices.

Successful legal outcomes in government do not happen in a vacuum. It is a result of understanding the relationship between law, policy and planning. In this session, lawyers will learn: How the policy, planning and regulatory framework for a city impacts the ability to respond to health and economic crisis; how to work with elected officials to advance proactive policy and planning for development initiatives that achieve revitalization; and how to be a leader for community revitalization efforts and the role of financing in policy and regulatory planning.

In this session, lawyers will learn:

  • How the policy, planning and regulatory framework for a city impacts the ability to respond to health and economic crisis.
  • How to work with elected officials to advance proactive policy and planning for development initiatives that achieve revitalization.
  • How to be a leader for community revitalization efforts and the role of financing in policy and regulatory planning.

Speaker

  • Hon. Thomas J. Murphy, Urban Land Institute -Washington, DC; and Former Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA

Moderator

  • Jessica Bacher, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, Executive Director of the Land Use Law Center-New York

5pm
Closing Remarks

It's time to say goodbye as ABA Young Lawyers Division Chair Chris Brown and the Section of State and Local Government Law Chair Erica Levine Powers share their final conference thoughts.

5:15 pm
Music with Mike Noonan

Kickback and unwind with special musical guest performer our very own ABA YLD & SLG'er, Mike Noonan.

5:30 - 6:30pm ET
Wrap / Networking