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May 31, 2017

Chair’s Message

Ellen Rosenblum

Hello Dear Section Members,

It seems like only yesterday that I last checked in with you. Now it’s spring and we have the Midyear and Spring Conferences under our belt. The year is truly flying by! There has certainly never been a more important time to be a state or local government lawyer. In terms of substance, our Section seems to be at the cutting-edge of just about everything that’s on the front page or at the top of the digital news feed. As a state attorney general, I can honestly say that my job has gotten more important and complex with the change of administrations in Washington, D.C. State AGs are playing a larger role on the national stage than ever. I think it is fair to say that in terms of areas of practice, it is a “full employment act” to go into municipal or state law for a fulfilling and busy career.

So with that said, I want to share with you the great stuff your Section has been doing and the opportunities that lie ahead. Hopefully, you are reading your State & Local Law News and your Urban Lawyer. They are your connection to the Section, in addition to regular teleconferences with our many committees and, of course, our in-person conferences.

I want to especially call out our Land Use Committee, which has one of the most robust telephonic meeting programs, with regular speakers. If that is an area you are interested in, please join their calls. The State Attorney General and Department of Justice Issues Committee (AGDJ) has started to follow suit and we look forward to publishing a regular schedule of telephone meetings with guest speakers. I was the speaker last month and got to bring the group up-to-date on state AG activities. Next month we will have a disability law presentation. Our International Law Committee is preparing its first telephonic meeting program, on land rights issues in Myanmar, a project of Harvard Law students.

Speaking of Land Use, major kudos as well to the organizers of the incredibly successful two-day Land Use Institute, sponsored for the first time ever by our Section at the Akerman LLP law firm (thank you to them for hosting!) in Miami during the Midyear Meeting. It was nothing short of phenomenal! Thanks to Frank Schnidman, Patricia Salkin, and Andy Gowder for taking the lead, and to the many faculty and staff who made it happen. We are excited to have taken this over after 30 years, and look forward to the next one to be held at our 2018 Spring Section Meeting in Detroit.

On April 27–30 our Spring CLE Conference was “Meet Me in St. Louis.” As usual, we partnered with the Section of Public Contract Law, so the meeting included a number of specialized programs called the “Procurement Symposium.” We also partnered with the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and the Forum on Affordable Housing, to include a heavy emphasis on issues of social justice. There was a guided urban tour on Saturday, an opportunity for court observation, and programs that both inspired and informed.

And, of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting in New York, August 10 through 13. My next column will be devoted to that, but I can promise a great meeting, with programming already online for review ( as well as a special tour for our Section members of the new World Trade Center and Museum. There I will pass the baton to Chair-Elect Robert Thomas, who has already got a great year planned for 2017–18. So, stay tuned!

It continues to be an honor to serve as your Chair. Please feel free to be in touch with me at ellen.rosenblum@gmail if you have any questions or concerns. Finally, thanks so much to our great staff, Tamara Edmonds Askew and Leola Grant Tucker. They are truly awesome!

Ellen Rosenblum

Ellen Rosenblum is the Attorney General of the State of Oregon and the Chair of the Section.