August 31, 2017

Chair’s Message

Wow! The ABA year flies by! It seems only yesterday I was the new Chair of the Section and anticipating the exciting year ahead. (Little did we know all the twists and turns it would take!) And, here we are in July, with the Annual Meeting looming—New York, New York!!

The locations of our meetings often have personal connections, which is one of the things I love about ABA involvement—it gets me to places far from my Oregon home that have a kind of nostalgic “pull.” I picked our two off-site meetings (Phoenix and St. Louis), in part, because I have family there. My brother, Warren, who teaches history at Webster University and my sister-in-law, Nicole, who is an urban planner, helped arrange our fantastic civil rights bus tour. We were also able to introduce a wonderful St. Louis lawyer—Bill Bay, a candidate for ABA President—to our Section, and I think he was pretty impressed. (Bill. thanks for coming to our Council Meeting and staying for the whole thing!)

But back to nostalgia—and the upcoming Annual Meeting. My parents were both born and raised in New York, after their parents or grandparents came as Jewish immigrants to our shores—some through Ellis Island and others by way of Harbin, China. So, it is especially meaningful to me to be meeting in New York, where I got to spend most of my summers growing up visiting my East Coast relatives. My sisters and I would take the Long Island Railroad almost every day to the Worlds Fair in Queens in the early sixties, and Mom introduced us to matinees on Broadway. (I’m pretty sure that’s what led to my lifelong love affair with Broadway musicals.)

With this personal background, I am especially proud that our Section will sponsor a program on Sanctuary Cities at Annual—and that my state has been a leader in making policy decisions about our role in immigration enforcement based on what’s a good use of our limited state resources. As with all of our programming, this will be a balanced program, and a very important one, to put the ABA “on the map” as we explore cutting-edge topics of the day. We have a lot of other great programming in store for New York, including panels on innovative solutions to community resiliency efforts and to energy use and storage. We will continue our series on cybersecurity, this time with a focus on ethical issues. If those don’t “float your boat,” come hear about the “maturing” of the sharing economy. Does state law preempt local, when it comes to Uber and Lyft? And, don’t forget to sign up on our Section website for our special, Section-only, tours of the World Trade Center and Museum.

I could go on, to regale you with all the fun and interesting work we have done this past year. But, suffice to say, I believe this is the best Section in the ABA because we truly provide something unique and special to our members. I never cease to be amazed at the brilliance and accessibility of so many long-time members, the energy and creativity of our young lawyer and law student members, and the remarkable diversity of our membership and leadership. I would challenge any other Section to match us in these ways! Our programming and publications also rank at the top.

In short, it has been an incredible honor to serve as your Section Chair this past year. We are in for a real treat under the leadership of incoming Chair Robert Thomas, who will take us to Savannah, Georgia, this fall and Detroit, Michigan, in the spring. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not thank our fantastic Section Council, especially immediate past chair, Donna Frazer—for her gracious support throughout my year as Chair—and our wonderful staff, Tamara Edmonds Askew and Leola Grant Tucker. It has been a pleasure working with all of you.