Today, the Live Music Capital of the World is a ghost town, with the multi-media SxSW conference unfathomably canceled and all bars and restaurants closed. But during the ABA’s Midyear Meeting February 12-16, attendees were treated to the best dining, entertainment, and scenery Austin has to offer. I recall suggesting Austin as a meeting place for the ABA over a decade ago but was told Austin did not have the requisite capacity. Now, the sleepy college town of Austin has become a booming metropolis, and the Midyear meeting spread across several hotels that did not exist just a few years ago. While navigating ongoing construction, sometimes on scooters, adventurous attendees explored famed old haunts and discovered hip new streets around downtown Austin during their stay. Amidst the fun, the ABA accomplished several major goals during the meeting.
The Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) honored Robert H. Jerry II, Dean of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, with its Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award, which recognizes law professors who have shown a commitment to the advancement of justice, scholarship, and the legal profession, as demonstrated by their outstanding contributions to tort, trial practice, or insurance law. The Stonewall Award, which recognizes lawyers, members of the judiciary, and legal academia who have effected real change to remove barriers based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the legal profession, was awarded to Jim Holmes, senior equity partner at Clyde and Co. in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Holmes is also the first “at large” diversity member of ABA’s Board of Governors on behalf of the LGBT community.
The ABA-approved noteworthy resolutions to modify the model rules to allow attorneys to advise state-compliant cannabis businesses and to support the SAFE Banking Act pending in Congress to alleviate the dangers presented by doing business in cash, among other resolutions approved.
The TIPS Diversity Committee, Staff Counsel Committee, and Law in Public Service Committee co-sponsored a youth outreach program at the Martin Middle School for a program entitled, “A Day in the Life of an Attorney.” The program introduced children to legal careers early in their education. TIPS also participated in a public service project. The Leadership Academy and Solo & Small Firm Task Forces met, and TIPS leaders planned for the upcoming section conferences and Midyear and Annual meetings. On Friday, February 14, 2020, TIPS Fellows met and attended dinner at one of Austin’s most famous restaurants, and, on Saturday night, the McKay Award Presentation was celebrated at a flexible indoor/outdoor space modeled after a recording studio with a stage and Austin-themed food and drinks.
On behalf of TortSource, we thank all those who made this Midyear meeting special and congratulate the award recipients and thank them for their contributions to TIPS and their legal community. Unfortunately, the Spring Conference in Nashville is canceled due to COVID-19, but we hope to see you at the annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, from July 27—August 4, 2020.