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Human Trafficking, Cybersecurity, Indigent Defense Issues Among Highlights at American Bar Association Meeting Feb. 6-11 in Dallas


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Human Trafficking, Cybersecurity, Indigent Defense Issues Among Highlights at American Bar Association Meeting Feb. 6-11 in Dallas

By Jeffrey Jenkins

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 22, 2012 — Efforts to combat human trafficking, cybersecurity concerns and the obstacles to implementing the criminal right to counsel are chief among legal issues that will be explored at the 2013 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting Feb. 6-11 in Dallas.


The fight to end human trafficking will be examined during several programs on Feb. 8, including sessions on lawyering child victims (8:30 a.m.), exploring legal solutions (1 p.m.), and supportive housing and other “safe harbor” efforts to protect and heal victims (1:30 p.m.). Additionally, legal experts will address the growing problem of cybersecurity as it relates to the lawyer-client relationship (Feb. 8, 3:45 p.m.) as well as national security (Feb. 9, 3 p.m.). Information on these programs and others that will be of particular interest to reporters is highlighted below.

In addition to the more than 900 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policy-making body — will meet at 9 a.m. on Feb. 11 at the meeting headquarters, the Hilton Anatole, in the Chantilly Ballroom, Lobby Level. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are at

Programs related to local interests include:

Feb. 7, Thursday

The Arab Spring: Doing Business and the Rule of Law— This all-day symposium will include panel discussions on topics related to the Middle East and North Africa, such as judicial independence; energy matters, including both conventional and renewable energy; doing business in the region; and dispute resolution. Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will provide keynote remarks on constitutional reform at 12:30 p.m.
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Karcher Auditorium, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

Feb. 8, Friday

“Utilizing Technology to Avoid Malpractice and Generate Business” This session will focus on the use of automated follow-up tools, email marketing and an organized practice management system to bring in additional revenue and help prevent legal malpractice claims.
7:15 – 8:15 a.m., Senators Lecture Hall, Lobby Level, Tower, Hilton Anatole

“Lawyering for Child Victims of Human Trafficking” — Panelists will address practical considerations in representing child victims. The response to trafficking victims in Texas will be a specific focus.
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Lone Star 2, 4th Floor, Renaissance Dallas

“A Recap of State Referenda From the 2012 Election” Panelists will analyze the 2012 post-election state referendums that were passed regarding same-sex marriage, immigration and recreational marijuana use.
9:15 – 10:15 a.m., De Soto B, Lobby Level, West Wing, Hilton Anatole

“Stand Your Ground Hearing” This is the first of four regional public hearings of the newly created ABA National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws. Local leaders will provide testimony on personal experience with Stand Your Ground laws to assess their greater social impact, among other goals.
10 a.m. – noon, Morocco, Mezzanine Level, Tower, Hilton Anatole

“Gideon in the 21st Century: A Roundtable” Criminal justice experts — including Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis — will discuss the future of effective defense representation in light of systemic problems in ensuring access to competent, diligent counsel.
10 a.m. – noon, Topaz, Lobby Level, Tower, Hilton Anatole

“Safe Harbor Laws for Victims of Sex Trafficking & Commercial Sexual Exploitation” — Panelists will discuss model state statutes known as “safe harbor laws” that divert trafficking victims from criminal prosecution and guide them toward community supportive services. Immigration issues will also be addressed.
1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Lone Star 2, 4th Floor, Renaissance Dallas

“The Unauthorized Practice of Law: Responses From the Bar on Notarios” This program will discuss how lawyers are responding to the problem of “notarios,” unscrupulous people posing as attorneys to help immigrants obtain legal status, often ruining chances for legal status.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Plum Blossom A, Lobby Level, Atrium II, Hilton Anatole

“Locked Down: Security in Using Cloud Services and Mobile Devices” With attorneys’ ethical and legal duties to safeguard information relating to clients, experts will discuss cloud computing, mobile devices and other technologies that present new challenges in data protection.
3:45 – 4:45 p.m., Governors Lecture Hall, Lobby Level, Tower, Hilton Anatole

Miller v. Alabama: Implications for Justice Practitioners” — Panelists will discuss the practical implications of Miller v. Alabama, which ended mandatory life sentences for juveniles.
4 – 5:30 p.m., Steuben, Mezzanine Level, Atrium II, Hilton Anatole

Feb. 9, Saturday

Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement— This program will review national developments in indigent defense, such as new court decisions, legislation, funding, standards and federal actions that affect indigent defense.
7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Coronado Ballroom A, Lobby Level, West Wing, Hilton Anatole

“Spirit of Excellence Awards” — The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity will present its awards for lawyers who promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. The 2013 honorees are M. Javade Chaudhri, Stacy L. Leeds, Myles V. Lynk, Jenny Rivera, Thomas A. Saenz and Walter L. Sutton Jr.
Noon – 2 p.m., Chantilly Ballroom, Lobby Level, Tower, Hilton Anatole

“Active Cyberdefense: Emerging Legal Dialogue” – Law and national security experts — including Stewart Baker, former general counsel for the National Security Agency, and Steven Chabinsky, former deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division — will discuss the potential laws and regulations that could govern the boundaries of self-defense in cyberspace.
3 – 4:30 p.m., De La Salle, Lobby Level, West Wing, Hilton Anatole

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register on-site at the Hilton Anatole, Lobby Level, Atrium III, beginning at 2 p.m. on Feb. 6. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided in the Khmer Ballroom, located on the third level of the Hilton Anatole, starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 7. The room will be open daily thereafter from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Feb. 11.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.