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School-to-prison pipeline and anti-gay legislation among diversity discussions at American Bar Association meeting Feb. 5-10 in Chicago


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School-to-prison pipeline and anti-gay legislation among diversity discussions at American Bar Association meeting Feb. 5-10 in Chicago

By John Glynn

CHICAGO, Jan. 23, 2014 — The school-to-prison pipeline and anti-gay legislation during the Sochi Olympic games are chief among diversity law issues that will be explored at the 2014 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting Feb. 5-10 in Chicago.


Panelists include former U.S. Olympian Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who will discuss free speech rights of athletes and spectators at the Winter Olympics, and several Chicago lawmakers and other stakeholders who will examine the impact of implicit bias on the school-to-prison pipeline.

In addition to the nearly 750 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policymaking body — will gather at 9 a.m. Feb. 10 at the meeting headquarters, the Hyatt Regency Chicago, in the Grand Ballroom, Gold Level, East Tower. 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

Diversity programs include:

Thursday, Feb. 6

“Hot Topics in Diversity Law” — The panel will focus on current legal issues confronting the communities served by their respective associations and/or an issue confronting practitioners or law students regarding diversity law in the legal profession.

4:30 – 6 p.m., Zurich E, 1st Floor, Swissotel

Friday, Feb. 7

“Town Hall Forum on the School-to-Prison Pipeline: What Are the Problems? What Are the Solutions?” — Many civil rights lawyers regard the journey from “school-to- prison” as the most critical civil rights issue facing our country today. This town hall forum will bring together those who live in and along the school-to-prison pipeline, experts who have developed successful programs and projects across the country to address pipeline issues, and individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds who are working toward solutions to this issue.

9 – 11 a.m., Toronto, Gold Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

“DOMA Overruled: Implications for Health Care Plans and Other Employee Benefits” — In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, legal experts will examine the immediate implications for employers maintaining health and welfare plans, retirement plans and other fringe benefit programs.

9:15 – 10:15 a.m., Zurich B, 1st Floor, Swissotel

“Introduction to Representing Children in Immigration Matters” — Immigration lawyers will discuss representing children in removal proceedings, provide an overview of immigration court procedures and share possible forms of relief from deportation.

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m, Montreux 3, 2nd Floor, Event Centre, Swissotel


“TIPS Diversity Series: A View from the Trenches” — Chicago’s legal system’s diversity strides and advances will be highlighted in this panel. Panelists include Sandra Yamate, chief executive officer of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession and an attorney from the Cook County Public Defender’s office.

Noon – 1 p.m., Lucerne Ballroom I, Ballroom Level, Swissotel

“Olympian Troubles: Responses to Russia’s Anti-Gay Legislation During the SOCHI Winter Olympics” — This panel will discuss the 2013 Russian legislation and its relation to applicable human rights norms and consider the free speech rights of athletes and spectators at international sporting events as well as the treatment of LGBT persons in other countries. The panel includes Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who won three gold medals for the United States at the 1984 Olympics.

2 – 3:30 p.m., Plaza Ballroom A, Lobby Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

“The Justice Gap: Legal Access for Clients of Modest Means Through Innovative Solutions” — Legal experts will explore ways to make the legal system more affordable and accessible for clients of modest means. Sliding-scale legal representation and legal incubators are among programs that will be discussed.

4 – 5 p.m., Columbus Hall AB, Gold Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Saturday, Feb. 8

Spirit of Excellence Awards” — The ABA will honor six lawyers for their outstanding achievements toward advancing diversity in the legal profession. Awardees include Frankie Muse Freeman, the first woman on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; Brenda Harbin-Forte, Superior Court judge in Alameda County, Calif.; I.S. Leevy Johnson, one of the first African-Americans elected to the South Carolina General Assembly since Reconstruction; Patricia Lee, special assistant for diversity at the California Bar; Leo Romero, former dean at the University of New Mexico School of Law; Wendy Shiba, immediate past president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association; and Benjamin Wilson, founder of the D.C. Diverse Partners Network.

Noon – 2 p.m., Grand Ballroom, Gold Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

"A Profession in Crisis? New Results from the After the JD Study of Lawyer Careers" —

The After the JD Study has been following a national sample of lawyers who passed the bar in the year 2000 and has interviewed them in 2003, 2007 and 2012. The panel presents some of the first results from the 2012 survey, including data on what these lawyers are doing 12 years into their careers, whether they are still satisfied with their decision to become a lawyer and whether women and minorities are achieving professional success and satisfaction at the same rate as their peers.

2 – 4:30 p.m., Columbus Hall EF, Gold Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

“Stonewall Awards” — Three lawyers who have advanced lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal issues will be recognized with the 2014 ABA Stonewall Award. Honorees are Judge Elaine Kaplan of the United States Court of Federal Claims, retired Justice Jim Nelson of the Montana Supreme Court and Stephen Whittle of Manchester Metropolitan University.

5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Crystal Ballroom A, Green Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register on-site at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Ballroom (Gold Level, East Tower), beginning at 2 p.m. on Feb. 5. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided in the hotel’s Riverside Center (Purple Level, East Tower), starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6. 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. 10.


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. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.