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Archive for '2017'

    FCC, CFPB officials to speak at ABA Consumer Financial Services meeting in Park City, Utah

    December 27, 2017 10:00 AM by romeroi

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 27, 2017 — Government officials from the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be among the speakers and presenters at the ABA Business Law Section 2018 Consumer Financial Services Meeting, Jan. 6-9, 2018, at the Grand Summit at Canyons Village in Park City, Utah.

    Topics to be discussed during the four-day meeting include online identification and verification services, cybersecurity compliance, payday lending and the impact of the new Federal Trade Secrets Act on mortgage originator recruiting.

    What:   2018 Consumer Financial Services Meeting
                Sponsored by the ABA Business Law Section

    When:  Jan. 6-9, 2018

    Where: Grand Summit at Canyons Village
                 4000 Canyons Resort Drive
                 Park City, Utah   84098

    Government officials scheduled to speak include:

    • Ben Rossen, attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, FCC
    • Malini Mithal, acting associate director, Division of Financial Practice, FCC
    • Mauricio Videla, enforcement attorney, CFPB

    Program highlights include:

    “Cybersecurity Compliance in Light of the Equifax Breach and Evolving Regulatory Landscape” — Speakers, including Ben Rossen of the FCC, will discuss the current and evolving legal and regulatory standards and industry best practices for cybersecurity compliance and data breach response programs; preparing for a potential data breach or other cybersecurity incident before it happens; using cyber insurance effectively to manage risk; responding to a data breach at your company as well as responding to a breach at another company that affects your customers; and managing litigation risks and strategies for limiting liability for data breaches and other cybersecurity incidents.

    “Shopping for Consumer Financial Services Online: Issues with Lead Generators, Aggregators and Influencers” — Panelists, including speaker Malini Mithal of the FCC, will explore the numerous Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP) concerns and other pitfalls with online marketing through lead generators, product aggregators and social media influencers. Hear perspectives from the FTC on disclosure expectations when financial service providers use these advertising channels.

    “Military Lending Act” — Speakers will discuss the Military Lending Act credit card account rules that took effect on Oct. 3, 2017, and practical issues that arise from the MLA Final Rule. The panel will also discuss recent developments in Servicemember Civil Relief Act examinations and enforcement actions.

    A complete program schedule can be found online.

    There is no charge for media covering this event. To register, please contact Robert Robinson at 202-662-1097 or Robert.Robinson@americanbar.org.

    The ABA Business Law Section serves more than 50,000 professionals and students by providing exclusive resources designed to help members expand their knowledge, engage with a community and advance their experience. Learn more at www.ambar.org/blmembership.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Consideration of excessive fines and bail

    December 22, 2017 11:58 AM by higginsj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2017 — The American Bar Association is disappointed in the Department of Justice directive to rescind a March 2016 letter that asked local courts to be wary of levying high fines, fees or bail on poor defendants. These monetary punishments do nothing to protect the community while placing an unfair and unjust burden on people of lesser means.

    Fees and fines that do not take into account a defendant’s ability to pay lead to the criminalization of poverty. Minor infractions such as traffic violations can result in fees that spiral into thousands of dollars. This can lead to unnecessary incarceration for individuals who are unable to pay.  Bail set without consideration of financial circumstances can result in the detention of the poorest rather than the most dangerous or those posing the highest flight risks as intended.

    The ABA asks the Department of Justice to reconsider this directive and calls on judges and jurisdictions across the country to curtail setting any excessive fines or bail without consideration of the ability of the individual to pay. If we, as a country, are to live up to the ideal of equality under the law, then there cannot be a price on justice.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    ABA releases proposed changes to lawyer advertising model rules

    December 21, 2017 2:20 PM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Dec. 21, 2017 — Updated proposed changes to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct regarding information about legal services has been posted on the website of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

    The proposal would amend ABA Model Rules 7.1: Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services, 7.2: Advertising, 7.3: Solicitation of Clients, 7.4: Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization, and 7.5: Firm Names and Letterheads, and would add a new provision to Model Rule 1.0:Terminology.  The key changes focus on model rule provisions related to false and misleading “communications” and solicitations by lawyers.

    The Standing Committee, which has shepherded the process of review of these model rules, will sponsor a public forum to hear comments on its working draft of proposed changes during the upcoming ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The forum will be held on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre, in Rooms 119 and 120. Written comments may also be submitted by March 1 to modelruleamend@americanbar.org.

    The process of review was initiated by The Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) when it released reports in 2015 and 2016 urging changes to the Model Rules. The ethics committee’s working draft follows an open forum on the APRL reports sponsored by the ethics committee at the 2017 ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami.

    Similar to other model rules, those focused on advertising and communication are meant as guidelines for state ethics bodies to adopt. 

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence launches “On the Ground” podcast

    December 19, 2017 4:03 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2017 — The ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence has created a new podcast called On the Ground. The podcast will be hosted by Anya Lynn-Alesker, managing attorney at the commission. In its first season called On the Ground: In the Field D.C., listeners will hear questions from new attorneys and responses to those questions from seasoned attorneys in domestic violence civil litigation.

    The first season, aimed at new attorneys in the field, will focus on complex questions “on the ground and in the courtroom,” from “real” attorneys who want to strengthen their knowledge and their practice of laws that govern their cases. Topics include raising a respondent’s child abuse history; incorporating evidence of older domestic violence incidents into your current litigation; and responding to an opposing party who has not fully complied with a custody order.

    Episodes are approximately 15 minutes long. The show is available online and you can find it for streaming or subscribing on Soundcloud or iTunes.

    Upcoming guests for On the Ground: In the Field D.C. include:

    • Madeline Garcia Bigelow – managing director of the Domestic Violence Project and associate director at the Urban Justice Center

    • Amie Lopez – principal attorney at Amie Lopez Law, Inc.

    • Protima Pandey – managing attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid

    • Stacey Platt – clinical professor of law and the associate director of the Civitas Child Law Clinic at Loyola University Chicago School of Law

    • Beth Posner – clinical assistant and professor of law at the University of North Carolina School of Law

    The second season, called On the Ground: #MeToo, is scheduled for release in early 2018.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    ATT: Reporters and editorial, wire and assignment editors

    December 19, 2017 11:39 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2017 — As you prepare stories and plan coverage related to the wave of claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, a new ABA Legal Fact Check item posted today discussing the underlying legal standard and legal history might provide some assistance. 

    The item examines U.S. Supreme Court cases related to sexual harassment in the workplace and liability for both the employee accused of sexual harassment and his or her employer. It also discusses how most individual employment claims are legally handled — first before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and then in federal court.

    ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to swirling and sometimes confusing legal questions. The URL for the new site is www.abalegalfactcheck.com. Follow us on twitter @ABAFactCheck.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

     

    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Threat to judicial independence in Poland

    December 18, 2017 2:29 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec.18, 2017 — The American Bar Association, in furtherance of the statement issued on July 20, 2017, urges President Andrzej Duda to again veto legislation that would severely undermine the independence of the judiciary in Poland. Like the bills pending in July, the current bills may result in the retirement of about 40 percent of the sitting Supreme Court judges and removal of current judges from the judicial council, which has a constitutional mandate to protect the independence of the judiciary and whose responsibilities include, but are not limited to vetting, appointing and promoting judges. The ABA is concerned that the laws violate the constitution of Poland, in addition to failing to meet international standards regarding the independence of the judiciary.  

    This furthers a clear pattern of politicization of the judiciary, starting with the disregard of judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal striking down legislation as unconstitutional and failing to seat judges properly appointed to it. More recently, the minister of justice was granted absolute authority to remove the heads of courts and unilaterally appoint their replacements. 

    The ABA has sent a delegation of lawyers to Poland to continue to monitor the situation and support efforts to preserve the independence of the judiciary. We will remain vigilant in our commitment to promote and protect the rule of law and ensure that our colleagues can fulfill their duties without fear or retaliation.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    American Bar Association releases its 2017 TECHREPORT on legal technology trends

    December 18, 2017 12:47 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2017 — The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) has released its annual ABA TECHREPORT 2017, a comprehensive publication exploring how attorneys are using technology in their practices. ABA TECHREPORT 2017 combines data from the annual Legal Technology Survey Report with expert analysis, observations and predictions from leaders in the legal technology field.

    Separated into 10 different articles on technology topics, TECHREPORT 2017 covers the prominent areas in technology that lawyers are facing today. Examples of statistical information included in the report are:

    • More than 1 in 3 firms with 10-49 attorneys report having experienced a security breach.

    • 27 percent of respondents indicated that they had a client retain their legal services directly or via referral because of their use of social networking sites for professional purposes.

    • Even among lawyers who have private offices, 77 percent regularly work from home, 33 percent while traveling and 20 percent regularly work from clients’ or opposing counsel’s office or from court.

    Each article is now available for free on the ABA website and as a downloadable PDF:

    The annual Legal Technology Survey Report, which began more than two decades go by the ABA Law Practice Division, is recognized as the primary source for information regarding the use of technology by attorneys in private practice. The survey is based on responses by actual practicing lawyers — not consultants, vendors or IT staff.

    The annual survey report is separated into six volumes and is available for sale on shopaba.org:

    • Vol. I: Technology Basics & Security
    • Vol. II: Law Office Technology
    • Vol. III: Litigation Technology & E-Discovery
    • Vol. IV: Marketing & Communication Technology
    • Vol. V: Online Research
    • Vol. VI: Mobile Lawyers

    The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center is dedicated to helping legal professionals leverage technology to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities and improve their practices. An ABA member benefit provided by the Law Practice Division, the LTRC offers many resources, including Law Technology Today, various publications, monthly webinars, the annual Legal Technology Survey Report and more.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    ABA website updates data on law school admissions, tuition and other matters

    December 15, 2017 10:27 AM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Dec. 15, 2017 — Information about admissions and other matters reported by American Bar Association-approved law schools to the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and required to be made public under Standard 509 of the Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools is now publicly available.

    The material is collected by the section, which requires law schools each year to disclose data and information covering matters of interest to potential law students and others with an interest in legal education, including admissions and enrollments, tuition and living costs, financial aid, curricular information, faculty demographics, employment outcomes, bar passage and other areas. The data can be easily searched and sorted, allowing for school-by-school comparisons and analysis and should be useful to prospective law students, pre-law advisors, media outlets and others who study and write about legal education.

    The spreadsheets, explanatory information and the ABA’s database of Standard 509 reports are available at www.abarequireddisclosures.org. Some of this information has been collected and summarized in the News and Announcement listings on the section's website and in its Legal Education Statistics section. The section’s 509 available reports go back only to 2011 although other historical statistics are available through the statistics link. There are several changes to the reports this year, and those changes are summarized here.

    Employment outcomes and, for the first time this year, bar passage outcomes, are reported in separate questionnaires. The section expects bar passage data to be available in March 2018. Employment outcomes, reporting employment for the class of 2017 as of 10 months following graduation, should be available in April.

    The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and its Accreditation Committee are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accrediting agency for programs leading to the J.D. The section’s 14,000 members strive to improve legal education and lawyer licensing by fostering cooperation among legal educators, practitioners and judges through workshops, conferences and publications. The section also studies and makes recommendations for the improvement of the bar admission process, and the section and its governing council operate for accreditation purposes as independent arms of the ABA.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    ABA issues ethical guidance on “generally known” exception to former-client confidentiality

    December 15, 2017 8:36 AM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Dec. 15, 2017 — The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued Formal Opinion 479, which defines when something is “generally known” for purposes of triggering an exception to the prohibiton on using a former client’s confidential information.

    The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit lawyers from revealing confidential information about former clients without their permission. Model Rule 1.9(c)(1), however, says a lawyer may use such information “to the disadvantage of the former client” when the information has become “generally known.” The term is not defined in the model rules.

    Formal Opinion 479 advises that information is “generally known” if it is “widely recognized by members of the public in the relevant geographic area or it is widely recognized in the former client’s industry, profession, or trade.” Information may become “generally known” as a result of publicity in newspapers, magazines, radio, television, websites or social media, according to the opinion. Information may become “generally known” within an industry if it is “announced, discussed or identified” in “a leading print or online publication or other resource in the particular field.”

    Formal Opinion 479 cautions that information is not “generally known” just because it has been discussed in open court, or is available in court records, public libraries or other public repositories. “Information that is publicly available is not necessarily generally known,” the opinion states.

    The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility periodically issues ethics opinions to advise lawyers, courts and the public in interpreting and applying ABA model ethics rules to specific issues of legal practice, client-lawyer relationships and judicial behavior.

    Formal Opinion 479 and previous ABA ethics opinions are available on the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility website under “Latest Ethics Opinions.”

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    ABA urges Congress to apply pass-through tax reductions to professional service businesses on nondiscriminatory basis

    December 13, 2017 10:47 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2017 —American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass sent a letter today to House and Senate conferees for H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” urging them to adopt the Senate’s version of “pass-through” business tax relief. 

    The ABA’s letter also urged the conferees to apply the tax relief to all pass-through entities -- including law firms and all other types of professional service businesses -- on an equal and nondiscriminatory basis.

    The full letter can be found here.

    Please contact Theresa M.T. Melton at 202-662-1516 or at Theresa.Melton@americanbar.org for more information on experts available to the media.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    Updated cybersecurity handbook a must to protect firms from hackers

    December 11, 2017 1:48 PM by glynnj

    When it comes to law firms dealing with the threat of a cybersecurity breach, it’s no longer a question of if, but when, according to Jill Rhodes, a co-editor of the newly released “ABA Cybersecurity Handbook: A Resource for Attorneys, Law Firms, and Business Professionals, Second Edition.”  Co-editors Rhodes and Robert Litt discussed the newly available second edition of the handbook at a luncheon sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security. It was moderated by Judge James E. Baker, chair of the committee and former chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, who said the book offers crucial advice and practical tips on protecting law firms from cyber intrusions.

    Jill Rhodes, Judge James Baker and Robert Litt listen as a question is posed at Friday’s luncheon, sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security.


    The book advises lawyers and law firms to incorporate encryption to protect the valuable client data they keep. They should also develop plans for the management and disposal of personal information data, and adopt a cyber-risk management and incident-response plan to be prepared for a data breach.

    Rhodes, a member of the ABA Cybersecurity Task Force, spent 20 years working in various capacities with the intelligence and national security communities of the federal government. Litt, a member of the Standing Committee on Law and National Security, is the former general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    The new edition was written as a kind of bridge to help move the legal community from the wake-up call of 2013 – when the first edition was released -- to regular and ongoing cybersecurity risk analysis, Rhodes said. Litt called the updated handbook “very readable,” adding that it addresses the changing threat landscape over the past several years and the increased role and responsibility for lawyers in helping businesses and organizations prepare for and respond to cyber breaches.

    The book includes chapters on understanding cybersecurity risks, technology, and the legal and ethical obligations to clients. Other chapters focus on specific practice recommendations, such as small firms, large firms, government lawyers, nongovernment lawyers, in-house counsel and nonprofit organizations. Chapter 3, written by Paul Rosenzweig, former deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Department of Homeland Security, addresses the technology aspect of cyber intrusions, which is often a stumbling block for lawyers, Rhodes said.

    “So many times lawyers are afraid to engage in technology issues or cyber issues because there’s a feeling that it’s all about technoolo0gy and I don’t understand technology,” she said. “Paul opens the door to that, and says, ‘let me tell you what you need to know.’”

    Each chapter ends with a helpful top 10 list of practical considerations, sort of a Cliff’s Notes of issues covered in each chapter, Rhodes added.

    Litt said most cyber intrusions are caused by employee error, usually after clicking on links that contain viruses or malware of some kind. “The great majority of cyber incidents involve some sort of human frailty,” he said.

    Rhodes said training employees on preventing cyber intrusions is one of the most important steps an organization can take, because knowing what to look for and how to respond to hacking attempts is the first line of defense. The weakest link -- whether you work for a government agency or in the private sector, is always the “person who is sitting there at that computer clicking on things or doing things that they maybe shouldn’t be doing,” she said.

    The book also addresses international norms, the role of insurance and the ethics and statutory requirements related to data security.

    The first edition of the handbook was developed by the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force in response to what the task force saw as general unawareness about the cyber risks faced by law firms, and the benefits of sharing information about data-breach incidents with law enforcement and other businesses.

    “In the past four years, there have also been significant cybersecurity disclosures related to law practices,” according to the new edition of the handbook, which is available online at the ABA store, at a discount for ABA members.

    ATT: Reporters and editorial, wire and assignment editors

    December 11, 2017 9:18 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2017 — As you are preparing coverage of Tuesday’s U.S. Senate election in Alabama, a new ABA Legal Fact Check item posted today might provide guidance. 

    The item examines the historical precedent and U.S. Supreme Court cases that relate to seating a member of Congress as well as expelling a member once he or she is seated.

    ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to swirling and sometimes confusing legal questions. The URL for the new site is www.abalegalfactcheck.com. Follow us on twitter @ABAFactCheck.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

     

    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Anniversary of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    December 8, 2017 7:54 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2017 — On December 10, 1948, in the wake of two world wars, the new United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Its central premise – that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” – forms the bedrock of international law.   

    The American Bar Association promotes this principle by advocating for diverse populations in America and around the world. We work on behalf of survivors of domestic and sexual violence; persons with disabilities; immigrants; persons experiencing homelessness and poverty; human rights defenders; emerging or struggling democracies; and oppressed populations. Our efforts have taught us that the Universal Declaration is a touchstone across seemingly intractable differences.

    On this anniversary in the history of human progress, the ABA calls on all members of the legal profession around the world to renew their commitment as indispensable guardians of human rights and the rule of law.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

     

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

     

    ABA petitions Congress to support funding to promote democracy and human rights programming in FY18

    December 7, 2017 3:02 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2017 — Today, American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to keep essential funding for democracy, rights and governance programming in the FY2018 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs bill and the supplemental appropriations request.

    The full letter can be found here.

    Please contact Theresa M.T. Melton at 202-662-1516 or at Theresa.Melton@americanbar.org for more information on experts available to the media.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    ABA issues ethical guidance on when judges should use the internet for independent factual research

    December 7, 2017 2:11 PM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2017 — The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued Formal Opinion 478  that provides the nation’s judicial branch guidance related to the ethical boundaries of independent factual research on the internet.

    The guidance is consistent with the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, but notes that judicial notice is governed by the law of evidence in each jurisdiction. The opinion draws a bright-line distinction between independent investigation of “adjudicative facts” and research of “legislative facts” of law and policy. Formal Opinion 478 also provides guidance on internet research by judges of the lawyers and the parties involved in the case.

    “Stated simply, a judge should not gather adjudicative facts from any source on the Internet unless the information is subject to proper judicial notice,” Formal Opinion 478 said. “Further … judges should not use the Internet for independent fact-gathering related to a pending or impending matter where the parties can easily be asked to research or provide the information. The same is true of the activities or characteristics of the litigants or other participants in the matter.”

    The opinion provides five hypothetical situations, and provides an analysis of each and how they might be handled by a judge.

    The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility periodically issues ethics opinions to advise lawyers, courts and the public in interpreting and applying ABA model ethics rules to specific issues of legal practice, client-lawyer relationships and judicial behavior.

    Formal Opinion 478 and previous ABA ethics opinions are available on the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility website under “Latest Ethics Opinions.”

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    Policy prescriptions for opioid epidemic confusing, not always effective, experts tell ABA summit

    December 7, 2017 12:17 PM by glynnj

    Looking at data projected on a screen showing a steady increase in deaths from opioids culminating in 50,000 in 2016, “It’s a really depressing chart,” acknowledged Daniel Blaney-Koen, senior legislative counsel at the American Medical Association in Chicago. He was a panelist on the program “The Opioid Epidemic: Legal and Policy Considerations, held during the ABA Washington Health Law Summit,  Dec. 4-5 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.

    Daniel Blaney-Koen, retired Judge Arthur L Burnett and T. Jeffrey Fitzgerald address the opioid epidemic during the ABA Washington Health Law Summit sponsored by the Health Law Section and Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division.


    The same chart showed that starting last year, deaths from heroin and illicit fentanyl started outpacing those from opioids.

    The highest number of opioid prescriptions (259 million) came in 2012. Every year since, there has been a decrease in every state, so that the total in 2016 was 215.5 million prescriptions.

    Displaying a chart illustrating “massive” regional variation in prescriptions, Blaney-Koen said, “This kind of variation probably doesn’t exist for many types of medical care, but it does for opioid prescribing, and we need to understand why if we’re going to have the policy interventions and the practice interventions to actually make a difference.”

    Nearly all those policy interventions have occurred in the past two or three years, and they include:

    • More than 30 states have prescription drug monitoring programs

    • More than 25 states have continuing medical education mandates

    • More than 20 states have opioid-prescribing restrictions

    • There is an increased focus on “doctor shoppers” in search of opioid prescriptions

    Blaney-Koen said that when a person is flagged to law enforcement as a “doctor shopper” getting multiple opioid prescriptions, it could be an illicit pill seeker or it could just be someone with uncoordinated care. In any case, the doctor who has prescribed to this person is also flagged to law enforcement and to his/her medical board.

    Despite the moves to address the epidemic, Blaney-Koen said states have largely been absent in increasing access to treatment for pain or for substance abuse.

    “Unless and until the conditions and the access to treatment both for pain and for substance-use disorders significantly improve, those mortality numbers are going to increase,” he warned.

    Attorney T. Jeffrey Fitzgerald of Polsinelli LLP in Denver represents health care providers and said that over the last year about two-thirds of his caseload related to opioid prescriptions. He said it takes time to digest the rapid changes in this area.

    There is a wide variation in the new state laws, such as:

    • prescribing restrictions that can run from three to 14 days

    • some have dosage limit requirements

    • varying definitions of what an initial prescription is

    Even though the laws regulating opioid prescriptions vary from state to state, Blaney-Koen doesn’t thing having a federal standard is necessarily the best way to go; he doesn’t think it will solve the current patchwork of policies trying to provide health care.

    Fitzgerald pointed to his home state of Colorado’s new Medicaid regulations that took effect Oct. 1 as an example:

    • Reduce MME (morphine milligram equivalents) coverage to 250 MME/day, which is a “hard cap,” he said

    • First-time opioid beneficiaries are limited to an initial 7-day supply, then up to 2 refills (Prior to Oct. 1 there was no similar standard and it was left to the discretion of the physician, so this is a “quite specific and particular guideline” and applies a “one-size-fits-all remedy,” he said.)

    The new regulations create conflict between the insurance coverage and the physician treatment approach and the speakers asked, who resolves that?

     “One of the most shocking things to me is across the country there is little discussion about what to do with chronic pain [vs. acute pain] patients,” Fitzgerald said.

    Blaney-Koen agreed that there is increased stigmatization for those with chronic pain, and that there need to be options for them.

    If a doctor wants to treat a patient in pain with non-opioid alternatives, say with physical therapy, acupuncture, yoga, etc., he said, those options are much more expensive than a prescription and might not be covered by insurance.

    “This is where public policy needs to align with health care” and is one aspect of what needs to change, Blaney-Koen said.

    In addition, when pain clinics shut down, what happens to the likely several hundred patients’ continuity of care? “That’s the conversation that isn’t being had,” he said.

    “The stigmatization of pain is real, and patients in pain deserve the same level of compassion and comprehensive care as any other patient,” Blaney-Koen said.

    Said Fitzgerald: “Treatment and access for those with a substance-use disorder must drastically increase. We know treatment works.”

    Retired judge Arthur L. Burnett Sr., national executive director and vice president of administration at National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Inc. in Washington, D.C., suggested looking at the treatment military veterans are getting for PTSD and amputations, which might offer a gold standard for everyone.

    Fitzgerald turned to the law enforcement aspect of the epidemic, saying they are watching:

    • Prescribing (the controlled substance must be for a “legitimate medical purpose” and “not outside the usual course of professional practice”)

    • Reporting (mandatory reporting to the DEA within one day of drug theft or significant loss)

    • Monitoring (DEA registrant must have “effective controls” in place to prevent diversion and theft).

    Also playing a role in enforcement are:

    • Department of Justice – criminal and civil prosecution

    • Drug Enforcement Agency – can revoke prescription authority (for a physician, “that’s almost a death blow to your practice,” Fitzgerald said.)

    • State medical license boards, which have become more active in these issues in the last few years

    • Plaintiff’s bar – can bring medical malpractice suit for overprescribing

    Fitzgerald then outlined ways doctors can reduce their legal risk:

    • Develop a written policy on how the practice treats chronic pain, using national and/or state guidelines to customize to the practice, since the standard will be different for an orthopedic practice vs. a rural family clinic

      • It should be concise, practical and readable

      • It should show significant discretion on standards
         
    • Do a risk assessment on the patient population and run a list of prescriptions to look for patterns

      • Identify high-risk patients

      • Analyze for potential diversion

      • Analyze for clinical care and documentation quality (ask “Do we have a hard cap that we won’t go above?” “Should we reduce our risk?” Doing this will help with compliance, he said.)

    Blaney-Koen concurred, advising to start with the data and identify and analyze the outliers.

    • Have a clear process to document the basis for high-dose prescriptions

      • Automate “doing the right thing”

      • The process should ease the burden on providers

      • The process can add significant risk reductions
         
    • Consider additional processes to keep up with clinical and regulatory changes

    • Stay current with relevant continuing medical education or prescribing refresher courses

    The speakers agreed that the solution isn’t to stop writing opioid prescriptions, because those people are still in pain will go elsewhere, and  “under-prescribing will have collateral consequences,” Fitzgerald said. He said he would prefer that doctors continue to prescribe what they believe is correct than to under prescribe.

    The speakers advocated for more education for doctors on the ongoing changes in this area, and Blaney-Koen pointed to www.end-opioid-epidemic.org, an AMA microsite with resources for doctors and a breakdown of state regulations.

    The summit was sponsored by the Health Law Section and co-sponsored by the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division.

    Tax fraud, tax controversy focus of ABA conference Dec.6-8 in Las Vegas

    December 4, 2017 1:16 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2017 — Leading practitioners and professionals from across the country will discuss important developments for criminal tax fraud and tax controversy during the 34th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and the Seventh Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy in Las Vegas. 

    What:  
    34th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and the Seventh Annual National Institute on Tax Controversy
    Sponsored by the ABA Section of Taxation and ABA Criminal Justice Section

    When: 
    December 6-8

    Where:
    Wynn | Encore
    3131 Las Vegas Blvd.
    Las Vegas, NV  89109

    Program highlights include:

    “Criminal Tax Workshop” —This workshop will discuss strategies and techniques for handling sensitive civil examinations and criminal investigations, and defending a criminal prosecution. The workshop includes a “criminal tax toolkit” of practice tips prepared by experienced practitioners.

    Wednesday, 2:30 – 5 p.m.

    “DOJ Criminal Roundtable” — Hear a roundtable discussion of hot topics, recent decisions, and enforcement priorities in criminal tax enforcement. The speakers are all current or former Department of Justice leaders and prosecutors.

    Thursday, 10-11 a.m.

    “IRS CI Roundtable” — The IRS Criminal Investigation Division is on the front line of criminal tax investigations. IRS CI representatives and practitioners will discuss the top priorities and future challenges in criminal tax enforcement.

    Thursday, 11 a.m.-noon

    “Sentencing and Incarceration Considerations” — The panel will discuss considerations and a practical approach to criminal sentencing, including preparation of a sentencing memorandum, recent increase in sentences for offshore crimes, restitution and forfeiture, calculation of tax loss and relevant conduct.

    Thursday, 1:15 – 2:35 p.m.

    “Offshore Investigations: What Now?” — The issues keep coming: What should recalcitrant accountholders do now? What are the issues in penalty enforcement litigation? How much information does the government have and what will future prosecutions look like? Will we start to see prosecutions under Section 7212(a)?

    Thursday, 2:35 – 3:25 p.m.

    “Collection: New IRS Techniques and Key Taxpayer Strategies” — IRS collection has recently implemented even more tools to encourage payment of taxes owed. Hear leading collection professionals discuss mitigation techniques when your client is faced with passport restrictions, private debt collectors, repeat employment tax liabilities, penalty assessments and more. Learn how Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR II) can be used in the Collection Dues Process (CDP), when the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can be applied to tax collections, and distinguish when administrative v. judicial solutions are most appropriate.

    Thursday, 3:40 – 4:30 p.m.

    “Marijuana: Ethical and Legal Issues in Representing Taxpayers”  IRS examinations of taxpayers involved in the cannabis industry are now becoming more common as numerous states legalize medical/retail sales. Should your cannabis or bitcoin client consider taking the Fifth during an IRS examination? A distinguished panel will discuss the opportunities and pitfalls for tax professionals working with clients who are involved in the state legal cannabis industry including discussions regarding professional risks and responsibilities arising from representation of medical marijuana/retail businesses as well as current federal tax issues involving the cannabis industry.

    Friday, 11 a.m.– noon

    A complete agenda can be found online.

    This event is free for members of the press. For media credentialing and more information, please contact Theresa M.T. Melton at 202-662-1516 or Theresa.Melton@americanbar.org.

     

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.  

    ABA sections release joint comment on modernizing and simplifying French merger control law

    December 4, 2017 12:05 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2017 — The American Bar Association Sections of Antitrust Law and Section of International Law have released joint comments regarding the “French Competition Authority’s Consultation on Modernizing and Simplifying the French Merger Control Law.”  

    These views are presented only on behalf of the sections. They have not been approved by the ABA House of Delegates or Board of Governors and should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association.

    The cover letter and comments, dated Nov. 30, 2017, are available for review online.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    ABA Section of Antitrust Law releases comment on Irish merger control issues

    December 4, 2017 11:57 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2017 — The American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law has released comments on the “Irish Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation Consultation on Merger Control Issues.”  

    These views are presented only on behalf of the Section of Antitrust Law. They have not been approved by the ABA House of Delegates or Board of Governors and should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association.

    The cover letter and comments, dated Nov. 30, 2017, are available for review online.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    ABA to host program on free speech and free press

    December 4, 2017 7:30 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2017 — Recent challenges involving free speech and free press will be the focus of the American Bar Association program, Hot Topics in Free Speech and Free Press: New Controversies on the Slippery Slope, Dec. 6 at the ABA’s Washington, D.C., office.

    What:  
    Hot Topics in Free Speech and Free Press: 
    New Controversies on the Slippery Slope,
    Presented by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

    When: 
    Wednesday, Dec. 6, 5:30-7 p.m.
    A reception will follow.

    Where:
    American Bar Association
    John Marshall Conference Room—5th floor
    1050 Connecticut Ave. NW
    Washington, D.C. 20036

    Discussion topics include:

    • White House criticism of the news media
    • Clashes on college campuses over controversial speakers
    • The National Football League “take a knee” movement
    • Free speech issues in the pending Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which involves a Colorado baker’s refusal to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple

    The moderator for the discussion is Stephen Wermiel, a professor at American University Washington College of Law and co-chair of ABA Section of Civil Rights & Social Justice First Amendment Rights Committee. Panelists include Robert Corn-Revere, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine; Catherine Ross, a professor at George Washington University Law School; and Gene Policinski, senior vice president of the Newseum Institute First Amendment Center.

    Register here for the event.

    Register here to view the program as a live webinar.

    This event is open to members of the media. For press credentialing, please contact Betsy Adeboyejo at Betsy.Adeboyejo@americanbar.org.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    Updated ‘Cybersecurity Handbook’ editors to discuss evolving threat landscape at ABA lunch

    December 1, 2017 11:04 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2017 — As hackers increase their capability to conduct cyberattacks, attorneys must step up their risk management and cybersecurity practices. Jill Rhodes and Robert Litt, co-editors of the newly released ABA Cybersecurity Handbook, Second Edition, will discuss the extensive challenges facing lawyers, firms and business professionals at a luncheon sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security

    What:  Lunch with editors of “The ABA Cybersecurity Handbook: Understanding the Evolving Cybersecurity Threat, Second Edition”

    When:  
    Friday, Dec. 8
    Noon-1:30 p.m. ET

    Where: 
    Army & Navy Club
    901 17th St. NW
    Washington, D.C.  20036

    Jill Rhodes is vice president and chief information security officer for Option Care, Inc.  Her work includes all facets of information security governance, education, process development and technology implementation. Before moving to the private sector, Rhodes spent 20 years working in various capacities with the intelligence and national security communities of the federal government.

    Robert Litt is of counsel at Morrison & Foerster, and served as the second general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from June 2009 until January 2017. Before joining the ODNI, Litt was a partner with the law firm of Arnold and Porter, LLP. He previously worked at the Department of Justice, where he served as deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division and as the principal associate deputy attorney general; as special advisor to the assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian Affairs; and as a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    There is no charge for media covering this event, however, there is a $25 cost to include lunch. To register, please contact Jennifer Kildee at 202-662-1732 or Jennifer.Kildee@americanbar.org. An electronic copy of the book can be made available, free of charge, to members of the media who register and attend the luncheon.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    Volunteer attorneys come together to learn about helping homeless youth in Baltimore

    December 1, 2017 10:15 AM by glynnj

    More than 50 lawyers attended the ABA Homeless Youth Legal Network Pro Bono launch at the offices of Baker Donelson in Baltimore on Nov. 16 to learn about becoming pro bono volunteers. 

    ABA President Hilarie Bass greeted the attendees by video, and thanked Baker Donelson for their longstanding support of the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore. She called the HPRP’s Homeless Youth Initiative, one of the ABA’s 12 model programs, a “shining example of success,” and said it had so far helped 283 youth in Baltimore find homes, jobs and more.

    Craig Holden of Baker Donelson welcomed the group, and Ingrid Lofgren of HPRP’s Homeless Youth Initiative and Linda Britton, director of the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk, gave remarks.

    On Nov. 17, HPRP hosted its first pro bono clinic at the YES Drop-In Center in Baltimore.  Billed as ID Day, the event was open to youth aged 24 and younger and was held in partnership with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, which was there to help the young adults secure IDs.  Attorneys onsite provided legal services. 

    According to Lofgren, HPRP’s Homeless Youth Initiative is looking for volunteer attorneys who already have experience in key areas of law that frequently come up when serving homeless youth, including:

    • Family law (i.e., domestic violence, child custody issues, etc.);
    • Consumer law (i.e., debt collection);
    • Child welfare (i.e., older teens accessing foster care resources);
    • Landlord/tenant (i.e., apartment conditions, security deposit issues);
    • Criminal expungement;
    • ID access; and
    • Vital records.

    The Homeless Youth Initiative will provide training in cultural competencies for the lawyers, including bringing them up to speed on the homeless youth population’s issues surrounding:

    • Trauma,
    • LGBT issues,
    • Impact of racism, and
    • Housing instability and homelessness.

    Because of their relationships with other youth-serving organizations in Baltimore, the HYI will also provide ongoing support for the lawyer-client relationships by taking advantage of these resources. In addition, they will monitor cases but not supervise the legal services, track issues coming in and recruit lawyers and scale up as needed and do outreach to youth clients at community events.

    ABA Legal Fact Check explores legal basis for religious displays in public places during holidays

    November 30, 2017 3:21 PM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2017 — December heralds many religious holidays, including Christmas and Hanukkah, and each year communities across the country struggle with issues stemming from the constitutional tension between holiday expression and religious endorsement. In a new ABA Legal Fact Check posted today, the American Bar Association examines U.S. Supreme Court case law and guidance on this topic.

    Consider what the village board in Mundelein, Ill., a suburb about 35 miles northwest of Chicago, faced a few weeks ago. In late summer, a resident asked the board to place a Hanukkah menorah in a public park next to the traditional Christmas tree when erecting the annual holiday display. Village attorney Charles Marino relied on U.S. Supreme Court decisions from three decades ago to provide guidance that a “Christmas tree or a holiday tree is secular” and that a Menorah or creche “is a religious symbol.” The Mundelein Village Board turned down the request.

    ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to swirling and sometimes confusing legal questions. The URL for the new site is www.abalegalfactcheck.com. Follow us on twitter @ABAFactCheck.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

     

    ABA petitions Congress to support student loan interest tax deduction

    November 29, 2017 4:40 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2017 — On Nov. 28, American Bar Association sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate tax committees asking them to retain the student loan interest tax deduction in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act being debated on the Senate floor. 

    This deduction is important to the more than 122,000 law students and recent graduates who are members of the ABA.

    A copy of the letter can be found here.

    Please contact Theresa M.T. Melton at 202-662-1516 or at Theresa.Melton@americanbar.org for more information on experts available to the media.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    ABA to host program on cell phone privacy amid today’s Supreme Court oral argument

    November 29, 2017 4:10 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2017 — The privacy of cell phone location information and free speech will be the focus of the American Bar Association program, Where Are We with Location Privacy? Reactions to the Supreme Court’s Oral Argument in Carpenter v. United States, Nov. 30 at the ABA’s Washington, D.C., office.

    What:  
    Where Are We with Location Privacy? Reactions to the Supreme Court’s Oral Argument in Carpenter v. United States
    Presented by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

    When: 
    Thursday, Nov. 30, 4-5:30 p.m.
    A reception to follow.

    Where:
    American Bar Association
    John Marshall Conference Room—5th floor
    1050 Connecticut Ave., NW
    Washington, D.C., 20036

    Discussion questions include:

    • What is the degree of Fourth Amendment protection given to the location data generated by cell phones?

    • How will the Court view cell phone privacy as it relates to recent digital privacy cases?

    • Will the Court take up the call by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and others to reconsider the application of Smith v. Maryland and the Fourth Amendment rules concerning records held by third parties?

    Speakers include Alan Jay Butler, senior counsel, Electronic Privacy Information Center; Dan Schweitzer, Supreme Court counsel, National Association of Attorneys General; Elizabeth Wydra, president, Constitutional Accountability Center; and Jake Laperruque, senior counsel, The Constitution Project.

    The event is sponsored by the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Privacy and Information Protection Committee. Co-sponsored by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, The Constitution Project, the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law, the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law, the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force, and the ABA Criminal Justice Section.

    This event is open to members of the media. For press credentialing, please contact Betsy Adeboyejo at Betsy.Adeboyejo@americanbar.org.

    To register for the live webinar, click here

    To register for the event, click here.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

     

    ABA conference to focus on aviation financing, issues of drones, engines and commercial satellites

    November 29, 2017 12:37 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2017 — The American Bar Association will sponsor the 2017 Aviation Finance Conference, with aviation legal experts discussing the financial and legal challenges of insurance for airlines, liability considerations for drones, technical issues of aircraft and engine lease agreements, the risks of financing commercial satellite projects and funding of commercial and business aviation, on Dec. 5 in New York.

    A. Lester Haizlip, the FAA Aeronautical Central Regional counsel, will give the keynote address at 6 p.m. during the dinner.

    What:             
    2017 Aviation Finance Conference
    Sponsored by the ABA Forum on Air & Space Law and
    Business Law Section’s Commercial Finance: Aircraft Financing Subcommittee

    When:             
    Tuesday, Dec. 5
    9 a.m. - 6 p.m. ET

    Where:           
    Norton Rose Fulbright
    1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave.)
    New York, NY 10019

    “New Financing Source: Marsh’s Aircraft Finance Insurance Consortium (AFIC) and Its Non-Payment Insurance Product for Airlines and Operating Lessors”  — The lack of support for airline financing has prompted new sources for financing. The This panel will discuss the AFIC’s financing insurance product, which is designed to attract low-risk lenders, private placement capital market investors to aircraft financing. This new source of finance insurance offers principal and interest payments that will be paid by a consortium of insurers.

    “Drones – The changing Landscape: Insurance and Liability Considerations” — As drones continue to shape aviation law and various industries, it’s a first that many companies such as Disney and the NFL are entering the aviation industry. Insurance companies now offer “drone insurance.” This panel will discuss new developments, the future and current drone liability and insurance issues.

    “A Bridge to Somewhere – Transitioning Aircraft and Engines” — The legalities of aircraft engine and aircraft lease agreements will be the focus of this panel. Panelists will discuss the practicalities of technical and financial issues surrounding the lease and sale of aircrafts and engines.

    “Commercial Satellite Finance Panel: Understanding Legal and Commercial Risk in the Contest of An Evolving Space Industry” — The influence of the “internet of things”, satellite constellations, on-orbit servicing of satellites and NewSpace ventures all contribute to recent changes in industry and government financing guidelines. This panel will discuss the legal and commercial risks of financing commercial satellite projects.

    A complete agenda can be found online.

    This event is free and open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Betsy Adeboyejo at Betsy.Adeboyejo@americanbar.org.

    The Forum on Air & Space Law is the premier association of attorneys who work in the global travel industry or the field of space law. Its conferences and other activities serve as the one-stop shop for attorneys interested in all aspects of domestic and international air and space law, as well as regulatory issues arising from governmental entities.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    ABA Section of Taxation opposes elimination of deductibility for tax code compliance

    November 28, 2017 2:38 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2017 — The American Bar Association Section of Taxation wrote a letter on Nov. 22, asking lawmakers to take out provisions in the tax reform bill that would eliminate the ability of taxpayers to deduct expenses for tax preparation. 

    A copy of the letter can be found here. This letter solely represents the views of the ABA’s Section on Taxation and not the policies of the ABA.

    Please contact Theresa M.T. Melton at 202-662-1516 or at Theresa.Melton@americanbar.org for more information on experts available to the media.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    ABA opposes legislation imposing beneficial ownership reporting on small businesses and their lawyers

    November 28, 2017 2:15 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2017 — American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the leaders of the House Financial Services Committee expressing concerns over provisions in the draft of the “Counter Terrorism and Illicit Finance Act.” In particular, the ABA opposes Section 9 of the bill, which would require small corporations and limited liability companies and many of their lawyers to submit extensive information about the companies’ “beneficial owners” to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and that would require FinCEN to disclose the information to many other federal and foreign governmental agencies and financial institutions upon request.

    The ABA has worked diligently for years with the legal community, federal law enforcement authorities, international stakeholders and states to advance reforms to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The ABA supports reasonable and necessary domestic and international measures to fight these illicit activities.

    However, the ABA opposes the proposed regulatory approach set forth in Section 9 of the bill because it would impose burdensome, costly and unworkable new regulatory burdens on small businesses and their lawyers; would actually weaken the federal government’s current anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing tools by suspending FinCEN’s potent new Customer Due Diligence rule; and would be unnecessary because the federal government and the legal profession have developed other tools and taken other steps that are much more effective and practical in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing than the bill’s mandates.

    Read the letter here.

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    Experts to discuss regulatory changes, the opioid epidemic, other timely topics at ABA meeting

    November 28, 2017 12:10 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2017 — Government officials and health law experts, including Kevin Hahm, deputy assistant director for Mergers IV Division, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Stephen Curren, director of the Division of Resilience, Department of Health and Human Services, will address a variety of emerging health industry topics during the American Bar Association 15th Annual Washington Health Law Summit on Dec. 4-5.

    Dr. Christa Marie Singleton, senior medical advisor, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, will deliver the keynote address on “The State of the CDC,” and discuss pressing issues under review by the agency, how CDC works with various state agencies and the impact of multi-governmental communications on public health.

    In addition, Politico’s top health care reporters, David Pittman and Paul Demko, will discuss current affairs and what to expect in the next legislative session at a luncheon on Monday, Dec. 4, at noon.

    What:  
    Washington Health Law Summit
    Sponsored by the ABA Health Law Section

    When: 
    Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 4-5

    Where:
    The Ritz-Carlton Washington
    1150 22nd St. NW
    Washington, D.C. 20037

    Program highlights include:

    “What Is Driving Total Cost of Care?” —  The adoption of value-based payment (VBP) models was intended to slow the rate of health care spending. However, the question of whether VBP models lead to decreased cost growth has not been tested empirically. This attorney-led session describes the results of a market-level impact study of VBP models and other factors (including health plan and provider concentration) on cost growth trends. The study, funded by the Commonwealth Fund, combines quantitative analysis of cost data from more than 960 markets with a qualitative analysis based on interviews with health care organizations and employers in nine markets.

    Monday, Dec. 4, 9:45-10:45 p.m.

    “Recent Antitrust Developments and What This Means for Your Next Provider Transaction” A panel of experts, including Kevin Hahm, deputy assistant director for the Mergers IV Division, FTC, Washington, D.C., and Anne Schenof, Compliance Division, Bureau of Competition, FTC, Washington, D.C., will discuss recent FTC challenges to hospital and physician mergers and how to remedy a transaction the FTC believes is anticompetitive.

    Monday, Dec. 4, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

     

    “Confronting Mental Health Needs in Healthcare” – In this session, an attorney and a physician will explore the unmet need for addressing mental health issues in the health care setting. They will discuss the risks that patients with mental health needs face, including financial abuse, incarceration, adverse drug interactions and untreated pain; the need for mental health assessment and care integration; the role of antipsychotic drugs in caring for this population the impact of the opioid crisis on prescription practices; the role of the electronic health record in reducing adverse drug interactions; and the federal and state public policy implications of the mental health crisis.

    Monday, Dec. 4, 3-4 p.m.

    “Discussing the Future of Medicare, Medicaid and Healthcare Reform with Former CMS Leaders” – After almost one year into the Trump administration, many questions remain regarding the future of government health care and the policies that may be implemented. In this session, former CMS leaders under Presidents Bush (Mark McClellan, now director, Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University, and Herb B. Kuhn, now president and CEO, Missouri Hospital Association) and Obama (Jonathan D. Blum, now executive vice president, Medical Affairs, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in Baltimore) will offer a unique glimpse into the evolving healthcare market spanning the past 15 years.

    Tuesday, Dec. 5, 8:45-9:45 a.m.

    “Government Enforcers: Behind the Curtain” – Here’s a chance to look behind the curtain as senior civil and criminal government officials provide information about their top enforcement priorities in health care. Joseph Beemsterboer, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; Natalie Priddy, DOJ, Washington, D.C.; and Lisa Re, Office of the Inspector General, Washington, D.C., will discuss key areas of investigative focus, the impact of coordinated enforcement, working with whistleblowers and tips for putting clients in the best position prior to and during an investigation.

    Tuesday, Dec. 5, 10-11 a.m.

    “The Opioid Epidemic: Legal and Policy Considerations” Recently the federal government and many states have made legislative and regulatory changes designed to combat the opioid epidemic. Yet, the number of people dying from opioid-related causes continues to increase. Panelists, including Daniel Blaney-Koen, senior legislative counsel, American Medical Association, Chicago; and Arthur L. Burnett Sr., judge retired, national executive director and vice president of administration, National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Inc., Washington, D.C., will examine the legal implications of opioid policies and initiatives and provide practical advice for attorneys working with stakeholders or advising clinicians regarding how to best navigate treatment of clients with chronic pain or opioid-dependent conditions.

    Tuesday, Dec. 5, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

    “Regulatory Changes Under the New Administration that Impact Hospitals and Health Care Systems—What to Watch For?” – This session will focus on recent and proposed regulatory changes that impact hospitals and healthcare systems. During the first year of the Trump administration, Payment Models, MACRA, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Surveys and transparency have all received attention. A panel of experts, including Melinda Reid Hatton, general counsel of the American Hospital Association, will discuss these and other topics, and how hospitals and healthcare systems should be aware of these changes.

    Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2:45-3:45 p.m.

    A complete agenda can be found online.

    This event is free and open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Priscilla Totten at Priscilla.Totten@americanbar.org.

    Go to
    www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    Good judgment critical when practicing national security law

    November 27, 2017 2:30 PM by glynnj

    In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. responded to the question of why he traveled from Atlanta to lead a civil rights protest in Alabama by answering, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” Later in the letter, we read his now famous words: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    The eloquence of that letter should serve as inspiration to all lawyers, according to Judge James E. Baker, chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security and former chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

    “It reminds us about the inspiration of the law and reminds us that we’re performing a task much greater than ourselves,” Baker said. He noted that because the letter was written in a jail cell, it has even more meaning, because it proves that Dr. King was willing to pay the penalty for his actions.

    In practicing national security law, having an overall understanding of general ethics is the best foundation for successful practice, Baker said during the 27th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the ABA Standing
    Committee on Law and National Security
    and held on Nov. 16-17.

    A thorough grounding in the ethical practice of law will prepare lawyers to cope with the pressures of national security practice. For example, always remember that lawyers are public citizens with special responsibility for the quality of justice and that a lawyer has a duty to uphold the legal process while advocating on behalf of the client.

    Baker said the evolving role of law — and lawyers — in national security matters post-9/11 has not been without controversy, but a strong commitment to doing the right thing the right way lays the groundwork for a successful practice. That means, for example, if someone ought to know something, they should be told, whether the law requires it or not.

    Ethics provide the principles that most directly relate to the practice of national security law, Baker said. A commitment to ethics rather than rules better addresses the sorts of challenges that arise in national security practice, challenges that require good judgment rather than yes or no answers. For example, when facing a difficult decision, Baker advises asking yourself, “how would I handle this on Monday morning after four cups of coffee, when I’m most sharp?” It’s a good way to check yourself and make sure you’re not cutting corners, he said.

    Always, Baker said, maintain a clear understanding of what is law, what is policy and what is legal policy. “If you start dressing up legal policy as law, then they’re not going to want you in the room.”

    Model Rules do not tell you what to do when your advice is not followed, or when you learn of new and critical intelligence after a decision has already been made, but a commitment to doing the right thing --  as well as a framework in which to identify the right thing -- will help you address these scenarios.

    Baker said the rapid evolution and intensity of national security law can be tough to adjust to, and the growth and expansion of artificial intelligence will speed everything up. “If you think it’s hard to be a national security lawyer now, when you have incomplete facts and not enough time, you’re just warming up,” Baker said.  “You have to get comfortable with making decisions very rapidly.”

    He advises thinking about personal role models for inspiration when faced with an ethical problem, adding that he often imagines how Nelson Mandela might respond to a challenge.

    “The goal of the national security lawyer is to get to ‘yes’ with honor, leaving the nation well taken care of and the Constitution intact,” he said. 

    National Security in Private Practice

    November 27, 2017 1:28 PM by glynnj

    27th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law, held in November in Washington, D.C. 

    ABA President Hilarie Bass sends letters to Congress to support pending legislation

    November 22, 2017 12:52 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2017 — American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass sent letters to Congress last week expressing support for upcoming legislation.

     

    Bass expressed gratitude to Sen. Cory Booker (D -N.J.) for his commitment to environmental equality by making S. 1996, the Environmental Justice Act, a top priority in the 115th Congress. Read the letter here.

     

    A letter also was sent by Bass to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tx.) and ranking member Maxine Waters (D-Ca.) pledging the ABA’s strong support for H.R. 1849, the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act. This bipartisan bill would restore traditional state court regulation and oversight of the legal profession by clarifying that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to creditor lawyers engaged in litigation activities. Read the letter here.

     

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

     

     

     

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    ABA Section of Antitrust Law comments on EU initiative to improve food supply chain

    November 21, 2017 3:14 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2017 — The American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law has released comments on the “European Commission’s Initiative to Improve the Food Supply Chain.”

     

    These views are presented only on behalf of the section. They have not been approved by the ABA House of Delegates or Board of Governors and should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association.

     

    The cover letter and comments dated Nov. 17, 2017, are available for review online.

     

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

     

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    New ABA book a guide to creating high-performing, profitable firms through engagement

    November 21, 2017 12:59 PM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Nov. 27, 2017 — Most law firms are afflicted by high turnover rates, despite having financial success. Ever-increasing salaries have not been enough to offset the highly competitive culture that often leaves lawyers feeling unsatisfied. From the American Bar Association Law Practice Division comes “Positive Professionals: Creating High-Performing Firms Through the Science of Engagement,” a practical guide to developing and using work engagement strategies to produce a positive environment and thriving lawyers.

     

    “Positive Professionals” defines engagement and why it matters, introduces the four foundational components of a positive law firm and explains the six narratives of work engagement:

     

    • My work matters
    • I matter
    • I’m growing and capable
    • I feel energized
    • I know how I’m doing and how to get even better
    • I’m able to bounce back from setbacks

     

    This book’s science-backed strategies will lead to improved lawyer well-being, as well as increased profitability, productivity, performance and client satisfaction.

     

    About the author:

     

    Anne Brafford, a Big Law partner-turned-researcher, is the founder of Aspire, an educational and consulting firm for the legal profession. In 2014, Bradford left her job as an equity partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP after 18 years to focus on thriving in the legal profession. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) from the University of Pennsylvania and is earning a Ph.D. in positive organizational psychology at Claremont Graduate University in California.

     

    What others are saying about the book:

     

    “Positive Professionals is a well-written, well-researched, witty and sobering exploration of what law firms and lawyers can do to make their work and their lives more meaningful. Anne is not just a lawyer, she is also a scientist. Her recommendations are heavily researched and empirically tested.”

    – R. Michael Ethridge, partner, Ethridge Law Group, and founding director of Living Above the Bar (South Carolina’s Attorney Wellness Committee)

     

    “A fascinating and useful read that will appeal to future-facing firms wanting to become magnets for the best talent and to enable all lawyers to be their best personally and professionally. It should be on the desk of every law firm partner.”

    Jami Wintz McKeon, chair, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

     

    “With precision and practicality, Anne Brafford passionately applies principles from the science of positive psychology to the legal field. Her evidence-based, actionable guidelines and mental narratives should be used in every law firm to facilitate lawyer engagement and well-being, to reduce turnover and to increase profit.”

    – Becky Reichert, Ph.D., associate professor, Claremont Graduate University, director of LeAD Labs

     

    Title:                      “Positive Professionals: Creating High-Performing, Profitable Firms Through the Science of Engagement”

    Publisher:              American Bar Association/Law Practice Division

    Pages:                   256

    Product Code:       5110817

    ISBN:                     9781641050401

    Size:                      7 X 10

    Binding:                Paperback

    Price:                     $44.95

    Orders:                  800-285-2221 or ShopABA.org

     

    Editor’s note: Review copies are available by sending an email to Rose Frommelt at Rose.Frommelt@americanbar.org. If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Rose Frommelt, ABA Book Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

     

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    In new filing, ABA urges 11th Circuit to ban bail system relied upon in Calhoun, Ga.

    November 21, 2017 11:04 AM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Nov. 21, 2017 — The American Bar Association filed a new amicus brief Monday, once again contending that a bail system in Calhoun, Ga., that allows pretrial release only if the defendant pays an amount of bail money fixed to a schedule of offenses violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment.

     

    In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit remanded the case back to the trial court, requesting the judge’s injunction provide more guidance to Calhoun on how it must comply with the minimal standards required by the U.S. Constitution. The ABA’s brief is substantially similar to its brief of 15 months ago, although it noted the ABA House of Delegates updated the association’s policy in August to say the inability to pay bail should not be the sole reason for a defendant’s continued detention.

     

    “The ABA’s recently passed resolution consolidates its established position on pretrial release issues, which, among other recommendations, urges jurisdictions to ban the use of money-bail schedules in favor of individualized and objective bail and release determinations,” the brief said.

     

    The brief, in support of a group of defendants in Calhoun, notes that the money-bail system in which the amount of the bail is mechanically set by reference to a schedule of charges, with no consideration of the defendant’s ties to the community or financial circumstances, is unnecessary, and will hobble the accused person’s ability to muster a defense to the charges while imposing a grave human toll.

     

    “The consequences of pretrial detention are profound — even a few days in jail can disrupt a defendant’s life, leading to long-term negative consequences,” the brief continued. “Pretrial detainees cannot work or earn income while incarcerated and may lose their jobs while waiting for a hearing, making it even more difficult to make bail. … For an indigent defendant, even a short period of confinement can wreak havoc on an already precarious financial situation.”

     

    The amicus brief in Maurice Walker v. City of Calhoun, Ga., is available here. The 11th Circuit also has jurisdiction for Florida and Alabama.

     

    Similar amicus briefs have been filed in cases pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit as well as the 5th Circuit. In Rodriguez v. PCC, the ABA challenged use of a probation fee schedule employed by a for-profit company in Rutherford County, Tenn. The brief in the 5th Circuit was filed in O’Donnell v. Harris County, Texas.

     

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    ABA asks high court to overturn conviction in case where counsel conceded guilt over client’s wishes

    November 21, 2017 10:58 AM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Nov. 21, 2017 — The American Bar Association filed an amicus brief Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing in a Louisiana capital murder case that it is unconstitutional for a defense attorney to concede a defendant’s guilt over the expressed objection of the accused.

     

    The case, on appeal from the Louisiana Supreme Court, raises the broader issue of decision-making in the attorney-client relationship and whether the client has the right to set the objective of his or her representation as well as the proper role of an attorney when his or her client strenuously objects to the lawyer’s strategy and presentation at trial.

     

    In this case, defendant Robert McCoy, subsequently convicted of the murders of his estranged wife’s son, mother and stepfather, attempted to advance his innocence claim but was contradicted by his lawyer from the outset of the trial to the end. Specifically, court-appointed counsel Larry English conceded McCoy’s guilt to the jury in hopes of saving his life. The ABA brief noted that under model rules of professional conduct, English could have refused to participate in any affirmative defense that he knew to be false but could not impose a “concession strategy over Mr. McCoy’s repeated and strenuous objections.”

     

    “A mentally competent client has the right to decide whether to contest or admit guilt,” the ABA brief said. “Mr. English’s usurpation of Mr. McCoy’s clearly-expressed decision to contest guilt at trial, however well intended, violated the principles underlying the proper role of counsel in an attorney-client relationship as laid out in the Constitution and the rules, guidelines, and standards of the ABA and the Louisiana State Bar Association.”

     

    The brief argued that the Louisiana Supreme Court, which affirmed the convictions, erred in its conclusion that the lawyer’s conduct was necessary to avoid violating his duty of candor toward the trial court by eliciting false or perjured testimony. “The prohibition against offering false evidence only applies if the lawyer knows that the evidence is false,” the brief said. “A lawyer’s reasonable belief that evidence is false does not preclude its presentation to the trier of fact.”

     

    The amicus brief in Robert M. McCoy v. State of Louisiana is available here.

     

    Go to www.abalegalfactcheck.com for the ABA’s new feature that cites case and statutory law and other legal precedents to distinguish legal fact from fiction.

     

    With more than 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 www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

     

     

    DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim tells ABA conference of new approach to merger deals

    November 20, 2017 11:30 AM by glynnj

    Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, told a standing-room-only crowd of lawyers, judges and enforcement officials at the ABA Section of Antitrust Law’s Fall Forum on Thursday, Nov. 16, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that the department is taking a new approach to antitrust merger deals, leaning less heavily on consent decrees and suggested that companies consider divesting in order to gain approval on major merger deals.

    Delrahim’s speech came one day after published reports that the Justice Department was considering filing a lawsuit to block AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner if the government and the companies can’t agree on conditions to win approval of the deal. The speculation that Delrahim might use the occasion to make a major announcement relating to the proposed merger drew the attention of national media to the forum, including film crews from CNN and Bloomberg along with The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Law360, National Law Journal and others.

    Instead, Delrahim used the 15-minute speech to lay out the reasons behind the department’s new approach to merger deals. Consent decrees are considered a behavioral remedy.

    “At times antitrust enforcers have experimented with allowing illegal mergers to proceed subject to certain behavioral commitments,” Delrahim said. “That approach is fundamentally regulatory, imposing ongoing government oversight on what should preferably be a free market.  As we reduce regulation across the government, I expect to cut back on the number of long-term consent decrees we have in place and to return to the preferred focus on structural relief to remedy mergers that violate the law and harm the American consumer.

    Delrahim wasted little time putting that policy into practice and on Monday, Nov 20, filed a lawsuit to the AT&T-Time Warner merger, setting up a showdown over the first blockbuster acquisition to be considered by the Trump administration. Delrahim told The New York Times that a union of the two companies would harm consumers and weaken competition.

    “This merger would greatly harm American consumers,” Delrahim said in a statement. “It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy.”

    AT&T told The Times that it would defend the proposed deal in court, arguing that companies don’t directly compete against each other and that the government hasn’t challenged a similar kind of merger in decades.

    In his speech to the ABA, Delrahim said consent decrees are considered a behavioral remedy and are difficult to enforce. On the other hand, structural remedies generally involve the sale of assets or creation of new competitors through licensing of intellectual property and are more likely to ensure compliance.

    “When competition policy works well, it maintains economic liberty and leaves decision-making to the markets.  Our goal in remedying unlawful transactions should be to let the competitive process play out,” Delrahim explained. “Unfortunately, behavioral remedies often fail to do that.  Instead of protecting the competition that might be lost in an unlawful merger, a behavioral remedy supplants competition with regulation; it replaces disaggregated decision-making with central planning.”

    He said there are inherent problems in using regulatory solutions to address antitrust violations.

    “Behavioral remedies often require companies to make daily decisions contrary to their profit-maximizing incentives, and they demand ongoing monitoring and enforcement to do that effectively,” Delrahim said.  “It is the wolf of regulation dressed in the sheep’s clothing of a behavioral decree.  And like most regulation, it can be overly intrusive and unduly burdensome for both businesses and government.” 

    Delrahim said in recent years antitrust enforcers have struggled more and more with the challenges of crafting and enforcing effective behavioral relief.

    “Without getting into specifics, I can say that behavioral remedies have proven challenging to enforce today.  In recent years, the division has investigated a number of behavioral decree violations, but has found it onerous to collect information or satisfy the exacting standards of proving contempt and seeking relief for violations,” he said.

    Another problem with behavioral remedies, Delrahim said, is determining their expiration.  “A short-term remedy is a band-aid, not a fix,” he said. “On the other hand, if we make behavioral commitments indefinite, then we really are becoming full-time regulators instead of law enforcers.

    “That is not to say we would never accept behavioral remedies,” Delrahim continued. “In certain instances where an unlawful vertical transaction generates significant efficiencies that cannot be achieved without the merger or through a structural remedy, then there’s a place for considering a behavioral remedy if it will completely cure the anticompetitive harms.  It’s a high standard to meet.”   

    Delrahim said the Antitrust Division should fairly review offers to settle but also be skeptical of those consisting of behavioral remedies or divestitures that only partially remedy the likely harm.  “We should settle federal antitrust violations only where we have a high degree of confidence that the remedy does not usurp regulatory functions for law enforcement, and fully protects American consumers and the competitive process,” he said. 

    He said decrees should avoid taking pricing decisions away from the markets, and should be simple and administrable by the Justice Department. “We have a duty to American consumers to preserve economic liberty and protect the competitive process, and we will not accept remedies that risk failing to do so,” Delrahim said.

    Delrahim said the department is thinking hard about ways that consent decrees can be improved and is taking steps to improve the enforceability of consent decrees.

    “Although generally a contempt action must be proven by a clear and convincing evidence standard, we are incorporating language that provides for agreement by parties that alleged violations will be evaluated under a preponderance standard,” Delrahim said. “We recently included such a provision in the Entercom-CBS decree, which was a structural remedy.  We will also be seeking agreement on attorney’s fees and costs provisions to compensate American taxpayers for the burdens of ongoing monitoring and enforcement of consent decrees.”

    Later in the day, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Donald G. Kempf talked about the merger review process and possible remedies to improve it. He said merger reviews take a long time and are getting longer.  In 2016, according to Kempf, significant merger reviews took an average of 11.6 months to complete compared to 7.6 months to review in 2011.  

    Kempf offered five suggestions to improve the merger review process: 

    1. We at the agencies can strive to identify and clear more transactions that do not threaten harm to competition during the initial HSR waiting period without issuing a second request.  To help facilitate this, if you are aware of competitive issues from the get-go, meet with us early and often.  Help us investigate quickly by being ready to provide information such as lists of overlapping products, strategic and marketing plans and lists of top customers early in the waiting period. If you push for early termination, do what you can to get us there.
       
    2. When a second request appears necessary, tell us how you think we can make the investigation more efficient by improving our ability to identify the information we need to make our enforcement decisions. Our goal should not be more information, but better information.  The division is looking for relevant documents, not a needle in a haystack.
       
    3. Work with the division to tailor document requests to those most likely to be relevant to assessing whether the likely effect of the transaction may be substantially to lessen competition.  All of the second requests are preliminarily based on division’s model second request, which is continually revised to clarify definitions, reduce burdens and address issues that have arisen in past investigations.  

    4. Urge the parties to provide relevant information early in the investigation. The parties can prioritize certain custodians or categories of documents. And documents can be produced on a rolling basis rather than altogether at the end of the gathering process. The prompt production of data will speed our economic analysis of the likely competitive effects of the transaction.  

    5. We will endeavor to reduce the number of custodians whose documents we request.  In many routine investigations, the incremental benefit of seeking documents from additional custodians or from investigating additional markets is small in comparison with the burdens the additional requests impose on parties.

    “The parties’ role in – and the division’s commitment to – shortening merger reviews does not end with substantial compliance. Negotiating consent decrees can be a lengthy process.  And the timing of decree negotiations can be used for strategic advantages,” Kempf said. “As Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said earlier today, the Antitrust Division’s present leadership is less interested in behavioral remedies and more interested in structural remedies.  Behavioral remedies can be appropriate in some instances, of course, but we do not view ourselves as regulators, and we cannot predict market conditions in the future.  So, we do not want to hamstring the merged entity going forward.  Rather, we want to unleash it to compete.”

    Bankruptcy filings decline, but experts at Business Law Fall Meeting predict the hits will keep coming

    November 17, 2017 3:04 PM by glynnj

    Despite major retail brands like Toys R Us, Sports Authority, Payless, The Limited, Gymboree, Hhgregg, Wet Seal, RadioShack and Gander Mountain all filing for bankruptcy this year, overall bankruptcy filings declined in 2017 from the previous year, according to statistics presented Friday, Nov. 17, during the ABA Business Law Section’s Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C.

    “And that is a trend that has been going on since about 2009,’’ said Judge Christopher S. Sontchi of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of Delaware and a panelist on the CLE program “Bankruptcy for Breakfast.” “And what I think is interesting about the filings that really go back two or three years is a diversity of the Chapter 11 filings beyond just the cases in Delaware and New York, but we’re seeing big and medium cases but we’re seeing medium-size cases being filed in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Virginia and of course the southern district of Texas. That, I think, is an interesting trend that we’re seeing.”

    According to panel moderator Katherine Good, a partner at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLC in Wilmington, Del., total bankruptcy filings for the past year ending September 30 were 790,830. That represented a 1.8 percent decline from 2016.  The number of Chapter 11 business filings was 23,109 and there were 767,721 non-business filings.

    Regionally, however, some areas of the country were hit harder than other. Filings in the eastern district of New York were up 20.2 percent to lead the nation.

    “I did not realize that we were No. 1 on the list,’’ said a surprised Judge Elizabeth Stong of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, N.Y. “I think it reflects the economy and reflects the profound need for the kind of relief that bankruptcy provides to business and to lenders. The need is ever greater for lenders and for business and we see across the board with the largest cases being the middle markets and small business.”

    Panelist Javier Lorente, partner at Naveira, Truffat, Martinez, Anido, Lorente & Lopez in Buenos Aires, Argentina, provided a perspective on bankruptcy filings in South America. He said the pace of bankruptcies has been slow the past few years not because of the poor economy but because companies didn’t see the advantage to filing.

    “Our corporations did not go into insolvency proceedings because they had no credit from the banks at all so it made no sense to file bankruptcy cases,’’ Lorente explained. “We did have certain liquidation cases, but I must also tell you there has been an increase in consumer bankruptcy during the last few years. But if I have to say some industries that have been hit hard in the last few years is oil and gas.” 

    Indeed, oil and gas were among industries in the U.S. that showed trends in bankruptcy restricting and insolvency in 2017, along with retail and the shipping sector.

    Since the start of 2015, 128 oil and gas producers filed for bankruptcy, according to Good. And service providers had 33 filings from January to July of this year, compared with 46 filings total in the same period of 2016. Also, depressed commodity prices continued through mid-2017, though they increased in the third quarter.

    Good said one of the major factors affecting retail should come as no surprise — online shopping. “Amazon, interestingly, accounts for 53 percent of growth in e-commerce sales,’’ Good said. “But online retail overall has been growing very rapidly, which has resulted in a record number of store closings in 2017.

    She predicts that the retail industry will continue to face challenges resulting from the 2005 amendments to the bankruptcy code that affects shipping dates for merchandise and debtor leases.

    Shipping has undergone some significant changes going back the last few years, faced with issues of rapid decline in asset values, mobile assets in complex capital structures, lender distress and jurisdictional concerns about filing and asset locations, which are hard to centralize, according to Good.

    An industry to watch, according to Good, is automotive. “There have been reports of decreasing sales due to Uber, longer lasting cars and decreased demand for new cars,” she said, also noting recent filings by seatbelt maker Takata and global upholstery supplier GST Autoleather.

    So, what do the experts see ahead for bankruptcy issues and trends in 2018? Each panelist admitted it’s never good to make predictions, but they did anyway.

    Good predicts there will be more complex cross-border cases “that are going to require communications between courts.”

    Lorente thinks we will see more Latin American countries using Chapter 15 bankruptcy in order to gain discovery. “You take for granted discovery here in the U.S. Discovery is very broad here in the U.S., but not so much so in Latin America countries,’’ he said. “My second view regarding what’s coming next is avoidance actions coming from liquidation proceedings in South America enforced in Chapter 15 cases here in U.S.”

    Sontchi points to more retail cases on the horizon. “I think we are only beginning the cycle of disruption in that industry that will last years. And I expect we’ll see more liquidations.”

    Michael Rubenstein, a shareholder with Liskow & Lewis in Houston, said his initial answer to the question of what’s ahead in 2018, was more consumer filings in Houston because of the flooding caused by the hurricane. However, he expanded his thinking to include a broader problem of climate change.

    “I think we’re going to see climate change drive filings,’’ he said. “Last year there were 508 Chapter 12 filings.” Chapter 12 allows family farmers and family fisherman to restructure their finances and avoid liquidation or foreclosure. “I think as climate change becomes more of a factor you are going to see a lot more of those types of cases.”

    Stong predicts there will be a continued growth of bankruptcy filings in the middle-market, smaller business cases. “I think it is on us to make the process in these cases work as well as it possibly can in that sector, learning as much as we can from the practices that come of the bigger cases.”

    And Sarah L. Cave, a partner in the New York City office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, sees more filings regionally outside of New York and Delaware. And she said blockchain technology is worth keeping an eye on in terms of how they affect financial transactions and what happens when those transactions fail.

    ABA Legal Fact Check explores the laws determining where NYC terrorist defendant should be tried

    November 17, 2017 11:53 AM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Nov. 17, 2017 — The American Bar Association updated its web-based ABA Legal Fact Check today with an examination of who has the final say in determining whether non-citizen domestic terrorists are tried in military tribunals or in civilian courts.

    Read More »

    ABA hosting international summit on legal rights for street-connected youth in Sao Paulo

    November 15, 2017 2:47 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2017 — The American Bar Association is convening nongovernmental organizations from across the world to address the needs of street-connected children around the globe suffering from abuse and neglect, sexual exploitation, drug abuse, the effects of global conflict and other miseries at the International Summit on the Legal Rights of Street-Connected Children and Youth in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 28-29.  

    Read More »

    ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary’s Supplemental Statement on Steven Grasz nomination

    November 15, 2017 9:00 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2017 — The American Bar Association was invited to testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the nomination of Leonard Steven Grasz to the United States Court of Appeals to the Eighth Circuit.

    Read More »

    ABA signs agreement with VA, veterans legal services groups to improve access to free legal services

    November 14, 2017 10:58 AM by John Glynn

    The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the American Bar Association, the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and the National Law School Veterans Clinic Consortium have signed a Memorandum of Agreement aimed at improving veterans’ access to free legal services.

    Read More »

    ABA summit searches for solutions to ensure career longevity for women in law

    November 10, 2017 7:00 AM by John Glynn

    In an effort to understand why women seem to leave the legal profession at what should be the height of their careers, more than 160 lawyers gathered at Harvard Law School on Nov. 7-8 to attend the ABA National Summit on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law. 

    Read More »

    ABA comments on Mexico’s economic competition law pertaining to attorney-client privilege

    November 9, 2017 1:59 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2017 — The American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law has submitted comments on Mexico’s Federal Economic Competition Commission’s (COFECE) proposed amendment to the Federal Law of Economic Competition, Article 103 BIS, pertaining to attorney-client privilege.

    Read More »

    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Call for action to stop atrocities in Myanmar

    November 7, 2017 2:47 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2017 – The American Bar Association renews its call for concerted international action to address the ongoing mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya population in Myanmar. 

    Read More »

    Legal experts available to discuss domestic violence and gun ownership following Texas shooting

    November 7, 2017 10:02 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2017 — The American Bar Association can refer reporters interested in talking to legal experts with expertise involving domestic abuse and gun ownership.

    Read More »

    Assistant secretary for aging shares priorities to aid older Americans, disabled

    November 7, 2017 8:31 AM by John Glynn

    During a plenary session at the American Bar Association National Aging and Law Conference on Oct. 27 in Silver Spring, Md., the Administration for Community Living’s assistant secretary for aging shared the priorities in his new role. 

    Read More »

    Terrorism, violent crime top priorities Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein tells ABA criminal justice group

    November 6, 2017 4:02 PM by John Glynn

    Pledging not to make any news, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said his office will continue to focus on the department’s top priority of combating terrorism.

    Read More »

    Deputy Attorney General outlines Justice Department priorities

    November 6, 2017 2:03 PM by John Glynn

    Deputy Attorney General  Rod Rosenstein says combatting terrorism is a top priority. He also shares the other priorities of the Department of Justice, including the rise in violent homicides and drug overdose deaths tied to the opioid crisis in American cities. Rosenstein notes that counter to what many people read in “the news,” the Trump administration is on pace to nominate and fill U.S. attorney vacancies faster than previous administrations. 

    Read More »

    ABA law school accrediting arm proposes major change in standard for admissions tests

    November 6, 2017 12:07 PM by John Glynn

    The American Bar Association’s accreditor of law schools is proposing to eliminate the requirement that ABA-approved law schools secure scores for a “valid and reliable” test for incoming classes as long as other measures indicate the school has “sound admission policies and practices.”

    Read More »

    Top intelligence officials gather in Washington to discuss national security issues

    November 6, 2017 11:37 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2017 — Legal experts and intelligence officials from the FBI, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State and Department of Homeland Security will explore such topics as artificial intelligence, private practice of national security law, classified and unclassified leaks, the law of armed conflict, national security challenges on the world’s oceans, future issues in national security law, cybersecurity, FISA and more at the 27th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law Conference, Nov. 16-17 in Washington, D.C. 

    Read More »

    New ABA publication is ‘The Ultimate Guide to Adobe® Acrobat® DC’

    November 6, 2017 7:00 AM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Nov. 6, 2017 —  PDFs have become the standard in the legal and business communities for creating, analyzing, storing and exchanging digital documents, and for filing documents in courts with electronic filing systems.

    Read More »

    ABA to hold summit at Harvard Law School on optimizing women’s long-term legal careers

    November 3, 2017 10:41 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2017 — Distinguished women lawyers from around the country will gather at Harvard Law School on Nov. 7-8 to discuss a problem that has affected the legal profession for decades —experienced women leaving the legal profession in substantial numbers.

    Read More »

    Panel offers strategies to achieve a more diverse workplace

    November 3, 2017 7:34 AM by John Glynn

    Experts gathered in October to discuss effective strategies to boost diversity and inclusion in the workplace during the ABA’s observation of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. 

    Read More »

    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Respect for our justice system

    November 2, 2017 8:26 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2017 -- The American Bar Association joins in mourning the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York.

    Read More »

    ABA Criminal Justice Section to honor attorneys, professor during 10th Annual Fall Institute

    November 1, 2017 3:10 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 — The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section has selected five honorees for its section awards to be presented on Friday, Nov. 3, during its 2017 CJS Tenth Annual Fall Institute at the Westin Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C. The awards will be presented at the CJS Awards Luncheon from 12:30-2 p.m.

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    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: ABA judicial evaluations

    November 1, 2017 2:51 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 – In a democracy based on the rule of law, maintaining the high quality of the judiciary is of utmost importance. One of the most important responsibilities of the American Bar Association is to conduct independent, nonpartisan peer evaluations on every nominee to every federal court in the country. 

    Read More »

    Stetson College of Law professor Ellen Podgor to receive ABA Raeder-Taslitz Award

    November 1, 2017 1:39 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 — The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section will honor Ellen S. Podgor, a Gary R. Trombley Family White Collar Crime research professor at Stetson University College of Law, with its Raeder-Taslitz Award on Friday, Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C. The award will be presented at the CJS Awards Luncheon during the 2017 CJS Tenth Annual Fall Institute at the Westin Washington Hotel.

    Read More »

    Asst. U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer to receive ABA Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award

    November 1, 2017 1:39 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 — The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section will honor Robert A. Zauzmer, assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with its Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award on Friday, Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.

    Read More »

    Washington, D.C., lawyer Heather Cartwright to receive ABA 2017 Carrington Award Crime Victim Attorney Award

    November 1, 2017 1:38 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 — The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section will honor Washington, D.C. lawyer Heather L. Cartwright with its Frank Carrington Crime Victim Attorney Award at the CJS Awards Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C. 

    Read More »

    Retired Illinois prosecutor Richard Schmack to receive ABA Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award

    November 1, 2017 1:38 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov.1, 2017 — The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section will honor retired prosecutor Richard H. Schmack of DeKalb County, Ill., with its Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award on Friday, Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.

    Read More »

    Updated ABA cybersecurity handbook helps lawyers protect sensitive client information from hackers

    November 1, 2017 12:37 PM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Nov. 1, 2017 — Cybersecurity breaches in law firms have made headlines and clients are asking questions about lawyers’ and firms’ security programs. From the massive Panama Papers breach that led to the dissolution of the Mossack Fonseca Law Firm in April 2016 to the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks, which led to a work outage at DLA Piper in June 2017, it is imperative that attorneys understand their obligations and the potential risk of inadequate information security practices to their practices and their clients. 

    Read More »

    ABA ROLI to host Round Table on Participatory Democracy in Morocco

    November 1, 2017 11:35 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Nov.1, 2017 — The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is sponsoring a Round Table on Participatory Governance on Friday, Nov. 3 in Morocco. The panel will discuss the topic of strengthening engagement among local governments, civil society, and citizens in Morocco. 

    Read More »

    ABA Business Law Section to host Fall Meeting, Nov. 17-18 in Washington, D.C.

    October 31, 2017 10:49 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2017 —  Government officials from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the chief judge of the Delaware Supreme Court, federal bankruptcy judges, as well as leading national and international business law experts and practitioners will be among the speakers at the American Bar Association Business Law Section Fall Meeting, Nov. 17-18 in Washington, D.C. The conference will cover such topics as bankruptcy, government investigations and enforcement action and recent Supreme Court decisions that impact major business cases.

    Read More »

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discusses her new book

    October 30, 2017 2:00 PM by John Glynn

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discusses "My Own Words," for which she received the Book of the Year in Law Award at the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement at a program co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. 


    Political commentator Bill Press conducts the lively interview. 

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    ABA urges Supreme Court to uphold long-standing civil rights principles in gay wedding cake case

    October 30, 2017 12:56 PM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Oct. 30, 2017 — The American Bar Association filed an amicus brief today, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a Colorado court decision that the state could constitutionally apply its public accommodations law to bar a bakeshop from refusing to sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples.

    Read More »

    Congressman, FTC Chair and Asst. AG to speak at ABA Antitrust Fall Forum

    October 30, 2017 7:00 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2017 — Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division; Congressman Darrell E. Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, Committee on the Judiciary for the U.S. House of Representatives; and Maureen K. Ohlhausen, acting chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, will be among the keynote speakers at the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law 2017 Fall Forum to be held Thursday, Nov. 16, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

    Read More »

    Lawyers aiding youth experiencing homelessness convene at Covenant House Washington

    October 27, 2017 3:55 PM by John Glynn

    On Oct. 27, the ABA Homeless Youth Legal Network Pro Bono Initiative convened an interdisciplinary group of lawyers, advocates and providers at Covenant House Washington in Washington, D.C., to discuss the critical legal needs of youth experiencing homelessness and to develop new strategies for expanded services.

    Read More »

    ABA leaders assist hurricane victims at disaster relief clinic in Miami

    October 26, 2017 3:45 PM by John Glynn

    ABA President Hilarie Bass and President Elect Bob Carlson joined the National Celebration of Pro Bono by taking part in a Disaster Relief Clinic on Oct. 24 at the Hispanic Branch Library in Miami. 

    Read More »

    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: AG Sessions comments criticizing judges

    October 26, 2017 3:26 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2017 – The American Bar Association is alarmed by the remarks made Thursday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions about federal judges, accusing those he disagrees with of ruling on policy preference and not the law.

    Read More »

    ABA Legal Fact Check spotlights financier’s travel woes and the law behind revoking visas

    October 26, 2017 12:49 PM by Irma Romero

    CHICAGO, Oct. 26, 2017 — Bill Browder, an American-born international investor who travels on a British passport, is an outspoken critic of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and champion of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law aimed at punishing Russians officials involved in corruption. The law was passed following the mysterious 2009 death of Browder’s Russian lawyer while in custody.

    Read More »

    ABA letter to Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson asks for consideration of death row inmate Greene’s petition

    October 25, 2017 2:27 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2017 — American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass sent a letter Wednesday to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to express concern regarding the case of death row inmate Jack Greene, who is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 9.

    Read More »

    ABA, IU McKinney School of Law to co-launch Pathway to Law online program

    October 25, 2017 2:00 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2017 — The American Bar Association’s Principal Diversity and Inclusion Entities have partnered with the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis to co-launch the Pathway to the Law online program, a three-year pilot project to create a pipeline for underrepresented students into legal education and ultimately the profession.

    Read More »

    Federal contracting highlighted at ABA Public Contract Law conference in Louisville, Ky.

    October 25, 2017 1:09 PM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Oct. 25, 2017 — Legal experts will examine recent developments in the law, best practices for procuring or securing contracts and successful contract completion from the government and industry perspectives during the American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law 2017 Fall Educational Program/Council Meeting, Nov. 2-4 at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville, Ky. 

    Read More »

    New ABA book offers a revealing look at bribery litigation

    October 25, 2017 10:40 AM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Oct. 25, 2017 — The world of business is rife with dark and clandestine schemes meant to ensure that deals proceed more quickly — and more advantageously to the payor — than they otherwise would. These bribes can take the form of cash, stock, shares of future profits, vouchers, stock options, wire transfers, luxury vacations and a wide range of other financial incentives. 

    Read More »

    Entertainment lawyer Henry W. Root presented with ABA’s Ed Rubin Award

    October 24, 2017 3:04 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2017 — Henry W. Root was presented with the 2017 Ed Rubin Award by the American Bar Association Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries during the forum’s Annual Meeting at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas Oct. 6.  The Ed Rubin Award is the forum’s highest honor and is given to one member each year in recognition of outstanding leadership and service. 

    Read More »

    American Bar Association to host LLC Institute, Nov. 2-3 in Arlington, Va.

    October 24, 2017 7:30 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2017 – Tax reform proposals, Delaware and bankruptcy case law updates and fiduciary duties are just a few of the topics that will be discussed during the American Bar Association’s 2017 LLC Institute to be held Nov. 2-3 in Arlington, Va.

    Read More »

    Serving legal needs of youth experiencing homelessness focus of ABA pro bono efforts

    October 23, 2017 4:39 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2017 — Lawyers and law firms across the country are participating in volunteer events this week to help youth experiencing homelessness with their legal needs, as part of the National Celebration of Pro Bono, which runs Oct. 22-28.

    Read More »

    Effects of regulatory executive orders yet to be seen, panel at ABA conference agrees

    October 23, 2017 12:45 PM by John Glynn

    In early 2017, President Donald Trump issued two executive orders directed at regulatory reform with the aim of reducing costly burdens on businesses and government agencies. A panel comprised of representatives from industry, an advocacy organization and a government agency met to discuss the on-the-ground experience with these executive orders during an Oct. 19 program sponsored by the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice

    Read More »

    ABA Committee on Law and National Security launches national security podcast

    October 23, 2017 12:33 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2017 – The ABA Committee on Law and National Security has created a new podcast called National Security Law Today. Hosted by committee members and staff, the podcast features legal experts discussing hot topics and current issues in the world of national security, as well as career advice for those looking to break into the field of national security law. 

    Read More »

    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Observing United Nations Day 2017

    October 23, 2017 9:29 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2017 – The American Bar Association joins the world community in recognizing United Nations Day 2017, which marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. The ABA has had a long-standing and productive relationship with the UN, beginning in 1943, when ABA members participated in a series of conferences for lawyers and legal scholars resulting in the report entitled, “International Law of the Future,” which contained many provisions that would later be adopted in the Charter of the United Nations. Today, the ABA continues to be committed to advancing the rule of law at home and throughout the world. 

    Read More »

    ABA adds legal assistance hotline for wildfire victims in northern California

    October 19, 2017 1:17 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2017 —  Victims of the wildfires in northern California can get legal assistance by calling a hotline set up by a partnership among the Disaster Legal Services Program of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Bay Area Resilience Collaborative (which includes The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service and Justice & Diversity Center, Alameda County Bar Association Volunteer Legal Services Corporation, State Bar of California, Bay Area Legal Aid and Pro Bono Net) and the Legal Aid Association of California. 

    Read More »

    ABA Legal Fact Check explores legal issues underlying threats to revoke broadcast licenses

    October 19, 2017 1:08 PM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Oct. 19, 2017 — The American Bar Association updated its web-based ABA Legal Fact Check today with a look at the legal framework involving renewals of broadcast licenses. This comes in the wake of the tweeted suggestion by President Donald Trump that NBC’s broadcast license should be challenged because of its reporting on his administration.

    Read More »

    America’s infrastructure less secure now than 15 years ago says researcher at ABA breakfast

    October 19, 2017 10:21 AM by John Glynn

    A team of cybersecurity researchers at MIT say that America’s core industries, including oil and gas, water, electricity, finance and communications, known as “critical infrastructure,” are significantly at risk from cyberattacks. 

    Read More »

    Leaders set to celebrate strides made toward disability inclusion in the workplace

    October 19, 2017 6:57 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2017 — The American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights will host a panel Wednesday, Oct. 25, entitled Persons with Disabilities: Driving Creativity and Innovation in the Workforce, as part of the ABA’s participation in celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The program will be held in Washington, D.C., and simulcast in Chicago.

    Read More »

    ABA letter to the House Judiciary Committee supporting the Second Chance Act of 2017

    October 18, 2017 12:26 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2017 — American Bar Association president Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee expressing the ABA’s support of H.R. 2899, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2017. 

    Read More »

    Ret. Army Major Gen. Kenneth D. Gray to receive ABA 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award

    October 18, 2017 11:43 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2018 — The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor Major Gen. (Ret.) Kenneth D. Gray, a native of McDowell County, W. Va., and the first African-American general in the history of the active Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, with its 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award for his commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

    Read More »

    Alaska attorney Heather Kendall-Miller to receive ABA 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award

    October 18, 2017 11:43 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2018 — The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor Heather Kendall-Miller, an Alaska Native (Athabascan) and a senior staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund in Anchorage, with its 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award for her commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

    Read More »

    Disney chief legal officer Alan N. Braverman to receive ABA 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award

    October 18, 2017 11:43 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2018 — The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor Alan N. Braverman, senior executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of The Walt Disney Company since 2003, with its 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award for his commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

    Read More »

    Virginia federal Judge James A. Wynn Jr. to receive ABA 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award

    October 18, 2017 11:43 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2018 — The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor Judge James A. Wynn, Jr., who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., with its 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award for his commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

    Read More »

    Civil Rights, LGBT elders, guardianship and drug prices among topics at ABA Aging and Law Conference

    October 17, 2017 3:50 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2017 — Civil Rights, guardianship and drug pricing will be among topics discussed by industry experts during the American Bar Association’s 2017 National Aging and Law Conference on Oct. 26-27 in Silver Spring, Md. 

    Read More »

    Latest developments in class action law to be featured at annual institute in Washington

    October 17, 2017 10:57 AM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Oct. 17, 2017 — The 21st Annual National Institute on Class Actions will be held Oct. 26-27 at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar DC in Washington D.C.  

    Read More »

    Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to speak at ABA criminal justice meeting in Washington, D.C.

    October 16, 2017 2:49 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2017 — U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Vanita Gupta, president & CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will be keynote speakers at the American Bar Association’s 10th Annual Criminal Justice Section Fall Institute, Nov. 2-3, at the Westin Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C.

    Read More »

    Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Mandatory case completion quotas for immigration judges

    October 16, 2017 2:30 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2017 – The American Bar Association strongly disagrees with any attempt to establish mandatory case completion quotas for immigration judges.

    Read More »

    Executive orders, congressional oversight among topics at ABA Administrative Law Conference

    October 12, 2017 1:19 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2017 — Legal experts and former and current U.S. government officials from regulatory agencies will offer insight into international regulatory cooperation, the relationship between the federal government and state governments under the new administration and the latest on ethical issues during the American Bar Association’s 2017 Administrative Law Conference on Oct. 19-20 in Washington, D.C. 

    Read More »

    ABA sections release comments on draft measures for review of China’s anti-monopoly law

    October 11, 2017 12:24 PM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2017 — The American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law and Section of International Law have submitted joint comments regarding the “Draft Measures for the Review of Undertaking Concentrations Under the Anti-Monopoly Law”  in the People’s Republic of China.

    Read More »

    Unaccompanied minors, technology and diversity among topics at ABA Solo & Small Firm Summit

    October 11, 2017 11:58 AM by John Glynn

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2017 —Immigration, law firm technology and building an inclusive practice will be among topics explored at the American Bar Association’s 2017 Solo & Small Firm Summit, Oct. 18-21, at the Saint Paul Hotel in St. Paul, Minn. 

    Read More »

    Alphonse A. Gerhardstein recipient of the 2017 GPSolo Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award

    October 11, 2017 11:46 AM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Oct. 11, 2017 — Alphonse A. Gerhardstein will receive a 2017 Difference Makers Award at a luncheon during the GPSolo 2017 Solo & Small Firm Summit on Friday, Oct. 20, in St. Paul, Minn. The Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers award, presented by the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division, recognizes an attorney, living or deceased, who broke barriers for gender, color, disabilities or sexual orientation. 

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    LaJune Lange recipient of 2017 GPSolo Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award

    October 11, 2017 11:45 AM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Oct. 11, 2017 — LaJune Lange will receive the 2017 Difference Makers through Service to the Profession Award at a luncheon during the GPSolo 2017 Solo & Small Firm Summit on Friday, Oct. 20, in St. Paul, Minn. The Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award, presented by the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division, goes to an attorney, living or deceased, who has made a significant contribution through service to the profession.

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    Artika R. Tyner named recipient of the 2017 ABA GPSolo Difference Makers Award

    October 11, 2017 11:44 AM by John Glynn

    CHICAGO, Oct. 11, 2017 — Artika R. Tyner will receive a 2017 Difference Makers Award at a luncheon during the GPSolo 2017 Solo & Small Firm Summit on Friday, Oct. 20, in St. Paul, Minn. The Difference Maker Award, presented by the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division, recognizes an individual who has made a difference in the local community.

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