January 17, 2018

Immigration, electronic voting and homeless youth are among highlights at American Bar Association meeting Feb. 1-5 in Vancouver

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 17, 2018 — The implications of a proposed merits-based U.S. immigration system, measures to secure electronic voting, LGBT rights under the Trump administration and efforts to reduce homeless youth in the United States and Canada are chief legal issues that will be explored at the 2018 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting Feb. 1-5 in Vancouver.

With several hundred top-quality legal programs and events, and presentations by America’s foremost law experts and speakers, the ABA Midyear Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals.

The 601-member ABA House of Delegates—the association’s policy-making body—will meet Feb. 5, 8:30 a.m., in Ballroom B/C (Level 1) of the Vancouver Convention Centre. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.    

Online registration is available for news reporters. Credential guidelines are here

Diversity and immigration programs include:

Friday, Feb. 2

The Challenges for Women in Politics – Both Personal and Professional
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and former British Columbia Justice Minister and Attorney General Suzanne Anton, QC, will discuss the personal and professional challenges of women in politics.

Noon-1:30 p.m., Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Main Lobby Level, Seasons

ABA and Canadian Legal Needs of Homeless Youth Learning Exchange: Improving Outcomes by Removing Legal Barriers U.S. and Canadian advocates, lawyers and service providers will gather for an interactive roundtable discussion on homeless youth, examining strategies in their respective countries to identify effective legal resources and referral systems; unmet needs and gaps in services; as well as current campaigns and model responses, such as Vancouver’s Pivot Legal Society and the new ABA Homeless Youth Legal Network.

Noon-4 p.m., Fairmont Pacific Rim, Level 3, Star Sapphire Ballroom C

Enhancing Justice, Reducing Bias: Next Steps— Experts in law and science will share proven strategies for combating the implicit biases that taint justice outcomes and impact diversity in the legal profession.

1-2:30 p.m., The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Discovery Floor, Saturna Island

The Power of Finding Your Voice— Former senior vice president of CNN Worldwide Parisa Khosravi will share her unique perspective on success honed from overcoming obstacles as an international female journalist, immigrant and mother. 

4-5:30 p.m., Vancouver Convention Centre, West Level 1, Room 118

Saturday, Feb. 3

“Responding to Natural Disasters:  The Role of the Bar, Legal Aid and IOLTA” – Representatives from the ABA Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program will provide an overview of its pro bono legal hotline under the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the lessons learned from assistance provided to victims of the recent California wildfires and hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico.

8:30-9:45 a.m., Hyatt Regency Vancouver, Second Floor, Georgia Ballroom B

“Lessons Across Borders:  What the U.S. and Canada Can Teach One Another About Establishing a Successful Immigration Policy” As the Trump administration supports the RAISE Act – an acronym for Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment – U.S. and Canadian immigration attorneys will examine the proposed measure, which reduces the number of legal immigrants into the United States and prioritizes high-skilled workers by setting up a merits-based system similar to those used by Canada and Australia. How well has the system worked in Canada and will it work in the United States?

10:30 a.m.-Noon, Vancouver Convention Centre, West Level 1, Room 118

“Spirit of Excellence Awards” — The ABA will recognize four legal professionals with its 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award for their commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession: Alan N. Braverman, senior executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of The Walt Disney Company; Major General (ret.) Kenneth D. Gray, first African-American general in the history of the active Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.; Heather Kendall-Miller, senior staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund in Anchorage; and Judge James A. Wynn Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va.

Noon-2 p.m., Vancouver Convention Centre, West Level 1, West Ballroom C

The Current State of LGBT Law Under the Trump Administration — Top LGBT legal experts – Executive Director D’Arcy Kemnitz, National LGBT Bar Association; Associate Judge Phyliss Frye, Houston Municipal Courts; Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi, GLAD; and Legal Director Shannon Price Minter, National Center of Lesbian Rights – will consider recent advances and setbacks to LGBT law, focusing on such topics as the ban on transgender military personnel, the Department of Defense’s religious freedom memo and the Justice Department’s stance that the Civil Rights Act does not protect workers on the basis of their sexual orientation.

2-3:30 p.m., Vancouver Convention Centre, West Level 1, Room 109-110

“Title IX Updates”
— Panelists will discuss hot topics and recent developments in civil rights laws pertaining to both K-12 and postsecondary education. Topics addressed will include pregnant and parenting students, sexual harassment and sexual violence and applicability of Title IX to sexual orientation and gender identity. Speakers include Daiquiri Steele, who formerly served as a civil rights attorney with the U.S. Department of Education, where she provided legal counsel relating to federal investigations of discrimination involving the nation’s school districts, colleges, universities and state educational agencies.

2:30-3:30 p.m., Vancouver Convention Centre, West Level 1, Room 119/120

“2018 Stonewall Awards” — Three longstanding activists – Jennifer L. Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project; Eduardo Juarez, supervisory trial attorney, San Antonio Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and Phyllis Randolph Frye, an associate judge for the Municipal Courts in Houston – will be honored by the ABA with its Sixth Annual Stonewall Award for advancing LGBT people in the legal profession and championing LGBT legal causes.

5:30-7 p.m., Vancouver Convention Centre, West Level 1, Room 109/110

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register onsite or pick up preregistered press credentials at the Vancouver Convention Centre West (Level 1), beginning at 2 p.m. on Jan. 31. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided at the VCC West (Ballroom A on Level 1), starting at noon on Feb. 1. The room will be open daily thereafter from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Feb. 5.

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.