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Archive for 'February 2018'

    American Bar Association sends letter to Congress in support of the COURTS Act

    February 28, 2018 11:00 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2018 — The American Bar Association sent a letter to Senate and House leaders urging them to reauthorize the Court Improvement Program (CIP) through the “Continuation of Useful Resources to States” or COURTS Act.

    H.R. 4461, introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and S. 2173, introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are complementary bills and reauthorize CIP, a critical bipartisan initiative that improves legal processes in the child welfare system and provides the only direct federal funds to child welfare courts throughout the country. CIP is a 25-year-old program that has produced exceptional results for child welfare cases in every state in the country.

    Read the full 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

     

    Virtual reality, gender diversity, fake news and free speech to top ABA meeting in California

    February 28, 2018 10:17 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2018 — Communications experts participating in the 23rd Annual Conference of the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law will explore hot-button topics, including the legalities of virtual, augmented and diminished reality, the impact of fake news, and the legal challenges of monitoring online content, among many other issues, March 1-3 in Napa Valley, Calif.

    Representatives from CNN, NBCUniversal, Facebook, Microsoft, Sirius XM, Apple, Associate Press, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Gannett, CBS, Fox Entertainment Group, Warner Bros., Netflix and HBO along with federal agencies and top-ranked law firms will tackle trending communications legal issues.

    What:  
    23rd Annual Conference
    Sponsored by the ABA Forum on Communications Law

    When: 
    Thursday-Saturday, March 1-3

    Where:
    Silverado Resort & Spa
    1600 Atlas Peak Road
    Napa Valley, CA 94558

    The Champion of Freedom Award, the Forum’s highest honor, will be presented to John P. Borger, of Minneapolis. The award is given to those, “who have devoted their careers to the defense of the free expression of ideas.”

    Program highlights include:

    “Fake News: Rights, Risks And The Role of The Media In A Duplicitous World” — As claims and counter claims in the world of “fake news” continue to evolve, this session will answer these questions: What are the domestic and international implications of fake news?; What risks are posed when persons and powers, foreign and domestic, plant fake news stories about matters of public concern?; What are the risks of liability when the press is duped by fakers foreign and domestic?; Are social media companies taking appropriate steps to reduce the spread of fake news?;  What legal remedies are available to news organizations whose intellectual property is hijacked by purveyors or phony stories?
    Friday, 9:15-10:45 a.m.

    “Managing Online Content: Legal V. Social Responsibilities” — How are companies managing comments on their site? What are the legal perimeters around live streaming a murder or suicide? What legal and ethical issues are involved with objectionable content on platforms like social media, from sex trafficking to revenge porn, hate speech to copyright infringement?  A panel of experts will discuss the debates over policy as to how web providers should manage websites and the role of corporate and social responsibility.
    Friday, 11-12:30 p.m.

    “Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Diminished Reality: Do You Really Know What They Are? Can You Spot the Legal Issues?” — Panelists will discuss the legal challenges of creators and users of the latest technological trends involving virtual, augmented and diminished reality. A history of the technology, key legal issues involving property rights and likely trespass issues when it comes to location-based games such as Pokémon Go will be discussed.  The panel will also explore First Amendment issues, virtual advertising, biometric privacy issues involving facial recognition, trademark and patent issues.
    Friday, 1:15-2:15 p.m.

    “The Gender Diversity Imperative in the Legal Profession and Strategies to Interrupt Unconscious Biases for Inclusion and Success— Media law issues from women and men working together to legal implications and vetting requirements for news stories reporting on sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations will be the focus of this panel discussion. The featured guest on the panel is Joanne Lipman, the author of That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together.
    Saturday, 12:30-2 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 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.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    FAA official says “regulatory humility” is key to navigating new aviation landscape

    February 27, 2018 4:48 PM by glynnj

    Speaking at the American Bar Association Forum on Air and Space Law’s 2018 Update Conference, Charles M. Trippe Jr., chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration said, “Aviation is changing profoundly before our very eyes.”

    FAA Chief Counsel Charles M. Trippe Jr. addresses the ABA Forum on Air and Space Law’s 2018 Update Conference


    Trippe said that it’s not just the hardware and software of the industry that is changing, but the culture of aviation itself.

    One hundred years ago aviation was primarily the domain of a small, privileged group of pilots and controllers who had “studied and toiled long and hard” to learn their craft. “Today anyone with $500 to spend at Best Buy can become a pilot in a relatively short order of time, with remarkably little training,” Trippe said, referring to the growing popularity of drones, both among hobbyists and commercial entities.

    That popularity is only expected to grow. According to the recently published FAA Aerospace Forecast, there are about 2.5 million drones already in use in the United States, and that number is projected to nearly triple by 2020, with about 7 million active drones flying over our skies. “We are charged with bringing a sense of order and discipline to this new and greatly expanding aviation culture,” the chief counsel said of the FAA.

    While the new technologies offer many benefits, there are also safety concerns, with a growing number of drones in safety-related incidents with other aircrafts, including collisions. Also, use of such drones and their cameras have raised privacy concerns. And, there are worries that the technology could be used as part of terrorist attacks.

    “It’s only the contributions from across the industry, economy and all levels of government that we will solve the complicated riddles posed by unmanned aircraft systems and other issues confronting us in this new area of innovation.” Trippe told the audience of fellow attorneys.

    To regulate effectively in this day and age, the FAA must listen to and learn from the people who are working in the field, Trippe said. “By continuing to listen to each other and work together, the FAA and its industry partners can maintain strong communications and a mutual respect that is necessary to keep aviation safe and efficient.”

    Trippe said he calls this “regulatory humility.”

    “I think it is an apt description – one which should help bring our approach to regulation in this time of innovation and rapid change. He urged audience members to “consider your role in aviation with this in mind.”

     

    Head of counterintelligence to discuss lawyers’ role in cyber threats at ABA breakfast

    February 26, 2018 9:07 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2018 — William R. Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will discuss how lawyers can be effective assets in the defense of America’s national and economic security at a breakfast sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

    What:  
    “Calling Lawyers to Action – The Legal Sector
    as a Critical Ally for National Security”

    When: 
    Friday, March 9, 2018
    8-9 a.m. ET

    Where:
    University Club
    1135 16th St. NW
    Washington, D.C. 20036

    The rise of the internet-based economy has resulted in an unprecedented number of threats to American businesses that hold sensitive information. Diverse threats from malicious insider activity, hackers, organized criminal enterprises, business rivals and even foreign intelligence agencies can have a devastating impact on entire industries. Today’s lawyers must be proactive guardians of their clients’ most sensitive data.

    Evanina will discuss how law firms, in-house counsel and individual attorneys can become more effective stewards of highly targeted data. He will also offer advice on where American legal professionals and their clients can safely report suspected espionage, sabotage and hostile threats.

    Prior to being named director of NCSC in 2014, Evanina served as chief of the CIA counterespionage group and was a career FBI supervisory special agent.

    There is no charge for media covering this event.  However, there is a $25 cost to include breakfast. To register, please contact Jennifer Kildee at 202-662-1732 or Jennifer.Kildee@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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    The ABA releases new guide to avoiding false claims against government contracts

    February 23, 2018 2:33 PM by romeroi

    CHICAGO, Feb. 23, 2018 — The new American Bar Association book, “The False Claims Act and Government Contracts,” is the much-needed, basic manual for any inside, outside, government or relator’s counsel who faces issues at the intersection of the False Claims Act (FCA) and federal government contracting.

    Today, the FCA is the federal government’s principal civil tool in its anti-fraud efforts. Litigation under the FCA that involves government contracts is a complicated dance involving the Department of Justice, contracting services, contractors and, frequently, relators who have availed themselves of the qui tam provisions of the FCA. In 2016 alone, the government and relators collectively recovered over $4.7 billion under the FCA.

    In this book, the authors explore the relationship between federal procurement and the FCA. The chapters take an in-depth look at the regulated nature of government contracting and the players, and readers will learn how possible modifications to the FCA may have the potential to improve compliance and reduce costs.

    Title:                            ”The False Claims Act and Government Contracts”
    Publisher:                    ABA Publishing
    Pages:                         224
    Product Code:             5390294
    ISBN:                           978-1-63425-997-2
    Size:                            8.5 x 11
    Binding:                       Paperback 
    Price:                           $69.95
    Orders:                        Call 800-285-2221 or  ShopABA.org

    Editor’s note: Review copies are available by emailing Althea A. Billins at Althea.Billins@americanbar.org. If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Althea A. Billins, c/o ABA Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., 20th floor, 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 

    The ABA releases the highly anticipated 2018 edition of the ‘ABCs of Arbitrage’

    February 23, 2018 9:21 AM by romeroi

    CHICAGO, Feb. 23, 2018 — The long-awaited 2018 edition of the “ABCs of Arbitrage: Tax Rules for Investment of Bond Proceeds by Municipalities,” now available, is filled with new insights and information.

    The new edition of this best-seller is updated and expanded to help lawyers master both the most basic and complicated aspects of arbitrage by translating the complex issues into concise, practical language. The book covers the rules of arbitrage, the relevant International Revenue Service code sections and the regulations and technical terms used in this practice.

    In addition, this book includes valuable appendices, including arbitrage sections of the Internal Revenue Code, arbitrage regulations and proposed regulations.

    The book was written by two experts: Kimberly C. Betterton, whose practice focuses on federal tax laws and regulations involving tax-exempt bonds and exempt organizations; and Vicky Tsilas, the chief of the Tax-Exempt Bond Branch in the Internal Revenue Service.

    Title:                            “ABCs of Arbitrage: Tax Rules for Investment
                                       of Bond Proceeds by Municipalities”
    Publisher:                    ABA Publishing
    Pages:                          224
    Product Code:             5330245
    ISBN:                           978-1-64105-062-3
    Size:                             7 x 10
    Binding:                        Paperback 
    Price:                            $154.95
    Orders:                         Call 800-285-2221 or ShopABA.org

    Editor’s note: Review copies are available by emailing Althea A. Billins at Althea.Billins@americanbar.org if you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Althea A. Billins, c/o ABA Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., 20th floor, 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    Legal profession and technology to merge at ABA TECHSHOW

    February 21, 2018 12:18 PM by glynnj

    The American Bar Association Law Practice Division will host TECHSHOW 2018, March 7-10 in Chicago. ABA TECHSHOW is where lawyers, legal professionals, and technology all come together. For three days, attendees learn about the most useful and practical technologies available. This year will be no exception, with more than 60 sessions in 16 different tracks covering the latest in blockchain, cybersecurity, modern e-discovery and the latest trends in legal technology.

    What:  
    TECHSHOW 2018
    Sponsored by the ABA Law Practice Division

    When: 
    March 7-10, 2018

    Where:
    Hyatt Regency Chicago
    151 E Upper Wacker Drive
    Chicago, IL 60601

    The keynote speaker will be Daniel Martin Katz, an associate professor of Law at Illinois Tech–Chicago, on Thursday, March 8, from 1-2 p.m. Katz, a scientist and technologist, will offer a provocative view of the near future: how lawyers should embrace innovation and these new technologies if they want to achieve greater professional success or merely ensure their economic survival.


    Program highlights include:

    “AI in Practice – Or, the Robots are Not Your Enemy — Artificial intelligence is impacting the way law is practiced and how law firms operate. Hear the experts discuss the current state of AI in the legal industry — where it is already in use, where it might go in the future, and how AI can be leveraged in law practice today. Thursday, 2-3 p.m.

    “Mentoring Women and People of Color in Legal Tech” — The legal technology field is not immune to the lack of diversity found in the profession. Mentorship is essential to the success of young women and people of color entering this field, but forming these relationships can be difficult because most potential mentors have not faced similar challenges. This session will discuss how law schools can develop mentoring models for women and people of color in the legal technology arena. Thursday, 2-3 p.m.

    “Lawyers and Leads: How to Effectively Develop Business” — Most attorneys cringe at the word “sales,” but to be successful at business development, you need to understand how to sell your services. This session will focus on capturing, tracking and following up with “leads” in the digital age. Panelists will also discuss the use of chatbots, text messaging, lead buys, automation and more to help you to ethically close the deal with new clients. Thursday, 4-5 p.m.

    “Effective Security Awareness Training for Law Firm Personnel” — Phishing and social engineering scams are pandemic, as criminals increasingly target law firms to access financial accounts or hold your data for ransom. Education is your first step in an ethical approach to protecting against common cyberattacks, and helping employees to become a part of your “human firewall.” Learn how attackers penetrate firm defenses, and how to implement an effective cybersecurity awareness program with videos, realistic phishing tests and more. Friday, 3-4 p.m.

    “Alternative Fees for the Process-Oriented Firm” — Now that your consistent, repeatable processes help you to achieve better outcomes more efficiently, it’s time to start thinking about alternative fee options for your clients. Alternative fees help you to capitalize on your process improvements, because you’re no longer wasting time on routine tasks. Also, learn more about the different types of AFAs and when they might make sense for you. Friday, 3-4 p.m.

    “Think Before You Tweet: Ethical Issues in Social Media” — More lawyers are using social media to market their practices. Remember, though, the duty of technological competence also extends to social media. What you tweet, post or publish is as discoverable in litigation or ethics investigations as emails, public statements and electronic documents. Our experts will discuss the rules and guidance on the ethical use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even your own blog. Saturday, 9:15-10:15 a.m.

    A complete agenda of the program can be found online.

    This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Robert Robinson at robert.robinson@americanbar.org.

    ABA TECHSHOW, March 7-10 in Chicago, is where the legal profession and technology merge

    February 21, 2018 11:56 AM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Feb. 21, 2018 — The American Bar Association Law Practice Division will host TECHSHOW 2018, March 7-10 in Chicago. ABA TECHSHOW is where lawyers, legal professionals, and technology all come together. For three days, attendees learn about the most useful and practical technologies available. This year will be no exception, with more than 60 sessions in 16 different tracks covering the latest in blockchain, cybersecurity, modern e-discovery and the latest trends in legal technology.

    What:  
    TECHSHOW 2018
    Sponsored by the ABA Law Practice Division

    When: 
    March 7-10, 2018

    Where:
    Hyatt Regency Chicago
    151 E Upper Wacker Drive
    Chicago, IL 60601

    The keynote speaker will be Daniel Martin Katz, an associate professor of Law at Illinois Tech–Chicago, on Thursday, March 8, from 1-2 p.m. Katz, a scientist and technologist, will offer a provocative view of the near future: how lawyers should embrace innovation and these new technologies if they want to achieve greater professional success or merely ensure their economic survival.

    Program highlights include:

    “AI in Practice – Or, the Robots are Not Your Enemy — Artificial intelligence is impacting the way law is practiced and how law firms operate. Hear the experts discuss the current state of AI in the legal industry — where it is already in use, where it might go in the future, and how AI can be leveraged in law practice today.

    Thursday, 2-3 p.m.

    “Mentoring Women and People of Color in Legal Tech” — The legal technology field is not immune to the lack of diversity found in the profession. Mentorship is essential to the success of young women and people of color entering this field, but forming these relationships can be difficult because most potential mentors have not faced similar challenges. This session will discuss how law schools can develop mentoring models for women and people of color in the legal technology arena.

    Thursday, 2-3 p.m.

    “Lawyers and Leads: How to Effectively Develop Business” — Most attorneys cringe at the word “sales,” but to be successful at business development, you need to understand how to sell your services. This session will focus on capturing, tracking and following up with “leads” in the digital age. Panelists will also discuss the use of chatbots, text messaging, lead buys, automation and more to help you to ethically close the deal with new clients.

    Thursday, 4-5 p.m.

    “Effective Security Awareness Training for Law Firm Personnel” — Phishing and social engineering scams are pandemic, as criminals increasingly target law firms to access financial accounts or hold your data for ransom. Education is your first step in an ethical approach to protecting against common cyberattacks, and helping employees to become a part of your “human firewall.” Learn how attackers penetrate firm defenses, and how to implement an effective cybersecurity awareness program with videos, realistic phishing tests and more.

    Friday, 3-4 p.m.

    “Alternative Fees for the Process-Oriented Firm” — Now that your consistent, repeatable processes help you to achieve better outcomes more efficiently, it’s time to start thinking about alternative fee options for your clients. Alternative fees help you to capitalize on your process improvements, because you’re no longer wasting time on routine tasks. Also, learn more about the different types of AFAs and when they might make sense for you.

    Friday, 3-4 p.m.

    “Think Before You Tweet: Ethical Issues in Social Media” — More lawyers are using social media to market their practices. Remember, though, the duty of technological competence also extends to social media. What you tweet, post or publish is as discoverable in litigation or ethics investigations as emails, public statements and electronic documents. Our experts will discuss the rules and guidance on the ethical use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even your own blog.

    Saturday, 9:15-10:15 a.m.

    A complete agenda of the program can be found online.

    This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Robert Robinson at robert.robinson@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.   

    ABA urges attorney general to continue administrative closure in immigration cases

    February 20, 2018 9:05 AM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Feb. 20, 2018 — The American Bar Association has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Department of Justice, outlining reasons why the attorney general should not withdraw the ability of immigration judges to use administrative closure to suspend deportation proceedings.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who administers the nation’s system of immigration adjudication, requested comment on whether immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals have authority to order administrative closure in a case, a long-standing practice that essentially pauses a deportation proceeding. This could occur for various reasons, including the likelihood that an individual might prevail in an action separate from a removal proceeding that entitles them to relief from removal.

    The ABA brief, filed late Friday, notes the nation’s more than 300 immigration judges are now overwhelmed in their caseload and that the use of administrative closure “is a practical necessity” to ensure that the immigration court backlog does not grow further. As of December 2017, there were 667,000 matters pending before immigration judges and the waiting time for a proceeding is typically two years or more, the brief explained, citing an outside study.

    The ABA brief adds that the U.S. Supreme Court has described the “power to defer adjudication of a case as inherent in the authority to decide cases” and this is a necessary tool for an immigration judge.

    “Withdrawing the authority from (immigration judges) and the Board to administratively close proceedings would make it considerably more difficult for those individuals to obtain relief,” the ABA brief said. “In the absence of administrative closure, (judges) confronted with such cases will either issue continuance after continuance to allow noncitizens to pursue relief in another forum or will issue final orders of removal, pretermitting those proceedings. Neither course is appropriate or desirable in an efficient and balanced adjudicative system. … A decision to withdraw administrative closure authority, in other words, is not an abstract or procedural one; it would have profound and long-lasting consequences on the operation of the immigration adjudication system and the lives of those who must proceed through it.”

    The ABA amicus brief filed with the Justice Department 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

    FAA official to speak at ABA Air and Space Law conference Feb. 23 in Arlington, Va.

    February 20, 2018 5:31 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2018 — Charles M. Trippe, Jr., chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration, will be the luncheon keynote speaker at the American Bar Association Forum on Air & Space Law’s  2018 Update Conference to be held Friday, Feb. 23, in Arlington, Va.

    What:  
    2018 Update Conference
    Sponsored by the ABA Forum on Air & Space Law

    When: 
    Friday, Feb. 23, 12-1:30 pm

    Where:
    Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City
    1250 South Hayes Street
    Arlington, Va. 22202

    The program gets underway at 8:15 a.m. ET with a  Legislative Update Panel where the latest legislative developments from FAA Reauthorization to Infrastructure will be discussed with stakeholders and policymakers with varying perspectives.

    Aviation experts from leading air and space law firms, private companies, the FAA, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation, United Airlines, Amazon, FedEx Express, Spirit Airlines, NASA and Boeing, will explore top air and space issues and challenges.

    Other sessions will focus on the importance of aviation legislative priorities; the future role of drones in air transportation, airline customer service, airport funding, and the legal questions surrounding the end of the U.S. operation of the International Space Station in 2024.

    The complete agenda can be found online.

    This event is open to members of the press. For media 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

    Statement of Hilarie Bass, ABA President Re: Proposed Elimination of Funding for the Legal Services Corporation

    February 16, 2018 1:50 PM by romeroi

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2018 – The overwhelming majority of Americans believe it is important for everyone to have access to civil legal assistance. This broad backing is recognized in the bipartisan support Congress provides each year to fund legal services through the Legal Services Corporation. In the face of strong bipartisan agreement over the value of LSC’s important work, the administration’s second budget proposal to defund such services is unwarranted and should be dead on arrival.

    The success of the federal funding used to provide legal access to nearly 1.9 million veterans, seniors, domestic violence survivors, natural disaster victims, rural inhabitants and others has been confirmed in more than 30 cost-benefit analyses. What’s more, these studies show that every federal dollar spent on legal aid returns to communities more than three times as much in benefits such as social services.

    The vast unmet need for legal services nationwide argues for a funding increase for this important program. At a bare minimum, continued funding of the Legal Services Corporation is critical to fulfilling our nation’s promise of justice for all and equal justice under the 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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews

    New ABA Fact Check explores treason as a legal matter and its history

    February 16, 2018 10:42 AM by romeroi

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2018 — In recent months, the term “treason” has been bandied about, from President Trump using it to assess the reaction of Democratic lawmakers at his first State of the Union address to Democratic politicians and others who invoked it when referring to reported conversations between the president’s son, Donald Jr., and a Russian lawyer during the summer of 2016.

    But as a legal matter, treason has a very specific meaning under Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. A new ABA Legal Fact Check posted today explores why the framers of the Constitution set strict limits on what constitutes the criminal charge of treason and highlights key treason cases that have gone before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. The URL for the 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 Section of Intellectual Property Law releases comments on the renegotiation of NAFTA

    February 16, 2018 10:17 AM by romeroi

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2018 — The American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law has released comments to the U.S. Trade Representative on intellectual property rights considerations during the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    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 Feb. 14, 2018, 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 sections release comments on India’s White Paper on Data Protection Framework

    February 14, 2018 2:21 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2018 — The American Bar Association sections of Antitrust Law and International Law released comments today on the White Paper on a Data Protection Framework For India.

    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 Jan. 31, 2018, 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.

     

    Statement of Hilarie Bass, ABA president Re: Harsh treatment of undocumented immigrants

    February 14, 2018 11:25 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2018 — The American Bar Association objects to the increasing number of instances of harsh treatment of undocumented immigrants by federal immigration officers in the United States. While the country needs to protect its borders, enforce laws and ensure the safety of citizens, such callous treatment of individuals, whose only transgressions are immigration violations, undermines the nation’s values.

    An estimated 11 million undocumented people live in the United States. The American Bar Association has long supported enactment of legislation recognizing that undocumented individuals now in the United States should be dealt with realistically and humanely, and those who are otherwise law-abiding should be accorded legal status.

    Instead, in the past year the Department of Homeland Security has vastly expanded its immigration enforcement, increasing internal apprehensions by 42 percent. These otherwise law-abiding immigrants have lived and worked in the United States for years and are not dangerous criminals. Many individuals with existing removal orders had been allowed to remain in the country until now while reporting regularly to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    Several recent arrests and deportations raise legal and constitutional concerns: Jorge Garcia, a 39-year-old husband and father of two from Detroit, was deported to Mexico on Martin Luther King Jr. Day after living in the U.S. 28 years and making numerous efforts to obtain legal status. Carlos Gudiel Andres, husband and father of five, was arrested by ICE agents last month in the parking lot of his Houston apartment complex and was not allowed to say goodbye to his family. His only offense was entering the country illegally in 2006. And a Jamaican grandmother in her 60s, known only as Grandma Beverly, was pulled off a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 19 and arrested for overstaying a visitor’s visa after seeing her granddaughter for the first time. The Border Patrol did not even notify her family.

    Taking people off the street, refusing them the opportunity to say goodbye or inform their families about why they have disappeared are not the actions of a democratic society and do not represent the values of most Americans.

    The rule of law does not require the Department of Homeland Security to track down and deport all individuals who violate immigration laws. Seasoned prosecutors know that prosecutorial discretion is an essential part of any humane justice system. These enforcement actions also raise questions of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, the constitutional guarantees of freedom from discrimination and questions of due process.

    Congress needs to enact sensible, fair and humane legislation to deal with undocumented individuals. Until then, the executive branch needs to exercise restraint and a common-sense approach centered on true public safety when it comes to arrest and deportation.

    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 for judges on supported decision-making being an alternative to guardianship

    February 14, 2018 7:00 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2018 — The protection and ability for people with disabilities to lead self-determined lives will be the focus of the American Bar Association program, “Supported Decision -Making as a Less Restrictive Alternative to Guardianship: What Judges Need to Know,” in a Feb. 15 webinar.

    What:  
    Supported Decision Making as a Less Restrictive Alternative to Guardianship: What Judges Need to Know presented by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice (Disability Rights Committee)

    When: 
    Thursday, Feb. 15, 2-3:30 p.m.

    Where:
    Webinar

    Recent news of Senate Bill 19 — the Uniform Guardianship Act, which spotlights how the guardianship system has failed the country’s most vulnerable citizens — has ushered in more backing for a supported decision-making system, which allows support for an individual’s decision.

    Legal experts and judges in the field will discuss how judges can glean from this new process, where an individual with disabilities can choose a trusted person or persons to actively support them in making decisions. Though guardianship does involve a third party making decisions, supported decision making supports the individual’s “own” decisions.

    Speakers include: Robert Fleischner, assistant director, Center of Public Representation; Kristin Booth Glen, retired judge and dean emerita, CUNY School of Law; Nathan L. Hecht, chief justice, Texas State Supreme Court and Frances M. Doherty, judge, Second Judicial Court of Nevada.

    Discussion will include:

    • Why supported decision making has gained recognition as a less restrictive alternative to guardianship

    • Recent support for court supported decision-making systems

    • Historical and recent updates to Texas and Delaware’s laws recognizing supported decision- making agreements

    In August 2017, the ABA House of Delegates adopted a resolution on supported decision-making and its use as a less restrictive alternative to guardianship.

    The event is co-sponsored by the ABA Commission on Disability Rights, ABA Judicial Division, and the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings.

    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.

    The ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice provides leadership within the legal profession in protecting and advancing human rights, civil liberties and social justice. Representing nearly 10,000 members with a wide range of professional interests, the section keeps its members abreast of complex civil rights and civil liberties issues and ensures that the protection of individual rights remain a focus of legal and policy discussion.

    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 Young Lawyers Division seeking nominations for top 40 young lawyers

    February 13, 2018 4:18 PM by glynnj

    CHICAGO, Feb 13, 2018 — The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is seeking nominations for its 2018 On the Rise Top 40 Young Lawyers.

    The annual On the Rise Top 40 Young Lawyers provides national recognition for 40 ABA young lawyer members who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership and legal and community service.

    Nominees must be 36 years old or younger, or admitted to practice for five years or less as of Aug. 30, 2018; a member of the ABA; and a licensed attorney in the U.S. or one of its territories. Individuals cannot nominate themselves.

    Nominations, which are due March 1 at 11:59 p.m. ET, must be submitted via the online nomination form.

    A selection committee comprised of practicing attorneys in private practice and in-house positions will review the nominations and make selections based on the reputation of the nominator, the professional relationship between the nominator and the nominee and the nominator’s firsthand knowledge of the nominee’s experience, skill and character.

    This year’s nominees and their nominators will be notified and names published on the YLD website by mid-July 2018.

    The Young Lawyers Division is committed to assuring it is best able to represent the newest members of the profession, ensuring that it reflects the society it serves and providing young lawyers and young lawyer organizations with the tools and opportunities for professional and personal success.

    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.

    Statement by Steven M. Richman, ABA Section of International Law chair Re: ‘Polish Death Camp’ law

    February 13, 2018 9:45 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2018 – The American Bar Association condemns the just enacted law in the Republic of Poland, which criminalizes certain speech and other expressions of thought relating to “claims that the Polish Nation is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich.”

    As a matter of principle, we are concerned about any law that infringes individuals’ freedom of expression. This fundamental right is reflected in core international human rights instruments including the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    The basic concept of the freedom of expression, including freedom from government interference in scholarship, debate, and the exchange of ideas, is the bedrock of an open and democratic society. We urge the government of the Republic of Poland to repeal this 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 accreditor for law schools recommends expanding distance learning opportunities

    February 12, 2018 12:12 PM by glynnj

    The Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the American Bar Association’s accreditor of law schools, is proposing a new rule for distance education that would nearly double the number of credits law students can earn in distance learning courses before graduating.

    Under the proposal, Standard 306, which concerns distance learning allowed in J.D. programs, would change from an absolute number to a percentage of whatever credits a law school requires for graduation. If adopted, law schools could allow one-third of its required credits be taught online. The current rule limits the number of such credits to 15.

    ABA standards now require at least 83 credit hours for graduation although most schools require more, with the usual range being between 86 and 90 credits. As proposed, the revised standard would effectively raise the number of credits for distance learning to at least 28 credit hours and, in many cases, 30 credit hours. Those courses would continue to be subject to other requirements of the standards.

    In addition, the proposal would change the current standard’s prohibition on distance learning courses in the first year and allow a school to include up to 10 credits of online courses in the required 1L curriculum.

    The proposal would retain the current provision that a course does not become a distance learning course for counting purposes unless more than one-third of the work in the course is done online. Law schools could still be granted variances for more extensive online learning. Currently, three law schools have been granted variances for experimental distance learning programs – Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Southwestern Law School and, during the closed session of this council meeting, Syracuse University College of Law. To date, only Mitchell Hamline has enrolled students in its program.

    The council approved the plan at its meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on Feb. 9, and put revised Standard 306 out for Notice and Comment. This and other proposed changes to ABA legal education standards will be the subject of a public hearing April 12 in Washington, D.C. The council then meets in May in Washington and could finalize proposed changes. The final proposal would then go to the ABA House of Delegates for its concurrence in August

    Pamela Lysaght, chair of the council’s Standards Review Committee, which recommended the online learning change, said the revision would “provide schools more flexibility.”

    The council also approved several other measures, including keeping the current form, with minor modifications, of how it reports employment outcomes for the nation’s 204 ABA-accredited law schools. This is considered important for prospective students concerned about employment opportunities after graduation, particularly at a time of high law school debt. AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit organization that studies legal education, pegs the average debt faced by a new law graduate at about $100,000 for public law schools and above $125,000 for private schools.

    The form, one of four options considered by the council, leaves intact how law schools now report employment data of their past graduating class – 10 months after graduation. This includes law-school funded jobs, which will be separately reported.

    In other matters the council:

    • Approved new language for Rule 53, one of several rules that cover confidentiality of the accreditation process. The revised changes will also be posted for Notice and Comment, with the intention of sending the changes to the ABA House of Delegates at the ABA Annual Meeting in August, should the council finally approve the changes at its meeting in May.

    • Received an update from council chair-elect Jeff Lewis, dean emeritus and professor at Saint Louis University School of Law, and Managing Director Barry Currier regarding proposed changes in the structure of the council’s operations, principally to streamline the work of the council and to realize substantial cost savings. Under the outlined scenario, the council’s Standards Review and Accreditation committees would be phased out later this year, with their work being returned to the council. Also, periodic re-accreditation of the nation’s law schools, including site visits to those schools, would occur every 10 years rather than seven years. Depending on whether the changes affect bylaws or standards, the change would have to be approved by either the ABA Board of Governors or the House of Delegates.

    • Heard several reports from affiliate groups, or other stakeholders in the legal education arena. Representatives from the Law School Admissions Council reported “positive trends” in law school applications of up more than 10 percent from a year ago at this point in the admissions cycle. Also, officials with the American Association of Law Schools reported that findings from their broad study, “Before the JD,” could be ready this summer. The survey, done in collaboration with the Gallup organization, involved 25,000 college undergraduates and 2,500 first-year law students. The study seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the factors contributing to the intention/decision to pursue a J.D. degree.

     

    The council’s open session agenda, including reports and memorandums, can be found here. The council is an independent arm of the ABA and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accreditor of law schools,

    Experts to discuss Medicaid, antitrust issues in health care and more at ABA meeting in Arizona

    February 12, 2018 9:02 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2018 — Experts participating in the American Bar Association Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference will tackle hot-button topics, including the legal issues surrounding immigrant health care, a new era for Medicaid, antitrust developments and artificial intelligence in health care, among many other issues. 

    What:  
    Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law
    Sponsored by the ABA Health Law Section

    When: 
    Wednesday-Saturday, Feb. 21-24

    Where:
    Westin Kierland Resort
    6902 E. Greenway Parkway
    Scottsdale, AZ 85254

    Program highlights include:

    “Protecting Immigrant Access to Health Care” As immigration policy continues to evolve, this session will focus on laws and policies at the federal, state and local levels related to immigrant access to health care and human services and what providers face firsthand as they furnish care. A panel of experts will discuss programs available to undocumented immigrants, how they have been enforced, barriers to access and the issues that providers face when treating immigrants.
    Wednesday, 5-6 p.m.

    “Health Care Politics & Policy 2017-2020: Election, Regulation, Legislation” This session will review and analyze expected healthcare policy developments through the next Congress. John Kelliher, managing director, Berkeley Research Group, Washington, D.C., will review policy and political developments in 2017 and will also cover the 2018 midterm congressional election and its potential outcomes and impacts, Medicare regulations for 2018, Medicaid policy developments at the state level, regulatory developments affecting the ACA exchanges and the impact of tax reform on the health care sector.
    Thursday, 9-10:15 a.m.

    “Crisis in Our Emergency Departments: Proving Better Care to Mental Health Patients” About 1 in 8 emergency department visits in the U.S. is due to a psychiatric emergency, a substance-use disorder or both. Hospitals and health-care professionals are often not able to provide adequate care to these patients. A panel of experts will outline this crisis and its impact on patient care, patient flow and costs to the health care system, as well as related legal issues facing hospitals, providers and payers. The panel will also outline possible solutions to this crisis, including the use of crisis units and tele-psychiatry consultations.
    Thursday, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

    “Medicaid: A New Era for the Federal and State Partnership” Medicaid programs vary widely from state to state. In recent years, states have pursued innovative approaches to their Medicaid programs, such as through ACOs. On March 14, 2017, HHS and CMS issued a joint letter announcing a new era for this federal and state partnership. A panel of experts, including Caroline Farrell, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.; and Matthew Herndon, chief legal officer, BMC Health Net Plan, Charlestown, Mass., will cover new CMS policies regarding 1115 demonstrations that give states freedom to test and evaluate innovative solutions and examine one state direction – ACOs – in this era of new challenges and new flexibility.
    Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

    “Antitrust Enforcement in the Health Care Industry: What to Expect” Antitrust enforcement officials from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission will address recent federal government enforcement actions, priorities and future directions in healthcare antitrust. The panel, including Ryan Kantor, assistant chief of litigation, Antitrust Division, DOJ, Washington, D.C., and Haidee Schwartz, acting deputy director, FTC, Washington, D.C., will discuss investigations and litigation involving health plans, including mergers, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and physicians and other healthcare professionals.
    Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

    “Artificial Intelligence in Health Care” Artificial intelligence, cognitive learning and machine learning have the potential to revolutionize the health care industry and radically change treatment delivery. This session will explore legal issues involved with the dawn of big data in healthcare, including scope-of-practice issues and medical device classification. It will also cover privacy and security laws, some of the challenges of working with personal data in the current regulatory landscape and comparison with other countries’ approaches.
    Friday, 1:45-2:45 p.m.

    “Not for Sale: Human Trafficking as an Emerging Issue in Health Care” Human trafficking is a heinous crime that continues to grow. Health care providers are in a unique position to respond to this crime, as more victims are likely to interact with a health care provider before they ever interact with law enforcement. A panel of experts will discuss the important role healthcare providers can play in combating this crime, the tools they need to assist these victims and best practices in the health care setting for providers and their attorneys.
    Friday, 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.

    Midyear Meeting 2018: ABA accredits privacy law certification program

    February 8, 2018 5:30 PM by glynnj

    After lengthy debate, delegates vote to adopt Resolution 103A, which grants accreditation to the International Association of Privacy Professionals for a five-year term as a designated specialty certification program for lawyers.  

    The resolution was sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Specialization.

    Midyear Meeting 2018: ABA adopts new policy urging U.S. Department of Justice to reconsider mandatory sentencing edict

    February 8, 2018 5:15 PM by glynnj

    The House of Delegates approves Resolution 108C on Feb. 5 during the 2018 Midyear Meeting session in Vancouver.

    The resolution urges United States Department of Justice to restore prosecutorial discretion in choosing the charges pursued against a defendant and to reserve mandatory minimum sentencing to only the most serious drug traffickers, in addition to prohibiting its use to secure plea agreements.

    The resolution was sponsored by the ABA Section of Criminal Justice.   

    Midyear Meeting 2018: ABA supports Title VII protection for transgender people

    February 8, 2018 5:00 PM by glynnj

    The ABA policy-making body adopts Resolution 116A, which supports an interpretation of a provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits sex discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolution passed on Feb. 5 during the 2018 Midyear Meeting session in Vancouver.

    The resolution was sponsored by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. 

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to speak at ABA White Collar Crime Conference

    February 8, 2018 2:49 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2018 — Rod Jay Rosenstein, deputy attorney general for the Department of Justice, and David Green, director of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, will deliver keynote speeches at the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section’s 32nd Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime to be held Feb. 28-March 2 in San Diego.

    This annual gathering of the national white-collar bar brings together more than 1,200 leading federal and state judges and prosecutors, law enforcement officials, defense attorneys, corporate in-house counsel and members of the academic community. This year’s lineup of speakers includes 13 federal trial and appellate judges.

    What:  
    32nd Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime
    Sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Session

    When: 
    Feb. 28-March 2, 2018

    Where:
    Hilton San Diego Bayfront
    1 Park Blvd.
    San Diego, Calif. 92101

    Rosenstein, who was sworn in as the 37th deputy attorney general on April 26, 2017, by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will deliver the keynote address on Friday, March 2, at 9:15 a.m.

    Green’s E Lawrence Barcella Memorial Keynote Address is scheduled for Thursday, March 1, at 9:30 a.m. as one of the conference’s three plenary sessions.

    The three-day conference will feature three key plenary sessions:

    Thursday, March 1, 10 a.m.: A panel of U.S. Circuit and District Court judges will engage in a discussion titled, “The Evolving Challenge of Judging: 2018 Edition.” They will discuss some of the personal and professional challenges and difficult substantive issues they confront in the administration of justice.  Moderating the panel will be Paul L. Friedman, U.S. District judge, Washington, D.C. Speakers are Paul D. Borman, U.S. District judge, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit; Brian A. Jackson, chief judge, Middle District of Louisiana, Baton Rouge; Lucy H. Koh, U.S. District judge Northern District of California, San Jose; Benita Y. Pearson, U.S. District judge, Northern District of Ohio, Youngstown; Janis L. Sammartino, U.S. District judge, Southern District of California, San Diego; and Amy J. St. Eve, U.S. District judge, Northern District of Illinois, Chicago.

    Friday, March 2, 9:45 a.m.: Panel discussion titled, “Prying Eyes: Think Confidential and Privileged Client Information is Safe at the Border? Think Again.” Panelists will discuss the ethical issues presented by warrantless searches of digital devices by Department of Homeland Security at the border, even where there is no reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, the recent raid of Jones Day’s offices in Munich in the Audi investigation and the UK High Court ruling requiring the disclosure of attorneys’ interview notes taken during an internal investigation. Speakers include Joseph B. Maher, DHS acting general counsel; and David Green, director of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.

    Program highlights include:

    “The Global Reach of Money Laundering Enforcement” — This panel will discuss the ever-increasing number of international matters initiated and resolved by the Department of Justice, and will explore the foreign crimes that can be predicate offenses for money laundering and the required U.S. nexus for the same. Moderating the panel will be Mara V. J. Senn, Kleptocracy Initiative Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, Criminal Division, DOJ. Speakers include M. Kendall Day, acting deputy assistant attorney general, Criminal Division, DOJ. Washington, D.C.; and Monty Raphael QC, Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP, London.

    Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

    “Meet the SEC Enforcement Directors: Q & A on SEC Enforcement” — Stephanie Avakian and Steven R. Peikin, co-directors of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement in Washington, D.C., will discuss the agency’s enforcement priorities.

    Wednesday, 3 p.m.

    “Cross-Border Enforcement: US Economic and Trade Sanctions Prosecutions” — Panelists will discuss the regulatory and enforcement priorities of the DOJ, Office of Foreign Assets Control and Department of Commerce; the evolving reach of U.S. sanctions law; and the assessment of risk for clients engaged in business relating to Iran, China, Russia and Cuba. Speakers include Jay I. Bratt, chief for Export Controls and Sanctions, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section National Security Division, DOJ, Washington, D.C.; and Michael Dondarski, assistant director for Enforcement Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Washington, D.C.

    Wednesday, 4:15 p.m.

    “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: Recent Developments and Government Priorities” — Panelists will review bribery enforcement during the past year, DOJ and SEC priorities under the Trump administration, including any changes in extraterritorial reach and cooperation, credit policies, sharing of fines with foreign law enforcement authorities and application of the pilot program. Panelists will also consider the recent limits on SEC disgorgement actions. Speakers include Charles E. Cain, chief, FCPA Unit Enforcement Division, SEC, Washington, D.C.; and Daniel S. Kahn, chief, FCPA Unit, deputy chief, Fraud Section Criminal Division, DOJ, Washington, D.C.

    Thursday, 1:45 p.m.

    “CFTC Enforcement: Recent Developments and Speculative Prognostication” — The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act changed many things for many people in the American financial markets, but perhaps no agency was as profoundly impacted as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Eight years on, the Enforcement Division is making regular use of its new authority and has obtained significant results. Will the toughness continue, or will the current administration be more deferential to the derivatives industry? Speakers include James McDonald, director, CFTC Enforcement Division in Washington, D.C.; and Manal Sultan, deputy director, CFTC Division of Enforcement.

    Thursday, 1:45 p.m.

    “Defending Multi-National Investigations” — This international panel will discuss the expanding cooperation between national law enforcement authorities, the scope and limits of corporate liability in major foreign jurisdictions, differing enforcement tools and trends, self-reporting, joint efforts by an international defense team and fashioning global settlements. Speakers are Adriana Dantas, Barbosa Müssnich Aragão São Paulo, Brazil; Saverio Lembo, Bär & Karrer Ltd., Geneva, Switzerland; Stéphane de Navacelle, Navacelle Law, Paris; Judith Seddon, Clifford Chance, LLP, London.

    Thursday, 3:15 p.m.

    A complete agenda of the program can be found online.

    This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Robert Robinson at robert.robinson@americanbar.org.

    The ABA Criminal Justice Section is the unified voice of criminal justice judges, private criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, public defenders, academics and other professionals. The section, with more than 15,000 members, brings together all the various actors to improve the criminal justice system, address today’s most pressing issues and to serve its members, the profession and the public.

    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

    Midyear Meeting 2018: ABA adopts new policy to combat sexual harassment in the workplace

    February 8, 2018 7:30 AM by glynnj

    The House of Delegates approves Resolution 302 on Feb. 5 during the 2018 Midyear Meeting session in Vancouver.

    It urges that all employers adopt and enforce policies to “prohibit, prevent, and promptly redress” harassment and retaliation based on “gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and the intersection of sex with race and/or ethnicity.” 

    The resolution was sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the ABA Section of Litigation and the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice.   

    American Bar Association asks Senate Judiciary Committee to move ahead with sentencing reform bill

    February 7, 2018 12:06 PM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2018 — The American Bar Association sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to approve S. 1917, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, without weakening amendments in advance of next week’s markup of the bill.

    Last month, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee strongly commending leaders of both parties for their bipartisan negotiations on complex sentencing and corrections issues that are desperately needed. While S. 1917 does not go as far as the ABA would like in overhauling federal sentencing policy, it takes many important steps forward to reduce reliance on mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders and to improve sentencing and correction policies that affect juvenile justice. The ABA advocates for a quick passage of the bill by the Senate.

    Read President Bass’ Jan. 9 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

    American Bar Association awarded Public Affairs Council’s 2018 Grassroots Innovation Award

    February 7, 2018 11:41 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2018 — The American Bar Association received the Public Affairs Council’s 2018 Grassroots Innovation Award on Wednesday in Orlando for its Legal Aid Defender campaign.

    The Legal Aid Defender grassroots campaign was launched on March 17, 2017 in response to President Donald Trump’s budget proposal to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation. Constituents were asked to enlist as Legal Aid Defenders by visiting DefendLegalAid.org and creating a baseball-style Legal Aid Defender card. Each card included a personal message for Congress, contact information and a personal photo. The ABA hand-delivered more than 20,000 Legal Aid Defender cards to Congress during ABA Day in Washington the week of April 25, 2017.

    The idea to deliver baseball-style cards with verified constituent messages directly to members of Congress was unprecedented. This unique strategy was successful in generating a lot of attention from legal aid advocates and from the lawmakers who received the cards. The campaign was fully branded with a cohesive set of logos, colors, images, and designs incorporated into every tweet, message, and graphic generated by the campaign.  The campaign generated more than 8.5 million impressions on Twitter in a six-week period.

    By delivering Legal Aid Defender cards directly to members of Congress, the campaign was successful in breaking the barrier that typically exists between constituent messages and members of Congress. No House members offered an amendment to reduce or eliminate Legal Services Corporation funding in the subsequent funding bill for the LSC. This starkly contrasts with the multiple amendments offered over the past dozen years to slash LSC’s appropriations.

    The award was accepted by the project coordinator, Jared Hess of the ABA Governmental Affairs Office.

    The Public Affairs Council is the leading nonpartisan, nonpolitical association for public affairs professionals worldwide. The Public Affairs Council Innovation Awards recognize national leaders in advocacy and political strategy, and recognize outstanding initiatives that showcase creativity, inclusiveness, innovation and organizational relevance.

    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 urges executive branch to rescind decision to end DACA

    February 6, 2018 12:56 PM by glynnj

    The House of Delegates approves Resolution 108E on Feb. 5 during the 2018 Midyear Meeting session in Vancouver.

    The resolution asks the executive branch to rescind its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which affects several hundred thousand “Dreamers” — immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents when they were children.

    The resolution was sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section.

    ABA TIPS to host insurance litigation conference in Phoenix

    February 6, 2018 8:00 AM by romeroi

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2018 — Key issues in the world of insurance — including the impact of politics on the insurance industry, international ADR, the resurgence of pollution exclusion issues,  employment practices coverage and claim trends — will be discussed during the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section’s  26th Annual Insurance Coverage Litigation Midyear Conference, Feb. 22-24 in Phoenix.

    What:   26th Annual Insurance Coverage Litigation Midyear Conference
                 Sponsored by the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section 

    When:
      Feb. 22-24, 2018


    Where:
    Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
                 2400 E. Missouri Ave.
                 Phoenix, Ariz. 85016

    Program highlights include:

    “Managing the Catastrophic/Complex Case from Coverage to Conclusion” — This panel will provide a comprehensive review of the “nuts and bolts” and practical issues including coverage and bad faith that every practitioner, in-house counsel and insurance professional has had to or can expect to deal with during their career.
    Thursday, 12:45-2:15 p.m.

    “Emerging Trends and New Challenges in the D&O and Professional Liability Worlds”
    — This panel will explore the emerging trends and new challenges in the D&O and professional liability space, including changing market conditions, the increasing prevalence and severity of certain types of claims and evolving claims management issues.
    Thursday, 3:30-4:30 p.m. 

    “The Impact of the Trump Administration on Coverage and the Insurance Industry”
    — This panel will explore the potential coverage issues arising out of the 2017 executive orders and impact on coverage and claims world.
    Friday, 8:30-9:30 a.m.

    “The Three R’s of Cyber Readiness: Resilience, Risk and Response”
    —Staying “cyber educated” in the technology age requires attorneys to be familiar with a distinct “Three R’s”: Resilience, Risk and Response. This session will examine the current state of cyber risk and emerging exposures, and provide proven strategies that attendees can use to effectively become cyber resilient, both in their practices in counseling clients of all sizes and industry verticals, as well as in their own law firms. Additionally, the panel will highlight proven risk transfer strategies in light of the state of the cyber insurance market, as well as a review of emerging cyber insurance coverage jurisprudence.
    Friday, 3:30-5 p.m. 

    “Back to the Drawing Board: Resurgence of Vapor Intrusion, Radon and Other Pollution Exclusion Issues”
    — So you thought the law was settled and no more surprises with respect to pollution exclusions? This panel will discuss some of the recent decisions that have breathed new life into the pollution exclusion realm.
    Saturday, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

    A complete agenda of the program can be found online.

    This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Robert Robinson at robert.robinson@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

    2018 Midyear Meeting: ABA urges adoption of rules for client-patent agent confidentiality

    February 6, 2018 6:18 AM by glynnj

    The House of Delegates approves Resolution 101A on Feb. 5 during the 2018 Midyear Meeting session in Vancouver.

    The resolution urges the enactment of legislation to establish an evidentiary privilege by courts in civil actions and United States Patent and Trade Office proceedings for confidential communications between a client and a patent agent licensed by the USPTO.  

    The resolution was sponsored by the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law and the ABA Section of Litigation. 

    Midyear Meeting 2018: President of Conference of Chief Justices addresses House of Delegates

    February 6, 2018 6:15 AM by glynnj

    Maureen O’Connor, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio and president of the Conference of Chief Justices, addresses House delegates on Feb. 5 during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. 

    Midyear Meeting 2018: ABA treasurer addresses House of Delegates

    February 6, 2018 6:12 AM by glynnj

    Wisconsin lawyer Michelle A. Behnke, treasurer of the American Bar Association, delivers an address on the state of the association’s finances to House delegates on Feb. 5 during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. 

    ABA adopts new policy to combat sexual harassment in the legal workplace

    February 5, 2018 8:55 PM by glynnj

    VANCOUVER, B.C., Feb. 5, 2018 — The American Bar Association’s policy-making body is urging employers in the legal profession to prohibit, prevent and promptly redress sexual harassment and retaliation claims, including adopting measures to ensure that the heads of law firms be informed of financial settlements to resolve claims.

    The new policy was approved by the House of Delegates today, the final day of the ABA Midyear Meeting here. Altogether, the 601-member House approved nearly three dozen resolutions that included recommendations to expand access to the courts, limit use of mandatory sentences, encourage more attention to lawyer health and well-being and improve civil rights protections for Americans, particularly on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    The House meeting was its first since the #MeToo movement gained steam in October 2017 after revelations of sexual harassment in the workplace began to rock the entertainment, media and political establishments. Resolution 302, expanding ABA policy dating to 1992, sets forth new components for enforcing policies and procedures prohibiting harassment and retaliation in the workplace based on gender, gender identity and sexual orientation.

    While the bulk of the House resolutions passed without opposition, two were approved by split votes. Resolution 103A grants accreditation to the privacy law program of the International Association of Privacy Professionals for a five-year term as a designated specialty certification program. Resolution 101A urges federal courts, Congress and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to adopt rules to allow “an evidentiary privilege” – or confidentiality with clients – to patent agents, who might not be licensed lawyers.

    In other action, the House adopted:

    • Resolution 114, which expands on ABA policy first adopted in 2006. The measure urges that low-income persons in all proceedings that may result in a loss of liberty — regardless of whether the proceedings are criminal or civil or initiated or prosecuted by a government entity — be provided court-appointed counsel. The U.S. Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963 provided the right to counsel in criminal cases. The resolution supports a concept known as “civil Gideon” and expands current ABA policy to reach “quasi-criminal” matters, such as contempt for failure to make child support.

    • Resolution 111, which urges jurisdictions that impose capital punishment to prohibit execution of any individual who was 21 years old or younger at the time of the capital offense. In 1983, the ABA became one of the first organizations to call for an end to using the death penalty on individuals under the age of 18, and in 1997 the ABA called for a suspension of executions until states and the federal government improved several aspects of their administration of capital punishment. But the ABA has taken no position on the death penalty per se.

    • Resolution 105, which calls for the various stakeholders in the legal profession to consider recommendations set out in The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. The report, designed to shift the culture of the legal profession to emphasize more well-being of lawyers and law students, follows several years of renewed ABA attention on mental health and substance-use disorders in the legal profession.
       
    • Resolution 10A, which encourages law firms to develop initiatives to provide women lawyers with more opportunities to gain trial and courtroom experience. Sponsored by the New York State Bar Association, the resolution reflects growing concern in the legal profession that women are not gaining enough courtroom experience, contributing to a higher percentage of them leaving the profession.

    • Two resolutions aimed at assisting homeless youth, which is estimated to total some 1.5 million in the U.S. and nearing 100 million worldwide. Resolution 113 supports the development of systems to address legal needs of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Resolution 301 endorses General Comment No. 21 on Children in Street Situations issued in June 2017 by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child.

    • Resolution 108D, urges federal, state and others courts to extend Batson v. Kentucky, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1986 that barred preemptory challenges of jurors based on race, to cover similar challenges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.


    Additionally, several measures approved by the House supported either reversal or limitations on policy initiatives or decisions by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or other agencies. These measures were:

    • Resolution 108E asks the Executive Branch to rescind its decision – now part of the overall immigration discussion in Washington ­– to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which affects several hundred thousand “Dreamers.” The ABA measure only focuses on the “Dreamers,” immigrants who were brought into this country illegally by their parents when they were children.

    • Resolution 108C urges DOJ to restore prosecutorial discretion in choosing the charges pursued against a defendant and to reserve mandatory minimum sentencing to only the most serious drug traffickers, in addition to prohibiting its use to secure plea agreements.

    • Resolution 116A supports an interpretation of a provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits sex discrimination in employment to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In October 2017, DOJ issued an interpretation that Title VII “does not prohibit discrimination based upon gender identity per se” after earlier filing an amicus brief in a case arguing similarly.

    A complete list of resolutions can be found 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 adopts new policy to combat sexual harassment in the legal workplace

    February 5, 2018 8:34 PM by glynnj

    The American Bar Association’s policy-making body is urging employers in the legal profession to prohibit, prevent and promptly redress sexual harassment and retaliation claims, including adopting measures to ensure that the heads of law firms be informed of financial settlements to resolve claims.

    The new policy, approved by the House of Delegates, was embraced Monday, Feb. 5, the final day of the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, B.C. Altogether, the 601-member House approved nearly three dozen resolutions that included recommendations to expand access to the courts, limit use of mandatory sentences, encourage more attention to lawyer health and well-being and improve civil rights protections for Americans, particularly on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    The ABA House of Delegates convenes at the Midyear Meeting in Vancouver


    The House meeting was its first since the #MeToo movement gained steam in October 2017 after revelations of sexual harassment in the workplace began to rock the entertainment, media and political establishments. Resolution 302, expanding ABA policy dating to 1992, sets forth new components for enforcing policies and procedures prohibiting harassment and retaliation in the workplace based on gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. It was praised by advocates as long overdue.

    “There can hardly be a resolution more timely than 302,” said Stephanie Scharf, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the resolution’s chief sponsor.

    Before final approval, the resolution was strengthened through an amendment from Mark Schickman, an employment lawyer in San Francisco, who said his group of changes was to take “good product and make it a much better product.”

    Gene Vance, a Kentucky delegate, observed that “this resolution is not primarily about women. It is primarily about men. Men have an obligation to end this now. … Men must say, ‘time’s up’.”

    The final voice vote was unanimous.

    While the bulk of the House resolutions passed without opposition, two were approved by split votes. Resolution 103A grants accreditation to the privacy law program of the International Association of Privacy Professionals for a five-year term as a designated specialty certification program. ABA Business Law Section representatives opposed the measure, cautioning that the concept of privacy law is too broad for a specialization. Separately, Resolution 101A urges federal courts, Congress and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to adopt rules to allow “an evidentiary privilege” – or confidentiality with clients – to patent agents, who might not be licensed lawyers.

    In other action, the House adopted:

    • Resolution 114, which expands on ABA policy first adopted in 2006. The measure urges that low-income persons in all proceedings that may result in a loss of liberty — regardless of whether the proceedings are criminal or civil or initiated or prosecuted by a government entity — be provided court-appointed counsel. The U.S. Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963 provided the right to counsel in criminal cases. The resolution supports a concept known as “civil Gideon” and expands current ABA policy to reach “quasi-criminal” matters, such as contempt for failure to make child support.

    • Resolution 111, which urges jurisdictions that impose capital punishment to prohibit execution of any individual who was 21 years old or younger at the time of the capital offense. In 1983, the ABA became one of the first organizations to call for an end to using the death penalty on individuals under the age of 18, and in 1997 the ABA called for a suspension of executions until states and the federal government improved several aspects of their administration of capital punishment. But the ABA has taken no position on the death penalty per se.

    • Resolution 105, which calls for the various stakeholders in the legal profession to consider recommendations set out in The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. The report, designed to shift the culture of the legal profession to emphasize more well-being of lawyers and law students, follows several years of renewed ABA attention on mental health and substance-use disorders in the legal profession.
       
    • Resolution 10A, which encourages law firms to develop initiatives to provide women lawyers with more opportunities to gain trial and courtroom experience. Sponsored by the New York State Bar Association, the resolution reflects growing concern in the legal profession that women are not gaining enough courtroom experience, contributing to a higher percentage of them leaving the profession.

    • Two resolutions aimed at assisting homeless youth, which is estimated to total some 1.5 million in the U.S. and nearing 100 million worldwide. Resolution 113 supports the development of systems to address legal needs of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Resolution 301 endorses General Comment No. 21 on Children in Street Situations issued in June 2017 by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child.

    • Resolution 108D, urges federal, state and others courts to extend Batson v. Kentucky, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1986 that barred preemptory challenges of jurors based on race, to cover similar challenges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

    Additionally, several measures approved by the House supported either reversal or limitations on policy initiatives or decisions by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or other agencies. These measures were:

    • Resolution 108E asks the Executive Branch to rescind its decision – now part of the overall immigration discussion in Washington ­– to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which affects several hundred thousand “Dreamers.” The ABA measure only focuses on the “Dreamers,” immigrants who were brought into this country illegally by their parents when they were children.

    • Resolution 108C urges DOJ to restore prosecutorial discretion in choosing the charges pursued against a defendant and to reserve mandatory minimum sentencing to only the most serious drug traffickers, in addition to prohibiting its use to secure plea agreements.

    • Resolution 116A supports an interpretation of a provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits sex discrimination in employment to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In October 2017, DOJ issued an interpretation that Title VII “does not prohibit discrimination based upon gender identity per se” after earlier filing an amicus brief in a case arguing similarly.

    A complete list of resolutions can be found here.

    Midyear Meeting 2018: ABA president-elect nominee addresses House of Delegates

    February 5, 2018 7:53 PM by glynnj

    New Orleans lawyer Judy Perry Martinez, who became the ABA president-elect nominee on Feb. 5 during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, speaks to House delegates.

    Addressing the power of the collective voice of the ABA, Martinez said, “We must use that voice to trumpet the essential values of our democracy, so that practicing lawyers everywhere, and law students who will join our ranks, are proud to be members of the organization that stands up time and time again for the rule of law.”

    New president-elect nominee vows to restore trust in justice system

    February 5, 2018 6:16 PM by glynnj

    Judy Perry Martinez, of counsel at Simon, Peragrine, Smith & Redfearn in New Orleans, became president-elect nominee at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    A long-time active member of the ABA, Perry Martinez served 26 years in the House of Delegates and has been chair of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, the Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services and the ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, among many other roles.

    ABA president-elect nominee Judy Perry Martinez addresses the House of Delegates at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver


    Noting that organizations in every sector are struggling with members demanding to know “the value of membership and how it will be delivered,” she called on the ABA to “reexamine our business model, drive greater operational efficiencies and rethink governance.”

    Currently serving as a special advisor to the ABA Center for Innovation, she said, “sound strategy compels us to innovate and embrace technology to attract the brightest of future generations.”

    Martinez also addressed the power of the collective voice of the ABA. “We must use that voice to trumpet the essential values of our democracy, so that practicing lawyers everywhere, and law students who will join our ranks, are proud to be members of the organization that stands up time and time again for the rule of law,” she said.

    Saying that the U.S. and the world are at a turning point, she said, “we the lawyers will lead by instilling in the public a renewed trust and confidence in our justice system.”

    “I pledge that with the collective voice, wisdom and courage of you—the leaders of our profession—this association will rise to a new zenith as it serves its members, defends liberty and achieves justice,” she vowed.

    Midyear Meeting 2018: ABA executive director addresses House of Delegates

    February 5, 2018 5:56 PM by glynnj

    Jack L. Rives, executive director and chief operating officer of the American Bar Association, delivers an address on the state of the association to House delegates on Feb. 5 during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. 

    ABA president: “Power” of ABA vital to problem solving, rule of law

    February 5, 2018 5:06 PM by glynnj

    The biggest takeaway Hilarie Bass has received from her international and domestic travels as ABA president has been “the power of the American Bar Association and the American legal profession that it represents.”

    ABA President Hilarie Bass speaks to the House of Delegates at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.


    “How we utilize that power is more critical than ever before as more individuals and institutions need our help and our leadership,” she told the House of Delegates on Feb. 5 at the Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    “But that power is not to be taken for granted or misused,” Bass continued. “You, the leaders of this association, have the huge responsibility for nurturing the power of this association when called upon. Use it sparingly and definitively, in order to ensure that power will be available to protect and represent our profession for generations to come.”

    One area where the ABA used its power this year, Bass said, was to urge Congress to move forward with immigration and criminal justice reform, to lobby for full funding of the State Department and the continuation of rule of law programs throughout the world and to lobby against the adoption of accrual accounting for the legal profession.

    Bass pointed to ABA Legal Fact Check as an example of when “the leaders of the ABA will not stand by and say nothing when others challenge the legal principles on which our democracy is based.” The new website has posted entries on the facts behind such timely topics as the scope of executive pardons, the constitutional limits of free speech, foreign influence on U.S. elections and more.

    Lauding the work of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, she said, “none of our work is more important than the peer reviews we continue to perform on judicial nominees being considered for lifetime appointments by the Senate Judiciary Committee,” and noted their work in completing reviews of more than 60 judicial candidates since last January.

    Other examples of the ABA “helping to change the paradigm” are in the work of two of Bass’ signature initiatives: Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law, which will come before the HOD in August with specific recommendations, and Legal Needs of Homeless Youth. Of the latter, she said the ABA has long been recognized for providing leadership in the area of children. “There have only been two worldwide conferences on street youth, both of which were created, developed and implemented by the children and the law entities of the American Bar Association,” she said.

    Turning to the work of the Commission on the Future of Legal Education, Bass asked, “Does it make sense for some states to be testing law grads in certain states on as many as 27 different topics? Does it make sense to wait for a student to go through three years of law school before testing them on what they learned in their first semester and for them to discover that they are not going to be able to pass the licensing exam? Does it make sense for no one to have ever validated whether a high score on the bar exam equates to having better skills as a lawyer?”

    “No organization other than the ABA has the ability to drive the solutions and move for their adoption,” she said, adding that proposals will be presented at the Annual Meeting.

    She also pointed out the “great work” of the Task Force on Building Trust in the Justice System, which has focused on addressing the criminalization of poverty in the United States.

    While realizing the power of the ABA on rule of law issues at home and abroad, Bass said, “I have also been made keenly aware that our power can only be as strong as our organization itself.” She said the association needs to “evolve and adapt….Whether that means modifications to our dues structure, our sections’ structure or our administrative structure, we cannot stand idly by and expect that our association will continue to thrive and grow utilizing the same framework of operations that has been in place for decades.”

    In closing, Bass said, “To anyone who doubts the power of the rule of law, to anyone who questions the respect with which American lawyers are viewed throughout the world, to anyone who wonders whether the work of the American Bar Association is critical to our democracy and to the rule of law across the globe,” she invited them to join her on her travels to visit judges, homeless shelters, disaster relief centers “or any one of the other 50 countries in which the American Bar Association works every day to further the rule of law.”

    ABA President Bass extols the power of the ABA to House delegates

    February 5, 2018 4:35 PM by glynnj

    During her Midyear Meeting address to the ABA’s 600-member policy-making body, Miami lawyer Hilarie Bass notes achievements from the first six months of her time at the helm of the national voice for the legal profession, and urges members to evolve and adapt to changes facing the profession.

    U.S. stands alone in North America on death penalty

    February 5, 2018 12:42 PM by glynnj

    Canada, Mexico have long abolished capital punishment as U.S. still grapples with issue

    No surprise. When you compare how the death penalty is imposed among North American countries, the United States is the leader in executions.

    But a closer look at the history and evolution of capital punishment in Canada, Mexico and the United States reveals some interesting realities.

    These differences were examined at the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver during a program sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section titled, “A North American Perspective on the Death Penalty: The American, Mexican and Canadian Experiences.”

    Cassandra Stubbs, the director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, presented a detailed look at how both Mexico and Canada did away with capital punishment and how the U.S., after a brief abolition of the death penalty in the 1970s, still uses the practice, albeit much less frequently.

    Historically, the death penalty was used much less in Mexico. Between 1908 and 1961, Mexico had 11 executions. Canada put to death 710 people between 1542 and 1976. In the U.S. between 1608 and 1972, 14,489 executions were carried out. During 1931, a peak year for executions, the U.S. had 153 while Canada performed 22 and Mexico none. However, the rate of Canadian executions was greater (2.09 per million residents versus 1.23 per million in the U.S.).

    From the mid-20th century, capital punishment was still officially on the books in Canada and Mexico, although neither country carried out death sentences. In the U.S., executions are on the decline. In 2016, there were 2,902 people on death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. But there were only 20 executions carried out in the U.S. that year. There were 23 executions in 2017. The diminished use of the death penalty may be the harbinger of the abolition of capital punishment in the U.S.

    In Mexico, a predominantly Catholic country with a long history of abolitionism, public opinion has been against the death penalty for a long time. The Mexican constitution was officially amended to abolish capital punishment in 2005. In Canada, the death penalty was formally struck from the criminal code in 1976, when the House of Commons passed a bill doing away with it.

    In the U.S., it appears that if the death penalty is abolished officially, it will come through the Supreme Court. The death penalty was outlawed in the U.S. for a brief period after the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia. But it was reinstated after the 1976 decision in Gregg v. Georgia and it has been legal ever since.

    But a 2015 Supreme Court decision in Glossip v. Gross, where, in a 5–4 decision, the Court held that lethal injections using the drug midazolam did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, may be a turning point. In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer argued that the death penalty was unconstitutional because it was unreliable, arbitrary, suffered from excessive delays and had, in effect, been abandoned by most of the country.

    There have been many studies highlighting the arbitrary and discriminatory nature of capital punishment in the U.S. While making up about 13 percent of the population, African-Americans account for 41 percent of death row inmates. The arbitrary nature is also geographic. Most executions have occurred in the South, Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, 31 percent of death sentences were handed down in just three counties — Maricopa County, Ariz.; Clark County, Nev.; and Riverside County, Calif.

    The large number of death row exonerations (159 since 1973 while executing 1,465 people) speaks to its unreliable nature. “We have seen a major shift in terms of international and national opinions about the death penalty as people have begun to realize that we exonerate an enormous number of people on death row,” the ACLU’s Stubbs said. “We are getting it wrong. We are sentencing people to death, when they are innocent, at a very high rate.”

    Delays in the average time it takes to carry out a death sentence have increased from two years in 1960 to nearly 18 years today. And while 31 states still have the death penalty on the books, only eight states have carried out executions in the past two years, bolstering the case of isolation. Death sentences also are declining, from a peak of 315 in 1996 to 39 in 2017.

    Being out of step with both our northern and southern neighbors on the death penalty has caused issues in the past few decades. Canada has refused extradition of people to the United States without assurances that the defendant will not face capital punishment. Mexico, which has 54 of its citizens currently on U.S. death rows, filed a complaint against the United States in 2003 at the International Court of Justice, alleging that the U.S. had violated the Vienna Convention by not allowing the Mexican citizens sentenced to death to get consular assistance.

    As the United States still grapples with the death penalty, it has become more of an outlier both in its hemisphere and in the world. There are still 58 countries in the world where capital punishment is legal. The U.S. is the only Group of Seven country that has it. While data on executions from countries like China and North Korea is difficult to gather, Amnesty International puts the U.S. behind only China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq in the number of executions over the past 10 years.

    While Canada and Mexico took different paths to abolishing capital punishment, the United States seems to be moving toward it through the courts.

    “The death penalty will die with a whimper,” Stubbs concluded. “States will realize it is too expensive and too failed and will just stop using it.”

    Progress continues in ABA’s efforts to serve legal needs of veterans

    February 5, 2018 11:46 AM by glynnj

    Last year, the ABA Veterans Legal Services Initiative, begun in 2016 under then-ABA President Linda Klein, received funding to continue its works for another year. At the recently held Midyear Meeting in Vancouver the group reported on the progress it is making in a number of areas, including:

    Legal clinics for veterans: Antonia Fasanelli, executive director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore, reported that the working group is preparing to start VA Medical Center legal clinics in the following states that do not yet have one: Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

    In addition, the group continues to work on expanding law school clinical programs serving veterans so that there is at least one in every state.

    Veterans Treatment Courts: Barry Hawkins, partner at Shipman & Goodwin in Stamford, Conn., reported that his group made a presentation to the program committee of the National Conference of Bar Presidents to have a workshop on Veterans Treatment Courts at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Aug. 2-7, to encourage state and metro bar leaders to include such courts as part of their presidential initiatives. Although receptive to the idea, Hawkins thinks the presentation will most likely be merged with other ideas for serving veterans.

    Technology: Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Portland, Maine, reported on the progress of VetLex, a system that links veterans, veteran service organizations and qualified pro bono or low-bono attorneys nationwide. The pilot project is underway in Illinois, with future expansion into Houston and Pittsburgh and potentially in Detroit and/or North Carolina.

    The Legal Check-Up for Veterans is up and running, but the group continues to refine the program.

    Jason Vail, staff counsel at the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel, said interested lawyers can sign up for both VetLex and the Veterans Claims Assistance Project (VCAN).

    He also discussed the Military and Veterans Legal Center, a mobile-enabled, comprehensive page on the ABA website with links to all the ABA military and veterans programs, which is expected to be available in the coming months.  

    Government affairs: Ken Goldsmith of the ABA Government Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., reported that the ABA signed a Memorandum of Agreement in November with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and the National Law School Veterans Clinic Consortium that seeks to improve veterans’ access to pro bono legal assistance, including expansion of VA-hosted free legal clinics and medical-legal partnerships.

    He also reported that the Senate will be holding a hearing on the Veterans Homeless Prevention Act, which is supported by all the major veterans’ groups.

    Goldsmith also discussed the passage of “sweeping reforms” at the VA, which include movement to clear up the backlog of an estimated 400,000 claims.

    Fundraising: Linda Klein continues to fundraise, with the goal of raising enough money to make the commission a permanent entity. She welcomes ideas for donor prospects and is happy to travel anywhere to meet with potential donors.

    She tweets about the commission’s work using the hashtag #lawyershelpingveterans.

     

    Legal education panel solicits input on teaching skills, testing and expanding access

    February 5, 2018 11:10 AM by glynnj

    The Commission on the Future of Legal Education, an initiative of American Bar President Hilarie Bass, held its first open forum Feb. 4 and heard a variety of views on how to reshape legal education in terms of teaching skills, licensing of future lawyers and expanding emphasis on access to justice.

    In opening the hearing, Bass, who established the commission in August 2017 when she became president, observed that the panel is chiefly focusing on ideas of “realigning” what law schools are teaching, what bar exams are testing and what law firms are looking for.

    The 10-member commission, chaired by Patricia White, dean of the University of Miami School of Law, is planning to make recommendations on specific changes for the methods of training and testing future generations of law students. Over the past few months, commission representatives have met with the Conference of Chief Justices, which consists of the top jurist in each state; the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which administers the bar exam; and others.

    The hearing at the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver represented the first call for comment from the various stakeholders in legal education. About a dozen responded in oral or written testimony to discuss the three focuses: future skills, access to justice and licensure.

    With research indicating that 80 percent of the U.S. population that needs legal services are not receiving them, White observed that developing suggestions on how law schools can assist to “make legal services more accessible” to poor and middle-class Americans is a top priority of the commission. Several individuals testified that developing more clinical components to legal education – either in the third or an additional fourth year – should be considered.

    “We need to create a culture looking forward that embraces, celebrates” public interest law on par with any legal job, said Lora Livingston, a Texas state judge and chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. She added that internships or externships in the third year of law school would “create and enlarge the supply of public interest” law assistance.

    Commission member Blake Morant, dean of the George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C., highlighted the “forward-looking nature of this commission.” He emphasized another goal is to explore the changes rapidly occurring in the legal profession and recommend how legal education should adapt.

    Tommy Preston, chair-elect of the ABA Young Lawyers Division, urged the commission to come up with ideas on how to improve interaction between law schools and the legal profession, including relaxing legal education standards to allow first-year law students to be taught by adjunct faculty. Preston, a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, recalled the "first year was the most impressionable" of his three years in law school.

    The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which serves as the national accreditor of law schools, has discussed changing its standards to allow more adjunct faculty. Its Standard 403 requires that more than half of the teaching in the law school be done by full-time faculty. One approach would eliminate that requirement for the last two years of law school but retain a more rigid requirement for tenured faculty in the first year.

    Sammy Chang, a law student who is the ABA Law Student Division representative to the Council, also urged significant changes, particularly putting more emphasis on job training and less on concepts that many lawyers never use. “Law schools, much like the states, are laboratories,” he said. “Not laboratories of democracy. They are laboratories of justice.”

    He also said that the bar exam, administered twice a year, “fails to test the competency of law students in terms of their ability to practice. … A good lawyer’s qualities cannot be measured on a multiple-choice exam,” he added.

    To encourage greater access to justice, particularly in rural areas, representatives of the ABA Standing Committee of the Division for Legal Services pointed to the success of the Rural Law Opportunities Program, a partnership between the University of Nebraska College of Law and three state colleges or universities — Chadron State College, the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Wayne State College. The program covers tuition expenses for students who commit to practice in the state’s rural areas.

    Those who would like to offer their views to the three questions presented can email comments by mid-February to the commission’s director at Andrea.Sinner@americanbar.org. Plans call for all oral and written testimony to be available on the commission's website.

    ABA Section of Antitrust Law to host international cartel workshop in Paris, Feb. 14-16

    February 5, 2018 9:50 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2018 — Enforcement officials from the United States, European Commission, Canada, Japan, France, Australia and Brazil will discuss current developments in cartel enforcement and other related issues during the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law’s 12th International Cartel Workshop to be held Feb. 14-16 in Paris, France.

    Recognized globally as the premier international cartel conference, the workshop is presented biennially. A faculty of highly experienced attorneys and enforcers from around the world will take part in a hypothetical global cartel investigation — from detection of a conspiracy by company inside counsel to the ultimate disposition of the enforcement actions in jurisdictions around the world. 

    What:  
    12th International Cartel Workshop co-sponsored by
    the ABA Section of Antitrust Law and the International Bar Association

     

    When: 
    Feb. 14-16, 2018

    Where:
    InterContinental Paris le Grand
    2 Rue Scribe
    Paris, 75009, FR  

    The highlight event of the three-day workshop will be an enforcer’s roundtable on Friday, Feb. 16 from 2-4 p.m. Participants will include:

    • Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Washington, D.C.
    • Sarah Court, commissioner, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Canberra, Brazil
    • Alexandre Barreto de Souza, president, Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE), Brazil
    • John Pecman, commissioner of competition, Competition Bureau Canada, Gatineau
    • Cecilio Madero Villarejo, deputy director general, European Commission, Directorate-General for Competition, Brussels
    • Isabelle de Silva, president, Autorité de la concurrence, Paris
    • Reiko Aoki, commissioner, Japan Fair Trade Commission, Tokyo

    A complete agenda of the program can be found online.

    This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Robert Robinson at robert.robinson@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

    2018 Stonewall Award honoree: Phyllis Randolph Frye

    February 4, 2018 8:07 PM by glynnj

    Houston just Phyllis Randolph Frye is the first openly transgender judge appointed in Texas.  Born Phillip Frye, she is an Eagle Scout and was a member of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Frye graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in civil engineering and an M.S. in mechanical engineering. She was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1972, transitioned in 1976 and earned an M.B.A. and J.D. from the University of Houston. In 1992, she convened the first International Conference on Transgender Law & Employment Policy in Houston. In 2010, Houston Mayor Annise Parker appointed Frye as an associate judge for the City of Houston Municipal Courts and the Houston City Council unanimously approved her appointment. Frye retains her senior partnership with Frye, Oaks, Benavidez & O’Neil, PLLC, where she devotes her practice exclusively to taking transgender clients – both adults and minors – through the Texas courts to change the clients’ names and genders on their legal documents. In 2013, Frye was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Transgender Foundation of America.

    2018 Stonewall Award honoree: Jennifer Levi

    February 4, 2018 8:06 PM by glynnj

    Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project is a nationally-recognized expert on transgender legal issues. She co-edited “Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy,” the first book to address legal issues facing transgender people in the family law context and provide practitioners the tools to effectively represent transgender clients. Levi has served as counsel in a number of precedent-setting cases establishing basic rights for transgender people, including: O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, which established that medical care relating to gender transition qualifies as a medical deduction for federal income tax purposes; Doe v. Yunits, in which she represented a transgender student denied the right to attend school because of the clothing she wore; and Adams v. Bureau of Prisons, which successfully challenged a federal prison policy excluding medical care for transgender inmates who came into the system without a transition-related medical plan, among many others.

    Levi is a law professor at Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Mass. She serves on the Legal Committee of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and is a founding member of both the Transgender Law & Policy Institute and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. A graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Chicago Law School, Levi is a former law clerk to Judge Michael Boudin at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. 

    2018 Stonewall Award honoree: Eduardo Juarez

    February 4, 2018 8:05 PM by glynnj

    Eduardo Juarez is a supervisory trial attorney with the San Antonio Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where he litigates individual, class and systemic lawsuits under the federal civil rights statutes prohibiting employment discrimination. In August 2011, he worked on detail as special assistant to Chai Feldblum, the first out lesbian EEOC commissioner. His work in the LGBT legal community led to accolades, including the 2014 EEOC Pride “Chai Feldblum Award” for his significant contributions to the LGBT community. Juarez is a former public defender in Washington, D.C., and began his legal career as an associate with the law firm of Sidley & Austin in Chicago. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from the University of Michigan. Active in various LGBT political and professional organizations, Juarez is a past president and first Hispanic openly gay man of the National LGBT Bar Association and past chair of the LGBT Law Section for the State Bar of Texas.

    Former CNN executive shares secrets to her professional, personal success

    February 4, 2018 6:30 PM by glynnj

    Parisa Khosravi remembers the exact hour she knew she wanted to become a journalist: It was while watching live coverage of the release of the U.S. hostages in Iran in 1981, and seeing the journalists running around the tarmac trying to interview them as they got off the plane.

    “I wanted to be right in the middle of the tarmac with them,” she said.

    Khosravi shared her experiences of almost three decades of working at CNN at the program, “The Power of Finding Your Voice,” Feb. 3 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, sponsored by GPSolo.

    Born in Tehran, Khosravi’s family moved to Chicago in 1979 just before the Iranian revolution. She credits her parents with letting her figure out things out and test her limits, which she said empowered her to make “tougher and bigger decisions.”

    Joining CNN right after college, Khosravi eventually became senior vice president of CNN Worldwide, where she was responsible for all of the global news organization’s bureaus, correspondents, news crews, affiliates, etc.

    Her leadership and work philosophy, she said, are simple: “I deeply believe in putting in your time, paying your dues, earning each step on your own.”

    Khosravi helped “build a little UN at CNN,” which she said made the news organization stronger. She felt it was important to have a variety of sensitivities, languages and nationalities represented on the staff, as well as cultural awareness, and credits that effort with giving CNN “such an edge.” 

    In addition, Khosravi also valued diversity of thought and personality. If there were an “elusive interview” the network was after, she said she wouldn’t assign it to her “type A” editor, but to her “quiet, patient, detailed-oriented editor,” because he would keep plugging away until they got the interview.

    “It takes all types for a team to win,” she said.

    Because international correspondents are often in dangerous situations, Khosravi would encourage her staff to do “head laundry” – to talk out their stressful experiences. She even had a psychiatrist on staff whose specialty was journalists in war zones.

    Stressing “the importance of authenticity and staying true to yourself and your values,” Khosravi said she was a [religious] minority even when she lived in Iran. “I never carried it as a burden on me,” and if someone else had issues about it, “that was their problem.”

    People are not born leaders but become leaders by how they choose to respond to the difficult times and “how we choose to apply the lessons that life has taught us,” Khosravi said.

    Much has changed in the way news is gathered since Khosravi started in the business, especially in the areas of technology and safety. Whereas years ago lots of big equipment was needed to videotape a live shot, today she said you can do a live shot on a phone if necessary.

    In addition, journalists used “to be treated like the Red Cross – we were a neutral zone,” but unfortunately now they are targets, she said.

    Despite her gratifying career, Khosravi said it’s important to know when it’s time for a change.

    A few years ago, she wanted to push herself out of her comfort zone, so despite not being athletic, she started training for a triathlon and a 60-mile walk. During the long hours of training she had time to think, and at least once while practicing for the swimming portion of the triathlon Khosravi had to ask for help, something she was not used to doing.

    The experience, and having people tell her they couldn’t believe she could complete a triathlon, taught her about perceptions of ourselves and of others. “It’s important to know perceptions are not reality, it’s in our heads, and only we can overcome them,” Khosravi said.

    She advised the attendees to “do something big for you … you have no idea what kind of clarity it might bring you.”

    Khosravi left CNN in 2015 to become a consultant, and today her life has a new focus.

    “Life’s challenges can look so different depending on our perspectives and our perceptions,” and Khosravi said her toughest challenge recently was giving a speech about her son, who is autistic and nonspeaking. A few years ago, at 14, he had a breakthrough and now communicates on an alphabet board. Before that, she said, they had no sense of his cognitive level, but now they know that he is “wise beyond his years.”

    “Giving voice to the voiceless was always my joy and passion in what I did as a journalist. It has now taken on a completely different meaning as I advocate for my son and, as he calls them, ‘other silent champions’ to have their voices heard,” she said.

    She advocated for more empathy and compassion and ended with a quote from her son’s alphabet board, “We never know what’s inside someone until we give them a chance.”

    Video highlights: Experts compare and contrast immigration policies north and south of the U.S.-Canada border

    February 4, 2018 4:23 PM by glynnj

    Legal experts on both sides of the border examine immigration and asylum issues in the United States and Canada during the ABA Midyear Meeting program titled, “Lessons Across Borders: What the U.S. and Canada Can Teach One Another About Establishing a Successful Immigration and Asylum Policy,” on Feb. 3 in Vancouver.

     The wide-ranging discussion covered a broad range of issues, from the controversial travel bans as well as the threats to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in favor of one like the Canadian system, which awards points to potential immigrants based on their education, skills and language abilities.                          

    Secrets of attracting new business – within ethical bounds shared by seasoned attorneys

    February 4, 2018 3:15 PM by glynnj

    Being a lawyer means you are part of a profession, a member of the legal community. But being a lawyer is also a business and, for many attorneys, the need to attract clients and develop work is important.

    In the past 25 years, the number of lawyers practicing in the United States has grown 67 percent, increasing the competition for clients. But lawyers, unlike other businesses, are limited in the ways they are ethically allowed to recruit clients.

    The strategies and rules for lawyer business development was examined at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver during a program titled “Fishing for Prospects – Ethical Limitations Can Create Muddy Waters in Catching New Clients.” The program, co-sponsored by the Law Practice Division and the Young Lawyers Division, covered ethics rules and related pitfalls when soliciting new clients and advertising your practice.

    The rules of professional conduct, U.S. Supreme Court cases and numerous state bar ethics opinions can create an often-unseen myriad of issues when soliciting new clients. A panel of experts was moderated by Andrew Schpak, co-managing partner at Barran Liebman, president of the Multnomah Bar Association, and past chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division, who led an informative hour-long discussion of the best ways to attract clients and stay within the rules.

    The Model Rules of Professional Conduct allow for lawyers to advertise, but there are limitations and issues to consider. The advertising cannot promise results, make claims that cannot be verifies, imply that past success will translate to future results, hint at improper influence, or include anything misleading. While the penalties for breaking these rules can be severe (up to disbarment), a first infraction usually just results in a letter of warning.

    The Model Rules also prevents direct contact with prospective clients. As Schpak points out, “Social media makes it easy to essentially cold-call prospective clients.” The last major Supreme Court ruling on lawyer advertising occurred 23 years ago in Florida Bar v. Went For It, Inc. The major ruling before that (Bates v. Arizona) was in 1977. Since then, the media and technology landscape has changed dramatically. Many lawyers are waiting for the next major ruling that might help clarify the rules as they apply to social media although some states, such as Virginia, have made some efforts to streamline and adjust the guidelines to 21st century technology.

    The panel also explored ways to increase your visibility to attract more business. Schpak suggested writing an article on an issue where you have some expertise but may not be widely covered. Panelist Sheena R. Hamilton, an associate with Dowd Bennett LLP in St. Louis, talked about the importance of geography. She said she always tells people she meets she is from Missouri. She said because of that, she got a referral from another lawyer who had met her a year earlier mainly because she was the only lawyer he knew of in Missouri.

    Panelist Edward Rawl, senior counsel at Boeing Co. in Charleston, S.C., stressed the importance of networking. This could include anything from ABA meetings to gatherings with other attorneys who share your specialty area.

    All panelists agreed that staying current in your area is critical to success. This includes reading publications and following industry experts on Twitter and other social media. Hamilton suggested sharing information, through sites like Twitter, with others. But all warned about being too casual on social media and cautioned that “You are what you post.” There really is no difference anymore between “professional” and “personal” social media sites and care needs to be taken.

    The panel stressed that being strategic with your time devoted to pursuing new business was necessary. Panelist Andrea Hartley, partner and chair of the Bankruptcy and Reorganization Practice Group at Akerman in Miami and past chair of the Law Practice Division, suggested making an individual business plan. She said planning what conferences, speaking engagements, lunches and other events you want to devote your time to in the next six to 12 months helps organize and focus your recruiting skills. Setting small goals and checking off boxes as you achieve them helps keep the process on the front burner throughout the year.

    Being strategic about why you are joining a group or who you are getting involved with is also important said Rawl. Joining something you have a passion for will always produce better results and allow your talent to shine more than joining a group that you do not care about just because you think you should.

    Hartley pointed out the time-saving trick of repurposing your work. Turning a speech you gave into a bar journal article gives you twice the exposure without twice the work.

    The panel also discussed some tips for making a pitch to a new client. They emphasized doing your homework and knowing who the target is and gearing your pitch to that specific industry. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ pitch,” Rawl said.

    Hamilton and Hartley also added that everyone present should speak and that everyone present should have a purpose for being there. The pitch group should be diverse in several ways and that the lawyers who will actually be doing the bulk of the work should also be included.

    The panel finished by discussing when and how to make “the ask.” This can, at times, be an uncomfortable moment, but it must be done. Rawl said that it cannot be done too soon and Hartley pointed out that you should not approach it as “asking for business” but more as “offering help with a problem.”

    “Ask for small pieces of work and then over-deliver,” Rawl said. “Then you will more and bigger offers.”

    All agreed that the best way to keep a client was to keep them totally informed and up to date. Return phone calls even if it is late or even if you do not have the answer they are seeking. It is important that the client knows you are on it.

    The panel summed up, in a pithy bit of advice, the best way to both attract and retain business: “Always make the client’s life easier.”

    Panelists discuss delivering pro bono services after disasters at ABA meeting in Vancouver

    February 4, 2018 2:00 PM by glynnj

    Thousands of survivors of recent natural disasters in the United States – from the California wildfires to the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico – are on the road to recovery thanks to the ABA Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services Program.

    DLS volunteers on the frontlines shared an overview of the pro bono assistance offered to survivors and the lessons learned in the aftermath at a program on Feb. 2 during the Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    YLD runs its disaster relief program in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and works with the state and local bars in the affected areas to set up and manage hotlines to connect disaster survivors who cannot afford a lawyer the legal help they need.

    DLS Coordinator Andrew VanSingel emphasized the importance of the work: “Disaster survivors need food, water, shelter — and a lawyer.”

    Indeed, the needs of victims are complex and DLS connects them to a variety of essential services:

    ·        Individual assistance, which includes emergency assistance, crisis counseling, disaster case management, disaster legal services and disaster unemployment assistance.

    • Critical-needs assistance, including a one-time payment of $500 per household for immediate or critical needs, such as food, water, medicine, toiletries, fuel and transportation.

    • Transitional-sheltering Assistance that provides vouchers for survivors to stay in participating hotels or motels from 5-30 days.

    • Small Business Administration program that provides long-term, low-interest loans to disaster survivors with a $20,000 max for real property and a 40,000 max for personal property.

    VanSingel said many legal issues are exacerbated by such things as landlord- tenant issues, consumer fraud, insurance, public benefits, estates and real property and tax issues.

    “No matter how prepared you think you are for a catastrophic event, you are never prepared enough,” said Betty Balli Torres, executive director of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.

    “We made a good decision when we obtained funding from Bank of America, we chose to set aside $2 million for the next disaster. This allowed us to get immediate resources to individuals when Hurricane Harvey hit.”

    Balli Torres said Texas does a good job of handling natural disasters. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the state evacuated 1.4 million people and had more than 40,000 people living in shelters at one point. Texas implemented one hotline number to access three programs to provide services.

    However, DLS saw gaps in services, including vague income eligibility guidelines for victims. As a result, “FEMA has now allowed DLS to apply the eligibility guidelines more liberally to streamline service provisions,” said Balli Torres.

    VanSingel spoke of lessons learned in Houston and Puerto Rico. “Lots of people weren’t eligible for assistance and they didn’t trust the government,” he said.

    “There were no bilingual staff available to support the community in Puerto Rico and no funding available to hire staff,” he added.

    “Pro bono assistance is dire now more than ever because people have moved on to the next disaster,” said Stephanie Choy, managing director of Legal Services Trust Fund Program for the State Bar of California.

    To assist victims of the northern California fires, local legal aid organizations established the Bay Area Resilience Collaborative (BARC), a group of representatives who developed a regional coordination plan for the provision of legal services in the aftermath of a major disaster in the San Francisco Bay area. BARC also collaborated with the California Bar Foundation to create a disaster relief and recovery fund that raised $50,000 to help support direct legal aid and pro bono legal services to fire survivors.

    The legal aid experts provided some recommendations in planning for natural disasters:

    • Keep the legal community engaged and encourage lawyers to connect with DLS and/or FEMA for guidance and training opportunities to support victims of natural disasters

    • Train pro bono lawyers and volunteers in your community to prepare for natural disasters

    • Manage expectations of volunteers, especially three to six months after a natural disaster occurs

    • Donate resources and supplies on the front-end

    • Recognize the urgency of legal aid, especially for the undocumented population

    In addition to these recommendations, VanSingel recommended pro bono legal organizations take note of the increasing number of mental health and domestic violence issues post-natural disasters.

    “Volunteer lawyers and mental health professionals must work together to help people impacted by these issues and provide them support in moving on with their lives,” said Adi Martinez, executive director of the Fundacion Fondo Acceso A La Justica, Inc.

    The ABA Young Lawyers Division serves as the exclusive coordinator of legal services for disaster survivors. They coordinate legal aid (LSC and non-LSC grantees) as well as state and local bar associations to provide added support and expand pro bono services.

    For additional resources, disaster relief hotlines and information on the ABA disaster legal services program, click here.

    Is legal education in or nearing a crisis? Panelists say it depends

    February 4, 2018 1:04 PM by glynnj

    Since the Great Recession of a few years ago, legal education has come under intense scrutiny, with declining student enrollment, rising student debt, a decreasing market for new law jobs and more schools coming under scrutiny for falling short of American Bar Association accreditation standards.

    Panelists at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver discuss the cost, affordability and access in legal education


    Does a crisis exist? A panel of research scholars and legal education leaders tackled that question Saturday, Feb. 3 at the ABA Midyear Meeting at session titled, “The Perennial (and Stubborn) Challenge of Cost, Affordability and Access in Legal Education: Has it Finally Hit the Fan?”

    Barry Currier, ABA managing director of accreditation and legal education, doesn’t think so. Offering a personal view, he said legal education blogs and other pundits have it wrong. “Never has legal education been as strong as it is,” said Currier, the top staff member for the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, designated by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accreditor of law schools.

    The panel provided a mix of historical perspective of the growth of law schools since World War II and an exchange of provocative ideas, such as a two-year law school program with clinical externships. They agreed the goal is to craft a legal education program to better meet the demands of the profession as well as the needs of a nation, such as more access to justice.

    The program, one of several sponsored by the American Bar Foundation, ran an unusual 2 hours and 45 minutes in order to take a deep dive into the issues and challenges facing legal education today.

    Stephen Daniels, ABF senior research professor who has extensively studied these issues, tried to answer the question posed by the title in these words: “The basic problem is schools need students and they need money to operate. … It might be hitting the fan but hopefully not yet.”

    Daniels drew an historical outline of how the “business model” of legal education emerged since World War II and said his research showed that the roller-coaster” of law school enrollment directly stemmed from the availability of student loans. He noted that the environment is far from static and that law schools are trying a lot of different initiatives to deal with current challenges, but there is no single “magic” solution.

    Today, about 37,000 students are in their first year of approved ABA law schools, with about 110,000 students overall. This is down from about 44,000 1L students in 2010.

    The jump several years ago is a result, in part, of the availability of federal student loans for professional-level education. As Currier said, a school could charge $200,000 for tuition and estimate $50,000 in living expenses and the government would say, “Where do I send the check?”

    “We all are depending on student loan programs and those programs at this point are unregulated and uncapped” in terms of amounts of money, Currier observed, suggesting changes need to be made.

    There was also a consensus that the nation’s 200-plus accredited ABA law schools have also played to the ratings game, principally the law school rankings of U.S. News & World Report. “The increase in tuition costs is beyond belief,” said panelist Judith Wegner, a retired dean and law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.” “I blame U.S. News.”

    Currier agreed, saying the magazine, which ranks law schools annually “has this stranglehold” on law schools and the ratings have an “outsized and perverse effect” that influences “what law schools do and how they behave.”

    Christopher J. Ryan, a doctoral fellow at the American Bar Foundation who has studied the economics of legal education, observed the “single greatest expenditure” at a law school is faculty and that cost savings could be realized by depending more on adjunct professors. The impact of discounting tuition to attract more students and student loans also plays a significant factor.

    Wegner made several suggestions that other panelists and those in attendance embraced in concept. She was one of five authors of a Carnegie Foundation report on educating lawyers in 2007, which suggested numerous changes to the legal education format. She observed that law schools do an excellent job to “advance critical thinking” but fall short on teaching the practice of law as well as conveying “professional identity.”

    Specifically, she suggests reforming the bar exam, perhaps adopting a “baby bar” to test critical-thinking skills after the first year like the testing done in medical education. This, she explained, would “tell students where they stand and tell law schools what to do about that.”

    Second, state licensing agencies should develop a system of legal professionals who are licensed to assist clients but not in all legal fields, similar to the status of a nurse practitioner, she said. This would give students with a “real thirst for justice” to practice in the legal field without accumulating major debt and allow others who want to specialize in the law to do so. The state of Washington now has a program and several other jurisdictions are exploring this approach.

    Rachel Van Cleave, former dean and professor of law at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, moderated the program.

    LGBT advocates brace for worst-yet-to-come as Trump enters second year

    February 4, 2018 10:57 AM by glynnj

    Top LGBT legal experts agreed that the first year of the Trump administration has been anything but LGBT-friendly – and warned that the worst could be soon to come.  In fact, circle February 21 on the calendar. That is the day the Trump administration has said it will announce how it will implement a court-ordered ban allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

    “This really is make or break. I can’t stress how devastating it will be if we lose this case and the ripple effect it will have across a whole range of issues for the transgender community,” attorney Shannon Price Minter, legal director of the National Center of Lesbian Rights, said during a panel looking at “The Current State of LGBT Law Under the Trump Administration” on Saturday during the Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. “I do not feel the least bit complacent about public opinion continuing to remain with us if we are not absolutely vigilant and aggressive about counteracting any distorted, confusing lies that I think we are about to see on February 21.”

    Minter and fellow panelists, Associate Judge Phyliss Frye of the Houston Municipal Courts, and attorney Jennifer Levi, transgender rights project director for GLAD, talked about recent gains and setbacks to LGBT law but it was the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military that dominated the discussion.

    Last July, President Donald Trump in a tweet reversed an Obama administration policy allowing transgender service members to serve openly and begin enlisting in January 2018. The directive was to take affect March 28 and would have blocked military recruitment of transgender people and forced the dismissal of current transgender service members. It also said transgender people would no longer be provided gender transition-related health care in the military. Several lawsuits were filed in August by GLAD and NCLR on behalf of six active-duty transgender service members.

    The federal courts blocked the proposed military ban until the case could be resolved. The administration appealed the rulings, but in December withdrew those appeals and said transgender people can begin enlisting on Jan. 1. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said the Pentagon would establish a new policy on transgender by Feb. 21.

    What concerns the panelists is just what that policy will be.

    “At the moment, the ban is halted but at the same time the administration has not backed off on the fact that they intend to defend the ban in court,” said Levi.

    “This administration is masterful at creating a lot of misinformation that is strategic and can be problematic. We don’t know what their recommendations will be but there is a real chance they are going to try to reinstate the ban in some other format that makes it harder to both understand that there is a ban and to also set transgender people squarely in the sights of the administration to suggest that allowing transgender people to serve in the military is problematic,” said Levi.

    Levi pointed out that the Republican National Committee on Feb. 2 adopted a resolution supporting Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from military service.

    “It seems really clear and based on the RNC resolution that this is an area where transgender people are very much coming within the crosshairs of this administration,” Levi said. “If the ban survives, we will see the sentiment behind the ban being used to justify excluding transgender people from a whole range of different areas.”

    Minter believes that the Trump administration is very aware that a victory on the military transgender issue could make it easier to rollback other LGBT gains.

    “I think they know very well that if they succeed in getting the courts to uphold this ban the negative ramifications for transgender people in other areas is going to be really extreme, everything you can think of from access to health care, employment discrimination, family law,” Minter said.

    Judge Frye, the first openly transgender to be appointed to the bench, said that while there has already been a huge loss of LGBT rights under the new administration she fears the recent appointment of conservative-leaning judges to the federal courts is concerning.

    “What scares me the most is the judges that Trump is putting on the bench right now and they are going to be on the bench for a long time,” Frye said. “I’m afraid it’s going to get real nasty out there.”

    “The Current State of LGBT Law Under the Trump Administration” was sponsored by the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the National LGBT Bar Association, served as moderator for the panel.

    British Columbia ODR system handles 14,000 cases in first 7 months

    February 4, 2018 6:44 AM by glynnj

    Justice just got quicker and easier for people with small-claims cases in British Columbia.

    The Canadian province launched the nation’s first online tribunal in 2016. At first, the online dispute resolution system handled only condominium disputes. In June 2017, the system – called the Civil Resolution Tribunal – took jurisdiction over nearly all small-claims cases worth $5,000 or less.

    Panelists (from left: Darin Thompson, Shannon Salter, Colin Rule) discuss Canada's first online dispute resolution system during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver


    The early results are encouraging, according to the developers and operators, who spoke at a panel discussion Saturday at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. So far, the system has handled nearly 14,000 small-claims cases. Roughly 85 percent of the 700 cases resolved to date were settled. Only 12 went to decision at the tribunal.

    More important, the online tribunal has made it much simpler for ordinary citizens to access the justice system with small disputes. Lawyers are generally prohibited from participating. Users fill out simple, easy-to-follow, step-by-step questionnaires online.

    “Citizens are using technology in every area of their lives,” said Colin Rule, vice president of online dispute resolution at Tyler Technologies. “This is how you rebalance your 401k. This is how you sign your kid up for summer camp. And when they go to the courts and someone says your hearing is going to be in 120 days and you need to file this on paper, people go, ‘Is this 1983?’ This is just not the way society works.”

    Ordinary people in Canada and the United States are demanding that their courthouses change, said Darin Thompson, legal counsel at the British Columbia Ministry of Justice. “People aren’t marching on Ottawa or Washington,” Thompson said. “They’re marching away from the courthouses. It’s up to us to figure out how we can change that.”

    One sign that the British Columbia ODR system is working: About 45 percent of participants are using the tribunal’s online tools outside of traditional court hours – a tremendous convenience for people who can’t get away from work to go to court.

    Another sign: Government money and personnel that used to be devoted to small-claims cases – including judges, sheriffs, clerks and others – are being redirected to reduce the backlog of criminal and family law cases.

    Shannon Salter, who chairs the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal said the greatest success is expanding public access to justice. “Being online is not the end goal,” she said. “The end goal is to take the justice system and go to where people are.”

    Thompson demonstrated how the system works by leading the audience through the online forms for a fictional claimant named Sarah who bought a $2,500 refrigerator that was never delivered. He explained how the early steps are automated, but the later steps involve human mediators who try – usually successfully – to resolve disputes online, by phone and by email.

    Salter said she knows some lawyers fear ODR will take away their work, especially if it can be expanded to more complex and lucrative disputes.

    “My response to that, as a lawyer, is society doesn’t owe you a living,” Salter said. “If you make your living because justice processes haven’t changed since William the Conqueror and they’re still byzantine and they’re still complex and you happen to know how to navigate them, that is not an interest that society should protect. So if by simplifying processes we take away your work, you need to change the nature of your work.”

    The event was co-sponsored by the ABA Judicial Division, the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and the National Conference of Bar Presidents.

    ABA celebrates 4 diversity trail-blazers at Midyear

    February 4, 2018 6:29 AM by glynnj

    The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession honored four 2018 The Spirit of Excellence Award recipients for their commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The awards were presented during a luncheon on Feb. 3 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    Spirit of Excellence Award recipients (from left): Kenneth D. Gray, Alan N. Braverman, Heather Kendall-Miller and James A. Wynn Jr.


    The 2018 award recipients are: (click on each name to view acceptance videos)

    Alan N. Braverman, senior executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of The Walt Disney Company since 2003. As the company’s chief legal officer, Braverman oversees its team of attorneys responsible for all aspects of Disney’s legal affairs around the world. He previously served as executive vice president and general counsel for Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., and deputy general counsel for Disney. Prior to joining Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., he was a partner with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where he started in 1976. He specialized in complex commercial and administrative litigation. Braverman also was a law clerk for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas W. Pomeroy Jr. Braverman, a Boston native, earned his J.D. degree from Duquesne University.

    “Problem-solving in a pluralistic society demands pluralistic perspectives,” he said in accepting the award, adding that he wanted Disney’s legal department to “truly reflect the mosaic of society…how do you get there? By literally opening the doors of opportunity.”

    Saying “you can find great talent everywhere ­– you just have to look,” Braverman said his department assesses talent by “considering the character of the individual and their social intelligence as well as their analytical ability” and that has helped them become more effective at what they do.

    Major General (ret.) Kenneth D. Gray, a native of McDowell County, W. Va., was the first African-American general in the history of the active Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.  He received his B.A. degree in political science from West Virginia State College in 1966 and was commissioned a second lieutenant from the Reserve Officers Training Corps. In 1969, he received his J.D. from West Virginia University’s College of Law, where he was the only African-American student for the entire three years he attended.  After law school, Gray served on active duty in the JAG Corps and eventually became the Army deputy judge advocate general. Gray graduated with honors from the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Following his military career, Gray served as vice president for student affairs at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

    At the luncheon, Gray recalled what it was like when he got involved in working for diversity. “Following a tour in Vietnam, I was asked to recruit minorities and women to the JAG Corps. At that time, there were 8 women and 16 African-American lawyers out of about 1,600,” he said. “Today, there are about 6.7 percent African Americans and 28 percent women out of 1,850.”

    He credited those who came before him, “many who did not have the opportunity to achieve the success that I was able to achieve. They actually paved the way for my journey by the sacrifices, challenges and obstacles that they had to overcome,” and said when he faced obstacles he drew strength from his parents, teachers, ROTC officers and law school professors.

    Heather Kendall-Miller, an Alaska native (Athabascan), is a senior staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund in Anchorage. Kendall-Miller is a graduate of Harvard Law School and has dedicated her career to public service. She was a law clerk at the Alaska Supreme Court and then served as a Skadden Fellow, where she worked as a staff attorney for the Alaska Legal Services Corporation representing indigent clients in court and in administrative hearings. During the second year of her fellowship, she worked for the Native American Rights Fund, where she continues her groundbreaking work. With more than 25 years practicing in federal and state courts, Kendall-Miller has established foundational legal principles protecting Native American subsistence, tribal sovereignty and human rights. Her activities outside the law include board memberships with the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, the Wilderness Society, the Alaska Native Justice Center, the Social Justice Fund, the Honoring Nations Governing Board and the Conservation Foundation. In addition, she serves on the Alaska Supreme Court Committee on Fairness and Access to the Judicial System and as liaison to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    “I have had the great pleasure of the past 27 years of working in that field and using my law degree to make change, and it’s been an incredibly fulfilling profession to be able to work in,” Kendall-Miller said when she accepted her award.

    She said like many in the audience she was used to being called “one of the first,” but that is now “way in the past,” and men and women of color are in the profession “making huge contributions.” She congratulated them for not having “lost any momentum; you’re picking it up and you’re moving it forward.”

    Judge James A. Wynn Jr. serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. Wynn was nominated for the bench by President Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously in 2010. Prior to his appointment, Wynn served for 20 years on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of North Carolina. He received his J.D. from Marquette University School of Law and an LL.M. in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia School of Law. Wynn’s legal career began in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps, where he served for four years on active duty and 26 years in the reserves. He was a certified military trial judge and retired at the rank of captain. Before becoming a state appellate judge in 1990, Wynn was a litigator in the law firm of Fitch, Butterfield & Wynn in Wilson, N.C. He currently serves on the Marquette University board of trustees and is a senior lecturing fellow at Duke University School of Law. Wynn is one of the drafters of the 2007 ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct. He recently was appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to serve on the Judicial Conference’s Information Technology Committee.

    Recalling when he heard Justice Antonin Scalia say that judges don’t come to the court as a tabula rasa; they don’t come with a blank slate, Wynn said at the luncheon, “And I said thank you, Justice Scalia, you’ve just given the best case for diversity I know.”

    He noted NAACP President Sherilynn Ifill’s distinction between representative diversity and substantive diversity. “In other words you can look diverse, but you may not bring substantive diversity to that spot, and I have sought through the years to bring both to this process.”

    Of the challenges of being a judge, Wynn said, “I submit you should be respectful, you should be honorable in the way you treat others, but you should never compromise that which for you have earned to get to where you are.”

    Title IX enforcement: “Rules” on gender identity, college-campus sexual assault shift under Trump

    February 4, 2018 6:20 AM by glynnj

    The topsy-turvy shift in Title IX enforcement from previous administrations to the current one was the focus of a detailed analysis Saturday by Title IX expert Daiquiri Steele at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    In a detailed series of “before” and “after” descriptions, Steele walked the audience through significant differences in Title IX enforcement introduced recently by the Trump administration, expected to significantly alter the federal government’s relationship with educational institutions across the country and directly impact students from kindergarten through college. At the same time, Steele warned, much – particularly involving gender identity issues – is still up in the air.

    “I’m not going to tell the end of the story right now,” she told the audience. “We don’t know what it is. I’m going to tell the why.”

    Steele, currently director of diversity and inclusion and assistant professor of law in residence at the University of Alabama School of Law, is a longtime authority on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. She previously served as a civil rights attorney with the Department of Education’s office charged with Title IX enforcement. There, she provided legal counsel relating to federal investigations of discrimination involving school districts, colleges and universities and state educational agencies. 

    Steele is also active in the ABA where, among other roles, she is currently a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Public Education and has served as a commissioner on the Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

    When enacted, Title IX transformed how schools and colleges that receive any federal funding –the vast majority of educational institutions in the United States – handle critical issues by prohibiting discrimination based on sex. While the most public image of Title IX is as a revolutionary force in women’s college athletics, Title IX has had a sweeping impact across a wide range of school activities and interactions among students, faculty and staff.  

    “Just about anything a school does will be subject to Title IX,” said Steele at the session, “Hot Topics in Diversity Law: Title IX Updates,” an annual Midyear Meeting presentation by the Section of State and Local Government Law.

    In recent years, the impact of Title IX has been focused on high-profile controversies involving discipline in campus sexual assault cases, as well as gender identity and bathroom usage -- and those are the areas where enforcement is changing rapidly under the Trump administration.

    Regarding the controversies raging nationwide on whether students should be confined to using school bathrooms based on their birth gender, or be permitted to use bathrooms conforming to their “gender identity” (a student’s sense of their gender that may not match their sex assigned at birth), the Obama administration Education Department had issued Title IX guidance in 2016. That guidance – known as a “Dear Colleague” letter – interprets "sex discrimination" to include claims based on gender identity, Steele explained. In other words, when it comes to school bathroom use, if a student born female believed their true identity is male, the schools must permit that student to use the males’ bathroom, she noted.

    The ruling helped give rise to a number of high-profile lawsuits around the country, including high-schooler Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy in Virginia who sued to be able to use the boys’ bathroom in his school.

    And that’s where the situation gets murky. Grimm had won at the appeals court level after the court deferred to the Obama administration’s 2016 guidance – a seeming victory for transgender students. But the victory was short-lived when Trump on Feb. 22, 2017, withdrew and rescinded the Obama’s 2016 gender identity and sex discrimination guidance.

    “The Department of Education just said ‘Oh, never mind, don’t worry about that,’” said Steele. At this point, she said, the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights is no longer taking discrimination cases based on sexual orientation, although some colleges and universities may still have rules that still permit gender identity to determine bathroom use.

    On sexual harassment and sexual violence, Steele said, changes are much clearer. On Feb. 22, 2017, the Trump administration significantly altered detailed Obama-era guidance to schools with its own “Dear Colleague” letter.

    In an examination at “new rules vs. old rules,” Steele demonstrated that the new standards for – among other things – burden of proof, the use of mediation and cross examination of alleged sexual assault victims – now give individual schools substantially more latitude in how to address these cases.

    As an example, the burden of proof change is “huge,” said Steele. The “old rule,” she said, identified the “preponderance of evidence” standard as the standard of proof in campus sexual assault cases. But the “new rule,” she said, allows schools to choose between the "preponderance of the evidence" standard of proof and a higher "clear and convincing" standard when determining guilt.

    Under the old rule, mediation was discouraged as “inappropriate in campus sexual misconduct,” she said. The reasoning, she said: “This is not a ‘You stole my homework’ case. This is about sexual assault.” 

    However, the new Trump administration guidance permits schools to facilitate an “information resolution, including mediation, to assist parties in reaching a voluntary resolution.”

    And on cross examination of alleged sexual assault victims by the accuser, it was “strongly discouraged” under the old rule because it had the potential of putting that individual in a hostile environment that could prove traumatic for the alleged victim, Steele said.

    The new rule states that “any opportunity that a school makes available to one party, they have to make available to the other party, including cross examination,” she said.

    While not explicitly included in the Trump administration’s “Dear Colleague” document, she said its standards on other issues involving campus sexual assault proceedings can be extrapolated.

    For example, she said, under the old rule, schools had to be careful taking the sexual history of the alleged victim into evidence. Now, she said, “that is no longer the rule.”

    In addition, schools were formerly cautioned against using any previous sexual relationship being used as evidence of consent. Now, “that may no longer be the rule,” she said.

    “So, the takeaway, unfortunately,” she said, “is a lot of this is up in the air as to gender identity.” With respect to sexual misconduct, she said, “We actually do have rules. They are just new rules, many of which are in stark contrast to the previous rules.” 

    2018 Spirit of Excellence Award: James A. Wynn Jr.

    February 3, 2018 9:52 PM by glynnj

    James A. Wynn Jr., a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., received a 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession during an award ceremony on Feb. 3 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    2018 Spirit of Excellence Award: Heather Kendall-Miller

    February 3, 2018 9:52 PM by glynnj

    Heather Kendall-Miller, an Alaska native (Athabascan), who is a senior staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund in Anchorage, received a 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession during an award ceremony on Feb. 3 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    2018 Spirit of Excellence Award: Kenneth D. Gray

    February 3, 2018 9:52 PM by glynnj

    Major General (ret.) Kenneth D. Gray, a native of McDowell County, W. Va., the first African-American general in the history of the active Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, received a 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession during an award ceremony on Feb. 3 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    2018 Spirit of Excellence Award: Alan N. Braverman

    February 3, 2018 9:52 PM by glynnj

    Alan N. Braverman, senior executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of The Walt Disney Company since 2003, received a 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award from the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession during an award ceremony on Feb. 3 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    Video highlights: Recovering lawyers address substance abuse and mental health issues plaguing the profession

    February 3, 2018 9:21 PM by glynnj

    Lawyers share their recovery stories to educate and encourage all stakeholders in the profession— from judges, legal regulators and legal employers,  to representatives of law schools, bar associations and lawyer assistance programs—to learn how and know when to refer those needing help to lawyer assistance programs.     

    Panelists also discussed regaining work-life balance and recognizing addictive behavior during the ABA Midyear Meeting program titled, “Attorney Well-Being: It’s Your Life in the Balance, Right?” on Feb. 2 in Vancouver.

    Will DACA kids wind up in Canada?

    February 3, 2018 9:05 PM by glynnj

    If there is no deal to save DACA recipients in the United States, the Dreamers who face deportation might find a new home in Canada – but that could require a special act of Parliament.

    A Canadian immigration expert made that prediction Saturday at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. It came during a panel discussion comparing the U.S. and Canadian immigration systems, featuring experts from both countries.

    An expert panel at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver compares and contrasts U.S. and Canadian immigration systems


    DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – was on everyone’s minds.  It provides temporary protection for nearly 800,000 young people, called Dreamers, who were brought to the United States without authorization by their parents. In September, President Donald Trump revoked the program, effective March 5.A federal judge has temporarily blocked Trump’s action while a court challenge is pending.

    Meanwhile, Congress is working on a deal to address the issue. If their efforts fail, what will come of the 800,000 Dreamers? Will they be deported, or could they flee to Canada?

    “So DACA -- deal or no deal?” asked panelist Andres Pelenur, an immigration lawyer from Toronto. “Some wise people have told me there will not be a deal. That actually all these people will be really in a bad situation. So what happens if that is the case? Obviously, Canada is on their radar. What are their chances of actually settling in this country?”

    Pelenur said it is unlikely that DACA recipients could get study or work permits through the usual channels because they have no legal status in the United States. “Their chances are virtually zero,” he said.

    Some DACA recipients might qualify as skilled workers, but that number is very small, Pelenur said. Potential immigrants applying from outside Canada – like DACA recipients – could qualify if they are young (age 20 to 29) and have bachelor’s or master’s degrees with some work experience. Only about 5 percent of DACA recipients fit that definition.

    Another, “very risky” option for DACA recipients, Pelenur said, would be crossing into Canada at unguarded spots, then applying for asylum. Those immigrants would have to prove they have a reasonable fear of persecution in their home country – not the United States – and that would be difficult, Pelenur said.

    “Probably one of their best hopes is a special measure from the government,” Pelenur said. One member of Parliament has already proposed a special category for DACA recipients.

    There is precedence. During the Vietnam War, Canada welcomed draft resisters from the United States by creating a special category for them, said panelist Gordon Maynard, an immigration lawyer from Vancouver.

    Currently, 60 percent of Canada’s immigrants are skilled workers. Canada awards points to potential immigrants based on their age, education, language ability, Canadian work experience and other factors. And it works, Maynard said.

    By comparison, the United States system is largely based on employers supporting applicants with skills they can’t find in American workers, said panelist David Ware, a Louisiana immigration lawyer. “The funny thing is the two systems approach things from vastly different directions but they end up choosing very, very similar immigrants,” he said.

    Panelist Margaret Stock, an immigration lawyer from Alaska, said she found it amusing that Trump wants to shift the U.S. system away from family immigration toward a merit-based system. Canada tried that, “but ultimately I think you end up with exactly the same people. You’re just putting them in different boxes.”

    Ware said the United States is losing the immigration war. “Canada is eating our breakfast in terms of stealing our talent, especially IT (information technology) talent,” he said. “If we don’t reform our system, you’re going to see going forward IT moving largely to Canada because of their welcoming system.”

    The program was co-sponsored by the ABA Commission on Immigration and the ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities.

    Video highlights: Top LGBT legal advocates detail setbacks during Trump’s first year in office

    February 3, 2018 5:18 PM by glynnj

    LGBT legal activists sound the alarm during a Midyear Meeting program titled, “The Current State of LGBT Law Under the Trump Administration” on Feb. 3 in Vancouver.

    Citing the administration’s repeated attempts to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military as well as the Justice Department’s stance enabling the federal government to argue that existing civil rights laws don’t protect gay and bisexual workers, panelists fear further losses of anti-discrimination protections and urge constant vigilance while warning that the worst could be yet to come. 

    Video highlights: Technical, legal experts make case for ensuring reliable election results

    February 3, 2018 4:38 PM by glynnj

    Fundamental concerns plaguing both the U.S. and Canadian voting systems are the focus of an ABA Midyear Meeting program titled, “Democracy on the Edge: Security, e-Voting, and the Challenge of Verifying the People’s Choice” on Feb. 2  in Vancouver. 

    Citing the uproar over allegations of hacking and foreign meddling in the 2016 election, technical and legal experts discuss the risks of e-voting and solutions for preventing irregularities. 

    Lawyers discuss challenges and rewards of women in politics at Midyear Meeting

    February 3, 2018 4:00 PM by glynnj

    As a woman, have you ever contemplated working on a political campaign or going into politics yourself?

    Lawyers from the United States joined with their Canadian counterparts to hear from

    Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and former British Columbia Justice Minister and Attorney General Suzanne Anton discuss the rewards and challenges of working in the political arena, the skills needed to navigate the transition into politics, and the importance of women serving in political office. They participated on a panel titled, “Challenges and Rewards for Women in Politics — Both Personal and Professional,” at the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations luncheon during the Midyear Meeting on Feb. 2 in Vancouver.

    Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon Attorney General (left) and Suzanne Anton, QC, former British Columbia Justice Minister and Attorney General (right) address the program "Challenges and Rewards for Women in Politics" at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. (photo credit: The Canadian Press Images/Michael Desjardins)

    The U.S. is ranked 104 in the world for women in government; British Columbia is 50.

    Women hold 22 percent of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate and 19.3 percent of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

    “These numbers indicated that women were less likely to run for office, were less likely to underestimate their qualifications, were more likely to see campaigns as more difficult, were less likely to encourage each other to run for office, and didn’t think highly enough of themselves to run for office,” said panel moderator Jeanne Marie Clavere, who serves on the board of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Association.

    However, she said that this past year has become a defining time for women in politics. In 2017, 26,000 women considered running for political office compared to the 900 women who ran for office in 2016.

    Preliminary numbers for the 2018 elections show 66 women have announced their candidacy or shown interest in running for governor, according to data from the Center for Women in Politics.  This is more than the number of women who ran during the 2010 and 2014 elections combined. 

    British Columbia is seeing a similar increase in the number of women running for political office.

    “Thirty-nine percent of elected officials in British Columbia are women and there are some very significant women in positions,” said Anton. “It’s important for women to run and to also support women candidates around you who are running for election. You can help other women.”

    Anton was drawn to politics at age 50, after having worked a full career as a math teacher and prosecutor, both of which she said. “Provided her good training, a thick skin, the ability to learn how people work and the issues most important to them.”

    In her high-profile role, Anton provided legal counsel to the government, advised on the conduct of government litigation and the administration of criminal justice and prosecution, and ensured the government conducted its affairs in accordance with the law.

    “I never thought I would be a politician. The thought never crossed my mind,” she said.

    Her career in politics began in her community, where Anton was president of her children’s youth soccer club. She was passionate about developing programs in communities, where children did not have as many opportunities to participate in sports.

    Anton moved up through local politics and was elected as a member in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. She was later appointed attorney general and minister of justice and held that position until 2017.

    Anton said it’s important to look out for other women, especially in politics. “Politics is a tough business,” she said. “It’s highly intensive, especially when you are in a political campaign, which can also lead to problems.”

    But, she added, “It can also be highly rewarding.”

    In 2012, Ellen Rosenblum was appointed by the Gov. John Kitzhaber to complete the term of her predecessor. She was elected attorney general in the fall of that year and was re-elected to a second term in 2016.

    Rosenblum, the first woman to serve as Oregon’s attorney general, said the number of women running for office is no small achievement in comparison to the state of women in politics. Rosenblum served as a trial lawyer for 16 years.

    Rosenblum said she found her passion for consumer protection during her time in law school. She said, “Women should run for office because the political environment needs more of them.”  “I have always wanted to be a judge and quickly found the positions I worked in were political and required politics.

    “I had already been a politician of a different sort, nonpartisan, and the ability to talk about positions on issues that you care about such as the administration of justice and our communities,” said Rosenblum. “Some people fear fundraising and speaking out on issues but these are the issues I enjoy.”

    Anton said her supportive and strong connections helped her but she was adamant, “Politics is a tough, tough business.”

    “That is why women, especially lawyers are great for politics because women are quick in becoming tough,” she said. “Lawyers make good politicians. In fact, there is a cliché that there are way too many lawyers in politics but it’s simply not true. There are not enough lawyers in politics.

    “We need more lawyers in politics,” Anton continued. “Because lawyers have a number of attributes --- good training, a good study of the law, a good ability to communicate with people, a fairly thick skin, and a very good understanding of the public.” 

    Rosenblum said she was surprised by how intensely political the environment was and that women will not always support you.

    “It’s obvious, sexism is still alive and well. Although she defeated her male counterpart handily in her last election, Rosenblum said she did not get the newspaper endorsements. She said the media had difficulty separating her qualifications from her opponent and felt she did not have management experience.

    “Apparently, I had been a judge, and from their (media) perspective, judges do not have management experience,” Rosenblum said. “As a judge, how could I not have management experience?”

    Rosenblum is encouraging and supporting other women in Oregon to run for state attorney general. She said: “What we need to keep in mind is that we need women running for office, women judges, women AGs. We need women in other positions of power including serving on editorial boards.”

    Rosenblum spoke of two former state attorneys general, who are now serving in the U.S. Senate: Kamela Harris of California and Catherine Cortez Masto of Arizona.

    “These women are successful because they have qualifications and have secured great working relationships,” said Rosenblum. “It shows there are opportunities available for women to obtain powerful positions in political office. If you are serving as a district attorney, then you have those credentials.”

    The luncheon panel was sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia, Women Lawyers Forum and the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. The event was co-sponsored by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession.

     

    US, Canadian service providers share advice on meeting legal needs of homeless youth

    February 3, 2018 2:09 PM by glynnj

    “Young people who are homeless often come to the streets having experienced trauma,” said Stephen Gaetz, the head of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub and the author of Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey, the largest national study of youth homelessness in Canada, which was released last year. “And they are often further traumatized on the streets.”

    Stephen Gaetz, head of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub, speaks at the Midyear Meeting learning exchange on the legal needs of homeless youth

    Graetz was a panelist on “ABA and Canadian Legal Needs of Homeless Youth Learning Exchange: Improving Outcomes by Removing Legal Barriers,” hosted by the ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty and the ABA Homeless Youth Legal Network in partnership with A Way Home Canada. The event was held on Feb. 2 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    The program was also an outgrowth of ABA President Hilarie Bass’ Legal Needs of Homeless Youth Initiative, which aims to bring legal service providers to where homeless youth are.

    Gaetz shared some of what his 17 years of research on justice and youth shows.

    If street youth do have some support, he said, it is usually professional and does not come from family. He talked about two marked characteristics of youth experiencing homelessness:

    • They experience “adolescence interrupted,” in that they do not get to grow into adulthood gradually, but on the streets are expected to act as adults to survive.

    • In addition, he said, for them “time collapses.” Their focus is necessarily always on the immediate – the next meal, a place to sleep – so following through on something like a warrant or an upcoming appointment is difficult.

    One cluster of legal issues faced by youth experiencing homelessness involves housing, eviction and exploitation by landlords. Gaetz said his research showed that homeless youth average three jobs a year, but they are low level and usually paid under the table. In addition, they are often subject to scams and sexual exploitation.

    Debt loans are high among homeless youth, which Gaetz attributed in part to the “criminalization of homelessness,” such as fines for panhandling.

    Similar to the United States, Canada’s homeless youth are heavily minority, LGBT and refugees as well as disproportionately from indigenous populations.

    Julia Huys, a lawyer for Justice for Children and Youth, spoke about her routine as the single lawyer in Toronto representing homeless youth full-time.

    Huys emphasized accessibility. “We reach out to young people where they spend their time,” she said. She goes to one or two homeless youth shelters and drop-in centers in Toronto each week, where she gives “know your rights” presentations on such topics as housing, employment and police stop-and-search. She gradually gets to know the clients and allows them a chance to vent.

    The most important aspect of her work, she says, is consistency, which helps her clients trust her.

    In addition to meeting street youth where they are, she advised communicating with them the way they communicate, such as by text and Facebook Messenger.

    Among the lessons Huys has learned are:

    • Measure your expectations. Huys doesn’t set specific appointments, but offers a large window of time when she is available to meet (such as “anytime on Friday” or “five hours on Thursday”), because expecting the young people to show up for a specific appointment is “unrealistic.”

    • Build relationships with community workers, which is fundamental for getting referrals of young people who need legal help.

    • Know that mental health issues are prevalent in this population and that anxiety runs high.

    • Train social services providers to identify legal problems. Huys’ group hosts training programs twice a year for this purpose.

    Huys described one young woman who lives in a rooming house, is addicted to meth and has many theft charges due to her addiction. She also has mental health and anxiety issues and two children under the care of the state. Huys described picking her up to bring her to court and spending time with her after the court appointment.

    “We are friends, in a way,” she said. Homeless youth need an adult ally, Huys stressed, and service providers – including lawyers – need “to be prepared to play that role.” It can be draining, she noted, and boundaries need to be set.

    In Canada, legal aid is provincially funded, Huys said, and the biggest hurdles to the growth of her program are funding and capacity.

    Among the practices being used in the States that the Canadian panelists took note of are state-specific Homeless Youth Handbooks (HomelessYouth.org).  Angela Vigil, partner and executive director of Baker & McKenzie’s pro bono practice, discussed how the firm’s pro bono attorneys compiled them.

    Noting that Canada has placed an emphasis on preventing youth homelessness, Steve Scudder, counsel for the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, said, “We need to shift to prevention in a very real way,” by fixing the social systems that are failing. “In what other issue would you say prevention is irrelevant?” he asked.

    Graetz observed that Canada is weighing passing a law to make housing a right for all citizens, so that may eventually become another best practice the United States adopts from its neighbors to the north.

    Recovering lawyers stress that learning to ask for help is key to attorney well-being

    February 3, 2018 1:21 PM by glynnj

    Raul Ayala has been a practicing attorney in California for more than 36 years and he’s a recovering alcoholic.

    Derek LaCroix is a non-practicing attorney and he’s been in recovery for more than 30 years.

    Amanda Richards, a first-year law student in British Columbia, struggled with mental health issues and substance abuse before going to law school.

    All three shared their stories and put a face on the sobering statistics that reveal that 1 in 5 lawyers are alcoholics and 1 in 4 are depressed. But they also want everyone to know that if you are struggling you don’t have to suffer in silence, that you are not alone and that you can get help.

    Ayala, LaCroix and Richards participated on panel “Attorney Well-Being: It’s Your Life in the Balance, Right?” held Feb. 2 at ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. The program was sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section and the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. Panelists were:

    • Ayala, deputy federal public defender in Los Angeles
    • LaCroix, QC, director of the Lawyer Assistance Program in British Columbia
    • Richards, 1L, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
    • Bree Buchannan, attorney, director of the Texas Lawyer Assistance Program, chair of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistant Programs and co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being
    • Tracy Kepler, attorney, director of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, former president of National Association of Bar Counsel

    Ayala provided an overview of how the rigors of the profession can lead to substance abuse, physical and mental health problems.

    “Early in my career I was an active alcoholic. I was a private practitioner with no oversight and for me it was a pretty bad combination,” Ayala said. “Before I went to law school I already had two DUIs and a third one in the making. If I was applying for permission to the bar now, I would have a real problem. I’d be required now to go to through LAP (Lawyer Assistance Program) before I got admitted. So, it’s a lot different now.”

    LaCroix focused on stress and said lawyers must learn to self-regulate. “If you are always fighting, it’s going to affect your brain. Yes, you have to work hard. That’s not the problem,” he said. “The problem is we go to battle but when we come out and we forget to de-stress, we forget about our families and we forget about spirituality.”

    He offered some ways to recognize addictive behavior, including changes in behavior, attendance, performance and personal habits. “

    These can be early warning signs,” Ayala said. “But get help. What shocks me most is how resistant lawyers are to getting help.”

    The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being is one resource to get that help. Buchannan was appointed by ABA President Hilarie Bass as a co-chair of the task force, which recently launched its website, www.lawyerwellbeing.net. The genesis of the task force was two published studies that looked at the rate of substance abuse disorders, mental health disorders and the abysmal rate of help seeking by both law students and lawyers. The law students survey found that one-quarter of students were at risk for alcoholism, 17 percent suffered from depression and 6 percent had suicidal thoughts in the last year. The lawyers survey revealed that 21 percent of licensed, employed attorneys qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with some level of depression and 11.5 percent admitted to having suicidal thoughts at some time during their career.

    “Those of us who do this work, we didn’t have any of these statistics or hard data that these studies showed,” Buchannan said. “I think the thing our profession has to worry about is that these studies showed very demonstrably that the younger the lawyer, the higher the rate of impairment of whatever kind – depression, anxiety, substance abuse disorder.”

    The task force issued a report with 44 recommendations directed at law firms, law schools, regulators, the judiciary, bar associations and professional liability carriers.

    The report defines well-being as “a continuous process toward thriving across all life dimensions,” and it zeroed in on six key dimensions: Occupational, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, Physical and Social.

    Buchannan said the report addressed the stigma associated to getting help. “We have to make it okay to talk about substance abuse, depression, mental health issues, suicide that is occurring in the profession,” she said. “We must educate all sectors of the profession on these issues so that they can identify it and know how to handle it. You don’t need to diagnose, you don’t need to cure, you don’t need to treat. But you do need to know how and when to refer lawyers and law students to your lawyer assistance programs.”

    Buchannan said the task force is “passing the ball” to the chief justices of each of the states supreme court to make this a priority.

    Kepler discussed attorney discipline. Among the quick facts she presented were:

    • That of the most common violations, 61 percent come from poor attorney-client relations (failure to communicate with client, fee disputes, neglect of case).  
    • The most serious violations include conversion/misappropriation of client funds, conviction of a crime, lack of candor to the tribunal. “The conviction of a crime really goes to the heart and soul of some of the problems that we are seeing in regard to the alcohol use, opioid use or the methamphetamine use where attorneys are using prescriptions that often aren’t theirs and they are actually violating criminal laws to continue that use.”
    • Ignorance of ethics rules, personal financial pressure, pressure to get and retain clients, substance abuse/mental health Issues, cognitive impairment (e.g., dementia) are frequently why lawyers violate the rules.
    • Most grievances come from angry former clients and reports from other attorneys.
    • Criminal law is the specialization that gets the most grievances.
    • Studies show that 40 percent to 60 percent of lawyers facing disciplinary charges suffer from some type of addiction or mental illness.
    • In 2016 statistics from Illinois, 31 percent of lawyers disciplined had an impairment issue.

    Regulation authorities, according to Kepler, have become more proactive in their approach to get attorneys to deal with these issues, to talk about them and get help before they lead to a complaint. “What we have learned is that discipline or disciplinary sanction is not going to make a lawyer well.”

    First-year law student Amanda Richards said she entered school having a vision for herself and knowing who she was “and quickly found out that law school is a disaster. That people are anxious. There really isn’t much help for us.”

    Having dealt with her own issues prior to entering law school, Richards said it is “terrifying” to see so many of her fellow law students anxious and depressed. “I’m constantly talking friends down. There is so much pressure when you come to law school and most people are so terrified to ask for help.”

    Richards said she believes lawyers’ substance abuse and mental health issues begin in law school. “I don’t have the answers but my goal is to get these talks going at law school and to say to people that it’s ok to struggle and it’s ok to ask for help.”

    At public forum, revised proposal for lawyer advertising rules gets warmer reception

    February 3, 2018 11:10 AM by glynnj

    Revised proposed changes to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct regarding lawyer advertising received a better reception at the 2018 Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, B.C., than a year ago although there was overwhelming sentiment the revisions still do not go far enough to simplify rules on communication with clients.

    A year ago at a similar forum, a batch of proposed changes in the works since 2013 triggered a much harsher critique, with some saying that the recommendations went too far and others not far enough. But on Friday, Feb. 2, the working draft of the proposed amendments of ABA Model Rules 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5 addressing how lawyers provide the public with information about legal services received a stronger but not totally enthusiastic embrace.

    “We would like to see the proposal go further [in simplification],” said Arthur J. Lachman, a lawyer in Seattle, who described ongoing changes in the Washington State Bar Association rules and was among those who suggested numerous tweaks to the revised recommendations.

    The proposed amendments seek to encourage more national uniformity; simplify the rules that are actually enforced by state regulators, maintain the prohibition against engaging in false or misleading communications, and accommodate developments in the legal profession, technology and competition from inside and outside the profession

    First proposed by the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility plans to present a final proposal to the ABA House of Delegates at its meeting in August in Chicago. Barbara S. Gillers, chair of the standing committee and a New York School of Law legal ethics professor, said the final package should “target the most misleading and false advertising” without burdening lawyers and impinging on their free speech and the First Amendment rights.

    APRL first released a 2015 report of its Regulation of Lawyer Advertising Committee on June 22, 2015, which included the first draft of model rule changes. It then supplemented that report in April 2016, recommending further amendments.

    The comprehensive proposal specifically includes amendments to Model Rules 7.1, Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services; 7.2, Advertising; 7.3, Solicitation of Clients; 7.4, Communications of Fields of Practice and Specialization; and 7.5, Firm Names and Letterheads.

    Similar to other model rules, those focused on advertising and communication are meant as guidelines for state ethics bodies to adopt. In initially suggesting the changes, APRL hopes that the revisions will address concerns about overly restrictive and inconsistent state regulation of lawyer advertising, particularly in relation to today's diverse and innovative forms of electronic media advertising. 

    As did other speakers, ABA staff counsel Will Hornsby, representing the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, suggested the model rules on advertising should be broad and simple to account for the changing environment in the practice of law. As an example, he observed that in past days personal communication among friends was primarily by voice and with machines by text.

    Now, he added citing electronic assistants like Alexa, friends communicate by texts and people talk to machines. “We should not be drafting rules for 2009,” he added. “We should be drafting the rules for 2029.”

    Several speakers said final revisions should lower barriers to access to justice for low-and-middle income clients as well even the playing field for younger lawyers, who often as solo or small firm practitioners find it difficult to compete against larger-firm lawyers.

    George R. Clark, president of APRL and a D.C. lawyer, couched lawyer advertising as an “access to justice issue. … We think the public is entitled to know more about the services that lawyers can provide,” he said.

    Eli T. Marchbanks, an attorney in Vancouver, Wash., noted that he is now developing his law practice and as a young lawyer and an entrepreneur, he views current Model Rule 7.3 that covers solicitation of clients as an obstacle. Changing this, he said, would be the “single biggest thing we can do as a profession to better connect supply and demand.”

    In closing Gillers asked the about 50 attendees how many support even less restrictive rules than the working draft proposes. Overwhelmingly, a show of hands suggested more changes would be preferred.

    Written comments on the proposal should be filed by March 1. Comments may be emailed to modelruleamend@americanbar.org.  All comments will eventually be posted on the ABA website.

    Experts support paper ballots to cure e-voting problems

    February 3, 2018 10:34 AM by glynnj

    Voter, beware: If your state doesn’t have paper ballots to back up computer scanners on Election Day, your vote may not be counted as you intended.That was the conclusion of a panel of experts Friday at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. The discussion, titled “Democracy on the Edge: Security, E-voting and the Challenge of Verifying the People’s Choice,” focused on the problems of computer voting systems.

    Marian Schneider, president of the non-profit group Verified Voting, presents at the ABA Midyear Meeting program “Democracy on the Edge: Security, E-voting and the Challenge of Verifying the People’s Choice”


    It began with a video clip from the 2006 HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy,” which told the story of American citizens exploring irregularities with e-voting systems in 2000 and 2004. Producer Russell Michaels, a British investigative journalist, said he went into the documentary with several questions.

    “Why has America handed its vote count to secret software programming private companies?” he asked. “Who owns and controls those companies? And lastly, what can we do to prove what these machines are really doing?”

    The documentary demonstrated how e-voting systems could be hacked even if the voting machines are not connected to the internet. “We found that there were more terrible flaws than anybody had guessed,” Michaels said.

    The solution, panelists agreed, is paper ballots – even though they got an undeservedly bad rap after the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, with its infamous “hanging chads” and “butterfly ballots.”

    “Basically, we can thank Florida for the fact that we use computers extensively in our voting systems,” said Barbara Simons, a computer scientist and past president of the Association for Computing Machinery. To many people, Simons said, the 2000 election in Florida boiled down to a simple equation: Paper is bad, computers are good.

    “Of course, it’s not that paper is bad. There is nothing wrong with paper,” Simons said. “What was bad was the way paper was used in those punch-card systems.”

    After that election, America was flooded with computer voting systems, especially touch-screen machines that sometimes have calibration issues that produce incorrect votes. Those machines, introduced in the early 2000s, are still in use in some states. Many election officials would like to replace them, but can’t afford it, Simons said.

    “If you think about it, do you know anyone who has a computer from those days?” she asked. “And yet we’re voting on machines that are basically computers that are really archaic and not being maintained.”

    Internet voting is no better, Simons said, even though Ontario, Canada, has widespread internet voting in many of its municipalities.

    Today, one of the greatest threats to American elections and voting technology comes from Russia, said Marian Schneider, president of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that promotes accurate, transparent and verifiable elections.

    “A nation-state with unlimited resources has been proven to have attempted to meddle in our elections,” Schneider said. “And they probably have emboldened other bad actors. And the consensus in the intelligence community is that they will be back.”

    The panel agreed: Paper ballots would protect voters. Even if computers count the ballots, it’s important to have a verifiable paper trail to support the machines, they said.

    Schneider cited two recounts in state legislative races in 2006 and 2016. In each case, she said, the margin of victory was 24 votes and local officials hand-counted the paper ballots. That satisfied all parties involved.

    “That’s what we need to get to,” Schneider said. “Where the winners understand that they won and the losers accept that they have lost.”

    The panel was moderated by Andrew Grosso, a Washington, D.C., lawyer and former federal prosecutor. U.S. District Judge Virginia Covington of Tampa, Fla., explained how citizens can challenge election procedures and how courts consider those challenges. The program was sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section

    Video highlights: Judges north and south of the U.S.-Canadian border explore status of international law

    February 2, 2018 2:14 PM by glynnj

    Judges from the United States and Canada discuss the differences and similarities in judicial decision-making during “View From The Bench: The State of International Law,” Feb. 1 during the Midyear Meeting in Vancouver.

    Topics covered during the 90-minute program included Sharia or foreign law, data privacy and how foreign law applies, use of courts by non-nationals and cultural issues in adjudicating cases.  

    Non-nationals use of U.S. courts among issues explored by international law panel

    February 2, 2018 12:07 PM by glynnj

    The question of non-nationals using U.S. courts to file cases is interesting but one that ought not exist, says Frank J. Bailey, a federal bankruptcy judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts. 

    Panelists discuss the status of international law in judicial decision-making during a program at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver

    Bailey was one of three judges on a panel titled, “View From The Bench: The State of International Law,” sponsored by the ABA Section of International Law and held on Feb. 1 during the Midyear Meeting in Vancouver. He was joined on the panel by Judge Richard Franklin Boulware II of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada and Justice Harvey M. Groberman of the British Columbia Court of Appeals in Vancouver. Steven M. Richman, an attorney with Clark Hill PLC and chair of the Section of International Law, moderated the panel.

    Panelists discussed the status of international law in judicial decision-making, including cross-border enforcement of judgments, international precedent and the continuing relevance of, and attacks on, the place of international law in American and Canadian courtrooms. Topics covered during the 90-minute program included Sharia or foreign law, data privacy and how foreign law applies, use of courts by non-nationals and cultural issues in adjudicating cases. 

    Richman asked the judges for their thoughts on the use of U.S. courts by non-nationals.

    Boulware, who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2014, said the Supreme Court has been very explicit about jurisdiction and the reach of federal courts and that “there has been a significant restriction by the Supreme Court as to federal court jurisdiction in those matters.”

    Bailey, who joined the court in 2009, said it ought to be limited to domiciliary. “It’s a question of dual citizenship,” he said. “If you live and work primarily in the United States, then you ought to have access to the courts.”

    He then talked about a case he presided over. He said Massachusetts bankruptcy judges began seeing cases being filed by people from Ireland, which soon came to be known as “bankruptcy tourism.” Because of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy laws in the U.S., he said people who may have had some connection to Boston but were not citizens were filing cases to discharge their debt.

    “In Ireland they don’t have that right,” Bailey said. “It’s a 12-year process and you still have to pay your creditors something. So this bankruptcy tourism thing started to take hold with people coming over and filing in our courts. So, I wrote a decision dismissing a case where a person was doing that.

    “I don’t believe that our courts ought to be available in cases like this. We have no connection with the debt and no connection with the dispute.”      

    Groberman said use of Canadian courts by non-citizens is “pretty unusual.”

    “The Supreme Court in Canada requires a real and substantial connection between tort and the jurisdiction so we don’t have very many claims that have a very limited connection to the province where it’s brought,” he said. “In British Columbia, we have a statute called the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act that creates rules as to when British Columbia has territorial jurisdiction.”

    ABA sends letter to Senate Judiciary Committee opposing S. 1454, anti-money laundering bill

    February 2, 2018 6:44 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2018 — American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing concerns over a proposed anti-money laundering bill that would undermine the attorney-client privilege and impose burdensome and intrusive regulations on millions of small businesses, their lawyers and other agents, and the states.

    Bass also explained that the costly reporting requirements in the bill are unnecessary because the federal government, financial institutions, and the legal profession have developed other steps that are much more effective at combatting money laundering and terrorist financing. Therefore, the ABA urges members of the committee to oppose S. 1454 or any other similar measures.

    The bill, S. 1454, the True Incorporation Transparency for Law Enforcement (TITLE) Act, will be discussed at the Committee’s Feb. 6 hearing titled “Beneficial Ownership: Fighting Illicit International Financial Networks Through Transparency.”

    “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,” Bass wrote. “Indeed, the ABA supports reasonable and necessary domestic and international measures to fight these illicit activities, and we commend the sponsors of the legislation for their efforts in this regard. However, the ABA opposes the proposed regulatory approach set forth in S. 1454 and other similar legislation for several important reasons.”

    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 President Bass stresses importance of ensuring independence for Special Prosecutor Mueller

    February 1, 2018 2:29 PM by glynnj

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 1, 2018 – American Bar President Hilarie Bass released a statement today at the ABA 2018 Midyear Meeting on the importance of safeguarding independence for Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III: 

    “The United States has a history of using independent investigations to protect the nation against abuses of power. For such investigations to work, they must be allowed to go forward unfettered by threats, intimidation tactics and interference by other branches of government. Independent Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation cannot continue to be unfairly undermined by such tactics. It is important not just because of the critical significance of the questions being investigated by Mr. Mueller, but also because maintaining the independence of such investigations is essential to upholding the rule of law – and democracy itself – as they serve as a control on actions that potentially violate our core constitutional principles.”  

    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.

    Midyear 2018: Panel to explore the challenges of voting security, e-voting and verification of votes

    February 1, 2018 12:39 PM by glynnj

    Since the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election with allegations of foreign cyber-intervention, now more than ever, advocates are outspoken on securing all voting methods. 

    Technical and legal experts will come together at the American Bar Association Midyear Meeting Feb. 1-5 in Vancouver to discuss fundamental concerns plaguing both the U.S. and Canadian voting systems.

    “Democracy on the Edge: Security, e-Voting, and the Challenge of Verifying the People’s Choice” will be hosted by the ABA Criminal Justice Section. The event will be held on Friday, Feb. 2, from 1:30 – 3 p.m. at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in the Emerald Ballroom A/B, Level 3.

    Andrew Grosso, with Andrew Grosso & Associates in Washington, D.C., is a former federal prosecutor with a master’s degree in computer technology. He said that voting technology has problems.

    “Those problems have been known since technology was first suggested in voting,” he said. “They really have not been resolved.”

    Grosso said since the aftermath of the election in 2000 with various recounts, many states went to electronic voting to speed things up and to make the vote more accurate.

    “The problem is electronic voting itself is subject to manipulation much like your computer can be hacked these things can be hacked,” Grosso said. “And they can be hacked electronically, through the internet, manually with your hands on the machine, hacked before or after the votes are collected.”

    Grosso said the question becomes: “How are you going to prevent or avoid that?” He said a lot of the technology in various states do not have protections against such manipulations.

    Barbara Simons is the board chair of Verified Voting, a non-partisan/non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for legislation and regulation that supports “accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections.”

    Simons said that all citizens should be concerned about computers because they are vulnerable to software bugs, malware and hackers.

    Simons said that only since the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the uproar over Russian interference have state governments been seriously interested in what she has to say about the issue.

    Simons, an expert on electronic voting and the co-author of the book, “Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?” a book about voting machines, will also address Canadian municipal internet voting, which she deemed as one of the most insecure voting systems. “It’s incredible irresponsible to hold any kind of government election over the internet,” she emphasized.

    However – she’s not against electronic voting, but said its use should also include paper ballots marked by the voter, with use of a scanner and checks to ensure that scanner is “behaving properly.”

    “We need the confidence and assurance that the candidate who was declared the winner was the actual winner,” she said.

    Simons said Verified Voting has a campaign to get paper ballots in all states. Currently, five states are entirely paperless.

    “States like Georgia…it is impossible to conduct a recount. You can claim to conduct a recount by asking the computer to repeat what it already told you, but that’s not a meaningful recount because it doesn’t check what the computer has told you is right,” Simons said.

    Another eight states are partially paperless.

    Simons, a retiree from IBM Research, also co-authored the July 2015 report of the U.S. Vote Foundation’s, “The Future of Voting: End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting.”

    Simons added that she hopes participants walk away with a better understanding for the need to check on computers in elections.

    Also on the panel is Russel Michael, an investigative journalist, who produced a documentary on HBO on the issues of secrecy surrounding elections, missing votes and instances where there were more votes than people who casted votes.

    The panel will also include Judge Virginia Covington, a U.S. district judge, in Tampa, Fla., who will discuss what is involved in the legal procedures for challenging votes. Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting in Philadelphia is the only practicing lawyer on the panel and will discuss the movement towards correcting existing voting issues.

    Grosso hopes attendees will come away from the program, “being very, very afraid.” “I know what you can do with a computer. It’s not a black box that you put data in and you get the correct results out. Its’ a question of what goes on in the inside.”

    “It’s very important in our democracy that we are able to have confidence in the outcome of elections and I think any one sitting in this panel will walk away with the idea of maybe we don’t have as much confidence as we think we do,” Grosso said.

    ABA sections release comments on South Africa’s Competition Amendment Bill, 2017

    February 1, 2018 9:36 AM by glynnj

    WASHINGTON, Feb.1, 2018 — The American Bar Association sections of Antitrust Law and International Law have released comments on South Africa’s Competition Amendment Bill, 2017.

    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 Jan. 30, 2018, 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.

     

    Midyear 2018: Panel to examine lawyer substance abuse, mental health – and solutions

    February 1, 2018 9:21 AM by glynnj

    The legal profession is in the midst of a crisis: substance abuse and untreated mental health issues.  Two recent surveys – law students in 2014, lawyers in 2015 – showed staggering rates of alcohol use. The survey of nearly 13,000 lawyers, conducted by the ABA with the Hazelden Betty Ford Center and released in February 2016, showed 1 in 5 lawyers are problem drinkers – double the rate of other professionals with similar education. One in 4 lawyers struggles with some level of depression, and 1 in 5 demonstrate symptoms of anxiety.

    The numbers are numbing:

    • 21 percent of licensed, employed attorneys qualify as problem drinkers
    • 28 percent struggle with some level of depression
    • 19 percent demonstrate symptoms of anxiety
    • 11.5 percent admitted to having suicidal thoughts at some time during their career
    • Younger attorneys in the first 10 years of practice exhibit the highest incidence of these problems.

    Lawyers, some of whom have battled substance abuse themselves, and other experts will convene at the Midyear Meeting in Vancouver for a panel discussion, “Houston, We Have a Problem! Substance Abuse and the Legal Profession” on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Vancouver Convention Centre from 3-4:30 p.m. to discuss the issues, available resources and what lawyers can do in support of the profession and colleagues. The speakers are Tracy L. Kepler, director, ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, Chicago; Jeffrey R. Kuester, partner, Taylor English Duma LLP, Atlanta; and Francine D. Ward, Law Office of Francine D. Ward, Mill Valley, Calif.

    The ABA’s Report of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, released in August 2017, made a number of recommendations for each segment of the legal profession – law firms, law schools, bar associations, regulators, liability carriers, lawyer assistance programs and judges. The overarching goal is to remove obstacles that prevent lawyers from seeking treatment and to take small, incremental steps to change how law is practiced and how lawyers are regulated to instill greater well-being in the profession.

    ABA President Hilarie Bass created a working group to implement the recommendations in the report and will sponsor a national conference on April 25 in Washington, D.C., to address these issues. At the Midyear Meeting, the ABA House of Delegates is scheduled to vote on a resolution urging all courts, bar associations, law firms, law schools, lawyer regulation entities and liability carriers to help implement the task force recommendations.

    Panelists Kuester and Ward offered their views in a Q&A on the issues the program will tackle. Kuester serves as a special assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia for intellectual property matters, was chair in 2017 of the State Bar of Georgia Lawyer Assistance Program and was also on the advisory committee for the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs in 2017. Ward, who struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism and is 38 years sober, is a member of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. She is also a member of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law’s Substance Abuse Committee and is the section’s opioid summit representative:

    Why should society as a whole care that this is happening to lawyers?

    Kuester says Lawyers are responsible for helping people navigate the complexities of our legal systems, “so society will suffer as the overall judgment of lawyers is impaired, particularly if the problem is ignored since it can be difficult for clients to otherwise detect.”

    Ward says we should care because impaired lawyers make decisions that affect society. “They affect people’s lives, their finances, their families, businesses. When we are unhealthy as a group of people, we make unhealthy choices. And I think, depending on the severity of the problem, they steal money by comingling funds. They charge for services that they never performed. So, when a lawyer is impaired it affects everything.”

    Nearly one-third of lawyers deal with some level of depression. What are the top three contributors to that?

    Kuester says there is a perception that unhappy and worried lawyers often make better lawyers. “Some law firm cultures may unknowingly encourage these attitudes,” he says. “Lawyers also often go into large amounts of debt that create additional pressures to work more hours, creating even more stress.  Finally, depression and alcohol often go hand-in-hand, as studies have shown, and attorneys often do not realize that the “depressant” of alcohol is actually a big contributor to their depression because it is otherwise so normalized in the profession.

    Ward says at the top of her list is feeling like you are a victim. “Feeling like they absolutely have no choice in their life, which is just beyond me that so many smart people get to a place where they feel they have no choice. Secondly, I think is making poor choices. And I think the third would be just not taking care of themselves. In a way, these are all kind of tied to each other because not taking care of themselves is about not protecting their boundaries and not being willing to say no in some instances.” 

    Attorney Ward, you have an interesting story, having overcome drug and alcohol addiction. Will you be sharing your story during the panel discussion?

    Of course, I will talk about my drug addiction and alcoholism, which all happened before I went to law school. I shouldn’t say of course, because there are many lawyers who would never talk about it. But I think that is part of the problem, too. I think for those of us who have literally changed our lives and gotten clean and sober, if we don’t talk about it, if other lawyers who are suffering don’t see that there are examples of people who can not only survive but thrive, then they think that they can’t do it.  I am also 38 years sober so I am in place where I am not afraid to share my story. Everything single thing I have done has been in sobriety. I went to law school when I was sober. I became a lawyer when I was sober.  So that’s the other reason why I’m willing to be candid.

    Younger attorneys in the first 10 years of practice exhibit the highest incidence of these problems. What’s going on that first decade of an attorney’s career that makes this the most dangerous time to be an attorney?

    Kuester says he believes students come out of law school unprepared for the rigors of the profession. “The increased demands of billable hours, expectations of partners and keeping up with others in a law firm class can be extremely stressful, particularly now that email and mobile devices create a 24/7 expectation of availability, and most law schools do not prepare attorneys for these adjustments.”

    Ward says she is not surprised by this statistic. “These kids come out of law school and they want to make partner, that’s their goal when they get into the firm,” she says. “They want to get paid the big bucks. So, they will do anything to realize that goal. I think going for goals are key in life, but at what cost?  If your goals are such that you’re going to actually do anything to get to that goal, then you’re going to suffer.”

    What do you tell people in the profession who might be struggling with substance abuse issues but are trying to keep it under wraps?

    “Talk to someone,” Kuester says.  “A famous mathematician philosopher (Ludwig Wittgenstein) once said that there is nothing more difficult than not deceiving oneself.  EAPs and LAPs have confidential resources that can provide a safe space with a truthful personality mirror that can allow genuine examination and growth.  Also, if you are considering suicide as a possible way out, please talk to someone today.”

    Ward says while she is open about her own recovery, she doesn’t voluntarily approach people whom she suspects might be struggling. “But if someone approaches me about it, I say get help before it’s too late. And I can think of many of the reasons why people don’t get help. There is this issue of privacy, confidentiality. I think they are afraid that if they go for help it will become public knowledge. That if they seek help they’ll lose their job or lose their license. And I think still we live in a society where this stigma attached to those who abuse drugs and alcohol or have attempted suicide, it’s a horrible thing, yes, but it exists. But regardless of the reasons they have for not getting help, I strongly encourage people to do that.”

    Have we seen progress? Are people more willing to seek help?

    Kuester says he is not aware of conclusive evidence that this is true. “There is such a culture of fear and silence that we have a lot of work to do.”

    “No, not really,” says Ward. “I think as time goes on and if we keep talking about it, we will see more progress. The more that lawyer bar associations, for starters, are stepping up to the plate, I think we’ll start to see more change. Or that lawyers like me who are in recovery and are willing to be a face, we’ll see more people coming forward. But it’s still a stigma and the fear of losing their privacy, their job or their license. Those are all things that get in the way.”

    What do you want the audience to take away from the panel discussion?

    Says Kuester: “Don’t deceive yourself. Have someone with whom you are completely honest about substance use and about how you are dealing with stress.”

    Ward says for people to understand that substance abuse is a serious problem in the legal profession. “It is not a joke. It has been uncovered and it’s a serious problem. Also, that there is a causal connection between the problem and our ability to be competent. We have ethical rules that speak to competency. But if you are an impaired lawyer, you’re not competent. And finally, that help is available.”