May 01, 2018

Ex-solicitors general Katyal, Garre among speakers at ABA litigation conference in San Diego

CHICAGO, April 27, 2018 — Former high-ranking White House and Department of Justice attorneys as well as the nation’s leading litigators are featured speakers at more than 30 programs on a wide range of topics during the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference, May 1-4 in San Diego.

The four-day conference will also recognize outstanding contributions to the quality of justice and diversity in the legal community with the John Minor Wisdom and Diversity Leadership Awards Luncheon on May 3, with the keynote speech by Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general. Katyal argued more cases before the Supreme Court  than any other minority attorney, recently breaking the record held by Thurgood Marshall. At the luncheon, the John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award will be presented to Karen J. Freedman, founder & executive director, Lawyers For Children, New York. The Diversity Leadership Award will be presented to Dillard University.

2018 Section Annual Conference
Sponsored by the ABA Section of Litigation

May 1-4, 2018

Hilton San Diego Bayfront
One Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101

Programming focuses on trial skills, business development, ethics, diversity and inclusion, young litigators, and mental health and wellness.

Highlights include:

“Round 1 of the Showdown at SAC: Cross-Examinations”Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas will preside.  Trial lawyers include Michael Attanasio, Cooley LLP, San Diego; Brad D. Brian, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles; and Kalpana Srinivasan, Susman Godfrey LLP, Los Angeles. Serving as jury consultant is Ronald Beaton, Trial Behavior Consulting, San Francisco. The audience will serve as the jury and vote the winner.

Wednesday, 8:45-10:15 a.m.

“Round 2 of the Showdown at SAC: Closing Arguments” — Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn will preside.  Trial lawyers Juanita R. Brooks, Fish & Richardson PC, San Diego; and Tamarra Matthews Johnson, Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz LLP will demonstrate strong closing arguments. Ronald Beaton, Trial Behavior Consulting, San Francisco, will serve as jury consultant. The audience will serve as the jury and vote the winner.

Wednesday, 4-5:30 p.m.

“Children and the U.S. Supreme Court: 50 Years of Impactful Decisions” — Panelists will discuss the evolution of the way the court views children, how adolescent brain science research has impacted decisions and how the court views children as rights-bearing individuals.  Speakers are Ralph Brazel Jr., Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Irvine, Calif.; Erwin Chermerinsky, University of California Berkeley School of Law; Judge Xiomara Y. Torres, Multnomah County Courthouse, Portland, Ore; Hillary Transue, Juvenile Law Center, Media, Penn.

Thursday, 8:15-9:45 a.m.

“All the President’s Lawyers:  An Inside Look at the Executive Branch Legal Team” — Panelists will explore the different roles of executive branch lawyers. Speakers are: W. Neil Eggleston, former White House counsel to President Barack Obama, Kirkland & Ellis, Washington D.C.; Gregory G. Garre, former U.S. solicitor general, Latham and Watkins LLP, Washington D.C.; Michael B. Mukasey, former U.S. attorney general, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York.  Moderators are Melissa Sherry, former assistant to the U.S. solicitor general, Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington, D.C. and Sharon Werner, former chief of staff to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, PNC Bank, Pittsburgh.

Friday, 8:30-10:00 a.m.

A complete agenda and updated list of speakers can be found online.

There is no charge for media covering this event but pre-registration is necessary. To register, please contact Julie Brown at 312-988-6133 or

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