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January 11, 2019

Immigration reform, judicial bias and rise of racism among program highlights at American Bar Association meeting Jan. 23-28 in Las Vegas

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2019 — New American Bar Association recommendations on immigration system reform, ways to mitigate judicial bias for more equitable outcomes, and the resurgence of racism toward immigrants and people of color are among the newsworthy legal issues that will be explored at the 2019 ABA Midyear Meeting Jan. 23-28 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

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

The 601-member ABA House of Delegates—the association’s policy-making body—will meet Jan. 28, 9 a.m., in Augustus Ballroom (Emperors Level) of the Conference Center at Caesars Palace. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.    

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

Notable programs include:

Thursday, Jan. 24

“Commission on the Future of Legal Education” Members of the ABA Innovation Center and the Commission on the Future of Legal Education, which was formed in 2017 to address the challenging job market for new lawyers, falling bar-passage rates and other issues in legal education, will join to discuss the commission’s work thus far, as well as explore how best to align the education and licensing of legal professionals with accelerating technology advances and the ever-changing practice of law.

2-4 p.m., Milano Ballroom IV, Promenade Level

Friday, Jan. 25

“Improving Outcomes by Removing Legal Barriers in Southern Nevada” Solutions to youth homelessness in Nevada will be examined by lawyers, advocates and providers. Led by Director Darla Bardine of the National Network for Youth and Program Officer Casey Trupin of the Raikes Foundation, a roundtable to experts will discuss the recently released “Southern Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness,” covering such topics as existing legal resources, unmet needs and gaps in services, referral systems, as well as current local campaigns and model responses.

9 a.m.-noon, Pompeian Ballroom I, Promenade Level

Trafficking in the World of Chance: Human Trafficking in the Casino Industry and Beyond An expert local panel – including Las Vegas Judge Linda Bell of the Eighth Judicial Court; Director William Brunson of the National Judicial College of Reno; Security Vice President George Jenkot of Firekeepers Casino; and Deputy Chief Cristina Silva of Nevada’s U.S. Attorney’s Office – will examine the human trafficking industry and its role in the casino industry, with a focus on the ways to identify victims, and the steps that must be taken to help end this form of modern human slavery.

1-2:30 p.m., Forum Ballroom 15-16, Pool Level

10 Ways to Change the World – #MakeJusticeReal Nationally recognized experts on a variety of advocacy issues, including civil rights, gun violence prevention, homelessness and poverty, human rights and more, will share how lawyers can leverage their passion for making a difference to affect change and inform the national discourse.

3-5 p.m., Augustus Ballroom III, Emperors Level

“Putting ICE on Ice?” — In the past two years, the presence and activities of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in state courthouses has been controversial. Panelists from across the criminal justice spectrum will discuss how immigration enforcement has interfered with state-court proceedings and the measures taken to maintain the independence of the courts, including specific actions some courts and state legislatures have taken to exclude ICE from conducting enforcement at state courthouses and proceedings.

3:30-5 p.m., Capri Room, Emperors Level

How American Women Can Change the World Internationally acclaimed author Marianne Williamson discusses female power and contribution and its role in how American women are transforming U.S. society.

4-5:30 p.m., Forum Ballroom 24, Pool Level

Saturday, Jan. 26

“Better to Be Rich & Guilty? How Implicit Socio-Economic Bias Influences Outcomes of Judicial Bias” A panel of judges – including Bernice Donald, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Memphis – lawyers and noted academics will examine the role of socio-economic bias in the justice system and offer research-based strategies to identify and mitigate the problem on a personal and systemic level for more equitable system outcomes.

10-11:30 a.m., Augustus Ballroom V, Emperors Level

“The Rising Tide of Hate:  How Welcoming the Stranger in a Nation of Immigrants Has Turned Violent” As the majority of hate crimes in the United States are now based on race and ethnicity, an expert panel – including MALDEF President Thomas Saenz, HIAS President Mark Hetfield and Michael Kagan and Mayra Salinas-Menjivar of the University of Nevada Las Vegas – will examine the alarming rise in American nationalism and xenophobia that has led to anti-immigrant rhetoric, intensified immigration enforcement and incidents such as the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The panel will discuss what can be done to reverse the anti-immigrant fervor and restore faith in America as a beacon of opportunity for migrants.

9-10:30 a.m., Octavius Ballroom 7-8, Promenade South

New Release: ABA Update Report on Reforming the U.S. Immigration System As the nation’s immigration courts and other adjudicative systems face untenable backlogs and growing concerns about due process and independence, the ABA will release an update to its 2010 report on the U.S. immigration system, highlighting necessary legislative action for vital systemic reform.  The ABA report will offer a practical blueprint to improve the system so that it protects our most vulnerable, while also promoting fairness and due process.

Noon-1 p.m., Octavius Ballroom 7-8, Promenade South

“The Resurgence of Racism in the Age of ‘Making America Great Again:’ The Role of the Civil Rights and Social Justice Lawyer in Dismantling Anti-Black Racism in Modern America” Experts will lead a frank discussion of the realities of “living while black” in today’s America, exploring the origins of the modern-day injustices, including: assaults on voting rights; educational inequities; the weaponization of law enforcement; macro- and micro-aggressions; and the policing of everyday actions. This program will identify the role of both citizens and civil rights and social justice lawyers in dismantling the systems, policies and practices that normalize racism and perpetuate the inequities that disproportionately impact African Americans.

12:30-2 p.m., Florentine Ballroom II, Promenade Level

Maybe There’s an App for That: New Legal Technologies, Access to Justice and the Changing Practice of Law New technologies have automated aspects of legal practice and service delivery, forever changing the way law is practiced, empowering non-attorneys as well as altering the definition of the practice of law itself. A panel of researchers and academics studying the trend as well as those who are practicing law while also changing how it is done, including Judge Elizabeth S. Stong, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York; Rebecca Sandefur, associate professor, University of Illinois; Katherine Alteneder, director, Self-Represented Litigation Network; Barbara Buckley, executive director, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada; Georges Clement, co-founder,; and Daniel Rodriguez, professor, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

2-3:30 p.m., Forum Ballroom 17-18, Pool Level

“Conversion Therapy: Laws, Policy, Advocacy and Awareness in the United States and Beyond” As the recent movie “Boy Erased” raises awareness of LGBT conversion therapy, noted experts – including National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter, Williams Center Executive Director Jocelyn Samuels and survivor Mathew Shurka – will discuss the laws, policy and advocacy work surrounding the disturbing treatment.

2:30-3:45 p.m., Florentine Ballroom IV, Promenade Level

Tinker at 50: Student Rights at the Schoolhouse Gate and Beyond In the 50 years since the Supreme Court recognized that students have freedom of speech and other constitutional rights in public schools with its ruling in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, what has changed? Academics – including Professor Kay Kindred of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Boyd School of Law – will answer the question in light of five decades of evolution in technology, education and societal values.

2:30-4 p.m., Florentine Ballroom II, Promenade Level

Monday, Jan. 28

“Human Rights Luncheon” At ABA Midyear Meetings, the Center for Human Rights hosts a luncheon featuring an address by a prominent leader in international human rights law. The luncheon attracts more than 100 ABA leaders and international guests.

Noon-1:30 p.m., Emperors Ballroom II, Emperors Level

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register onsite or pick up their preregistered press credentials at the Promenade Level foyer of the Conference Center at Caesars Palace beginning at 9 a.m. on Jan. 23. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided in the Roman Room on the Promenade Level starting at 9 a.m. on Jan. 25. The room will be open daily thereafter from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Jan. 28.

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 and on Twitter @ABANews.