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July 24, 2019

Cybersecurity, #MeToo, marijuana legalization among business and technology highlights at ABA meeting

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2019 — Emerging cyber-threats, workplace litigation in the #MeToo era and the issues involved with marijuana legalization are chief among business and technology issues that will be explored at the 2019 American Bar Association Annual Meeting Aug. 8-13 in San Francisco.

High-profile speakers at the meeting include the general counsels for Lyft, Microsoft, 23andMe and Oracle (Aug. 9, 10 a.m.) on legal challenges posed by emerging technologies; State Supreme Court justices from California, Washington, Kansas and Ohio (Aug. 9, 3:30 p.m.) on attacks on judicial independence and freedom of speech; U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) (Aug. 10, 7 p.m.) on U.S. civil rights; and Republican National Committee member Hermeet Dhillon in debate with President Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense Fund (Aug. 9, 2 p.m.) on voting rights. Additionally, 2019 ABA Medal recipient Dale Minami (Aug. 8, 2 p.m. and Aug. 10, 4:30 p.m.) will reflect on his landmark case against convictions related to World War II Japanese-American internment and its relevance to the Muslim “travel ban.” Finally, cybersecurity experts Herb Lin of the Hoover Institution, Gilman Louie, founder and former CEO of In-Q-Tel, Dina Temple-Raston, special correspondent for NPR and Harvey Rishikof, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security Advisory Committee, will discuss trends in technology and the resulting legal and policy gaps that are emerging in national security (Aug. 10, 2 p.m.); also on cybersecurity, former national security official Jill Rhodes examines the particular vulnerabilities of law firms to cyberattacks  (Aug. 9, 2 p.m.)

In addition to the nearly 650 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policymaking body — will meet at 9 a.m. on Aug. 12 and 8 a.m. on Aug. 13 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis’ Yerba Buena Ballroom (Lower B2 Level). For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the two-day session, click here

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

Business/technology programs include:

Thursday, Aug. 8

“What Every Lawyer Should Know About Workplace Laws Protecting Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence” Panelists, including those from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Policy, will offer best practices for employers to comply with the state and federal laws that address domestic violence.

9-10:30 a.m., Baker & McKenzie, 2 Embarcadero Center

“Equal Pay: Trends in Litigation, Emerging Legislation & Corporate Equity Initiatives” San Francisco-based equal rights advocates and employment lawyers will examine the contributors to the wage gaps facing racial minorities and women, including pay discrimination, occupational segregation and implicit bias; trends in equal pay-related litigation and legislation; and proactive measures taken by companies to rectify pay disparities and promote equity.

10:30 a.m.-Noon, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, 275 Battery Street, 30th Floor

“Views from West Coast DOJ and SEC Leadership on Current Priorities and Recent Developments” — Senior leaders from the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s Office and SEC Regional Office will share recent developments in white collar and SEC enforcement, as well as each office’s current priorities.

10:30 a.m.-Noon, Fenwick & West LLP, 555 California Street


“Cyber Court Review: Recent Decisions from Federal and State Courts Addressing Issues in Computer Crime, Security and eCommerce” — In the past year, the courts have issued several opinions interpreting the statutory and constitutional provisions in light of technological advances, and a panel will examine the most important recent cases in this area.

1:30-3 p.m., Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom III, 3rd Floor

Internal Investigations on Cutting Edge: Perspectives from the Front Lines — As the “standard of care” in internal corporate investigations continues to evolve, a panel that will include a senior SEC regulator, in-house counsel managing an investigation, outside counsel running investigations and individual/pool counsel will share insights regarding trends in this area of investigations.

4-5:30 p.m., Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom I, 3rd Floor

Friday, Aug. 9


“Strategies for Litigating Workplace Sexual Harassment and Assault Cases in the Post-#MeToo Era” — Using employment case scenarios, experts will advise on what counsel should and should not do in cases involving allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

8:30-10 a.m., Westin St. Francis San Francisco, Elizabethan Room C, 2nd Floor

“Artificial Intelligence, Technology and Employment Law” — Big data, machine learning, algorithms and artificial intelligence are increasingly being incorporated into human resources tools used for sourcing, recruiting, hiring and performance management. While these tools promise to reduce the burdens on management and potentially improve results and mitigate bias, they also bring their own risks, such as machines that “learn” the very biases they aim to reduce. 10-11:15 a.m., Westin St. Francis San Francisco, Elizabethan Room C, 2nd Floor


“Risky Business: The Mueller Minefield and Ethical Dilemmas for Lawyers Involved in Government Investigations” — A Watergate assistant special prosecutor will be joined by legal ethics experts in a discussion on the Model Rules of Professional Conduct’s starring role in the Robert Mueller investigation. Panelists will reflect on the relevance of the rules relating to confidentiality, conflicts of interest, fairness to opposing parties and counsel, publicity during the litigation of a matter and contact with represented parties.

10-11:30 a.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salons 4-6, Lower B2 Level

“Shaping Our Future: Top Tech Company Lawyers on Innovation and Diversity”General counsels from Lyft, Microsoft, 23andMe and Oracle will explore their roles in shaping socially responsible policies, working in cutting-edge areas of the law, such as those involving AI and autonomous vehicles; as well as anticipating the future challenges posed by the groundbreaking advances of the revolutionary tech companies they represent.

10-11:30 a.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salons 1-3, Lower B2 Level

New Media Brings New Challenges: Emerging Issues in Free-Speech Litigation A panel will explore the implications of social media on the litigation of free-speech cases. Do the protections afforded newspaper and TV journalists apply to bloggers and podcasters? Who is a “public figure” and what constitutes a “public concern” as we increasingly receive information from online forums and viral posts?

10:30 a.m.-Noon, Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom I, 3rd Floor

Smoking Out the Issue and Challenges in the Legalization of Recreational Cannabis As the legalization of recreational marijuana expands in the United States, what lessons can be gleaned from the states that have already passed laws to decriminalize the drug? Those on the frontlines of the issue from both California and Washington – judges who adjudicate licensing and other issues related to dispensaries, as well as industry and regulatory representatives – will explore the developing regulatory landscape on the burgeoning industry and share the challenges they face, including the possibility of criminal sanction on the federal level.

1:45-3:15 p.m., Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom I, 3rd Floor

“Law Firm Cybersecurity Requirements You Never Dreamed Of: Emerging Threats, Ethical Obligations to Clients and Survival Tactics”Jill Rhodes, formerly of the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the CIA, will offer an eye-opening keynote on the particular vulnerabilities of law firms to cyberattacks, now prime targets because they are seen as treasure troves of client information and money – and relatively unprepared for continually emerging threats. Authors of the award-winning ABA Cybersecurity Handbook will follow with practical advice for both solo practitioners and those in BigLaw.        

2-3:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salons 4-6, Lower B2 Level

Saturday, Aug. 10


“The #MeToo Reckoning: How Far We’ve Come & Where We Go from Here” A panel that will include representatives from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and National Women’s Law Center, as well as plaintiffs and defense counsel, will examine the tactics, strategies and risks of sexual harassment litigation in the #MeToo era. Panelists will also discuss the legislative responses in the wake of the growing movement to address the pervasive problem and affirmative steps being taken by the broader business community to proactively address issues of harassment, gender and racial equity and other related concerns.

10-11:30 a.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salons 1-3, Lower B2 Level

“Where are the Women of Color? Experience of Women of Color in the Legal Profession” — Women of color make up less than 3% of law firm partners and less than 4% of C-suite positions in corporations. What do these women say helps or harms their career trajectories and what can legal organizations do to better support them? Panelists will discuss the unique experiences of women of color in the law and the ways these lawyers may overcome the roadblocks to success.

10:30 a.m.-Noon, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salon 15, Lower B2 Level

“National Security: Where Are the Gaps?” — Technology is moving at breakneck speed, revolutionizing and overturning traditional methods and paradigms. This evolving space is creating opportunities and unique challenges for industry, government, the military and universities. This panel, featuring cybersecurity experts Gilman Louie (keynote), founder of In-Q-Tel,  Herb Lin of the Hoover Institution, Dina Temple-Raston, special correspondent at NPR and Harvey Rishikof (moderator), formerly with the FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will explore the trends in technology and the resulting legal and policy gaps that are emerging in national security.
2-3 p.m.,  San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Nob Hill B, Lower B2 Level

“Interrupting Bias: The Keys to Doing Diversity Right in the Workplace” — Despite years of well-intentioned training on diversity, the legal profession is still not reflective of the pool of talented and qualified women and minorities. Panelists will discuss their ongoing challenges to advance workplace diversity; present new ABA research that addresses the biases experienced by women, minority, LGBT and disabled lawyers in the legal workplace; and share the next generation of diversity and inclusion tools at the organizational level to reduce bias and affect cultural change.

2-4 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salons 10-12, Lower B2 Level

Reporters may pick up their press badges at the meeting registration area at the Marriott Marquis (Lower B2 Level). During the Annual Meeting, a press room for accredited journalists will be open at Sierra Suite E of Marriott Marquis starting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 8. Thereafter the press room will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close one hour after the House of Delegates adjourns on Aug. 13.

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 and on Twitter @ABANews.