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July 25, 2019

Bay Area youth trafficking, recreational marijuana, natural disaster preparedness among local highlights at ABA meeting Aug. 8-13 in San Francisco

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2019 — Measures to fight trafficking of at-risk youth in the Bay Area, the growing pains of recreational marijuana legalization and preparedness for climate change-generated natural disasters in California are chief among local legal 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 the legal challenges posed by emerging technologies; California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and fellow justices from Washington, Kansas and Ohio (Aug. 9, 3:30 p.m.) on attacks on judicial independence and freedom of speech; and U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California and Senior Counsel Monique Winkler of the SEC Regional Office in San Francisco (Aug. 8, 10:30 a.m.) on the enforcement priorities of their respective agencies. 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.”

Other notable speakers include U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) (Aug. 10, 8 p.m.) on the state of U.S. civil rights; and Republican National Committee member Hermeet Dhillon in debate with President Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (Aug. 9, 2 p.m.) on voting rights.

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.  

Programs of local interest include:

Thursday, Aug. 8

“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 St, 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 – including U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California and Monique Winkler of the SEC Regional Office in San Francisco – 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

“Keeping Order in the New Public Square of Social Media: Freedom of Content vs. Social Responsibility” — San Francisco-based representatives from the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Santa Clara University School of Law will discuss the use of social media to promote hate speech and subvert democratic institutions. What are the obligations of social media platforms to moderate such posts and when does editorial discretion become censorship?

10:30 a.m.-Noon, Goodwin, Three Embarcadero Center, 28th Floor

Due Process Issues Facing the U.S. Immigration Courts — Immigration lawyers and judges, including Judge Dana Marks of the Immigration Court in San Francisco, will review the measures implemented by the nation’s immigration courts to address their growing backlog of cases, pending court challenges to progress and proposals for restructuring the immigration judiciary by the creation of an Article I Immigration Court.

1:30-3:30 p.m., Hotel Nikko, Golden Gate, 25th Floor

And Then They Came For Us: The Perils of Silence— Panelists will discuss the obligation of lawyers to speak out against injustice, using as examples the role of lawyers in World War II events, including the internment of Japanese Americans, as well as the Nuremberg trials, during which international lawyers helped to restore the rule of law in Germany. Among speakers, San Francisco-based lawyers Dale Minami and Lorraine Bannai, who in 1983 helped to overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu for refusing detainment during World War II’s incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, will share the evidence that toppled the government’s case and reflect on their landmark victory in light of the nation’s Muslim “travel ban” and the government’s reliance on unexamined “national security” claims.

2-3:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salon 9, Lower B2 Level

Friday, Aug. 9

“Top Tech Company Lawyers on Innovations and Diversity” — General counsels from Lyft, Microsoft and Oracle 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

“The Well-Being of Public Interest Professionals” A panel – including Public Defender Jose Varela of Marin County, Executive Director Kristine Hamann of the Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence and Supervising Deputy Public Defender Raul Ayala of the Central District of California – will discuss the particular stressors and cultural issues affecting legal professionals working in public interest practice settings, an often overlooked segment of the profession in recent efforts to address the high incidence of mental health and addiction concerns among lawyers.

11-12:30 p.m., Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom III, 3rd Floor

“Advocate for Survivors: Trafficking of Homeless/At-Risk Youth and Young Adults in the Bay Area and How Lawyers Can Make a Difference An estimated 4.2 million young people experience homelessness annually and 800,000 of these youth are victims of sex or labor trafficking. A survivor, a representative from Bay Area Legal Aid and the executive director of the National Network for Youth will discuss trafficking in the Bay Area and across the country, including the range of legal needs, related law and policy, gaps in legal services and how lawyers can help address the problem.

12:30-2 p.m., Westin St. Francis San Francisco, California East, 2nd Floor

“Climate Change and Natural Disasters: A California Case Study on Response and Preparedness” — With the alarming increase in wildfires, mudslides and earthquakes in California, a San Francisco-based panel of legal experts will address the correlation between climate change and natural disasters and educate on how to prepare for future disasters in the state through practical tips and invaluable lessons learned from the response to prior disasters. 

1-2:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Nob Hill A, Lower B2 Level

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

“Undermining the Courts: The Consequences for American Democracy” — This nonpartisan symposium brings together State Supreme Court justices from California, Kansas, Ohio and Washington, other major figures in the judiciary and news media reporters to discuss the recent attacks on judicial independence and freedom of the press and the potential consequences for American democracy. 

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

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley keynote” – O’Malley will keynote the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division’s General E. E. Anderson Awards reception. O’Malley is the founder of the award-winning Alameda County Family Justice Center, which provides comprehensive support services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, elder abuse, and human exploitation and trafficking. As a longtime advocate for victims’ rights, she also established the county’s restitution program, ensuring those convicted repay victims for losses suffered as a result of defendants’ criminal conduct. O’Malley has served as chief law enforcement officer in Alameda County since 2009.

3:30-5 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Foothill F, Second Level

Saturday, Aug. 10

ABA Medal Awarded to San Francisco AttorneyDale Minami, a lifelong champion of the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other minorities, will be presented with the ABA Medal — the association’s highest honor. Minami is best known for leading the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu, an American of Japanese descent who was arrested for refusing to enter an internment center in 1942. His case led to the historic challenge of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II in the case Korematsu v. United States. The event will also include a keynote from Chief Judge Sidney Runyan Thomas of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

4:30-6 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salon 7, Lower B2 Level

Sunday, Aug. 11

ABA Honors Bay Area Women in Law— An awards luncheon to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women lawyers. The award is named for Margaret Brent (1601-71), the first woman lawyer in America. This year's honorees are Raquel Aldana, associate vice-chancellor, University of California, Davis; Michelle Banks, senior advisor, BarkerGilmore, LLC, San Francisco; Kelly M. Dermody, managing partner, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, San Francisco; Judith McConnell, administrative presiding justice, Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, San Diego; Julie A. Su, labor secretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Sacramento.

Noon-2 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Ballroom, 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.