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July 24, 2019

U.S. immigration court woes, school-to-prison pipeline, #MeToo among immigration and diversity highlights at ABA meeting Aug. 8-13 in San Francisco

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2019 — Due process issues facing the backlogged immigration courts, diversion programs and other effective measures to stem the school-to-prison pipeline and the litigation of workplace harassment cases in the #MeToo era are chief among immigration and diversity 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 U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) (Aug. 10, 8 p.m.) on U.S. civil rights; immigration experts, including Judge Dana Marks of the Immigration Court in San Francisco, former U.S. Department of Justice official Elizabeth Stevens and others (Aug. 8, 1:30 p.m.) on issues facing the immigration courts; and Republican National Committee member Hermeet Dhillon in debate with NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill (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.”

Other notable speakers include the general counsels for Lyft, Microsoft, 23andMe and Oracle (Aug. 9, 10 a.m.) on legal challenges posed by emerging technologies; and 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.

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

Diversity and immigration 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 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

Due Process Issues Facing the U.S. Immigration Courts — Immigration lawyers and judges, including Judge Dana Marks of the Immigration Court in San Francisco and former U.S. Department of Justice official Elizabeth Stevens, 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 p.m., Hotel Nikko, Golden Gate, 25th Floor

And Then They Came for Us: The Perils of Silence— 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 7, Lower B2 Level

Good Guys program— The latest in a series of programs designed to break the impasse in women’s advancement by engaging men, missing from the conversation for too long. By working together, a bigger impact is possible.

3:30-5 p.m., Morrison & Foerster LLP, 425 Market Street

Friday, Aug. 9

“Strategies for Litigating Workplace Sexual Harassment and Assault Cases in the Post-#MeToo” — 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

“Unintended Consequences: Examining the Disparate Impact of the Administration of Student Discipline on Students of Color and Students With Disabilities” — A school board member, civil rights attorney and an educational advocate will describe from their unique perspectives the impact of the decision last year by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to rescind guidance issued by the Department of Education four years earlier on the obligations of elementary and secondary institutions to “administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin.” Now, how do educational institutions ensure that their disciplinary processes do not disproportionately impact students of color and those with disabilities?

9-10:30 a.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salon 2, Lower B2 Level

“How Courts and Counsel Can Stem the School-to-Prison Pipeline: The ABA Standards in Action— Panelists from law enforcement, the judiciary, the defense bar and prosecution will discuss how the decrease in both juvenile crime and referrals to juvenile court from “feeder” systems like schools and foster care may be reinforced by behavioral management and other alternatives to the court system, and how standards adopted by the ABA in 2017 can be a tool to reinforce current best practices.

9-10:30 a.m., Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom III, 3rd Floor

“Partisan Gerrymandering: 2019 Update” – Panelists will discuss the future drawing of U.S. election maps through the lens of the Supreme Court decisions in Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina and Maryland.

11 a.m.-Noon, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Nob Hill C, Lower B2 Level

“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

“Law Enforcement Led Diversion: Examples from the Field” — A panel will demonstrate the effectiveness of law enforcement-led diversion and deflection programs that provide alternatives to the court system by introducing successful models from across the country in the areas of juvenile justice, mental health and substance abuse.

1-2:30 p.m., Nikko Hotel, Nikko Ballroom III, 3rd Floor

“Trump Presents: The New Era of the U.S. Supreme Court” Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, fundamentally shifted the balance of the High Court – perhaps for the next generation. What does the new conservative majority mean for lightning rod issues like abortion, LGBT rights and affirmative action?  Experts, including former assistant to the solicitor general of the United States Miguel Estrada, read the tea leaves to predict what comes next. 

2-3:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salons 1-3, Lower B2 Level

“The 19th Amendment Then and Now: Lessons for the 21st Century” — With the centennial of the 19th Amendment, panelists – including Hermeet Dhillon of the Republican National Committee and NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill – will explore the legacies of the amendment and debate how to ensure full and equal exercise of the right to vote for all. Moderated by NBC News’ Pete Williams.

2-3:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salon 2, 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 1, Lower B2 Level

“Black to the Future: The Harsh Realities of ‘Living While Black’ in the 21st Century, and Where We Go from Here” — The vestiges of slavery continue to permeate U.S. institutions, including our political and educational systems. This panel, including Beth Jacob Senior, former supervising attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center; and Hilary Shelton, senior director, NAACP, will explore the context of current inequities impacting African-Americans and the role of both the citizen and the lawyer in dismantling policies and practices that perpetuate inequity and undermine the life experiences and outcomes of many African-Americans today.

1-2:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salons 1-3, 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

General Assembly — San Francisco attorney Dale 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 address from Chief Judge Sidney Runyan Thomas of the 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

Thurgood Marshall Award ReceptionRep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), one of the original 13 Freedom Riders and a 17-term congressional leader, will be honored for his individual commitment to U.S. civil rights and will deliver the keynote address. The event will also include a performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens.

8-10:30 p.m., Westin St. Francis San Francisco, Colonial Room/Italian Foyer, Mezzanine Floor

Sunday, Aug. 11

“From Brown to Now: Legal Responses to Resegregation of Schools” — Leading education law and policy experts will share observations, new social science research and strategies for combatting resurgent segregation in the nation’s public schools.

9:30-11 a.m., Westin St. Francis San Francisco, California East, Second Floor

Margaret Brent Awards Luncheon— This luncheon recognizes and celebrates 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; and 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.