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February 11, 2020

Midyear 2020: ABA entities join forces for summit on access, equity and inclusion

More than 20 ABA entities have come together for the “Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice Summit: Working Together for Access, Equity and Inclusion,” a track of programs on Feb. 14 and 15 at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Austin, Texas.

Mayor Steve Adler of Austin and Judge Ernestine Gray will kick off two days of special programming centered on public interest law, pro bono and diversity.

Adler will highlight the sessions on public interest law and will focus on how lawyers can address societal issues, such as gun violence and homelessness, through bipartisan discourse grounded in law and policy advocacy.

Judge Ernestine Gray of the New Orleans Parish Juvenile Court will share how advocacy work and ABA involvement have furthered her lifelong commitment to social justice.

“The ABA’s Center for Public Interest Law has organized dozens of free CLE and other programming that will be energized by Adler’s keynote, including his own history as a public interest lawyer,” said Craig H. Baab, chair of the Commission on Homelessness and Poverty of the new track of programs. “If you still remember why you wanted to be a lawyer, this plenary and the associated programming are not to be missed.”

The Center for Public Interest Law joined together with the Center on Diversity in the Profession and the Center for Pro Bono to offer nearly 20 programs on innovations in advocacy and the delivery of holistic legal services and pro bono through a race-equity lens.

“The ABA Center for Diversity and Inclusion in the Profession is proud to partner on this groundbreaking summit,” said Patricia D. Lee, Chair, ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center. “It provides an opportunity to offer balanced, broad based programming on critical justice and diversity issues, as well as to engage attendees on how they can contribute and make a difference in these areas. We believe the summit will serve to strengthen the ABA’s value proposition and hopefully help to grow Midyear attendance and ABA membership.”

According to Helen Kim, chair of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, “The Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is delighted to collaborate with The Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for Public Interest, on this two-day conference.”

“The Commission has organized a full day of free CLE programs on Saturday that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, including programs on the School-to-Prison Pipeline, the state of LBGTQ laws in the United States, voter disenfranchisement, police civil rights litigation, “Men in the Mix” (a new study on engaging men on issues related to gender in the profession), implicit bias and the landmark Supreme Court case Sweatt v. Painter. “

Held in association with the ABA Midyear Meeting, the free programming is offered as a means to engage the legal community, exchange ideas, promote best practices, and provide an opportunity for lawyers to get connected to the ABA and its initiatives. 

Attendees are also invited to participate in a variety of other substantive programming, meetings and social events offered at the ABA Midyear Meeting.