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ABA’s 2020 event converts to completely virtual meeting

May 4. 2020

The American Bar Association, in consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, announced on April 30 that it will transition its 2020 Annual Meeting, scheduled for July 29-Aug. 4 in Chicago, to an entirely virtual meeting.

The ABA Board of Governors changed the meeting to a virtual event based on recommendations from a staff and member working group.

The ABA Board of Governors changed the meeting to a virtual event based on recommendations from a staff and member working group.

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The virtual meeting, which is free to ABA members, will offer registrants access to influential speakers relevant to the legal profession and the highest quality programming with a revised schedule to accommodate members’ locations and time. The virtual meeting will include governance and business meetings, CLE Showcase programs, virtual networking opportunities, General Assembly with the presentation of the ABA Medal, and the House of Delegates.

“For the first time in ABA history, we are offering this entire capstone event as a complimentary member benefit, which will enable even more lawyers to participate, perhaps some for the first time,” said ABA President Judy Perry Martinez.

The ABA Board of Governors agreed to change the meeting format based on the recommendation of a staff and member working group which carefully studied options ranging from having an in-person meeting as usual to holding an all-online event. 

The working group identified, analyzed and considered the impact of various factors that would influence the decision to hold an in-person meeting in Chicago, starting with the current state of Illinois shelter-in-place order through May 30. Other factors included air travel limitations and self-quarantine orders for travelers along with social distancing guidelines that are expected to remain in place throughout the summer.

“The health and safety of attendees and staff remains the primary concern of the ABA,” said ABA Executive Director Jack Rives. “The decision to go virtual will allow us to give our members the best possible meeting experience while guaranteeing everyone’s well-being. We also expect that many of the innovations incorporated into this year’s meeting will be added to future in-person meetings.”

More details on the event will be released in the next few weeks. Information on schedules and registration can be found at

“While we will not meet in person this summer in Chicago, I am pleased that we will nonetheless gather together to continue our important work,” said Martinez. “The ABA will present our Annual Meeting this year with a fresh, new approach to our always informative and inspiring event that so many of us and our families look forward to.”

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