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February 03, 2021

Racial inequity, Biden immigration plans among highlights at American Bar Association Midyear Meeting Feb. 17-22

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2021 — Recent measures to mitigate U.S. racial inequity, including municipal legislation and a new data-based prosecutorial model; immigration under the Biden administration; and the upcoming Census-based redistricting process are chief among diversity and immigration legal issues that will be explored at the 2021 American Bar Association Virtual Midyear Meeting Feb. 17-22.

With several dozen top-quality legal programs and events, and presentations by America’s foremost law experts and speakers, the ABA Midyear Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals.

The 597-member ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policy-making body — will meet Feb. 22 at 9:30 a.m. CT. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.    

Online registration is available for news reporters (select “News Media;” no discount code needed). For assistance with registration, contact [email protected] or call 312-988-6134.  Credential guidelines are here.  

Newsworthy programs include:

Wednesday, Feb. 17

“ADA Workplace Accommodations & COVID – Managing the Maze” —The rise in number of employees disabled by the coronavirus will be discussed by human resources experts who will look at the Americans with Disabilities Act and reasonable accommodations under the law.
Noon-1:15 p.m. CT

Thursday, Feb. 18

Pain and Power of Judging Three judges — Chief Justice Steven Gonzalez of the Washington State Supreme Court, Associate Justice Robert B. Foster of the Massachusetts Land Courts and Judge Tracie A. Todd of the Alabama 10th Judicial Circuit — provide firsthand accounts of being subject to and confronting implicit and explicit bias on the bench.
10-11 a.m. CT

Redistricting: What Every Lawyer Should Know About the Decennial Process of Redrawing Electoral Lines Concerns about the upcoming nationwide redrawing of congressional, state legislative and local electoral lines will be the focus of a panel of leading frontliners, including Tom Saenz of MALDEF, Leah Aden of the NAACP and Terry Ao Minnis of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.  They will examine the U.S. Census-based redistricting process that will establish political boundaries for the next decade, including key issues that may arise in various jurisdictions, the proper base for measuring population equality, legal obligations to create or maintain majority minority districts, Census quality issues, and gerrymandering based on race or party affiliation.
10:15-11:45 a.m. CT

Peeking Behind the Blindfold: How Implicit Racial Bias Gives Courts a Black Eye” —  A panel of equality advocates and judges —  including Edwina Richardson-Mendelson of the New York County Family Court; Michael Hyman of the Circuit Court of Cook County; Kimberly Jade Norwood of Washington University; and Executive Director Robert Chang of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality — will discuss how and where implicit biases in the U.S. courts manifest, and practical strategies to manage them.
Noon-1 p.m. CT

Data & Racial Justice: Using Data to Drive ChangeState's Attorneys Kimberly Foxx of Cook County, Chicago, and Andrew Warren of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida, offer lessons learned from their pioneering implementation of the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators dashboard, a pilot effort to employ data to determine policy changes, ensure justice is served equally in all communities and track performance. Developers of the data model from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Florida International University and Loyola University will also participate to elaborate on their groundbreaking prosecutorial tool.
1-2:30 p.m. CT

Creating Local Change: Racial Equity & Social Justice— How effective is municipal legislation aimed at advancing racial equity? Representatives from two local governments — Dallas and Montgomery County, Maryland — who have successfully implemented such measures will discuss lessons learned in the development, implementation and impacts of their racial equity and social justice laws.
2-3 p.m. CT

Lawyers Advancing Racial and Ethnic Diversity The ABA will recognize four legal professionals with its 2021 Spirit of Excellence Award for their commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession: Barbara L. Creel, a professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law; Román D. Hernández, managing partner of Troutman Pepper’s Portland, Oregon, office; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.; Lori E. Lightfoot, the first African American female mayor of Chicago; and John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Washington, D.C.
4-5 p.m. CT

Friday, Feb. 19

Rebuilding America’s Immigration System: The First 100 Days of a Biden Administration Immigration stakeholders, including Rep. Raul Ruiz of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Executive Director Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center, will discuss the challenges faced by the new White House and how the vision of “Build Back Better” applies to U.S. immigration policy. Will President Biden's approach differ from President Obama’s? Will he roll back the Trump administration’s restrictive rules and regulations — or will he rely on the courts and Congress to create permanent systemic reform?
10-11:30 a.m. CT

“The Civil Rights Lawyer: Perspectives on the Profession” Who in the next generation will take the mantle left by John Lewis and other icons who have recently passed? Civil rights lawyers working for racial justice in academia, litigation and policy will explore the critical role of attorneys in constructing a more equitable society.
11:30-12:30 p.m. CT

“Military Justice—Learning and Leading Change in American Criminal Justice” As the mainstream American criminal justice system grapples with calls for reform, particularly in sexual assault prosecutions, appellate review and protection of the rights of the accused, representatives of the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps discuss parallel progressive changes in the military justice arena.
2-3:30 p.m. CT

Saturday, Feb. 20

“Lawyers Advancing LGBTQ Rights” Three longstanding activists will be honored by the ABA with its nineth annual Stonewall Award for advancing LGBT people in the legal profession and championing LGBT legal causes.
5:30-7 p.m. CT

NOTE: Midyear Meeting programming is available to news reporters according to the ABA Open Meetings policy. Media credentials include free access to fee-based association events, including the Spirit of Excellence Awards. To attend these virtual receptions, contact [email protected] after reporter credentials have been approved by the ABA Media Relations and Strategic Communications Division. For general assistance regarding the Midyear Meeting, contact [email protected] or 202-662-1090.

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 on line. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.