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March 11, 2022

ABA House considers multiple proposals to help everyday people at virtual session

CHICAGO, Feb. 2, 2022 – The American Bar Association House of Delegates will consider a wide range of measures at its Feb. 14 Midyear Meeting that are intended to assist veterans, those facing evictions, children involved in parental custody battles and seniors in nursing homes.

The proposals are among 25 filed resolutions that the 596-member ABA policymaking body, known as the HOD, is expected to consider at its one-day meeting that concludes the virtual ABA 2022 Midyear Meeting, which begins Feb. 9. Other resolutions on HOD’s agenda include advocacy for Afghan and other immigrant populations in addition to regulatory changes for the legal profession.

This year’s HOD session represents the second consecutive ABA Midyear Meeting that will be totally virtual. In January citing pandemic concerns, the ABA Board of Governors converted to online the planned in-person proceedings, which were to take place in Seattle, Washington.

While additional late resolutions can be offered, the current agenda reflects an emphasis on helping everyday people. Resolution 603, for instance, urges the federal government to review processes and procedures used when determining veterans’ discharge upgrade petitions to ensure they are treated fairly. Resolution 612 proposes adoption of the ABA Ten Guidelines for Residential Eviction Laws. Resolution 601 urges federal entities to enhance the transparency and accountability of nursing home ownership and management. And Resolution 613 seeks the adoption of state laws ensuring children involved in dependency or child welfare cases are actively engaged unless they waive their right to be present.

To adapt to changes in the legal profession, Resolution 607 would amend the Model Supreme Court Rules Governing Lawyer Referral and Information Services and the Model Rules for Operating a Lawyer Referral Service to reflect today’s emerging regulatory landscape. With states such as Arizona and Utah loosening their restrictions on nonlawyer delivery of legal services, the changes reflect an attempt to make the model rules consistent with state guidelines.

Other resolutions would:

  • Effectively ask the Biden administration to do more in the areas of transparency and fairness in carrying out the nation’s immigration laws. Resolution 609 urges that the U.S. asylum system affords persons seeking protection from persecution or torture more transparency, due process, access to counsel and a full and fair adjudication, and advocates for the end of the use of Section 265 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code to block and expel asylum-seekers at the U.S. border. Resolution 610 seeks governmental entities to eradicate real and perceived bias in the enforcement of immigration laws.
  • Support Afghans at home and abroad (Resolution 608) to allow for advocacy for both legislation and other administrative remedies that would facilitate continued evacuation and streamline processing of immigration benefits.
  • Urge all federal officials to adopt laws and policies to ensure that all persons in each state, regardless of immigration status, are included in the apportionment count used to redistribute seats in the U.S. House following each decennial census. Resolution 611 addresses an issue raised most recently by federal litigation filed in 2018 that could arise again in the 2030 census.
  • Concur in the action of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in making amendments to Standards 205, 303, 507 and 508 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools. Resolution 300 would expand non-discrimination and equality of opportunity to include military status, ethnicity and gender identity and expression; adds a professional identity formation requirement and a requirement that students receive education in bias, cross-cultural competency and racism both at the beginning of their legal studies and later during their law school careers; requires all admitted students receive information about financial aid and student loan debt resources; and adds information on law student well-being resources to the range of student services that a law school is required to offer.
  • Embrace a series of proposals recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, which seeks to provide states with nonpartisan legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of statutory law. The resolutions include approval of the Uniform College Athlete Name, Image or Likeness Act (701); the Uniform Community Property Disposition at Death Act (703); and the Uniform Personal Data Protection Act (704).

All proposed resolutions and reports can be found here. Only proposals adopted by the HOD constitute association policy.

NOTE: Midyear Meeting programming is available to media 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 programs, contact [email protected] once 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. Stay up to date on conference developments at the Midyear Meeting Reporter Resources webpage.

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