July 20, 2022

Reproductive rights, court security, midterm vote among hot topics at American Bar Association meeting Aug. 3-9

CHICAGO, July 20, 2022 — Legal responses following Roe v. Wade’s demise; safety precautions amidst concerns of court violence; and defensive plans to secure the November election are chief among issues that will be explored at the 2022 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago Aug. 3-9.

Newly retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer will receive the ABA’s highest honor, the ABA Medal, at the General Assembly (Aug. 6, 4:30 p.m. CDT), where he will also keynote the event. In addition, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and John Cornyn (R-TX) will be recognized for their lifetime achievements during the festivities.

Among other notable presenters at this premier gathering of legal professionals, President Ron Flagg of the Legal Services Corporation and former President Christina Blacklaws of the Law Society of England will offer regulatory innovations to narrow the U.S. access-to-justice gap (Aug. 4, 3 p.m. CDT). California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, former Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales and U.S. Circuit Judge Gregg J. Costa of New Orleans will lead top jurists from around the country seeking solutions to perceptions of partisan decision-making and erosion of court confidence (Aug. 5, 10 a.m. CDT).

In addition, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s 583-member policymaking body — will meet in-person at 9 a.m. CDT on Aug. 8-9 at the meeting headquarters hotel, the Hyatt Regency Chicago. For details on the nearly three dozen proposals for debate and vote during the two-day session, click here

For reporter access to programming, contact Media Relations and Strategic Communications at abanews@americanbar.org with proof of credentials and vaccination status. Access code for online registration will follow ABA approval.

Newsworthy programs include (all times are CDT):

Thursday, Aug. 4

“Mitigating the Risks of Climate Change: Future Legal, Financial and Technology Developments in Carbon Markets” Stakeholders will debate the nascent and rapidly developing carbon-credit market as a means to mitigate climate change. Do carbon credits incentivize a carbon-neutral future, or do they legitimize excess emissions by allowing the most significant offenders to purchase credits and ignore the call to reduce their harmful outputs?

8:30-9:45 a.m. at Fairmont Hotel, Crystal Room, 3rd floor

“Judicial and Lawyer Ethics in a Virtual Court” Even as pandemic precautions fade, online courts will undoubtedly continue. Seasoned judges and lawyers will discuss the ethical parameters of virtual proceedings identified over the last two years, including those involving the confidentiality of communications; confidentiality of sharing information; private chats; access to justice and equity concerns on technology and its usage; and multi-jurisdiction practice.

11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Swissotel Chicago, Ballroom Level, Alpine Ballroom I

“A Bird’s-eye Vantage Point of Defending Democracy” Frontline local government officials exchange their preparations for the challenges expected in the 2022 midterm elections. Topics include election disinformation campaigns, physical threats against election officials, potential cybersecurity attacks and partisan excoriation against election officials trying to do their jobs within the construct of complicated election procedures. 

2:30-4 p.m. at Swissotel Chicago, 1st floor, Event Centre, Zurich Ballroom A/B

Come Play in the Sandbox: Re-regulation and Limited Testing Grounds— Regulatory innovations implemented to increase access to justice are thriving across the country. Stakeholders of these new efforts — including President Ron Flagg of the Legal Services Corporation and former President Christina Blacklaws of the Law Society of England — will examine how these “legal sandboxes” work, their efficacy and issues arising from them, using notable examples from around the globe.

3-4 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Ballroom Level, Grand Hall I

“COVID-19 Relief Fraud: What is the Future of Enforcement?” — Top enforcement personnel from the Department of Justice and Small Business Administration present aggressive and ongoing efforts to investigate, prosecute and hold civilly responsible companies and individuals for defrauding COVID-19 relief programs, which suffered staggering fraud involving many hundreds of billions of dollars. Panelists will detail newly formed task forces and update on criminal prosecutions, which began two years ago.

3:30-5 p.m. at Swissotel, Alpine Ballroom, Ballroom Level

“Cybersecurity: Emerging Trends and Practical Tips to Navigate Ever-Changing Requirements” Lawyers who have weathered a cyber crisis will share lessons learned that will help others protect business and avoid operational disruption. They will also discuss the emerging security issues that arise during government contract formation and administration.

3:45-5:15 p.m. at Chicago Marriott Downtown, 7th floor, Grand Ballroom Salon II

Friday, Aug. 5

“The Covenant Conundrum: Racial Restrictions and Enforceable Covenants with Segregative Effects” — As several states enact laws that remove or repudiate legally enforceable deed restrictions, including racial and religious covenants, a panel will examine the latest cases as well as a related model law in development from The Uniform Law Commission.

9-10:30 a.m. at Foley & Lardner LLP, 321 N. Clark St.

Is it the End of Roe and the Rule of Law? Frontline stakeholders from the Center for Reproductive Rights, EverThrive Illinois and the Hope Clinic for Women will examine the implications and share proposed next steps following the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the Texas SB8 case, while also strategizing on how to address the hundreds of laws that are being introduced by state legislatures to limit or prohibit access to reproductive health care.

9-10:30 a.m. at Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Ballroom Level, Grand Hall J

“Is it Really Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms? A Candid Discussion on the Second Amendment” – With ongoing gun violence plaguing local communities across the nation, a panel of Illinois-based legal scholars and community stockholders – including Judge William Hooks of the Circuit Court of Cook County and Illinois Supreme Court Justices P. Scott Neville Jr. and Mary Jane Theis – will debate 2nd Amendment-related topics of concern.

10:15-11:45 a.m. at Chicago Marriott Downtown, 4th Floor, Clark

“Reality Check: Perspectives on the Metaverse, What’s Here & What’s to Come” — Technological advances have made virtual worlds easier to build, and the rising quality of affordable, consumer-grade equipment has improved access to these virtual worlds. Experts will discuss the myriad opportunities and risks that consumers, businesses, lawmakers, attorneys and judges will confront regarding the growing metaverse.

10:30 a.m.-noon at Swissotel Chicago, 2nd floor, Event Centre, Vevey 3

Can Courts Avoid Politicization in a Polarized America? — Pundits, academics and jurists — including California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, former Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales and U.S. Circuit Judge Gregg J. Costa of New Orleans — discuss how partisan politics have caused expectations of party-line outcomes of judicial decisions. Are judges acting as politicians in robes as the public now largely perceives? How can the U.S. ensure that the rule of law, not partisanship, governs in both reality and popular perception? 

10 a.m.-noon at Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Ballroom Level, Grand Hall I

“The Next Step in Restorative Justice — Reparations” — Change-makers at the frontline of restorative compensation for past discrimination to Black and Native Americans discuss how their efforts are thriving and the hurdles they face, as more state and local governments push forward with these efforts in the face of congressional inaction since the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th   Amendments.  

10:45 a.m.- noon at Foley and Lardner LLP, 321 N. Clark St.

“Cornerstones of Democracy: Could You Pass the Test?” — The ABA calls on the legal profession to lead the way in restoring confidence in our justice system and protect the rule of law by promoting civics, civility and collaboration. A new nationwide initiative aims to establish related programming and resources and kicks off with its first explanatory meeting and brainstorm.

11 a.m.-noon at Hyatt Regency Chicago, West Tower, Ballroom Level, Acapulco

“Court Security Gambit: De-escalation Courtroom Techniques for Lawyers & Judges” — Security experts and justice system insiders will share practical strategies to de-escalate and avoid courtroom violence, along with exchanging security tips, situational awareness insights and ways to handle actual threats of harm. Civility and proper judicial conduct will also be emphasized.

1:45-3:15 p.m. at Swissotel Chicago, 2nd floor, Event Centre, Vevey 3

Is that ‘Pegasus’ in Your Pocket?: Smartphones, Spyware, and the Greatest Emerging Threat to Civil Liberties & Human Rights Around the Globe — “Zero-click” technology now allow attackers to easily infect smartphones without any action on the part of the targets, controlling everything about the devices — even encrypted communications. Now the go-to method for surveillance and harassment among cybercriminals, this expanding technology will be examined by security experts and insiders. How does this spyware differ from the digital threats of the past? What, if anything, can be done to mitigate the risks?

2-3:30 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Ballroom Level, Grand Hall J

The Forgotten 40 Acres: Repairing Racial Wealth Disparity Using the Estate Tax and New Charitable Incentives — Can reparations close the racial wealth gap? Wealth-transfer experts and advocates look at past remediation efforts for Japanese Americans incarcerated in the United States during World War II and update on the progress of California’s Reparations Task Force, giving insight into how a Black reparations program might be modeled. Experts also examine proposals to use the estate tax and other taxes on property for reparation funding and describe how new charitable incentives in the tax law could create a public-private partnership to redress the “forgotten 40 acres” and narrow economic inequities.

3:30-5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Ballroom Level, Grand Hall I

“The Impact of Economic Sanctions on Russia to the Supply Chain” — Experts and insiders will dissect the economic sanctions that have been placed on Russia, the impact of those punitive measures on the supply chain and their effect on government contractors.

3:45-5:15 p.m. at Chicago Marriott Downtown, 7th floor, Grand Ballroom Salon II

“Annual Review of Supreme Court Decisions — A federal trial judge, prosecutor and defense attorneys will analyze the cases that came before the U.S. Supreme Court from their vantage points. Discussion will span the past term as well as the cases on docket to come, and will cover constitutional concerns, evidentiary issues and habeas cases.

4-5:30 p.m. at Swissotel, Alpine Ballroom, Ballroom Level

Top Legal Services Volunteers Honored at ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards — Two Texas attorneys (Maddy Dwertman of Baker Botts LLP in Austin and Mark Melton of Holland & Knight LLP in Dallas) as well as three global law firms (Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati) will be honored for their extraordinary work in 2022 to improve and deliver volunteer legal services to the poor.

5:30-7:30 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Chicago, West Tower, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom A

Saturday, Aug. 6

Title IX’s 50th Anniversary: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We Need to Be — As President Joe Biden proposes to reverse Title IX changes made by the Trump administration, representatives from Equal Rights Advocates, Know Your IX and National Women's Law Center discuss how far women have come since the law's passage 50 years ago and the progress yet to be made, examined through the lens of access to education, athletics, sexual harassment, campus sexual assault and more. Should Title IX be amended (or just reinterpreted) to fully achieve its goals?

9-10:30 a.m. at Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Ballroom Level, Grand Hall I

The Roberts Court 2021-2022: Abortion, Guns and Separation of Powers – High court watchers dissect the U.S. Supreme Court’s sharp rightward turn and its most controversial decisions, while also examining the apparent turmoil between justices and the perceived politicization of decision-making. Additionally, panelists will read the tea leaves on what to expect next from the justices.

10:30 a.m.-noon at Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Ballroom Level, Grand Hall J

Second Discussion Draft of Possible Amendments to Model Rules of Professional Conduct Concerning Lawyers’ Client Due Diligence Obligations The first of two public roundtables for comment on a second discussion draft on possible amendments to Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 (Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority between Client and Lawyer) and its comments. A second hearing will be held Aug. 31.

2-4 p.m. at TBD

Former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer at ABA General Assembly The ABA’s highest honor, the ABA Medal, will be presented to assembly keynote speaker Stephen G. Breyer, newly retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who will be recognized for his extraordinary career as a public servant, defender of the rule of law and promoter of judicial independence. Additionally, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and John Cornyn (R-TX) will be recognized for their lifetime legislative achievements and support for legal aid.

4:30- 6 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom C/D North

Sunday, Aug. 7

Women Lawyers of Achievement: Margaret Brent Awards — Five trailblazing female attorneys will be recognized with the 2022 Margaret Brent Award. Honorees are Michele Goodwin, professor, University of California, Irvine School of Law; Christina L. Martini, partner, McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago; Laura J. Schumacher, vice chairman and chief legal officer, AbbVie, Chicago; Myra C. Selby, partner, Ice Miller, Indianapolis; and Wendy Shiba, principal, Red Bee Group, Altadena, Calif.

3-5:30 p.m. at Swissotel Chicago, 2nd Floor, Event Centre, Vevey 2/3/4

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.