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January 18, 2023

Justice reform, reproductive rights top agenda at American Bar Association meeting Feb. 2-6 in New Orleans

CHICAGO, Jan. 18, 2023 — U.S. racial and gender inequity in the legal profession and efforts to spur stalled progress; innovative alternatives to traditional juvenile justice measures; and the state of U.S. reproductive rights since the Dobbs decision are chief among hot topics to be explored at the 2023 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting in New Orleans Feb. 2-6.

With several dozen top-quality legal programs, 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 591-member ABA House of Delegates – the association’s policy-making body – will meet in-person-only on Feb. 6 at 9 a.m. CT in the Grand Ballroom of the Midyear Meeting headquarters hotel, Sheraton New Orleans (500 Canal St). For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.    

For reporter access, contact Media Relations and Strategic Communications at [email protected] with proof of credentials. Access code for online registration will follow ABA approval.

Meeting highlights include:

Thursday, Feb. 2

Sending Children to Angola Prison Death Row: Implications for Families, Justice, & Reform New Orleans stakeholders sound the alarm on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ recent decision to transfer children, mostly Black youth, from a juvenile facility to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States, which has a long history of inmate abuse, violence and other inhumane treatment; and portend the long-term consequences of the placement on the incarcerated youth and the broader Crescent City community.
1:30-3 p.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor, Galerie 1

We Are (All of) What We Are: Litigating Intersectional Discrimination Claims” Intersectional discrimination – prejudice involving multiple protected statuses – will be highlighted by seasoned practitioners as an often overlooked yet essential part of a growing number of discrimination cases, including litigation best practices on intersecting identities and the benefits and pitfalls presented by the various approaches.
3-4 p.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor, Studio 2

Extraordinary Writs: What Everyone Needs to Know Extraordinary writs – court orders that exercise unusual or discretionary power, such as prohibition, mandamus and certiorari – will be examined by experienced practitioners and judges who will coach on effectively seeking and responding to these legal petitions.
3:30-4:30 p.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor, Galerie 1

Reproductive Justice & Gender-Based Violence Post-Dobbs: Living at the Intersections of Oppression and Bodily Autonomy — Louisiana-based and national experts on reproductive rights – including leaders of Lift Louisiana, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Women with a Vision and Center for Reproductive Rights – update legal developments since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision and strategize on a response plan, focusing discussion on the decision’s impact on survivors of gender-based violence, people of color and other underserved populations.
3:40-5 p.m. at Louisiana State Bar Association, 601 St. Charles Avenue

Pathways to Monumental Change Louisiana attorneys involved in Confederate monument removal will each share the unique legal path in their respective areas of the Bayou State that led to the extraction of these public works from a bygone era.
4:15-5:15 p.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor, Studio 2

Friday, Feb. 3

Prosecutorial Biases— Two defense attorneys representing both trial and appellate perspectives share personal instances of prosecutorial bias and misconduct, exploring how such biases impact their duties, from charging decisions to jury selection and sentencing recommendations.
9-10 a.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor, Studio 2

Addressing Heirs’ Property Matters Using a Multiplicity of Approaches Local practitioners, including those from Louisiana Appleseed and the Southern University Law Center, will highlight the often thorny legal and non-legal issues related to the bequeathment of generational land and property when title concerns remain, including the best ways to resolve probate disputes on high-value assets.
10:15-11:15 a.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor, Studio 2

How the ‘Fourth Branch’ Can Help Preserve the Rule of Law in Elections— Voting rights advocates will discuss how the country’s “fourth branch” – made up of U.S institutions, including corporations, nonprofits and other interest groups – should coalesce to tackle division in public opinion, election apathy and disinformation in the U.S. electoral system.
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 5th Floor Grand Ballroom AB

Forced Marriage is a Global Problem – That Includes U.S.! — Human rights attorneys and advocates reveal the stunning scope of forced marriage in the United States and abroad and discuss the complex social and cultural dynamics that challenge the resolution of related legal action.
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 5th Floor Grand Ballroom DE

The Demise of Public Schools Academic and legal practitioners in U.S. education discuss the legal foundations that underpin charter schools, vouchers and privatization, as well as the vulnerability of these movements to incidents of discrimination, breaches of special education laws, due process violations and other legal claims.
12:45-2 p.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor, Studio 2

Dare to be Different: Think Outside the Box to Improve Juvenile Justice in Your Community Three innovators of the juvenile justice system – Judge Ranord Darensburg of Orleans Parish Juvenile Traffic Court, Judge Ernestine Steward Gray of Orleans Parish Juvenile Court (retired) and Judge Stephanie Domitrovich of Erie County Court of Common Pleas – will each share their unique alternative to traditional punitive measures, all of which successfully reduced recidivism, maintained the familial unit and boosted positive overall outcomes for the youth offenders.
1-2:30 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 3rd Floor, Borgne

Extending Justice 2: Strategies to Increase Inclusion & Reduce Bias (A Focus on Gender)— A roundtable of women leaders in law will share personal insights on gender-based bias and its impact on their careers and those of their colleagues, while also offering strategic approaches to achieving true inclusion and equity in the legal profession.
1:30-3 p.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2nd Floor, Galerie 1

“The Making of Lawyers’ Careers: Inequality and Opportunity in the American Legal Profession” — Researchers will reveal and analyze new findings from their 20-year study of a national sample of lawyers who passed the bar in 2000. Called the “After the JD project,” the research shows that after two decades in law the attorneys experience deep divisions by client type and practice setting and that women and lawyers of color continue to report barriers to equal opportunity.
2-3:30 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 3rd Floor, Napoleon D3

Climate Migrants or Refugees: A Case for Protection Under U.S. Immigration Law— Forced climate displacement in Louisiana will be the launch point to explain how U.S. immigration laws should respond to citizens impacted by natural disasters. Panelists include immigrants who rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, legal experts from the displaced Terrebonne Parish indigenous community and climate immigration legal experts, who will debate policy reforms and relief measures and counsel on how to make forced climate migration arguments under existing law.
3:15-4:45 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 5th Floor Grand Ballroom AB

The State of Criminal Justice 2022— Criminal justice system stakeholders review the past year’s noteworthy milestones and innovations, as well as forecast the outlook for this area of the law.
3:30-5 p.m. at New Orleans Marriott, 2ndFloor, Galerie 1

The Future is Now:  A Conversation with Donna Brazile— American political strategist and television analyst Donna Brazile shares lessons learned from her long career as the first Black woman to direct a U.S. presidential campaign and who also served twice as acting chair of the Democratic National Committee.
4-5:30 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 1st Floor, Rodrigue Gallery

Saturday, Feb. 4

Attorneys Advancing Diversity in Law— The ABA will recognize four legal professionals with its 2023 Spirit of Excellence Award for their commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession: Judge Goodwin H. Liu of the California Supreme Court; Judge Roger Gregory of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals; Immediate Past President Reginald M. Turner of Clark Hill; and General Council Diandra Benally of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
Noon-2 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 5th Floor, Grand CDE

“Public Hearing on Multijurisdictional Practice” — The Center for Professional Responsibility hosts an information-gathering session to hear testimony from stakeholders interested in possible revisions to Model Rule 5.5 on multijurisdictional law practice. What would an ideal cross-border practice rule look like? How can the Model Rules of Professional Conduct best support both clients, including through their choice of counsel, and client protection?
2-3:30 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, Room to be determined

Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, Collaboration – As part of a year-long initiative to raise the public’s understanding of the rule of law, ABA leaders discuss what judges, lawyers, teachers, legislators and the business community can do to enhance civics education in schools and communities around the country.
2:30-4 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 2nd Floor, Rhythms III

Champions of LGBT Legal Causes— Three longstanding activists will be honored by the ABA with its 11th annual Stonewall Award for advancing LGBT people in the legal profession and championing LGBT legal causes. Honorees are Judge Pamela K. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Ellen Krug of Human Inspiration Works and Jennifer C. Pizer of Lambda Legal.
5:30-7 p.m. at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 1st Floor, Rodrigue Gallery

NOTE: Midyear Meeting programming is available to news reporters according to the ABA Open Meeting policy. Media credentials include free access to fee-based association events, including the Spirit of Excellence Awards. 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.

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.