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August 09, 2023 Top Legal News of the Week

ABA President Smith outlines priorities

Mary L. Smith became president of the American Bar Association on Aug. 8 at the end of the ABA Annual Meeting in Denver.

The vice chair of the VENG Group and former head of Indian Health Service with a long history of service to the ABA said that the theme of her term as president is “Lifting Our Voices, Charting the Future.”

Smith announced the creation of the ABA Task Force for American Democracy, co-chaired by former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig and former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Charles Johnson, toconsider and propose solutions for educating our citizens on the importance of an inclusive, strong and enduring democracy and help to provide bulwarks to bolster our democracy as conceived.”

Calling on lawyers “to harness both the promise — and the peril — of AI,” she announced the formation of an artificial intelligence task force “that will take a comprehensive look at the use of AI and make recommendations on the impact on the practice of law, access to justice and laws and regulations.”

“We are called again to lead the association through a thicket of challenges,” said the first female Native American president of the ABA. “There is no more critical time to be a member of the American Bar Association.” Other new officers are President-elect William R. Bay, a partner at Thompson Coburn in St. Louis; Treasurer Frank H. “Fritz”’ Langrock, a partner at Langrock Sperry & Wool LLP in Middlebury, Vermont; and Secretary Marvin S.C. Dang, managing member of the Law Offices of Marvin S.C. Dang LLLC in Honolulu.

President-elect Bay told the HOD on Aug. 8 that “In every ‘Star Trek’ episode, viewers are reminded right at the beginning of a simple statement of their mission.” The ABA also has a mission, he said, a simple one that “should guide everything we do.”

“Our mission must be to make our association the home for all lawyers” Bay said. “The American Bar Association serves a unique role, a national unifying role, a place where every lawyer can find a home, value, worth and fulfillment.”

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