Posted Jul 13, 2004 05:15 pm CDT
Every spring, bar leaders from around the country have the unique opportunity to help implement the organized bar’s legislative agenda, receive briefings from congressional leaders, and meet with members of Congress and their staffs on issues important to the profession. Almost 200 ABA, state, local and specialty bar leaders recently converged on Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress on priority issues. For details on ABA Day, see “Focusing the ABA’s Efforts,” page 63.
In turn, representatives and senators shared their concerns and thanked the ABA for speaking out on such issues as the prompt filling of judicial vacancies and the provision of fair, adequate judicial pay; the procedural rights of U.S. citizens and other residents detained as “enemy combatants”; and military tribunals.
ABA Day was a success thanks to the considerable efforts of the Planning Committee led by chair Karen Mathis and the staff of the ABA Governmental Affairs Office. This meeting is not to be missed. I urge you to make sure your ABA entity or your state, local or specialty bar actively participates in next year’s ABA Day in Washington, scheduled for April 27-28, 2005.
Another great meeting opportunity for members is, of course, the ABA Annual Meeting. It offers more than 200 CLE programs to assist members in furthering their professional development, as well as countless meetings and social events to facilitate the greeting of old friends and new contacts. I am always delighted to welcome first-time attendees and drop in on meetings of the sections, divisions, commissions and committees with whom I had not been able to visit throughout my busy year as president.
This year the annual meeting will be in Atlanta. Because of its Southern hospitality and contemporary pace, Atlanta has become a frequent favorite for ABA meetings. Don’t miss the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum or the King Center—the official living memorial dedicated to the advancement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
Our host local bar, the Atlanta Bar Association, will showcase several interesting programs on truancy intervention, summer law internships and minority law clerkships. I urge you to explore the offerings of our gracious hosts.
I also urge you to attend the ABA House of Delegates. We look forward to reports from the Justice Kennedy Commission on the use of mandatory minimum sentencing, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the pardon process, and disparate representation of minorities in the prison system; and from the Judicial Division and Standing Committee on Judicial Independence (as recommended by the Commission on State Court Funding) urging states to adopt budget procedures that can guarantee access to the courts under all economic conditions.
While we attend the meeting to learn and to network among colleagues and friends, we also are there to be entertained. The 2004 Annual Meeting Advisory Committee, chaired by Allan Tanenbaum, is working hard to do just that. This year’s outstanding agenda includes the Opening Assembly at the Georgia World Congress Center followed by the President’s Reception at the Omni Hotel at the CNN Center. This event promises to be spectacular, so don’t delay in buying your tickets.
The ABA is only as effective as its members. It is only with your participation and the sharing of your diverse backgrounds, skills and knowledge that we can advance the association’s goals and improve the profession.