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ABA Annual Meeting

Hillary Clinton, Justice Kennedy among high-profile speakers at ABA Annual Meeting

Posted Aug 7, 2013 5:40 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Hillary Clinton. fotostory / Shutterstock.com

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is among the high-profile speakers slated to appear at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco that begins this Thursday.

Kennedy will be the featured speaker at the ABA Opening Assembly on Saturday, according to a press release. Other high-profile speakers include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is receiving the ABA’s highest honor, the ABA Medal, on Monday; and Attorney General Eric Holder, who is also appearing Monday.

Clinton chaired the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession when it was first created. She was the first female full partner in her law firm, the first female chair of the board of directors of the Legal Services Corp., and the first female U.S. Senator from New York. In a press release, ABA President Laurel Bellows said Clinton’s career in law and public service inspires “generations of young women as they walk through the doors that she opened for them.”

On Saturday, several prominent authors will be at the meeting to discuss their legal writing careers in a program called “Law as a Platform for Writing.” They include former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark and legal thriller author Sheldon Siegel.

Other programs include:

• On Friday, the ABA National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws will hold its fourth and final hearing. The task force is considering whether stand-your-ground laws make society safer or more dangerous, and whether they disproportionately impact minorities.

• On Friday, a panel of female corporate counsel will discuss advances for women, obstacles that remain, and how companies and law departments can remove those obstacles.

• On Friday, panelists will discuss the legal aspect of self-driving cars and drones in a program that features a real driverless Google car.

• On Saturday, a program will discuss facts and fiction of surveillance by the National Security Agency.

The policy-making ABA House of Delegates will meet on Monday and Tuesday. One proposed resolution urges adoption of laws to curtail availability of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses that seek to excuse crimes based on a defendant’s violent reaction to the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Another proposed resolution approves the Uniform Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, which is designed to combat sex and labor trafficking. The uniform law includes comprehensive criminal provisions and provides for victim eligibility for state services.

At the close of the House of Delegates session, James Silkenat of New York will become president of the ABA.

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