Annual Meeting

ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting convenes members online and in Chicago

  • Print

Image from Shutterstock.

The American Bar Association is hosting its first-ever hybrid annual meeting, which will bring together members for both virtual and in-person events in Chicago this week.

ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said in a welcome message that the meeting, which runs from Aug. 4 through Aug. 10, has been “our association’s hallmark event since 1889” and will offer something to every lawyer again this year.

“Our eight CLE showcase programs will highlight the latest developments in voting rights, environmental justice, student speech rights, cryptocurrency, the future of policing and the always-popular annual review of the Supreme Court,” Refo said. “Throughout the meeting, we will honor the exemplary work of our members with a variety of awards events, including presentation of the ABA Medal, our highest honor, to Larry Fox, whose contributions to the field of ethics and professional responsibility are legendary.”

Refo added that the House of Delegates will facilitate broader participation by meeting online and in person at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. On Monday and Tuesday, the association’s policymaking body is expected to vote on about 40 proposed resolutions and amendments that cover a multitude of issues, including student loan debt, policies on law enforcement’s body-worn cameras and the return to the workplace after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting will also include meetings of the Board of Governors and other association entities.

Special events and awards

The slate of this year’s special events features the General Assembly at 4 p.m. Wednesday. (All times are listed in Central Daylight Time.) During their virtual “Women in the Legal Profession: Progress and Remaining Challenges” presentation, Refo and the other nine female former ABA presidents will discuss changes and challenges in the profession.

The first of the ABA’s several award ceremonies are also Wednesday. The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service will present its Pro Bono Publico Awards to Cynthia Chandler, TerryAnn Howell, Neal Manne, Rebecca Rapp and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton in a virtual program at 11:30 a.m. The Senior Lawyers Division will present its John H. Pickering Achievement Award to longtime association member and former Criminal Justice Section chair Stephen Saltzburg in another virtual program at 1:30 p.m.

Five ABA entities — the Center for Human Rights, the International Law Section, the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, the Litigation Section and the Rule of Law Initiative — will present the International Human Rights Award virtually to Nigerian lawyer Adeola Austin Oyinlade at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Commission on Women in the Profession will hold its Margaret Brent Awards ceremony virtually at 4 p.m. Thursday. Retired Judge Irma Gonzalez, Joan Haratani, Joyce Hughes, Pamela Karlan and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum are the recipients of this year’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.

And on Friday, the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice’s virtual Thurgood Marshall Award Celebration, honoring civil rights leader Clarence B. Jones, begins at 4:30 p.m.

In-person events at the Hyatt Regency Chicago include the President’s Reception at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Hyatt RegencyIn-person events are being held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Photo from the Hyatt Corporation.

The House of Delegates Committee on Issues of Concern to the Legal Profession will host an in-person panel presentation at 11 a.m. Monday. During their discussion, which can also be viewed online, panelists will explore the question: “What should be done to ensure that the public has confidence in the electoral process and accepts the outcome of the vote?”

As Refo noted in her welcome, this year’s recipient of the ABA Medal is Lawrence Fox, a longtime leader in professional responsibility and legal ethics. He will receive the award during Monday’s hybrid House of Delegates meeting.

Focus on CLE

Refo also highlighted several CLE Showcase programs, which will be held virtually alongside other panel discussions throughout the hybrid annual meeting.

In “Advocacy Before the Court: Federalism, Diversity and Rule of Law,” which begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, panelists will discuss the significant role a diverse bar plays in legal matters that disproportionately impact underrepresented communities.

Wednesday’s other programs include “Voting Rights: A Discussion on Legislation, Strategy and Developments in the Movement for Voting Justice,” a panel at noon that examines states’ attempts to limit early voting, remote voting and voter assistance and support other restrictions; and “The Era of Environmental Justice: Prioritizing Protection and Remedies for Underrepresented Communities,” a panel at 2 p.m. that explores how environmental justice is impacting decisions in government and commercial development and the role of lawyers in these matters.

The “Beyond the Schoolhouse Gate: Student Speech Rights After Mahanoy School District v. B.L.” program at 10 a.m. Thursday focuses on the practical and legal consequences of the Supreme Court’s recent decision involving public school students and their right to express themselves off school grounds.

Also on Thursday, “Cryptocurrency Law: The Wild West or the Financing of the Future?” at noon highlights how cryptocurrency impacts the law and whether more regulation is needed. “The Future of Policing: Ending Senseless Violence and Igniting Transformative Reform” follows at 2 p.m. The speakers at this event will include Benjamin Crump, attorney for the George Floyd family; and Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor.

“The Roberts Court 2020-2021: ACB for RBG and the Alliance Forming Around the C.J.” starts at 10 a.m. Friday and explores key decisions from the Supreme Court’s most-recent term. “Constitutional Long Haulers: The Undiagnosed Long-Term Impact of Judicial Review on Emergency Public Health Orders” follows at 1 p.m. with a discussion of the judiciary’s role in reviewing the scope of states’ authority to design emergency response measures. It will include a mock argument and conference.

ABA members can attend all eight CLE programs and other events and meetings by paying the $225 all-access fee; it is $425 for nonmembers. Law students can attend for free.

The 2021 ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting without access to the CLE Showcase is $75 for members and $275 for nonmembers.

More registration information and the full list of programs can be found on the 2021 ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting website.

Follow along with the ABA Journal’s coverage of the 2021 ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting here.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.