Annual Meeting 2008

Ellis Island Stirs Memories at TIPS Event

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With historic Ellis Island as the backdrop, outgoing Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section chair Peter Bennett kicked off the section’s meeting Friday night by reinforcing his commitment to diversity.

Bennett, of the Portland, Maine-based Bennett Law Firm, told hundreds of members that it was fitting that Ellis Island served as the site of the TIPS annual meeting gala because his great-grandfather had come through the port many years ago. The section had the exclusive use of the historic museum for the dinner event.

At the dinner, Bennett poignantly recalled the story that he had heard over and over growing up about how his great-grandfather could not spell his ethnic last name, so the immigration authorities at Ellis Island handed him a phone book and told him to pick out a new anglicized last name.

And while Bennett said the locale of the evening was an inspiration, it also saddened him to know that many others do not have the same opportunities as he was afforded simply because they did not have anglicized last names or had different skin colors or cultural backgrounds.

With the Statue of Liberty in his sights from Ellis Island, Bennett also used the event to award the section’s inaugural Liberty Awards.

The Honorable Bernice Donald of Memphis, Tenn., and Catherine Christian, who was the first African-American and the second woman to be president of the New York County Lawyers’ Association, were the co-recipients.

More on the Award: Special Night on Ellis Island

<a href=”” title=”” Judge Bernice Donald Wins Liberty Award from ABA’s TIPS Section

ABA Release: Judge Bernice B. Donald to Receive ABA Liberty Achievement Award

ABA Release: Catherine Christian to Receive ABA Liberty Achievement Award

Annual Meeting 2008:

Read more news from the ABA Annual Meeting.

See candid photographs of attendees on Flickr.

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