Annual Meeting

First all-virtual ABA Annual Meeting offers full slate of special events and programs

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In a year of uncertainty, one thing is certain: The 2020 ABA Annual Meeting will once again offer attendees a memorable roster of special events, CLE programs and networking opportunities.

The all-virtual meeting, “Convening for Justice,” runs from Wednesday, July 29, through Tuesday, Aug. 4, and also includes meetings of the Board of Governors, House of Delegates and other association entities.

On Wednesday, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez will talk with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer during the General Assembly. The program begins at 4 p.m. and features the presentation of the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor, to former ABA president and World Justice Project founder William Neukom. (All times in this article are given in Central Time, to align with the ABA’s Chicago headquarters.)

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At 9 a.m. Thursday, ABA President-Elect Patricia Lee Refo will discuss fairness, equity and justice in the workplace with Chai Feldblum, a former commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and director of Workplace Culture Consulting at Morgan Lewis in Washington, D.C.

Also on Thursday, at noon, Martinez will join Richard Susskind, the author of The Future of Law and The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, to examine online courts and other solutions to global access to justice problems.

Friday’s programs include a 2:30 p.m. conversation about global issues of justice and human rights between Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Judge James A. Wynn Jr. of the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ABA Forum, “Justice and Policing - A Path Forward,” is another special event scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday. Panelists including Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, will discuss how the country can pursue police reforms and equal justice after the killing of George Floyd and other African Americans by law enforcement.

In addition to special events and conversations, the 2020 ABA Annual Meeting’s CLE Showcase provides attendees three days of programming on significant legal and justice issues.

Wednesday’s programs include “Hacking Democracy: Elections and Beyond,” a panel at 10 a.m. that explores digital threats against the U.S. democratic system; and “What Will the Next 100 Years Hold for Access to Justice? The Future of Civil Legal Aid and Public Defense in America,” a panel at noon that examines data and trends that could drive the future of legal services.

Additionally, the “COVID-19—Legal Issues, Responses, and Practice Going Forward” program at 2 p.m. Wednesday focuses on common legal issues that have and may still arise from the pandemic and the challenges in responding to those issues.

The Paucity of Women of Color in the Legal Profession and Its Impact on the Administration of Justice” panel is at 10 a.m. Thursday and analyzes the results of a new ABA study, Left Out and Left Behind: The Hurdles, Hassles, and Heartaches of Achieving Long-Term Legal Careers for Women of Color. In “The Power of Women in U.S. Elections,” one of the final programs at 1 p.m. Friday, panelists explore voter suppression, election protection and voting rights reform strategies in advance of November’s election.

Other noteworthy events at the 2020 ABA Annual Meeting include the presentation of the Pro Bono Publico Awards and SCLAID Centennial Access to Justice Awards at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and the presentation of the Thurgood Marshall Award at 4:30 p.m. Friday. This year’s recipient is Marian Wright Edelman, the founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund.

In keeping with the all-virtual meeting, attendees will also be able to participate in a virtual tour of the “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum at 5 p.m. Thursday. They can then join in the first virtual ABA Trivia Night at 6:30 p.m.

The ABA House of Delegates will take up more than 40 proposed resolutions and amendments during its meeting Monday and Tuesday. The association’s official policymaking body is expected to consider a number of issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, fairness and efficiency in national elections and the ongoing calls for criminal justice and police reforms.

The 2020 ABA Annual Meeting is free to all ABA members; non-members can attend by paying $95. The full program and additional details can be found on the 2020 ABA Annual Meeting website.

See also: “What can we expect from the all-virtual 2020 ABA Annual Meeting?”

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