Annual Meeting 2009

No Shortage of Politicians and Legal Legends at ABA Annual Meeting #ABAChicago

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Politicians and judges will be in abundant supply at the ABA Annual Meeting that kicks off in Chicago on Thursday.

The headliner is newly retired Justice David H. Souter, who will keynote the ABA’s opening assembly on Saturday evening. Souter will talk about the need for civics education, a topic he addressed in an unusual public speech last May. At that time, Souter cited surveys showing about two-thirds of Americans can’t even name the three branches of government.

Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn—who got the job after Rod Blagojevich was impeached—will join Souter on the stage. Another well-known Illinois politician—Chicago Mayor Richard Daley—is expected to welcome members of the ABA House of Delegates on Tuesday, according to Chicago personal injury lawyer Bob Clifford, an Illinois delegate who helped in the meeting planning.

The meeting, which runs through Aug. 4, features more than 1,500 programs and events, including sessions on the mortgage servicing industry, the law as portrayed on television, and a style consultant’s advice on fashion do’s and don’ts. The ABA Journal will carry annual meeting news at this page and on the Journal’s Twitter feed.

Attorney General Eric Holder will speak Monday, while six men who held the job before him will participate in a discussion on Friday about the issues they faced as attorney general. Alberto Gonzales isn’t on the program, but two others who dealt with terrorism issues—Michael Mukasey and John Ashcroft—are expected to be there. On Saturday, the nation’s first female attorney general, Janet Reno, will receive the 2009 Thurgood Marshall Award from the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities.

Also on Monday, William Gates Sr.—the father of the famous founder of Microsoft—will be awarded the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor. The elder Gates is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was formerly chair of the law firm then known as Preston Gates & Ellis.

More on the Annual Meeting ‘09 Here:

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ABA Journal’s Annual Meeting coverage at this link.

Interactive updates on the Annual Meeting from ABA Media Relations at

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