ABA Journal

President's Letter

197 ABA Journal President's Letter articles.

ABA members need to tout value, importance of bar membership

“Membership is the lifeblood of our bar association,” says ABA President Reginald Turner. “That is why in the year ahead, I urge you all to make a habit of reaching out and mentoring young lawyers and law students by demonstrating how bar associations make us better lawyers and fulfilled citizens who make a difference.”

Our ‘calling’ demands more of us as lawyers in the public square

When we choose a career in the law, it is not about simply getting a job. It is a choice to join a learned, self-governing profession. We say a person is “called to the bar” because that is what law is—a calling. Part of that calling involves upholding and defending the rule of law, the principle that all of us are equal in the eyes of the law and no person is above the law.

Serving as a juror was an unexpected duty during my year as ABA president

“‘All rise for the jury’ is something I have heard scores of times as a trial lawyer. But this time, and for the first time, I heard them as a part of a jury,” writes ABA President Patricia Lee Refo.

Lawyers and the ABA are on front lines in protecting the bedrock of our democracy

While the rule of law has been the foundation of America since its birth, recent events and unprecedented attacks on our institutions underscore the need to remain vigilant about protecting it. The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing racial injustice and attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of presidential power have all highlighted broader challenges around justice in America.

Justice for All: ABA acts to expand civil legal assistance

ABA joins with dozens of law schools to address issues in police practices

“The American Bar Association stands for equal justice and has long worked to eliminate bias in our justice system. We always must encourage innovative and proactive approaches that promote justice for all,” writes ABA President Patricia Lee Refo.

Lawyers can play a key role in safe, fair and accessible elections by volunteering as poll workers

Our country will hold a national election next month, and the ABA wants to make sure every eligible citizen in every corner of this nation has a safe and fair opportunity to cast their ballot. Americans must be able to exercise their right to vote in a way that is secure and accessible—especially vulnerable populations such as the elderly, disabled and homeless, as well as military serving abroad.

Your vote is your voice

“As we approach the 2020 presidential election, many Americans are calling it the most consequential of their lifetime. But all elections are important, whether for school boards, local judges, town councils or the U.S. Senate,” writes ABA President Judy Perry Martinez.

Lawyers and the ABA must show resilience in tackling pandemic challenges

Law Day focuses on 19th Amendment centennial, voting rights

We must not squander the future of legal services

“Access to justice is a fundamental tenet of the rule of law. Without it, people cannot fully protect their rights, liberty and property; and the public’s confidence in our justice system is put at risk,” writes ABA President Judy Perry Martinez.

Protecting the Courts: Unfair attacks on judges undermine judicial independence, the rule of law

Bar associations have a special responsibility to ensure that the public understands the judiciary’s role and holds the judiciary accountable to the highest standards of fairness and impartiality.

ABA advances the rule of law to assure fairness, justice, and ultimately, our democracy

As lawyers, we see the rule of law as the promise that we live in a nation of laws that are justly and fairly enforced. These laws protect our freedom, rights and property from both government intrusion and the unlawful acts of others. The rule of law also requires that each of us, no matter whether elected official or private person in civil society, remains accountable under law so that justice will be done.

Defense of the unpopular: Lawyers should not suffer backlash for defending rights of unsympathetic clients

Our adversarial justice system requires a defense attorney to stand up for the accused and balance the arguments of the prosecution. A lawyer can guide a client through the process and defend their civil rights without excusing or condoning what the client is accused of doing. Even Nazi war criminals were afforded counsel. It did not mean their lawyers were sympathizers.

Our Civics IQ: ABA survey demonstrates people need better understanding of our democracy

Less than half of the U.S. public knows that John Roberts is Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, while almost one-quarter think it is Ruth Bader Ginsburg and 16 percent believe it is Clarence Thomas. The ABA Survey of Civic Literacy asked 1,000 adults in the United States 17 questions about the law, the U.S. Constitution and the rights of both citizens and noncitizens.

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