The New Administration and the Judiciary, the Housing Crisis and the Law, Racism and the Legal System Explored at ABA Midyear Meeting Programs

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The housing crisis and the role of lawyers in securing housing justice; examining the psychology of prejudice; and insights into the new administration, Congress and the federal judiciary are among issues to be discussed in programs featured at the 2009 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting, Feb. 11 - 17 in Boston.

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Recent Developments in Communications Law: Fox v. FCC

The housing crisis and the role of lawyers in securing housing justice; examining the psychology of prejudice; and insights into the new administration, Congress and the federal judiciary are among issues to be discussed in programs featured at the 2009 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting, Feb. 11 - 17 in Boston.

In addition to the more than 900 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates will consider policies affecting the legal rights of military personnel, immigrants and the elderly; the criminal justice system treatment of juvenile sex offenders; habeas corpus petitions of detainees at the Guantanamo Navel Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and measures that would reduce harm and litigation after catastrophes. The House meets Feb. 16 at 8 a.m. at the Hynes Convention Center, ballroom, level 3.

Also during the House meeting on Feb. 16, Presidents' Day, will be a presentation by Walter Dellinger, Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law, Duke University, on "Abraham Lincoln as a Lawyer."

Click here to see the full Midyear Meeting program agenda.

Among program highlights are:

"Obtaining and Retaining a Diverse Judiciary"
Issues of a lack of diversity within the judiciary, how the public perceives the judiciary based on that deficiency, and how false and unfair attacks against the judiciary have jeopardized its diversity will be discussed by panelists and audience members in an effort to develop strategies to reverse this trend.
Feb. 11, 2 p.m., Harvard Law School, 1563 Massachusetts Av., Cambridge

"Foreclosing on the American Dream: The Housing Crisis and the Role of Lawyers and Laws in Securing Housing Justice"
Families are losing their homes, often with no place to go. Innocent tenants paying their rent on time every month are being evicted on short notice when their landlords go through foreclosure. These are just some of the fallout of the housing crisis. This interactive program will focus on a hypothetical family in crisis and explore how lawyers can assist those facing such turmoil as well as ways to bolster efforts to create new affordable housing options.
Feb. 13, 8:30 a.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 308, level 3

"Mindbugs: The Psychology of Ordinary Prejudice"
Panelists will discuss how human interactions are greatly affected by implicit and unconscious biases. These biases have significant implications for all members of the legal profession, particularly women and minorities, as they impact decisions with respect to hiring, assignments, evaluations, promotions and layoffs.
Feb. 13, 10 a.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 312, level 3

"The New Administration, the New Congress and the Federal Judiciary - Judicial Appointments, Compensation, and Judicial Relations"
Join veteran Potomac insiders for key insights into what can be expected--both at the White House and in the Senate--concerning federal judicial appointments, as well as issues of judicial compensation, court-stripping, cameras in the courtroom and ethics reform.
Feb. 13, 1 p.m., Sheraton Boston, Liberty Ballroom B, 2nd level

"The Assumption of Justice: A Dialogue on Color, Ethnicity and the Courts"
Expert panelists will provide an understanding of institutional racism and the reality of disparities in the charging and sentencing of minorities in the courts. Attendees will consider ways to develop solutions within their communities.
Feb. 13, 10 a.m., Fairmont Copley Plaza, Forum Room, lower lobby level

"Health Care for Immigration Detainees: What Should be the Standard?"
Issues of detainee medical care and the adequacy, implementation and enforceability of medical standards will be addressed by panelists. Also explored will be the critical role the health care profession plays in ensuring successful service delivery, and the detainee health care system lawyers need to understand to more effectively assist their individual or institutional clients.
Feb. 13, 2 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 208, level 2

Implementing Health Care Reform: The Massachusetts Example"
When Massachusetts enacted an act providing access to affordable, quality, accountable health care in 2006, it undertook a comprehensive and visible effort to reform health insurance and health care practices. This panel will explore the Massachusetts experience in implementing the universal coverage mandate and the areas in which the state's experience may or may not provide a useful model for the nation.
Feb. 13, 1:45 p.m., Fairmont Copley Plaza, State Ste. A, lower lobby level

"HIV and the Rule of Law: A Legal Roadmap for a New Administration"
Much has been done in the last eight years to address the global HIV/AIDS crisis. Yet a crisis it remains, and while billions of dollars have rightly been allocated to address the pandemic abroad, federal funds for the domestic epidemic have been flat or even cut, with potentially devastating consequences. This program will examine the domestic and international legal dimensions of HIV/AIDS and the key legal elements that must be part of the new administration's approach. Feb. 14, 2:30 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 309, level 3

"Spirit of Excellence Awards"
The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the achievements of diverse lawyers who contribute to the legal profession and society. Awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. This year's recipients include Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Richard A. Soden, of counsel, Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston; Julius L. Chambers, civil rights lawyer and educator, Ferguson Stein Chambers Gresham and Sumter P.A., Charlotte, N.C.; Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, Senate president, Hawaii State Legislature, Honolulu; Joan Mei Haratani, partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, San Francisco; Chief Justice Daniel Sosa Jr. (Ret.), Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico, Las Cruces, N.M.; and William A. Von Hoene Jr., executive vice president and general counsel, Exelon Corporation, Chicago.
Feb. 14, noon, Sheraton Boston, Grand/Independence Ballrooms, 2nd level

"Renewed Hope: Human Rights and the New Administration"
John Shattuck, CEO, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor under President Bill Clinton, will address how President Barack Obama can work to address concerns around the world of this nation's commitment to human rights and the rule of law.
Feb. 16, noon, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Back Bay Ballroom D

Other programs include:

"Judicial Clerkship Program"
Feb. 12, 1 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 302/304, level 3

"Managing the Bailout: Execution and Oversight of the Federal Response to the Financial Crisis"
Feb. 12, 4 p.m., Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., room 285

"Recent Developments in Communications Law: Fox v. FCC"
Feb. 13, 10:45 a.m., Fairmont Copley Plaza, State Ste. B, lower lobby level

"Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiatives: Lasting Model or Historical Artifact?"
"Feb. 13, 10:45 a.m., Fairmont Copley Plaza, State Ste. A, lower lobby level

"Building a Bridge to Keeping Youth in School: Connecting Education and Legal Advocacy"
Feb. 13, 10:30 a.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 309, level 3

"Meeting the Needs of Highly Mobile Students: The Education Rights of Homeless Children and Youth and Those in the Child Welfare System"
Feb. 13, 2 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 309, level 3

"Women Rainmakers: Linking Public Service and Business Development"
Feb. 13, 3 p.m., Boston Marriott Copley Place, Grand Salon F, 4th floor

"Students Rights: Free Expression and Beyond,"
Feb. 13, 3:30 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 309, level 3

"IP Privacy in the Digital World of the Internet"
Feb 14, 10:15 a.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 208, level 2

"IP Protection of Computer Software: The State of Copyright, Patent, and License Protection for Computer Programs"
Feb. 14, 1:45 p.m., Hynes Convention Center, room 208, level 2

Online registration for news reporters wishing to cover the House of Delegates or any other function at the Midyear Meeting is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are at

For the latest information on the Meeting visit the Midyear Meeting Online Web site at

Accredited reporters are welcome to attend and cover all sessions for free. A press room for working journalists will be at the Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D, Level 2, starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, and will remain open for on-site media registration daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The press room will close one hour after the adjournment of the House. For more information, call 312/988-6171, or 310/551-7569. From Feb. 12 - 16 call the Midyear Meeting press room at 617-954-2896.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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