_ 2009 Chicago Annual Meeting, Thursday, July 30 – Friday, July 31, 2009

CHICAGO, July 30, 2009 — A conversation with former U.S. attorneys general; an analysis of recent public corruption scandals, including those of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich; and first-hand accounts of youth who have experienced the juvenile justice system are among key legal issues that will be explored at the 2009 ABA Annual Meeting during Thursday and Friday’s sessions in Chicago. The meeting is being held Thursday – Aug. 4.

Friday’s session will include a program with former Attorneys General John Ashcroft, William P. Barr, Benjamin R. Civiletti, Edwin Meese and Dick Thornburgh, discussing the critical issues the attorney general faces on a daily basis. Additional key programming is described below.

With more than 1,500 top-quality legal programs and events, and presentations by the foremost law experts and speakers, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the ABA Annual Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals.

The 555-member House of Delegates will meet on Aug. 3 and 4 in the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Ballroom, Gold Level, East Tower to consider policy recommendations and vote on resolutions.  During the Aug. 3 meeting, Holder will address the delegates and William H. Gates Sr., co-chair of the William and Melinda Gates Foundation, will receive the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor.

Among policies to be debated by the House is a plan to facilitate increased legal aid to persons facing crisis from the recession. Other proposals urge repeal of a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal marital benefits and protections to lawfully married same-sex spouses; and call on Congress to approve a national study of the state of criminal justice aiming to reduce crime and incarceration, save tax dollars, enhance fairness and increase public confidence in criminal justice. 

For details and updates on these and more than two dozen proposals for debate and vote by the House, check this site.

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever.  Credential guidelines are at www.abanews.org/credentials.html. 


The Juvenile Justice System: What Reforms Need to be Initiated to Resolve the Problem?

The panel will discuss specific drug and mental health laws and policies that contribute to the overrepresentation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system, along with recommendations for more effective laws and policies that reflect a community-centered, public health approach.

10 – 11:15 a.m., Grand Ballroom II/III, Ballroom Level, Swissotel

Hot Topics and Recent Developments in Public Corruption Investigations & Government Ethics

This panel discussion — moderated by the chair of the Illinois Reform Commission and featuring a highly regarded federal judge, Department of Justice Public Integrity prosecutor and noted defense counsel and ethics expert — will address issues that arise in high-profile public corruption cases, including important ethical issues. Topics to be addressed include the corruption trial of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and issues arising in Illinois corruption cases involving George Ryan, Rod Blagojevich and Antoin “Tony” Rezko. Panelists include Patrick M. Collins, Abner J. Mikva and Judge Amy St. Eve, all of Chicago. 

10:30 a.m. – noon., Regency Ballroom D, Gold Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Justice for Sale?:  Contributions to Judicial Elections in the Wake of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Caperton v. Massey

In the wake of this U.S. Supreme Court groundbreaking decision, an expert panel will discuss how judges, lawyers and the public are to move forward on recusal; what factors give rise to a Caperton situation; how states are reacting to the decision; how much is “too much” to contribute to a judicial campaign; and more. 

10:30 a.m. – noon, Regency Ballroom C, Gold Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Life Sentences: Inside and Outside the Justice System

This November the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the life sentence without possibility of parole for juveniles. The panel will address the collateral consequences juveniles face for the rest of their life after they have completed their sentences successfully.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m., 315 South Plymouth Court, Room200/201, John Marshall Law School

Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Workshop

Cancer patients face a variety of legal problems related to their illness, including those involving insurance coverage, payment for treatment, employment and estate planning.  This seminar will provide an introduction to those legal issues and others.

2 – 3:30 p.m., Plaza Ballroom B, Lobby Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Social Networks, “Blawgs” and Podcasts: Business Development Tools for the Internet Age

As the Internet generation increases its presence in the marketplace, visibility on the Web is becoming essential for business development. This program will teach lawyers what social networks, blawgs or blogs, and podcasts are; why they should become skilled in them; and how to effectively use these cutting-edge technologies.

3:45 – 5:15 p.m., West Tower, Regency Ballroom D, Gold Level, Hyatt Regency Chicago

An Inside Look at Juvenile Justice Through the Voices of Youth — How Should Attorneys, Judges and Advocates Rehabilitate the System?

The panel will candidly discuss the challenges youth face both while incarcerated and when transitioning out of the justice system, and how lawyers, judges and others can work together with the system to provide successful outcomes for youth.

4:30 –6:30 p.m., Grand Ballroom II/III, Ballroom Level, Swissotel


Executive Behind Bars – When Are Criminal Sanctions Appropriate?

From the perspective of a variety of different disciplines and jurisdictions, this program will consider what level of culpability is necessary to impose prison sentences on corporate officers, directors and employees. Also considered is whether there are less restrictive alternatives available, such as director disqualification orders, travel bans or prohibitions against indemnification, that would be equally effective in achieving punishment and deterrence. Also examined are such issues as extradition of foreign nationals and when that avenue may be appropriate.

8:30 – 10 a.m., Plaza Ballroom A, Lobby Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Panel Discussion on Notario Fraud

Stephen N. Zack, who will be installed as ABA president-elect on Aug. 4, will present opening remarks during a panel session on notario fraud.  Notario fraud relates to unlicensed “notarios” who use false advertising and fraudulent contracts to promise immigrants an easy route through the legal process, often for a large, upfront fee.

8:30 – 9:30 a.m., Grand Suite 5, Gold Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Listen to the Sound of Music — Recent Pitfalls in Online Music Distribution

The creation and distribution of music often leads to costly infringement claims. In this session, panelists will explore some of the most difficult issues surrounding music copyright cases. Recent disputes involve such artists as 50 Cent, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige and Madonna. Live listening examples will allow the audience to judge the music for themselves. Were copyrights violated or were claimants way off base? Judge for yourself. 

8:30 – 10 a.m., Columbian, Bronze Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Courts and the Media in the 21st Century: Twitterers, Bloggers, the New Media, the Old Media, and What’s a Judge to Do?

These times of declining newspaper readers and the rise of bloggers, twitterers and other citizen journalists begs the question: Who is the media? How should courts relate to them? What rules should apply to reporting pre-trial, at trial and post trial?  This program is a dialogue among members of the news media and court communities to develop a better understanding of the changes in coverage of the courts and explore ways to foster better relationships between courts and the media.

10 a.m. – noon, Parkside Room, Mezzanine Level, The Drake Hotel

Lessons From History: A Conversation with Former Attorneys General

Six former U.S. attorneys general will discuss the tough issues the attorney general must face each day.  Speakers include John Ashcroft; William P. Barr; Benjamin R. Civiletti; Edwin Meese, III; Michael B. Mukasey; and Dick Thornburgh. 

10:30 a.m. – noon, Regency Ballroom C, Gold Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Removing Cultural Bias in a Diverse Society

Age, race, sexual orientation—all are characteristics that make our society so diverse and unique. While diversity is accepted as the norm, many diverse peoples are still subject to discrimination, stereotyping and biases by other groups. A panel of culturally diverse legal professionals will explore both the legal and personal implications of cultural bias.

11 a.m. – noon, River Level II, Promenade Ballroom C, Westin River North

Preventing Foreclosure: A Win-Win Solution for Everyone

Homeowners don’t want to lose their homes. Banks don’t want to be landlords. Neighborhoods filled with vacant homes deteriorate rapidly. No one wins when it comes to foreclosure? Learn what options are available and how to put them in place for your clients. 

2 – 3:30 p.m., Haymarket, Bronze Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Historical Trial – The Insanity Trial of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln

In 1875, Mary Lincoln went on trial for insanity before a Chicago jury. You’ll participate on one of the trial teams, either proving her inability to care for herself, or defending her from wrongful charges.

2 – 5 p.m., Regency Ballroom C, Gold Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Is It In My Family? One Woman’s Journey Through Genetic Testing

This program will examine the pros and cons of predictive genetic testing and the ensuing effects on individuals and their families. Joanna Rudnick of Chicago, whose experience with genetic testing for the BCRA gene that was chronicled in the documentary film, “In the Family,” will be among the panelists.

3:45 – 5:15 p.m., Water Tower, Bronze Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Lawyers in Your Living Room! Law on Television

From “Ally McBeal” to “Perry Mason” and “L.A. Law,” the television industry has generated an endless stream of dramatic series involving the law and lawyers. This panel will explore the information and misinformation these cultural representations impart, as well as the profound influence these shows have on the public’s expectation of the practice of law. 

3:45 – 5:15 p.m., Regency Ballroom B, Gold Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Obama’s Detainee Policies: Views From Inside and Out

The Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force Report, charged with the implementation of the president’s executive order, calls for review of the status of individuals detained in Guantanamo.  The panel will discuss detention options now under consideration.

3:45 – 5:15 p.m., Columbus Hall CD, Gold Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

Hot Topics in Computer Games and Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds and computer games are no longer a novelty. People are making serious money in these forums. With the downturn in the economy, more and more people are looking for low cost ways to enter into business ventures as well as “greener” ways to do basic business functions (e.g., holding meetings or training sessions online). With this added attention and potential, what legal issues are arising in virtual worlds and computer games? Are the terms of service impacting the usefulness of these venues? Are the creators of intellectual property in computer games and virtual worlds able to protect value and derive financial gain from their creations?

4 – 5 p.m., Upper 5th Floor, Illinois, InterContinental

During the Annual Meeting, a press room for working journalists will be set up at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Riverside Center, Purple Level, East Tower, and will be open for on-site media registration at 8 a.m. on July 30.  Thereafter the press room will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Aug. 4.

With more than 400,000 members, the _ 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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