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The Future of Value Billing and Issues Affecting the Legal Profession Among Topics Explored at _ Meeting in Atlanta

CHICAGO, Feb. 1, 2011— The legal job market and the future of the legal profession are chief among legal issues that will be explored at the 2011 _ Midyear Meeting, Feb. 9 – 14, in Atlanta.

With high-profile speakers, essential legal programs and insightful debate on critical law and public policy issues, the ABA Midyear Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals. Presenters include Rep. John Lewis (D-GA); Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree; Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham; David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP; Theodore B. Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP; and a panel of general counsel from top Fortune 500 companies.

For reporters who cannot attend the meeting, experts from various programs can be made available for interview upon request.

The 560-member House of Delegates, the association’s policymaking body, will meet Feb. 14 at the meeting headquarters, Marriott Atlanta Marquis, in the Atrium Ballroom on the Atrium Level.  In addition to considering policy recommendations and voting on resolutions, the House of Delegates will welcome Atlanta congressman, Rep. John Lewis, who will provide opening remarks at the assembly.

Among resolutions, the House will consider changes to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools (100B), as well as measures on law school self-governance (100A) and client protection (100C). The house will also consider (104D), which calls for electronic monitoring and home detention for juvenile offenders legally subject to pre-trial secure detention and (107A), which calls for education programs to help prevent and remediate the existence and dangers of bullying.

Legal advocacy and practice management programs include:

“Taskforce on the Preservation of the Justice System” This hearing will address the nationwide court funding crisis, depletion of court resources and the courts’ struggle to render its constitutional function to provide access to justice.  The task force was established by ABA President Stephen N. Zack, is co-chaired by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson and is comprised of distinguished attorneys and judges from across the nation.

Feb. 9, noon – 5 p.m., Marriott Atlanta Marquis, Marquis Level, M105

“Back to the Future:  Value Billing for the Legal Profession” In today’s tight economy, clients have become sensitive to lawyer billing practices, and are demanding that their attorneys bill differently.  The ‘billable hour’ model may be replaced by other alternatives: project billing, value billing, fee incentives and success-based fees.  In this program, general counsel from top U.S. corporations will discuss how lawyers are facing these issues of billing in today’s climate as well as the importance of budgeting, project management and client relationships. The program will be introduced by ABA President Zack.

Panelists include:

  • David Boies, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP;
  • Thomas L. Sager, VP & assistant general counsel, DuPont Company;
  • Joseph K. West, associate general counsel, Walmart;
  • Murray R. Garnick, Sr.,VP & associate general counsel, Altria Client Services, Inc.;
  • Amy Schulman, general counsel, Pfizer; and
  • Tea Hoffmann, chief business development officer, Baker Donelson.

Feb. 11, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Marriott Atlanta Marquis, Atrium Level, A703/A704

“I’m Getting My J.D. – Now What?” This program will look at what current law school students can do to launch their legal careers in these tough economic times. A panel of successful lawyers will explain their experiences and will share their secrets of career success.   

Feb. 11, 4 to 5 p.m., Hyatt Regency, Ballroom Level, The Learning Center

“Women and Power: Getting Ambitious About Ambition” For more than 20 years, women have represented approximately 50 percent of law school graduates. Yet women still represent a very small percentage of law firm leaders, general counsel, law school deans and government leaders.  At this program, Dr. Anna Fels, a renowned psychiatrist and author of Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women’s Changing Lives will discuss her research on the drivers of ambition.

Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to noon, Hyatt Regency, Ballroom Level, Centennial Ballroom

“E-Discovery, Public Records and Metadata” This program will look at the latest e-discovery and public records cases and the pitfalls of outsourcing e-discovery. Ethical rules and procedural changes will also be examined.

Feb. 11, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Hyatt Regency, Exhibit Level, Grand Hall A

During the Midyear Meeting, a press room for accredited journalists will be set up at International 8A, International Level of the Marriott Atlanta Marquis, and will open for on-site media registration at 8 a.m. on Feb. 10.  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 Feb. 14

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are at https://abanow.org/reporter-resources/media-credentials/.

With nearly 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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