Critical Canadian & US Legal Issues Explored at ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto Aug. 4-9

CHICAGO, July 22, 2011 — The U.S. state court funding crisis, Canadian and U.S. border issues, birthright citizenship concerns, and perspectives from justices of the Canadian and U.S. Supreme Courts are the focus of just some of the outstanding legal programs, events and speakers at the _ Annual Meeting in Toronto, Aug. 4 – 9.

With more than 1,400 top-quality events and presentations by the foremost law experts and speakers, the ABA Annual Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals.

“Our location in the beautiful and vibrant city of Toronto honors the ABA’s longstanding special ties to the Canadian Bar Association,” said ABA President Stephen Zack. “This meeting offers a unique opportunity to discuss and even further strengthen the relationship between the American and Canadian legal professions, and to address issues that matter deeply to us both.”

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever.  Credential guidelines are at https://abanow.org/reporter-resources/media-credentials/. Stay updated before and during the Annual Meeting by visiting abanow.org.

The ABA Opening Assembly will feature a keynote address by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and welcome remarks from Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin for the official opening of the Annual Meeting on Aug. 6 at the Royal Conservatory of Music, 270 Bloor St., West.

Other legal luminaries at the Annual Meeting include Rosalie Abella, justice, Canada Supreme Court (Thurgood Marshall Award Dinner, Aug. 6); Jean Chrétien, former prime minister of Canada (International Human Rights Award Luncheon, Aug. 5); David Jacobson, U.S. ambassador to Canada (ABA Pro Bono Publico Luncheon, Aug. 8); Sandra Day O’Connor, retired U.S. Supreme Court associate justice (”A Conversation on Civic Education in the Nation’s Schools,” Aug. 6; “Current Crisis in Court Funding,” Aug. 7); and Marshall Rothstein, justice, Canada Supreme Court (Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Awards Reception, Aug. 5; Section of Intellectual Property Law Luncheon, Aug. 6).

The 566-member House of Delegates will meet on Aug. 8 and 9 in the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (Level 800, Exhibit Hall F/G) to consider policy recommendations and vote on resolutions.  During the two-day session, on Aug. 8, American lawyers David Boies and Theodore B. Olson will receive the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor. While Boies and Olson were adversaries in the U.S. Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore, they now co-lead the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, addressing the severe underfunding of the American court system.

“It’s an honor to present the ABA Medal to David and Ted,” said Zack. “Our courts are being starved for lack of funding. Through their leadership on the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, David and Ted have effectively worked to protect the third co-equal branch of government and our constitutional democracy.”

Among other noteworthy House activities, Zack will address the policy-making body on Aug. 8, and later that same day, incoming president Wm. (Bill) T. Robinson III will make remarks following the ceremonial passing of the president’s gavel.

For details on more than three dozen proposals for debate and vote when the House meets, click here. Click on the recommendation number to read the full text and supporting report.

Among Annual Meeting program highlights are:

Aug. 4

“The Battle Over Birthright Citizenship: History, International Perspectives, and the Path Ahead” – Recent calls to end birthright citizenship in the United States have fueled a heated debate. What impact would changes to our current birthright citizenship rule have on immigration and the U.S. population? Is there any legal basis for such a change, and what are the greater societal implications for such a major shift in policy? Panelists will address these questions, as well as how other nations address citizenship, and the facts and misinformation surrounding this discussion.

10:30 a.m. to noon, Room 718A, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

“Dodd-Frank One Year Later: Panacea or Poison?” – A roundtable discussion of leaders in the financial field will consider whether Dodd-Frank has been successful at curing the ills spawned by the financial crisis. Experts will touch on changes in SEC enforcement, the impact on the derivatives market, rating agency conduct, investor rights and the impact Dodd-Frank has had on the bankruptcy process.
3:45 – 5:15 p.m., Room 718B, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

Aug. 5

“Access Across America: First Report of the Civil Justice Infrastructure Mapping Project” – Every day, millions of Americans confront civil justice problems, but there is little known about how they experience or respond to them. Most people do not seek an attorney and neither do they go to court. However, there is help for them. Each year, more than 1 billion dollars is contributed to fund civil legal assistance for low- and moderate-income people. This session will explore the first report by the Civil Justice Infrastructure Mapping Project, which describes, on a state-by-state basis, the fundamental access to justice infrastructure that exists in the United States today. Professor Rebecca L. Sandefur, senior research social scientist at the American Bar Foundation, will present findings from the first phase of the project, with a panel discussion to follow.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 801B, 800 Level, MTCC, South Building

“The Postville Raids and Agri-Processors Case: Internal Investigations, Criminal Prosecutions, and Immigration Consequences for Corporations & Individuals” – The unprecedented workplace raid in Postville, Iowa, that grabbed the nation’s attention will be the source of discussion at this panel. Topics will include the subsequent criminal prosecutions of the workers and the corporation’s top officials; relevant case law and changes that have occurred since the raid three years ago; and the swift prosecutions of the workers, lack of immigration advice and due process concerns in the proceedings.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 705, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

“9/11—A Decade Later, and A World Apart” – The tragic events of 9/11 forever altered the Manhattan skyline, but had even more profound effects in the United States and elsewhere around the world, raising dramatic and unprecedented issues implicating virtually every area of the law. Experts will explore how the legal landscape has changed over the past decade and what the future is likely to hold.
10:30 a.m. – noon, Room 701B, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

“‘Implicit Bias’ and the Myth of Equal Justice” – The controversial arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was mistaken for a burglar when he tried to enter his own home in 2009, rocked the nation. Slate legal affairs columnist Dahlia Lithwick and other panelists will probe how bias based on gender, race, sexual orientation and other traits distorts human judgment in civil and criminal cases.
10:30 a.m. – noon, Room 701A, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

“Question Time with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien” Three-term former prime minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien, will host a question-and-answer session with attendees. As prime minister he led in several areas, including climate change, multilateral diplomacy and the elimination of the national deficit.
12:15 – 1:45 p.m., Ballroom A/B, Lower Level, InterContinental Toronto Centre

“The Restructuring of the Americas: How Insolvency Courts in Canada, Mexico and the United States are Reshaping Business” – The effects of the global financial meltdown have led to insolvency for many businesses in Canada, Mexico and the United States.  Panelists including Judge Arthur Gonzalez, who presided over the Chrysler, Enron and WorldCom bankruptcy proceedings, will discuss the domestic and international issues with cross-border cases, as well as efforts to minimize obstacles.
2 –3:30 p.m., Room 718A, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

Aug. 6

“Redefining the U.S.-Canadian Border: Current Issues in Visitation and Migration” – Around 300,000 people cross the U.S.-Canadian border every day and the equivalent of $1.6 billion in goods is earned daily through this bilateral trade. Panelists will discuss how the United States and Canada contend with immigration issues including temporary and permanent options for migration, differences and similarities in immigration policies, and NAFTA.
8:30– 10 a.m., Room 706, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

“WikiLeaks, National Security and Free Speech”Devon Chaffee of Human Rights First will lead a discussion from U.S. and Canadian perspectives on the issues raised by the activities of WikiLeaks. National security, free speech and press rights, and foreign policy issues are on the table.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 718A, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

“Health Care Fraud Update: Significant Prosecutions, the ‘HEAT’ Initiative, False Claims Act Developments and Self-Disclosure Strategies” – Panelists will explore recent health care fraud prosecutions of national significance like GlaxoSmithKline and the recent activities of the Health Care Enforcement Action Team. An overview of developments in False Claims Act cases in light of the health care reform amendments and an analysis of developments in self-disclosure of health care fraud including the new self-disclosure protocol from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as other self-disclosure issues will be addressed.
8:30 – 10 a.m., Room 703, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

“A Conversation on Civic Education in the Nation’s Schools” – Declining knowledge and appreciation of American government among students and the general public has led the ABA to establish the Commission on Civic Education in the Nation’s Schools, which is developing strategies to expand curriculums on American government. Panelists include Justices Stephen Breyer and Sandra Day O’Connor.
10 – 11:30 a.m., InterContinental Toronto Centre, Ballroom B, Lower Level

“The Bully at School Goes High Tech: Protecting Students in the Internet Age” – Special guest psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, television host of VH1’s and Twist-TV’s “Dad Camp,” will join panelists in addressing the issue of cyberbullying. They will discuss legal and constitutional issues with cyberbullying and provide best practice guidance for policies.
10:30 a.m. – noon, Room 701B, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

“Insider’s Guide to Legal Careers in National Defense and Security Industries” – The panelists of this program have worked in and around almost every aspect of national defense and homeland security, from the military to TSA and beyond. They will share perspectives on the trends and expansion of this practice area since 9/11. Panelists will include Charles Dunlap, associate director, Duke University Center on Law, Ethics and National Security; and retired major general, U.S. Air Force; James M. Durant III, major colonel, director, Legal Services HQ Third Air Force-United Kingdom; U.S. Air Force; Jack L. Rives, executive director, ABA; and retired lieutenant general, U.S. Air Force; Jarisse Sanborn, retired brigadier general, U.S. Air Force; Jacques J.M. Shore, partner, Lead-Government Affairs Industry Group, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Ottawa; and James W. Swanson, senior director of D.C. operations, ABA, and retired brigadier general, U.S. Air Force.
10:30 – 12:30 p.m., Regatta, Main Lobby, The Westin Harbour Castle

“Courting Disaster: Tools to Help You Create A Disaster Plan Now” – The best way to protect your business from a catastrophe is to address the potential risks before a disaster happens. A plan should address multiple disaster scenarios and provide effective ways to get back to business quickly after a disaster strikes. By posing scenarios of how businesses can be affected by disasters, panelists will discuss what law firms need to know to start developing a disaster plan.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Room 715A, Level 700, MTCC, South Building

“Wisconsin and Beyond: The State of Public Sector Bargaining in the United States” – Public sector unions became front-page news in 2011 as Republican lawmakers took aim at collective bargaining laws. Speakers will discuss the factors that led to the 2011 showdowns and what the future may hold for public sector collective bargaining in the United States.
1 – 2:30 p.m., Forest Hill Ballroom, 1st Floor, Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville

Aug. 7

“Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Luncheon” – Five outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and have actively paved the way to success for others will be recognized by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession with a Brent Award. The recipients are Eleanor Dean (“Eldie”) Acheson, Paulette Brown, Karen J. Mathis, Col. Maritza Ryan and Judge Esther Tomljanovich. A sixth honoree — Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin — will receive a special award.
11:45 a.m. – 2 p.m., MTCC, Exhibit hall F/G, 800 Level, MTCC, South Building

“Current Crisis in Court Funding: Efficiency, Effectiveness, Accountability, and Education” – U.S. state courts are in a financial crisis. Court closures, furloughs and suspended jury trials are the norm. Retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor joins Commission on Preservation of the Justice System Co-Chairs David Boies and Theodore B. Olson to explore the realities of the crisis and sustainable and proactive strategies being used by the courts to address the problem.
2 – 4 p.m., Room 714A, 700 Level, MTCC, South Building

During the Annual Meeting, accredited journalists should register on-site at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Level 800, Hall E, beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 4. A separate press room behind the main registration area 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. 9.

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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