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January 18, 2012

Court Funding Crisis and Other Critical Legal Issues Explored at ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, Feb. 1-6

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The U.S. state court funding crisis, efforts to ensure access to justice, foreclosure prevention and disaster preparedness are the focus of just some of the legal programs at the _ Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, Feb.1-6.

High-profile speakers at the meeting include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Feb. 4, 2 p.m.) and Attorney General Eric Holder (Feb. 4, 1:30 p.m.).

Lawyers Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, co-chairs of the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, take center stage during a Feb. 4 forum that will explore solutions, best practices and reform measures to mitigate the impact of severe funding cuts to the nation’s courts. The program will complement a separate Feb. 3 program, “The Cost of Justice: Ensuring Access to Justice When There’s No Money,” featuring Sue Bell Cobb, former chief justice of Alabama.

Access to justice will also be one of the topics at the “Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement” on Feb. 4. Among highlights, the program will include a review of national developments in indigent defense, such as new court decisions, legislation, funding, standards and federal actions that impact indigent defense. Holder will speak during the latter part of the summit, at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Also at the meeting, several local experts will discuss legal issues and disaster preparedness using Hurricane Katrina and the Deep Water Horizon oil spill as launch points. Programs include “Rescue in Deep Water: Legal Liability of Rescue Efforts in Catastrophic Accidents” and “Two Years After the Gulf Oil Spill,” both on Feb. 3.

Other Midyear Meeting programming will focus on hot topics such as foreclosure prevention (Feb. 2) and diversion programs (Feb. 3).

In addition to the nearly 800 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates—the association’s policy-making body—will meet Feb. 6, 9 a.m., at the meeting headquarters, the Sheraton New Orleans, in the Grand Ballroom, 5th floor. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.