Foreclosure Prevention, Judicial Disqualification Highlight ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans

CHICAGO, Jan. 26, 2012— Preventing foreclosures, a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Model Code of Judicial Conduct regarding judicial disqualification, women’s challenges in the legal profession and many other legal topics will be featured at the 2012 _ Midyear Meeting, Feb. 1 – 6, in New Orleans.

High-profile speakers at the meeting include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Feb. 4, 2 p.m.), Attorney General Eric Holder (Feb. 4, 1:30 p.m.), and lawyers Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, co-chairs of the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, who will discuss measures to mitigate the impact of severe funding cuts to the nation’s courts (Feb. 4, 9 a.m.).

In addition to the more than 900 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates, the association’s policy-making body, will meet on Feb. 6 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.

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

Meeting highlights include:

Feb. 2

Disability Issues in Employment and Labor Law – Speakers will explain the complex array of federal and state laws and regulations that protect workers with disabilities, lawyers with various disabilities will discuss challenges encountered in accessing the legal profession, and panelists will examine the role of accommodations in the hiring and retention of lawyers with disabilities.
10 – 11:30 a.m., Studio 6, 2nd Floor, New Orleans Marriott

Preventing Foreclosure: A Win-Win Solution for Everyone – National experts will discuss how to prevent homeowners from falling victim to rescue scams, offering tips on referrals to legitimate legal resources. Panelists include Rutledge Simmons of NeighborWorks America and Ranie Thompson of Southwest Louisiana Legal Services.
2 – 4 p.m., Fleur de Lis A, Lobby Level, Royal Sonesta

Feb. 3

Alcohol-Related Birth Disorders and the Law: How Attorneys and the Justice System Should Respond – Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are often of borderline intelligence, have poor judgment and weak impulse control, lack an understanding of the consequences of their actions and frequently get in trouble with the law. National legal experts on the disorder will discuss how lawyers should recognize and understand this disability in order to represent their juvenile and adult clients effectively and ethically.
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Napoleon Ballroom C1, 3rd Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

How to be a Successful Minority Woman in the Profession – A panel of minority women will provide their personal stories and address topics such as work-life balance, rainmaking, self-branding, mentoring and community involvement.
9:15 – 10:15 a.m., Mardi Gras Ballroom Salon B, 3rd Floor, New Orleans Marriott

Public Hearing: Proposed Amendments to Model Code of Judicial Conduct Regarding Judicial Disqualifications – The ABA professional ethics and discipline committees are conducting a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Model Code of Judicial Conduct, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and a new Model Supreme Court Rule. The proposed amendments are designed to provide guidance on judicial campaign finance disclosure requirements and standards for judicial disqualification.
9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Napoleon Ballroom C3, 3rd Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

Pretrial Diversion: Best Practices to Ensure Fairness, Conserve Public Funds and Enhance Public Safety – Nationwide experts in pretrial services will identify potential policy and programming reforms, and examine current diversion reform efforts. Panelists will discuss challenges to implementing a fair, safe and accountable system of pretrial justice, as well as diversion’s impact on public safety, funds, reducing recidivism and racial disparity. Panelists include Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson.
10 a.m. – Noon, Teche/Belle Grove, 2nd Floor, Royal Sonesta

Attorney Client Privilege and ESI: How to Maintain Privilege “In the Cloud” – Experts will present information on new technology used by lawyers and challenges that technology can create in protecting confidential and privileged information, including in discovery.
10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Mardi Gras Ballroom Salon B, 3rd Floor, New Orleans Marriott

Digital Detectives: Finding Information On-Line Like a Pro – Internationally recognized Internet research experts Carole A. Levitt and Mark E. Rosch will reveal secrets and shortcuts of conducting investigative and background research using free and low-cost websites.
11 a.m. – Noon, Grand Ballroom North, Lobby Level, Royal Sonesta

Cyber Crime in 2012 – A national panel of federal law enforcement officials, prosecutors and counsel will discuss that the biggest challenge for lawmakers, the judiciary, lawyers and businesses is to keep pace with emerging technologies, track and trace cyber criminals, and understand the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks. Panelists will offer practice tips on handling the inevitable cyber attack or data breach. Other topics will include social media as an instrument of crime and a source of evidence, and legislation on cyber bullying.
1 p.m. – 3 p.m., Royal Conti, Lower Level, Royal Sonesta

E-Discovery, Public Records and Metadata – Panelists will explore what constitutes electronically stored information and metadata, and highlight various Federal Rules of Civil Procedure practice changes. The panel will discuss notable e-discovery and public records cases, and examine relevant ethics opinions and rules.
1:15 – 2:45 p.m., Grand Ballroom North, Lobby Level, Royal Sonesta

Ensuring Access to Justice When There’s No Money – What can courts, prosecutors, defense counsel, police and lawyers do to manage and provide access to justice to all with limited resources in the justice system? Panelists will also identify sources for new funding, and discuss ways to fashion collaborative strategies to effect policy and funding reforms at the national and state levels. Panelists include Martha Bermark (founding president/CEO, Mississippi Center for Justice), Sue Bell Cobb, (chief justice, ret., Alabama Supreme Court) and Jay Zainey, (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana).
2 – 4 p.m., Fleur de Lis C, Lobby Level, Royal Sonesta

Visible Invisibility: Breaking Down Barriers to Women’s Leadership – The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession will preview the results of its new survey of diversity dynamics in Fortune 500 corporate legal departments, focusing on the experiences of women attorneys of color in the areas of recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement. Panelists include general counsel from Allstate Insurance Co., Altria Group Inc., Capital One N.A., McDonald’s Corp., and Microsoft Corp.
3 – 5 p.m., Oak Alley, 4th Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

Why is Qui Tam Litigation Often So Difficult to Resolve? – More qui tam (”whistleblower”) cases than ever are being filed, and they are more complex and far reaching. Experts will discuss the new paradigm and the practices and procedures for finding quicker, more efficient and more equitable settlements of appropriate cases.
3:30 – 5 p.m., Royal Conti, Lower Level, Royal Sonesta

Feb. 4

Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement – Experts will review national developments in indigent defense, such as new court decisions, legislation, funding, standards and federal actions that impact indigent defense. The final morning presentation will focus on Professor Norman Lefstein’s book, Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense. Attorney General Eric Holder will speak on the topic of indigent defense at approximately 1:30 p.m.
7:15 a.m. – 4 p.m., Balcony I/J/K, 4th Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System – Forty-two states have cut the budgets of their state courts in 2011, thereby reducing access to justice for millions of Americans. The ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System has studied the problem, hosting hearings in several cities across the nation. An in-depth forum that includes task force co-chairs Theodore B. Olson and David Boies will examine possible solutions, best practices and reform measures.
9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Napoleon Ballroom D3, 3rd Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

A Conversation with Justice Scalia – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will address ABA members and answer audience questions. Reporters interested in attending this event should first contact ABA Communications & Media Relations at 202- for coverage guidelines.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Rhythms Ballroom I/II, 2nd Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

Prosecutorial Accountability in the Post-Connick v. Thompson Era – Twice in the past two years the alleged misconduct of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office has been the subject of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. A panel of prosecutors, ethics experts, a former death row prisoner and academics will discuss these important cases, whether and how prosecutors should be held accountable for misconduct, and possible reforms.
3 – 4:15 p.m., Founders Room, Louisiana State Bar Association, 601 St. Charles Ave.

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register on-site at the Sheraton New Orleans, 2nd Floor, beginning Feb. 1. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided at the Armstrong Ballroom, 8th Floor, of the Sheraton New Orleans, starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 2. The room will open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Feb. 6.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. 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.

– 30 –