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  Events and Seminars - Legal News


Federal judges in New Jersey have struggled with a workload approaching 700 cases each, nearly double what's manageable, because of judicial vacancies. In Texas, close to a dozen district judgeships remain open, more than in any other state.

Senate confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominees slowed to a halt this election year, a common political occurrence for the final months of divided government with a Democratic president and a Republican-controlled Senate. The vacancy on the Supreme Court attracted the most attention as Republicans refused to even hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, insisting that the choice to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February rests with the next president.

But more than 90 vacancies in the federal judiciary are taking a toll on judges, the courts and Americans seeking recourse. Obama has nominated replacements for more than half of those spots, including 44 nominees for the district court and seven for the appeals court. Yet the Senate has confirmed only nine district and appeals court judges this year — and only four since Scalia died.


For one week at the end of October, law schools, law firms, bar associations and other legal groups from Seattle to Boston and New York to New Orleans will recognize the work done by lawyers on behalf of the poor and underserved through a national pro bono celebration. 

Pro bono refers to legal work that lawyers do for free for the benefit of their communities.  This work can include representing individuals near the poverty line in civil cases that involve issues such as landlord-tenant disputes, child custody, veterans’ benefits and foreclosure. It can also include legal work on behalf of an organization that serves the poor, such as a homeless shelter.  In some communities, lawyers are deeply involved in the legal tasks of community economic development, providing counsel for start-up microenterprises and non-profit organizations that serve low-income communities.

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service organizes the National Pro Bono Celebration, which is Oct. 24 - 30.  To date, local organizers have planned hundreds of events in nearly every state to highlight the year-round efforts of lawyers who try to meet the ever-growing legal needs of this country's most vulnerable citizens. These efforts are designed to increase pro bono participation and result in greater access to justice for Americans living on the social margins.  

America’s lawyers have a long tradition of providing pro bono service. Although any profession can make free service for the poor a part of its standard practice, it is the legal profession that includes pro bono as a core value.  The ABA has a goal calling for lawyers to spend 50 hours a year providing pro bono service.  We take pride knowing that lawyers are contributing an average of more than 40 hours a year of pro bono service to people of limited means.  

Pro bono work brings hope to the powerless and helps right the wrongs of injustice. While lawyers have contributed much, there is still more to be done. 

As part of the National Pro Bono Celebration, law schools, state and local bar associations, judicial groups and community development organizations have planned hundreds of free legal service events all around the country.  

Orange County lawyers will work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 26 at several legal clinics in Costa Mesa, Irvine, La Habra, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Ana to help low-income residents with bankruptcy, foreclosure, domestic violence, eviction and immigration issues.  

The Immigration Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law will have an immigration symposium and educational event on deportation defense training.

In New Mexico, the 2nd Judicial District Pro Bono Group, JAG and military specialists, Law Access New Mexico, the state bar and the New Mexico School of Law will host a free legal fair focusing on veterans’ issues.  

In New Jersey, the Rutgers School of Law-Camden and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey is launching a new pro bono project to help federal prisoners re-enter the community.  

Idaho is launching a new statewide Ask-A-Lawyer program that will be staffed 100 percent by government pro bono lawyers.  The organizers of this program plan to staff it every business day of the year.

In New York, the Nassau County Bar Association has organized a mortgage foreclosure free legal consultation clinic with Nassau County Homeownership Center, Nassau/Suffolk Law Committee, Community Development Corporation of Long Island and the New York State Attorney General Office. 

Volunteerism transcends politics. It is a central part of the call for action made by presidents from Kennedy to Reagan to Obama. The legal community asks everyone to join with us in volunteering to help the growing number of our neighbors who have fallen on hard times. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently declared the recession to be over, but recovery will be slow for many.  We all must stand ready to help when we can.  The American Bar Association encourages all lawyers to add some pro bono work to their portfolio.  Volunteer help is a renewable resource, independent of fossil fuels or the stock market, and it becomes stronger and more abundant with use.

If you are a person in need of pro bono assistance please go to: http://www.findlegalhelp.org



National security experts say serious threats from cyber and Internet terrorism that crosses geographic boundaries are rendering traditional methods of law enforcement and tracking elusive.

“Instead of a linear threat, we have diversified threats coming from all over,” said David S. Kris, the assistant attorney general for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice.  “Organizations and individuals have become self-radicalized over the Internet, with aspirations to exert force on the United States and our interests outside.”  Kris noted that many are less organized and trained than traditional terrorists; however, they leave fewer footprints online, making it more difficult to decipher where threats are originating and how to effectively deal with them.

Speakers — all from federal agencies charged with national security — were part of the 20th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law held at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 4 and 5.

Robert Liff, general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, noted that the legal framework in the United States is not keeping pace with the threats.  He likens the legal challenge to running as fast as you can to stay in the same place, in part because the delineation of power between intelligence agencies and law enforcement can be ambiguous.  Liff and others on the panel reinforced the necessity of having a dynamic legal framework in order to meet national security needs.

Because state boundaries and specific terrorist organization lines have become clouded, in many instances it is difficult to decide which law enforcement agency has jurisdiction over a given threat. 

”The president needs to decide which tool to use in different circumstances,” said Robert J. Eatinger Jr., acting deputy general counsel for Operations, CIA.  “Our policies need to be broad, permitting flexibility in our response,” he added.  “There is no clear rule book for intelligence,” Eatinger recommends law enforcement agencies work with Congress to engage “smartly and safely to sharpen tools in order to keep up with the changing security threat picture.”

Different agencies need to work together to enhance security and protect the U.S. against cyber threats,” said Joseph Maher, deputy general counsel, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who noted that terrorists go to great lengths to avoid security and tracking measures on the Internet and in cyberspace. They do not employ techniques that any one agency can protect against.  

According to the panel, issues of cyber security and the corresponding evolving threats continue to be a growing problem for the United States. In order to effectively mitigate these threats, more clarity in the law is needed, and guidelines for federal agencies need to be updated so that responsibilities can be better coordinated.  

Speakers were part of the 20th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law on Nov. 4-5 co-sponsored by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security, the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, and the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University School of Law.

For further information, please contact:

Alexandra Buller
Division for Media Relations and Communication Services
American Bar Association
202/662-1508      
bullera@staff.abanet.org


The American Bar Association Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities will hold the first of four hearings to gauge the intensity of Latino civic participation and evaluate access to justice issues Nov. 12 at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Commissioners from across the country will join commission Chair Cesar L. Alvarez, ABA President Stephen N. Zack and honorary co-chair of the commission, Gov. Bill Richardson, at this first hearing.

Expert witnesses will testify on the state of Latinos in the United States, with a focus on the Midwest as a microcosm of the national Latino experience.  Topics will include the housing crisis and how foreclosures and homelessness are affecting the Latino community, and the level of access for Latinos and Latinas to the U.S. justice system.  Witnesses will also testify on the criminalization of immigrants. Zack and Alvarez will give welcoming remarks; Gov. Richardson will present closing comments.

WHO:              ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities

WHAT:            Hearing on state of Latinos in the United States

Testimony by expert witnesses on various topics and remarks by

·         Gov. Bill Richardson

·         Commission Chair Cesar L. Alvarez

·         Loyola Law School Dean David Yellen and

·         ABA President Stephen N. Zack

WHEN:            Nov. 12

                       9 a.m. — 1:30 p.m.

WHERE:          Loyola University Chicago School of Law

                       Regents Hall, Lewis Tower, 16th Floor

                       111 East Pearson St.

Chicago

This event is free and open to members of the press.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association 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.



The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security will host its premier conference to review the state of national security at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Hotel Nov. 4-5.
This year’s review will include topics such as a discussion of developments in national security law with executive branch general counsels; oversight and policy issues of domestic intelligence; environmental change and national security; drone usage; ethics challenges for national security lawyers; and cyber security.
The conference’s showcase program – Executive Update on Developments in National Security Law (Nov. 4, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.) – features Standing Committee on Law and National Security Chair Harvey Rishikof leading the discussion with:
Robert Litt, General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence;
Robert J. Eatinger Jr., Acting Deputy General Counsel for Operations, Central Intelligence Agency;
David S. Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice;
Jeh C. Johnson, General Counsel, Department of Defense; and
Joseph B. Maher, Deputy General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security
Keynote speakers include:
Dr. John Hamre, President and CEO, Center for Strategic and International Studies
(Nov. 4, 1:30 - 2:15 p.m.)
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, "National Security and Judicial Nominees
(Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.)
Stewart A. Baker, Former Assistant Secretary for Policy, DHS, "Cyberwar –
What is it Good For?" (Nov. 5, 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.)
A complete list of programming and speakers can be found online.
Program titles appear below:
Panel I: Executive Update on Developments in National Security Law (Nov. 4, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.)
Panel II: Governance of Domestic Intelligence (Nov. 4, 10:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.)

Panel III: National Security and Environmental Change (Nov. 4, 2:30 – 4:15 p.m.)

Panel IV: Targeted Killing and use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (Nov. 5, 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

Panel V: National Security Transformation (Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.)

Panel VI: Legal Doctrine for Cyber Security: Gaps, Myths and the Fog of War (Nov. 5, 2:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association 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.



An expected 500+ participants will gather for the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators Justice Jog 5K on Sunday, October 17, 2010. Law Firm teams will compete for the title of “fastest” law firm in the Los Angeles area.

GLA ALA will organize a 5K Walk/Run to support Shoes That Fit, a nonprofit based in Claremont, CA that provides new shoes and clothing to school children in need. Last year’s GLA ALA Justice Jog 5K raised $8,000 for charity with the support of 234 runners, 14 law firm teams and 70 volunteers. 

The event joins different sectors of the legal community together, including major LA-based law firms, businesses, athletes, families, members and friends, for a worthy, charitable and fun cause. The event is part of GLA ALA’s Community Challenge Weekend (CCW), a community service initiative that encourages the legal community to work together for a local community cause.

The GLA ALA Justice Jog 5K starts at 8 a.m. in Century City located at 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. in the parking lot of the Westfield Century City Shopping Mall. 

Registration is available for $30 per adult before October 10 and $35 after October 10. Children’s registration is $15 for children 5-12 years old before October 10 and $20 after October 10. Registration includes T-shirt and breakfast. 

For more information about GLA ALA, the Justice Jog 5K or to register visit www.glaala.org or http://www.imathlete.com/events/EventDetails.aspx?fEID=7749. For media requests contact Jess Block, Media Relations at jessblockpr@gmail.com or 909-706-8525.

ABOUT GLA ALA: The Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators (GLA ALA) is a 350-member nonprofit professional organization that provides a dynamic force within the community for the support of its members, offering educational opportunities and exchange of information to improve the quality and professionalism of management in legal services organizations.  

ABOUT SHOES THAT FIT: Shoes That Fit is a Claremont, CA based nonprofit that provides new shoes and clothing to school-aged children in need. Shoes That Fit helps kids fit in at school, improve self-esteem and enhances learning at school by eliminating one of poverty’s most visible marks. Over 105,000 new pairs of shoes, clothes and other items were donated to children in need during the 2009-2010 school year. http://shoesthatfit.org



A cycling fundraiser benefiting the Challenged Athletes Foundation will be hosted by the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators (OC-ALA) on October 10, 2010 at 10 a.m. at Bill Barber Park in Irvine.

The charity ride is in honor of the late David Brezina, of Colorado, who served as the 1996-1997 National President of the Association of Legal Administrators. 

Brezina was involved in a tragic bicycling accident in 1996 resulting in quadriplegia. He continued to serve the 10,000-person association though he was facing significant health-related challenges.

“David Brezina’s dedication to the Association of Legal Administrators served as an inspiration to our entire organization.” Says Stacy Morrison, President of OC-ALA.

Participants in the “David Brezina Challenge” may choose from a five-mile “fun ride”, a 10-mile route, or a 30-mile route circling the Back Bay of Newport Beach. 

The cost to participate is $10 for children 12 and under and $15 for adults. 

The event is part of OC-ALA’s Community Challenge Weekend (CCW), a community service initiative that encourages community improvement. All proceeds from the event will go to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

To register online or to donate to CAF, go to www.davidbrezinachallenge.kintera.org. Deadline to RSVP is October 8.

ABOUT THE ORANGE COUNTY CHAPTER OF THE ASSOCIATION OF LEGAL ADMINISTRATORS (OC-ALA): OC-ALA is a membership association that provides educational and networking opportunities to improve the quality and competency of legal administrators. OC-ALA has more than 145 members in the Orange County Area and the national chapter, the Association of Legal Administrators, consists of over 10,000 members. For more information, to join or to become a member, visit orangecountyala.org

ABOUT DAVID BREZINA: David Brezina served as the Association of Legal Administrators National President from 1996-1997. His career in legal administration spanned more than 20 years. In 1996, Mr. Brezina, of Denver, Colorado, was involved in a tragic bicycling accident resulting in paralysis and quadriplegia. Even as he fought this disability, he served his complete term as President. He passed away in 1999.

ABOUT CHALLENGED ATHLETES FOUNDATION: The Challenged Athletes Foundation believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. For more information, visit http://www.challengedathletes.org


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