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ABA to welcome new president, discuss possible new policy at annual meeting

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The American Bar Association will consider a range of policy topics including technology privacy, “gay panic” defense and judicial disqualification during its 2013 annual meeting in San Francisco.

The association’s policymaking body, the ABA House of Delegates, will meet Aug. 12 and 13 to vote on a number of resolutions and to install New York attorney James Silkenat as the new ABA president.

More than 20 resolutions are on the agenda. The topics the House of Delegates review include:

•    Attorney-client privilege: Resolution adopts principles that should be applied in determining the availability of attorney-clients privilege for law firm consultations with in-house counsel.

•    Cybersecurity: Resolution condemns unauthorized, illegal intrusions by foreign governments, organizations and individuals into the computer networks of lawyers and law firms and urges governmental bodies to examine, and if necessary, amend or supplement, existing law to promote deterrence and provide appropriate sanctions.

•    Technology privacy: Resolution urges Congress to amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to reflect the technological and societal changes that have occurred since the original passage of the law.

•    “Gay panic” defense: Resolution urges every level of government to take legislative action to curtail the availability and effectiveness of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses. These defenses seek to partially or completely excuse crimes on the grounds that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction.

•    Judicial disqualification: Resolution urges states and territories to review their judicial disqualification procedures to assure the fair and impartial administration of justice, to conduct such reviews periodically and to create minimum standards for judicial disqualifications.

Resolutions must be approved by the House of Delegates before they become the policy of the ABA.

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