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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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