TBA Law Blog

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 19, 2021

The American Bar Association will hold its annual ABA Day virtually this year with two days of programming tomorrow and Wednesday. Sessions will be focused on urging Congress to increase legal aid funding to help low-income people resolve problems resulting from the pandemic, and passing legislation to strengthen judicial security. ABA representatives will be meeting with legislators on Zoom and lawyers across the country are invited to join in these conversations. Training videos on how to be an effective advocate are available online as are briefing materials on the two focus issues. Register here.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 24, 2021

The ABA House of Delegates approved 31 wide-ranging measures at its Monday meeting, including a resolution that urges the federal government to implement programs to assist law graduates and law students experiencing financial hardship due to their student loans.  Other topics considered include the deadline by which law schools must report employment data for recent law graduates, greater privacy for judges' personal information, increased well-being initiatives, and immigration policies and practices. In addition, delegates agreed to new limits that will govern the type of resolutions that will be allowed to come before the body in the future. Under the new rule, resolutions must advance one or more of the ABA’s four goals.  The ABA, Reuters Legal and Law.com report on these actions.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 17, 2021

The American Bar Association House of Delegates will consider dozens of issues at its Feb. 22 Midyear Meeting. Among them are two proposals intended to ease financial burdens on law students and recent graduates. The first proposal urges the U.S. Congress to amend the federal bankruptcy code to ease restrictions on how student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings. The second resolution would call for expanded debt management opportunities, such as allowing the refinancing of private loans into federal loans. It also calls for advocacy on issues including federal loan program qualifications and the ability to suspend or forgive loan obligations. See a list of all resolutions to be considered and an agenda for the full Midyear Meeting.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Aug 13, 2020

The ABA Equal Justice Conference has been taking place this week with virtual programs related to access to justice, COVID-19 challenges and racial justice issues. The conference kicked off Tuesday with a keynote address by Andrea Young, executive director of Georgia ACLU and daughter of civil rights leader Andrew Young, a former Atlanta mayor and ambassador to the United Nations. Other programs addressed hot topics in civil legal aid, access to justice during COVID-19, evictions and other consumer issues, and racial and ethnic injustices. 

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Aug 7, 2020

Earlier this week, the American Bar Association's House of Delegates voted 256-146 in favor of a resolution urging states to find alternatives to in-person bar exams amid the pandemic. The alternative arrangements suggested included supervised practice program, remote bar exams and emergency diploma privilege. The resolution was among the most controversial during the two-day House of Delegates meeting, the ABA Journal reports. Supporters argued special arrangements are necessary in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. Opponents, including the National Conference of Bar Examiners, said the resolution could open the door for graduates of non-ABA-accredited law schools to practice without taking the bar exam, including those who previously had failed the exam.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jul 31, 2020

About half of jurisdictions in the country administered in-person bar exams this week, and at least one, Colorado, reported that a participant has tested positive for COVID-19. A resolution to be considered by the ABA House of Delegates next week would urge states to abandon plans for in-person exams during the pandemic, Law.com reports. In related news, those states that have opted for online exams face another threat. Michigan’s online bar exam recently was delayed when its software provider experienced a cyberattack described as “a sophisticated attack specifically aimed at the login process.” No data was compromised in the attack, an ExamSoft representative said, but some test-takers were rattled as the delay occurred after the exam had started. The Michigan Board of Law Examiners said it plans to investigate whether the attack had an impact on test-takers and report findings to the state Supreme Court. The ABA Journal has more on the story.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jul 31, 2020

At this week’s virtual ABA Annual Meeting, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer shared insights on an array of topics, including what he considers to be the biggest threat to the rule of law: the current political divisions in the country. “Convince other people. Talk to them. Don’t shout at them. And convince them you’re right … And if you can’t convince people this time, maybe you will next time.” He also said he is optimistic for the future because the country has experienced "slavery, a civil war and a legal system of segregation" but has overcome them all and will continue to overcome new challenges. Read more about his comments or watch the interview with ABA President Judy Perry Martinez. Also during the meeting, the ABA presented its highest honor to former ABA president and World Justice Project founder William Neukom. Earlier in the day, Neukom led a discussion with Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates on the nation’s response to COVID-19 and recent protests around racial injustice.

Posted by: Barry Kolar on Jul 27, 2020

American Bar Association President Judy Perry Martinez today briefed the TBA's delegation to the ABA Virtual Annual Meeting in a Zoom call. Along with other ABA officials, she talked about the organization's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what issues would be before the ABA House of Delegates when it convenes next week. Other ABA officials addressing Tennessee leaders included Executive Director Jack Rives, Treasurer Michelle Behnke, House of Delegates Speaker Bill Bay and President-Elect Patricia Lee Refo. The ABA conference kicks off on Wednesday and continues through next Tuesday.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jul 15, 2020

The American Bar Association will hold its 2020 Annual Meeting virtually from July 29 to Aug. 4. Among the issues to be explored by attendees and governance bodies are legal problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic, police reform, foreign cyberthreats and voter suppression. Other highlights include remarks by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on July 29 and presentation of the association’s highest honor, the ABA Medal, to World Justice Project founder William H. Neukom. The ABA House of Delegates will meet on Aug. 3 and 4.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 18, 2020

The ABA House of Delegates, meeting in Austin yesterday, voted to approve a resolution calling on states to consider innovative approaches to the access-to-justice crisis that could improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of civil legal services. Language was added during consideration to clarify that nothing in the resolution should be construed as altering ABA model rules, including Rule 5.4, which covers non-lawyer ownership of law firms. For other actions taken by the ABA House during the group's Midyear Meeting, see this recap.

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