Association Holds Conference to Help Minority Lawyers Succeed
CHICAGO, Sept. 2, 2009 – Institutional barriers and limited networking opportunities are among the obstacles that prevent many minority lawyers from advancing in the legal profession. And, the National Conference for the Minority Lawyer hopes to share best practices to help lawyers overcome these barriers to success.
The conference takes place at the Hotel Sofitel in Philadelphia, Sept. 24-25. It is sponsored by the American Bar Association sections of Business Law and Litigation and the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.
The conference also will examine ways of encouraging minorities to enter the legal profession as well as helping minority lawyers manage their unique professional challenges and the special opportunities available. Programs will feature in an interactive format so that attendees can ask questions and give feedback.
The two-day conference will feature presentations by business and government lawyers, litigators, solo practitioners and in-house counsel from various racial and ethnic backgrounds and practice settings.
On Sept. 24, program highlights include:
- “The Ethics Quiz Show: Are You Ready to Be a Player?” will be an interactive ethics program with information on how to navigate some of the difficult ethical dilemmas many lawyers face, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- “Shaking Up the Black/White Paradigm: Hernandez v. Texas” will provide an analysis of the groundbreaking case that took place in 1951 when the U.S. Supreme Court examined how equal protection laws applied to Mexican- Americans within a legal structure that only recognized black and white citizens, 12:30 – 2 p.m.
- “The Call to Action: What has Worked in the Past and What Will Work in the Future” will provide an exploration of the 2004 call-to-action for the legal profession to embrace diversity, the progress that has been made and next steps, 2 – 3 p.m.
- “The New, New Deal: Transactional Skills for a Changing Environment” will focus on the fundamentals of conducting business in the current economic climate, including contract drafting, due diligence, working with inside counsel and more, 2 – 3 p.m.
On Sept. 25, program highlights include:
- “It Takes a Village to Raise a Lawyer: The Educational Pipeline and ‘Call to Action’” will analyze diversity initiatives, their lack of effectiveness in a field where few minorities exist and potential solutions, 8:45 – 10:45 a.m.
- “Behind the Corporate Door: The Real Story of In-house Practice” will shed light on in-house careers, how they differ from private practices and the effect of Sarbanes-Oxley on in-house practices, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- “Hot Topics in Discovery: Cutting Edge Issues in Litigation, Both Domestic and International” will examine key issues in discovery such as waiver issues, electronic discovery, privilege and more, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
In addition, Robert J. Grey Jr., the ABA’s second African-American president, will deliver the keynote address during Friday’s luncheon.
Complete information on the conference, including details on presenters, is available at http://www.abanet.org/litigation/programs/docs/2009_minority_conference_brochure.pdf.
With approximately 60,000 members, the Business Law Section is one of the ABA’s largest sections with members from more than 50 countries. The section assists business lawyers in serving their clients competently, efficiently and professionally by providing top quality continuing legal education while offering a worldwide network for discussion of critical business issues. The section also improves business laws around the world by providing governmental bodies and other organizations with useful analysis and assistance as to proposed business laws and regulations.
With more than 70,000 members, the ABA Section of Litigation includes trial lawyers, judges and others involved in all aspects of litigation and the dispute resolution process. The Section of Litigation is dedicated to promoting justice both domestically and internationally, as well as enhancing public understanding of and respect for the legal profession.
The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is a catalyst to change the legal profession to reflect the society it serves. It helps racially and ethnically diverse lawyers advance their careers and standing in the profession. Its leadership, programs and information help the profession understand and eliminate racism, bigotry and discrimination. The commission works to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession, and thus enrich it.
With more than 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.