Message from ABA President Laurel G. Bellows
It is my pleasure to join you in Dallas for the 2013 ABA Midyear Meeting, February 6-12. Thank you to the Dallas Bar Association for welcoming the American Bar Association to your beautiful city!
Under the leadership of DBA President Sally Crawford and Executive Director Catharine Maher, your organization’s dedication to enhancing the practice of law and bringing the best of the Dallas legal community to the rest of the nation is inspiring. Congratulations to the DBA for your remarkable efforts to raise more than $800,000 in 2011 and over $830,000 to date in 2012 for the Campaign for Equal Access to Justice.
The ABA shares the DBA’s commitment to public service and access to justice. At the Eighth Annual Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement at this year’s Midyear Meeting, leaders of state and local bars will learn about issues in indigent defense and discuss solutions.
This year is the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, and sessions at the Midyear Meeting will examine the vital issue of right to counsel. Special speakers include major figures in the criminal justice system: Texas State Senator Royce West; Judge Barbara Hervey, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and founder of the Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit; Lynn Richardson, Chief Public Defender of Dallas County; and Russell Wilson, Special Fields Bureau Chief for the Dallas District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit. This distinguished panel will discuss the importance of early involvement of counsel in indigent defense.
The ABA’s Commission on Youth at Risk will host a CLE that will assess how best to identify and represent youths who are the victims of human trafficking—modern-day slaves.Mary Ellison, director of policy for the Polaris Project and a member of the ABA’s Task Force on Human Trafficking, will speak at this session, along with local legal experts who will offer an in-depth understanding of Texas’ response to child trafficking.
Markus Funk, co-author of the critically acclaimed book “Child Exploitation and Trafficking,” will joinpanelists to discuss the nature and scope of human trafficking in the United States. The panelists will review federal and state law, discuss the work of state human trafficking task forces and local legislative developments, offer an overview of the business community efforts to combat modern-day slavery and discuss pro bono opportunities for attorneys.
The ABA meetings are an opportunity to recognize attorneys and judges who are doing great things nationally and in their home states. The Eighteenth Annual Spirit of Excellence Awards Luncheon will recognize lawyers who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to diversity in the legal profession. This year’s honorees, Dr. Walter L. Sutton Jr., M. Javade Chaudhri, Stacy L. Leeds, Myles V. Lynk, Jenny Rivera and Thomas A. Saenz exemplify excellence through promoting full and equal participation in the legal profession and removing obstacles to achieve real progress.
Many members and staff dedicated themselves to organizing this meeting. Among numerous others, special thanks to Sally Crawford, as well as Dallas attorneys Kim J. Askew, Harriet Miers, Monica Latin, Talmage Boston, Ron Breaux, Chris Rogers, Chip Brooker, Amy Davis, Rhonda Hunter, Darrell E. Jordan, John H. McDowell, Mark Sales, Diane Sumoski, Aimee Williams, Brad Weber and Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn for their counsel and leadership. Thank you also to Justices Douglas Lang and Elizabeth Lang-Miers for their lifelong friendship and support.
I also want to express my appreciation to Cathy and the DBA staff and the DBA’s sister bar associations: the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, J.L. Turner Legal Association and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers.
They all deserve special acknowledgment for working to make this meeting a tremendous success. We look forward to seeing you!
Laurel G. Bellows
President, American Bar Association