First Virtual ABA Meeting a Success American Bar Association Delegate Report – Annual Meeting 2020, 1220 RIBJ, RIBJ, 69 RI Bar J., No. 3, Pg. 21

AuthorAmerican Bar Association Delegate Report Annual Meeting 2020 Robert D. Oster, Esq.
PositionVol. 69 3 Pg. 21

First Virtual ABA Meeting a Success American Bar Association Delegate Report – Annual Meeting 2020

No. Vol. 69 No. 3 Pg. 21

Rhode Island Bar Journal

December, 2020

November, 2020

American Bar Association Delegate Report Annual Meeting 2020 Robert D. Oster, Esq.

ABA Delegate and Past Rhode Island Bar Association President

The ABA House of Delegates met virtually at the beginning of August 2020 for our first time. I initially had some reservations about how 500 or so Delegates and thousands of observers would meet, much less vote, on important Resolutions. COVID-19 has changed the way we practice law, and we held the ABA House to the same principle of flexibility and adaption. I did miss the face-to-face meeting and hope all will be well soon. However, the electronic meeting worked seamlessly. One device joined the meeting and another device, in my case my iPhone, voted electronically.

As usual, the Delegates were greeted by the host city dignitary, in this case, the mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot. She reminded us that as purveyors of justice, we are part and parcel of the interminably difficult issues of racial and ethnic justice, diversity in our legal system, and violence in our country, whilst dealing with a deadly and stubborn pandemic and seeking solutions to many of the other ills that face our society.

Our invocation was delivered posthumously by U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia, which he gave live to the ABA Delegates 10 years ago. It was as moving then as it is now, especially coinciding with his recent death. “Don’t give in or give up,” as he stated, is often good advice for attorneys. Sometimes “good trouble” is what we do.

The Delegates voted on several issues of special importance to lawyers: immigration reform, law student debt and forbearance on loans in light of COVID-19; the paucity of good paying jobs for recent law school graduates; third party litigation funding; updated criminal justice standards...

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