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So long, San Francisco! Another ABA Annual Meeting ends

San Francisco

The ABA wrapped up its 2016 Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Tuesday at the end of the general assembly. And in less than a week, a lot happened. Resolutions were adopted that affect law students, and bylaws were changed to address advances in the legal system.

So here’s a roundup of some of what transpired:

The Law Student Division

Possibly the biggest and most important change that affects education came about on Monday as the ban on paid externships for law students came to an end. Law Student Division board members Josephine Bahn and Christopher Jennison spent a lot of time advocating for the repeal of this provision, and the ABA concurred.

The Law Student Division lent its support to other resolutions passed in the Assembly, including:

The biggest change for the Law Student Division itself was the Student Empowerment Initiative, which reorganizes the executive structure of the division’s Board of Governors. Outgoing Chair Fabiani Duarte wrote extensively about the changes – and the process that went into drafting them – in his farewell post yesterday.

In short, the initiative includes:

  • Direct elections of board members by the entire law student Assembly
  • Electronic online voting 365 days a year instead of just once a year
  • The opening of national board committees for all law students
  • Voting power to more than 50 minority and affiliate bar associations
  • A caucus system

In other news, new Law Student Podcast hosts Sandy Gallant-Jones and incoming Chair Kareem Aref interviewed now-former ABA President Paulette Brown as she wrapped up her year:

Law Student Division Awards

  • Law School Newspaper Award: The Harvard Law Record, Harvard University Law School
  • Dean Henry J. Ramsey, Jr. Diversity Award: Southwestern Law School Black Law Students Association
  • Judy M. Weightman Memorial Public Interest Award: University of Louisville  Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Award: University of Virginia School of Law
  • Membership and Activity Award: University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
  • Student Bar Association Award: Georgetown University Law Center
  • Liaison Awards: Peggy Liu, ABA Law Practice Division, and Jared Chaney, ABA Section of Science & Technology Law

ABA General Assembly

  • Paulette Brown ended her term and passed the gavel to Linda Klein.
  • You can see how things unfolded with this Storify: ABA House of Delegates in Action.
  • Here’s a roundup of resolutions that were adopted by the Assembly, including some of those mentioned above.
  • The debate on a bar passage proposal underscores tension between consumer protection and diversity concerns.
  • The ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services will establish a Center for Innovation to address access to legal services.

Daily Storify summaries

  • Thursday, Aug. 4
  • Friday, Aug. 5
  • Saturday, Aug. 6
  • Young Lawyers Division, Day 1
  • Young Lawyers Division, Day 2

Speakers and Awards

Panel Summaries



ABA Law Student Division The Law Student Division empowers law student by providing them with meaningful connections to practicing professionals, job resources, relevant programming, and practical skills competitions. We represent the law student community by advocating for policies that improve legal education, champion diversity, and strengthen public service.