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Miami MIdyear Meeting

The ABA is heading to Magic City this weekend – Miami will be playing host the ABA’s midyear meeting from Wednesday through Tuesday. That’s right in the backyard of University of Miami School of Law and down the coasts from several other of our Florida law schools. If you’re a law student looking to do some networking, here’s a look at some of the events you can take in.

The all-ages show

The ABA Senior Lawyers Division, Young Lawyers Division, and Law Students Division are celebrating the opening of Midyear with a reception on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Hilton Miami Downtown in the Symphony Ballroom IV, Ballroom Level, 1601 Biscayne Boulevard.

Experienced lawyers will have a valuable opportunity to meet and network with law students and young lawyers. Attorneys at the pinnacle of their career will mix and mingle with law students and young lawyers, connecting with practitioners who are the future of the legal profession.

Fighting student debt

The ABA Section of State and Local Government Law will host “Treading Water: Fighting the Rising Tide of Student Debt” at the Hyatt Regency from 1:15-2:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2. The panel will explore debt relief, from pre-borrowing education and navigating repayment, to debt forgiveness and assistance programs.

The panel will include the moderator, Crystal Araujo, vice-chair of the ABA Law Student Division; Michael Dumas, an assistant district attorney in Lewiston, Maine; Whitney Barkley-Denney, legislative policy counsel at Center for Responsibility Lending in Durham, NC; Jennifer E. Nicholls, partner, Brophy Schmor in Medofrd, Ore.; and Scott Sharinn of Sharinn & Lipshie, P.C., of Uniondale, N.Y.

Among issues Dumas will discuss is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, a federal program that assists those working in public service jobs manage their loans through forgiveness after 10 years of service.

While Dumas had hoped to take advantage of the federal program, the U.S. Department of Education recently decided to retroactively refuse to honor commitments it made under the PSLF program. As a result, the ABA filed a lawsuit against the department in December

Dumas said, “Having debt nearly three times your salary could be extremely daunting at times.”

Dumas is part of the grassroots lobbying effort to keep the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program afloat, so that it could fulfill its promise to those who have dedicated their careers to public service.

“It’s under attack, to put it blatantly,” Dumas said of the loan forgiveness program.

Dumas hopes those attending the session will walk away with a greater urgency to pressure Congress to pay out from the Loan Forgiveness Program.

“It hasn’t cost the tax payer a cent—it’s just ridiculous to cut it,” Dumas said.

Build your Legal Career and Brand

Everyone needs an edge in a legal world that’s increasingly competitive. It’s also a world where virtually every area of law is affected in some way by science or technology issues, which are always changing. The ABA Section of Science & Technology Law Membership and Diversity Committee and the Young Lawyers Division are here to help you gain that edge and tap into the right resources.

“Build your Legal Career and Brand” is a dynamic program that will show you how some experts broke into this field without a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) background. You’ll also network with the SciTEch section and YLD members over refreshments.

Roundtable participants will include:

  • Joan R. M. Bullock, Professor, Florida A&M University College of Law; Vice-Chair, SciTech Membership and Diversity Committee
  • Cynthia Cwik, Of Counsel, Jones Day, San Diego; Immediate SciTech Section Chair and author of Scientific Evidence Review
  • Julie Fleming, Fleming Strategic, Atlanta; SciTech Section Secretary
  • Peter Gillespie, Laner Muchin, Ltd., Chicago; Chair, SciTech Membership and Diversity Committee
  • Alfred Saikali; Attorney, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Miami

Register for the program here.

JusticeHack Miami

The ABA Coalition on Racial & Ethnic Justice, along with several Miami-area community sponsors, will host JusticeHack Miami on Friday, Feb. 2 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Venture Café Gathering (Everglades) at 1951 NW 7th Ave.

JusticeHack will bring together multidisciplinary teams of community, legal, law enforcement, criminal justice and technology stakeholders for a collaborative effort to develop innovative and technology-based solutions to address tension between law enforcement and communities of color.

The event was developed in response to several high-profile fatal shootings of African-American men by police officers in many areas of the country, which many say eroded the public confidence in law enforcement, particularly in communities of color. ABA JusticeHack seeks to employ innovation, technology and the concept of inclusion to develop tools, such as mobile apps and websites, to help address the problems between police and the communities they serve in creative ways, going beyond traditional means such as studies, meetings, conferences and public forums.

The event is free and open to the public. No technology experience is required.  Attendees will participate in interactive storytelling, brainstorming and assist with mobile app and website development.

SCAFL events

The ABA Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law invites law students to participate in its events at the Hyatt Regency Miami at Midyear:

On Friday, Feb. 2, SCAFL will host “An Evening with Military Lawyers:  Practicing Law on the Front Lines” in the Ibis Room from 6 to 7 p.m. followed by a reception from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The panel will focus on the complexities of providing legal advice across a wide spectrum of issues, including operational, criminal, and civil law during a time of war.  Panelists will share their perspectives and personal experiences on how military lawyers shape operations on the front lines and news featured in the headlines, advancing the rule of law in novel and historic ways.

The event is being held jointly with the Cuban American Bar Association.

These events will be taking place on Saturday, Feb. 3:

  • Military Lawyers Committee Meeting, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Keithe E. Nelson Memorial Luncheon, Noon to 1:30 p.m., Cost: $40.
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Swearing In Ceremony, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.,

The Death Penalty Due Process Project

Join this ABA group for “The Constitutional Crisis with Florida’s Death Penalty Post-Hurst and Its Implications for Additional States” on Friday, Feb. 3 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Miami Lecture Hall (3rd Floor) in the Hyatt Regency Miami.

In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Hurst v. Florida, holding that Florida’s death penalty sentencing scheme violated the Sixth Amendment’s right to trial by a jury. This ruling, which now requires that a jury – rather than a judge – make the important factual determinations of whether the defendant should be sentenced to death, brought an immediate halt to executions in Florida, led to extensive subsequent litigation in state courts, and has made uncertain the fate of many defendants still on death row and in pending cases.

The discussion will focus on the varied implications – both expected and unexpected – of the Hurst decision on the future implementation of the death penalty in Florida and several other states around the country, including Alabama, Delaware, and elsewhere. Expert panelists will also discuss whether and how this important decision fits within the broader and changing landscape of capital punishment nationally.

More from the ABA

You can read more on the schedule from the ABA’s news archive and on the official midyear page. Other events include:

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.