PBCBA BAR BULLETINS pbcba_bulletin_May 2019 - Page 5

ABA DELEGATE R e p o r t 2019 Mid-year Meeting DAVID MILLER Dear Readers: I hope this bulletin finds each and every one of you well. For those of you who do not know me, my name is David Miller, I am a civil litigator at Mathison Whittles, LLP and I was recently appointed to serve as the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s delegate to the American Bar Association. Let me start off by saying that it is a privilege and honor to serve as your delegate, and that I promise to perform my duties and services to the absolute best of my abilities. If any of you ever feel there is something I, as the delegate, can do for you, please know and trust that you can contact me any time. To give you a little bit of background, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) is a 141-year-old and counting voluntary bar association comprised of over 400,000 lawyers and law students across the United States. As some of you may know, two of the arguably biggest roles of the ABA are (1) to set academic standards and accreditation of law schools throughout the country, and (2) to formulate model ethical codes for the legal profession. The ABA’s self-described mission is “to serve equally our members, our profession and the public by defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession.” As part of its mission, the ABA steadfastly advocates for our profession, promotes the elimination of biases and the enhancement of diversity, and seeks to increase the public’s understanding of and respect for law. Control and administration of the ABA is vested in the association’s policy-making body called the House of Delegates. I am a delegate to that body. The 2018-2019 House is comprised mostly of males, but not by much (59% male and 41% female). 61% of the House members identify as white/ Caucasian, 10% identify as black/African American, 4% identify as Hispanic, 3% identify as Asian, 21% identify as unknown (wouldn’t they want to take a DNA test?) and less than 3% identify as Native American, Pacific Islander or other. A vast majority of the House members are in private practice (69%), while the government/judiciary comes in at 13%, followed by 6% or less for those practicing in areas involving the military, corporate/in-house law, academic settings, public service and not-for- profit entities. Roughly 36% of the House is between the ages of 61 and 70, while approximately 23% of the House is between the ages of 51-60, 12% of the House is 41-50, 11% of the House is 31-40, 3% of the House is 30 and under, and 14% of the House is 71 or older. Most of the House members have practiced for 30 to 39 years (31%), followed by those practicing for 40 or more years (30%), those practicing for 20 to 29 years (17%), those practicing for 10-19 years (10%), rounded out by those practicing less than 10 years (12%). Nearly half of the House membership (48%) has been involved for 25 or more years. The House meets two times each year – once at the annual meeting and once at the midyear meeting. The first ABA meeting that I had the opportunity to attend as your delegate was the 2019 midyear meeting that took place over the last week of January in Las Vegas. At that meeting, the House considered and voted upon thirty- two (32) proposed resolutions. Generally speaking, a resolution is an idea for a new piece of legislation, or an idea to improve the justice system or another aspect of law. Any ABA member can propose a resolution for the House’s consideration. Resolutions are typically backed or supported by state/ local bar associations, divisions, sections and/or committees. To give you an example, at the 2019 midyear meeting, the Young Lawyers Division of the ABA proposed resolution 101A, which encourages federal, state, local, territorial and tribal legislatures and court systems, in conjunction with state and local bar associations, to support and assist with the establishment and maintenance of lactation areas in courthouses for members of the public, including lawyers, jurors, litigants, witnesses and observers. For another example, the Young Lawyers Division of the ABA also proposed resolution 101B at the 2019 midyear meeting, which resolution urges the enactment of a rule by the highest courts or legislative bodies of all states, territories and tribes charged with the regulation of the legal profession, as well as by all federal courts, providing that a motion for continuance based on parental leave of either the lead attorney or another integrally involved attorney in the matter shall be granted under certain conditions. As some of you may know, proposed resolutions 101A and 101B were put together by, among others, a few of our own local Palm Beach County young lawyers. Although I cannot take credit for helping put together these proposed resolutions, as a father of two young boys (ages 3 and 1), both of these proposed resolutions really hit home for me. So much so, in fact, that I requested and was provided the opportunity to speak before the House in support of proposed resolution 101B while it was on the House floor for consideration and voting. (Continued on next page)