Tag Archives: American Bar Association

Student Spotlight: 2014 ABA Annual Meeting Recap

The American Bar Association (“ABA”) is the world’s largest voluntary network of legal professionals and law students, with approximately 400,000 members.  Founded in 1878, the ABA’s mission is based on supporting the legal profession with practical resources for legal professionals and law students, while also improving the administration of justice, accrediting law schools, and establishing model ethical codes.

This year, the ABA hosted its Annual Meeting at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts from August 7th – August 10th, 2014. Judges, attorneys, deans, professors, law students, and other legal professionals from around the world were invited to partake in discussions on ABA initiatives and vote on such initiatives, attend panels and CLEs, and participate in professional networking events. Five Charlotte School of Law students attended the Meeting on behalf of the law school for the Law Student Division: Alexandria “Lexi” Andresen (CSL ABA Representative, 3L), Brittany Smiley (CSL ABA Vice Representative, 2L), Marlowe Rary (SBA President, 3L), Angelo Zingaretti (SBA Senate Chair, 3L), and Maritza Adonis (Fourth Circuit Governor, 2L).

During the Annual Meeting, the Law Student Division accepted donations of school supplies for the children of domestic violence survivors at the Casa Myrna residential program. Charlotte School of Law donated large quantities of pens, pencils, journals, binders, highlighters, and other related school supplies to this cause.

Although the Charlotte Law student representatives were primarily at the Meeting to attend the Law Student division events, they also had the rare opportunity to attend the Judicial Division Lawyers Conference /Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association Joint Reception, organized by Charlotte Law Professor, Carolyn Dubay.  Many prominent judges and attorneys from across the country were also in attendance at this event, including: the Honorable Judge Frank D. Whitney, Chief Judge of the District Court of Western District of North Carolina; the Honorable Patti B. Saris, Chair, U.S. Sentencing Commission and Chief United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; and the Honorable Ben C. Clyburn, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland. The event took place at the Historical John Adams Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.

Notably, Charlotte School of Law received a nationally recognized award at the ABA Annual Meeting—The Excellence in Membership and Programming Award.  This award recognizes Charlotte Law for its outstanding ABA membership efforts, involvement, and activity in the ABA Law Student Division. Charlotte Law’s student representatives accepted the award on behalf of the school in front of national ABA officers and 102 other law schools represented at the event.

ABA Representative Lexi Andresen states:

When Charlotte Law was announced as the recipient of the Excellence in Membership & Programming Award, the first thought that went through my mind was how appreciative I am of the students involved in the ABA at Charlotte School of Law. We work very hard to put on events that are interesting, informative, and provide networking opportunities for students. I am incredibly pleased that our efforts and the participation of the Charlotte Law student body in ABA events, were recognized on a national level!

I have had the wonderful opportunity of attending the ABA Annual Meeting two years in a row now. Both times, one thing stuck with me after each meeting – it’s truly amazing how much this organization is making important and substantive changes to the legal system, legal education, and the world in general.

As a Ms. JD Fellowship Recipient, Lexi also had the esteemed opportunity to attend the 24th Annual Margaret Brent Awards Luncheon on Sunday, August 10, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  Check out our earlier post on this event for more details!

ABA Vice Representative Britany Smiley sums up the 2014 ABA Annual Meeting with this:

I think I speak on behalf of all of the Charlotte Law student leaders who attended when I say that the trip to Boston was a wonderful experience, both academically and socially. We were able to learn so much about the ABA and everything it has to offer law students, young lawyers and seasoned professionals as well as the many initiatives that the organization is taking in various areas of practice and educational reform. We were also able to network with professionals from around the country, including professors, attorneys, judges, past and present ABA Presidents, as well as student representatives from various schools across the nation. We are excited to bring all that we learned, and the connections that we made, back to Charlotte and cannot wait for the upcoming year!

If you are interested in becoming a member of the ABA Law Student Division at Charlotte School of Law, please visit www.americanbar.org/join.  Please contact the Charlotte School of Law ABA Representative, Alexandria Andresen (andresena@students.charlottelaw.edu), with any questions that you may have regarding ABA involvement.

Congratulations to all of these amazing students for their accomplishments and for taking the time to share their experiences with the Charlotte Law Library blog — and a special thanks to our Core Operations student worker, Mili Banerji, for her assistance in compilation of this article!

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Student Spotlight: Alexandria Andresen Attends the 24th Annual Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award Luncheon


The Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession in 1991, recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. The Brent Awards Luncheon is the place where the Brent Award winners are honored. The Luncheon is a significant event at the ABA Annual Meeting, as national ABA officers, the ABA President, and past Presidents were among those attending the event.

Ms. JD, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization, is the premier national organization for women in the law. Ms. JD is dedicated to the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers. Every year, Ms. JD selects 15-20 rising 3L women around the country to receive the Ms. JD Fellowship.  This year, Charlotte School of Law student, Alexandria “Lexi” Andresen, was one of 17 students from across the country to be selected for the national Fellowship.

Ms. Andresen states:

When I first found out that I had been selected as one of 17 women in the country to be selected for the Ms. JD Fellowship, I was astounded, but appreciative of such a wonderful opportunity. The main purpose of the Fellowship is promote the importance of mentors within the legal profession. I have been fortunate to already have some great mentors in my life, including the incredibly successful mentor that I’ve been paired with through the Ms. JD Fellowship, Sara Holtz of San Francisco, CA. I think it is very important to continue seeking out successful mentors, and to be a mentor myself.

As a Ms. JD Fellowship Recipient, Ms. Andresen had the esteemed opportunity to attend the 24th Annual Margaret Brent Awards Luncheon on Sunday, August 10, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. At the Luncheon, the Brent Award winners were presented with their Awards, and each honoree delivered a 10- to 20- minute speech after the presentation of the Award.

This year, Brent Award was presented to the following five (5) prestigious female attorneys from around the country:

  • ​Honorable Nancy Gertner; Harvard Law School and Judge (Retired); U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Cambridge, MA
  • Anastasia D. Kelly; Co-Managing Partner (Americas); DLA Piper; Washington, DC
  • Allie B. Latimer (PDF); Former General Counsel; General Services Administration; Washington, DC
  • Honorable Kathryn Doi Todd; Associate Justice (Retired); California Court of Appeal, Second District; Los Angeles, CA
  • Marissa C. Wesely (PDF); Of Counsel; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; New York, NY
The Award recipients on the stage at the Luncheon

The Award recipients on the stage at the Luncheon

At the Luncheon, each Brent Award winner delivered motivating and inspirational speeches describing their experiences and how they achieved their many successes. Each woman had her own unique and amazing story; however, a common theme in each of the speeches was the importance of grit and determination of women within the legal profession.  The speeches for each of the Brent Award winners can be found on the ABA Website.

Lexi’s advice to 2Ls looking to apply for the Ms. JD Fellowship next year is:

Get involved in the school and local community, keep up the good grades, and seek out those important mentor/mentee relationships!


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Student Spotlight: Maritza Adonis


I recently had the opportunity to sit and chat with the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division 4th Circuit Governor, Maritza Adonis, who is a first-year law student here at Charlotte School of Law. Maritza, a Miami, Florida native, graduated from North Carolina State University in 2010 and worked in the Wake County Teen Court before beginning her law school career last fall. In only her first year of law school, Maritza has accomplished so much, both professionally and academically. In addition to her role as the American Bar Association Law Student Division 4th Circuit Governor, Maritza is active in the Black Allied Law Student Association, Counsel for Children’s Rights, Education Legal Society, and Women in Law.  Maritza is also the recipient of the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys’ Sarah Parker 2014-2015 Scholarship.

Maritza won the spring vote for the American Bar Association Law Student Division 4th Circuit Governor position by receiving a majority of the votes from the 17 law schools in the American Bar Association Law Student Division 4th Circuit. As Governor, Maritza will be focusing on several different tasks, but some of her main initiatives focuses on the mental health of law students. Maritza believes mental health is a huge issue for law students, and she wants to figure out why students are not seeking help during law school and figure out a way to resolve this issue. One of the ways that Maritza can be a change agent and advocate for law students is by writing American Bar Association resolutions, which are voted on by the American Bar Association and potentially become American Bar Association Rules. Maritza is also hoping that being the American Bar Association Law Student Division 4th Circuit Governor will help to give Charlotte School of Law more national recognition and instill pride in the current students.

Keep a lookout for the major initiatives and moves Maritza has in store for Charlotte School of Law and the entire American Bar Association Law Student Division 4th Circuit.

~Minerva Mims~

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Thar’s Gold in them Thar Asteroids! But Who Owns It?

miningmanIf you managed to snag an asteroid and tow it back to Earth, is it yours?  What are the laws about space resources?  Is Space Law the final frontier?

You may laugh, but this science fiction movie plot is coming closer and closer to becoming reality.  Planetary Resources is backed by Google billionaires Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, billionaire Ross Perot, Jr. and director James Cameron, among others.  The mission of Planetary Resources is to “apply commercial, innovative techniques to explore space. We will develop low-cost robotic spacecraft to explore the thousands of resource-rich asteroids within our reach. We will learn everything we can about them, then develop the most efficient capabilities to deliver these resources directly to both space-based and terrestrial customers. Asteroid mining may sound like fiction, but it’s just science.”

In plain English, they are going to mine asteroids for valuable resources.

The latest issue of Popular Mechanics features an article by Space Law expert, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, who reviews the questions surrounding the ownership of asteroids:  What is at stake?  Potentially trillions of dollars per large asteroid.  The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prevents national appropriation of celestial bodies but is silent on private appropriation and it fails to define “celestial bodies.”  Scholars are starting to weigh in on whether or not asteroids are celestial bodies.  Andrew Tingkang argues in Seattle University Law Review that if it can be moved, it isn’t a celestial body.  The full title of his Jedi Master-inspired work is These Aren’t the Asteroids You Are Looking For: Classifying Asteroids in Space as Chattels, Not Land.  If you don’t get it, go watch Star Wars:  A New Hope.

Reynolds agrees with Tingkang’s classification and analogizes to the distinction on Earth between “real” and “personal” property.  Real property stays put.  As he points out, a supertanker the size of a city can be personal property and it can move.

There are more questions than answers now and it will take many years for the situation to evolve and resolve but won’t it be fun to watch?  Do we have a new Wild West with the 21st century version of Forty-Niners?

For more information, check out the ABA newly published guidebook on Space Law or the ABA Space Law Committee.

For a humorous take on asteroid mining, take a look at this Jon Stewart segment from the Daily Show.

~Mary Susan Lucas~

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A Competent Lawyer Will Keep Current with Technology

Recently the American Bar Association revised its model rules, specifically addressing the need for an attorney to keep current with advances in technology.  The change in rules was proposed by the ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 and was adopted during the annual meeting, held in Chicago, August 2-7. The affected Model Rule 1.1 speaks to the importance of an attorney understanding the “benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”   As stated in the Report to the ABA House of Delegates, “[A] lawyer would have difficulty providing competent legal services in today’s environment without knowing how to use email or create an electronic document.”

The impetus behind the changes had everything to do with developing a set of guidances to assist attorneys in not only representing their clients, but in understanding how to maintain the confidentiality which corresponds to competent representation.  The American Bar Association has made practice resources available through its Legal Technology Resource Center.  Its Law Practice Management Section’s eLawyering Task Force has also provided resources.  The amended Model Rules have rounded back and have now imposed a duty on attorneys to embrace technology.

So how has Charlotte School of Law addressed the need to remain knowledgeable regarding technology and the practice of law?  In July, the library staff conducted two student focus groups which addressed how students were accessing legal resources.  Another purpose of the focus groups, moderated by Adjunct Professor and Reference Librarian, Cory Lenz, was to ascertain which legal apps students were accessing through mobile phones and tablet technology.  This evaluation has been continued into the fall semester by the Advanced Legal Research class.  As part of the class, every ALR student is evaluating a specific legal research app and will post the evaluation to the CSL Library blog.  So watch this space!  In the interim, please take a look at the “There’s an App for That”  research guide, created by Metadata & Serials Librarian, Ashley Moye, and available on the Library’s electronic resource page.

~ Susan Catterall ~

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Blogs – They’ve Come A Long Way!

A blog posting about blogs?  Go figure!

Since 2007, the American Bar Association has listed its favorite 100 “Blawgs.”  (The term “blawg” originated with Denise Howell, an attorney at the Reed Smith firm.) Readers are invited to go to the ABA Journal website and vote for their favorite blogs in each category before the close of business on December 30th.  There are 12 categories to choose from and by registering, one is able to obtain 12 votes for 12 different blogs.  If you’re not sure of what blogs are available to choose from, you can access the BLAWG Directory and view by topic, author type, region, or law school.

Very few of you need to be brought up to date, but here goes.  Blog is short for web log. At one time, blogs were equated with online journals.  They’ve become popular because anyone can start a blog. You don’t have to be a website developer or invest a lot of time or money. Over the years, blogs have become more specialized and are often linked to online resources.     Another site, in addition to the ABA BLAWG Directory, for locating law-related blogs is www.blawg.com.  The directory is arranged topically and there is a category for “Law Libraries and Research.”

Not all blogs/blawgs are created equally.  What is the role of a blog in our profession?  Not all blogs qualify as scholarship, yet almost everyone is beginning to see that blogs have an important role to play in conveying information.   J. Robert Brown in his December 21, 2009 “The Influence of Law Blogs on the Judicial Process,” noted that judicial law clerks are using blogs to prepare their judges for oral argument or to draft opinions.  He theorized that blogging “can be a form of post-oral argument analysis.”

I understand that Supreme Court clerks …often check the blogs that cover their cases.  Appellate lawyers are aware of this practice, and, as a result, blogging is sometimes used as a kind of back-door, post-argument supplement briefing. In most appellate courts, particularly the Supreme Court, the court will only very rarely allow the filing of a post-argument brief to address an issue that arose during oral argument. However, since bloggers discuss and comment on the oral argument in prominent cases, and since the clerks (and possibly the Justices themselves) read these posts, the blogosphere can serve as a vehicle to, in effect, continue the oral argument or supplement the briefing.

Let’s return to the topic of choosing favorite blogs as part of the annual ABA Journal survey.  There are too many to choose from.  The three I recommend are:

  • SCOTUSblog, which is useful when searching for news and analysis regarding the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • 3 Geeks and a Law Blog , which is coordinated by law librarian, Greg Lamber, discusses developments in research, law libraries and knowledge management.  This is often the site to monitor when information vendors release new products, such as WestlawNext;
  • Above the Law, which covers lawyers and the business of law. During 2009, this blog was often the go-to site to learn which firms were quietly laying off employees in massive numbers.

There are too many good (and not as good) blogs out there to monitor.  It can’t be denied that blogging is affecting how information is disseminated, even in the legal profession.

~Susan Catterall~

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From Law Office to Oval Office

Every four years, Americans go to the polls to elect the individual who will serve as our chief executive officer, commander in chief of the armed forces, head of state, and who, since the Truman administration, is known by the acronym, POTUS – President of the United States.  These individuals have brought numerous skills and diverse experiences to our highest office.  These experiences have included: architect, soldier, diplomat, Secretary of State, governor, postmaster, ordained Minister, school teacher, sheriff, journalist, U.S. Solicitor General, judge and vice president of the United States.

Significantly, of our 44 presidents (if one counts Grover Cleveland twice), there have been 25 individuals who were lawyers before becoming presidents, including William Howard Taft who became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court after he served as President.  In addition to Taft, who argued before justices he had appointed, seven other lawyer-presidents have appeared before the United States Supreme Court.  The most recent lawyer-president to do so was Richard Nixon when he argued the case of Time v. Hill in 1966.

Some individuals actively practiced law.  John Adams combined a lengthy career as an attorney with major contributions to the founding of a new nation.  His son, John Quincy Adams, successfully argued that the kidnapped and sold-as-slaves Africans should be treated as free men and released in Amistad [Part of our audio/visual collection available on display].   Rutherford Hayes and Benjamin Harrison handled several high profile cases, including sensational murder trials.   Abraham Lincoln was involved in more than 5000 cases, spanning his 25 year career.   He was also a postmaster and a captain in the Black Hawk war.  Lincoln was a skilled draftsman.  He utilized this skill in crafting a legally binding executive order, the Emancipation Proclamation.

Some presidents studied the law to further political aspirations.  Some, such as Lincoln and James Garfield, set their own course of study and read the law before being admitted to the bar.  Garfield is better known as a teacher, college professor and president, soldier, congressman and a Minister of the Disciples of Christ.  Others took the more traditional approach and attended law schools.  President Gerald Ford, in fact, attended three including a summer spent at the University of North Carolina School of Law.  Norman Gross has profiled the men who were both lawyers and president of the United States in his treatise,  America’s Lawyer-Presidents: From Law Office to Oval Office [Available at on display - Call No. KF353 .A46 2004 ]

Test your knowledge of America’s Lawyer-Presidents by taking the quiz sponsored by the American Bar Association.

 – Susan Catterall -

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