Lawyers are focused on legal aid issues at ABA-sponsored Equal Justice Conference

 Hundreds of lawyers from across the nation will gather in Portland, Ore., to discuss pro bono and legal aid issues at the Equal Justice Conference, sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the National Legal Aid & Public Defender Association.


During the conference, attendees will hear remarks from many well-known lawyers and advocates for equal justice, including:

• Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer, Oregon Supreme Court

• Ellen F. Rosenblum, Oregon attorney general

• Steven R. Powers, deputy general counsel, Oregon governor’s office

• James R. Silkenat, ABA president

• Jo-Ann Wallace, president and CEO, National Legal Aid & Defender Association

• Jeff Robinson, shareholder, Seattle’s Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender

• Ed Harnden, managing partner, Portland’s Barran Liebman

• Marc Jolin, executive director of JOIN, a Portland-based homeless service agency

• Nalani Fujimori Kaina, executive director, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii

Sessions will address topics related to legal services for veterans, children, the elderly, immigrants, domestic violence victims, disaster survivors and more. The conference will also feature programs on racial bias in the justice system, lack of diversity on the bench, immigration reform, student loan forgiveness for public service and faith-based legal aid programs.

Program highlights include:

“Legal Needs of the Aging Poor: Planning for Public Benefits and End of Life, Preventing Nursing Home Evictions, Responding to Elder Abuse” — Panelists will provide a comprehensive overview of compelling areas of advocacy for low-income seniors, including issues related to end-of-life planning, nursing home laws and regulations, and elder abuse.

“Restoring Faith in Justice: How Faith-Based Initiatives Are Innovatively Expanding Access to Justice” — Individuals of limited means often turn to their faith community for help, and this workshop will explore how faith-based models are creatively expanding access to justice through volunteer partnerships.

“Comprehensive Immigration Reform or Regrouping: Where Are We Now?” — This session will help lawyers re-assess the current legal landscape surrounding immigration as well as prepare for future developments.

“Combating Implicit Bias to Reduce Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System” — This program will address the role played by implicit bias throughout the juvenile justice system and suggest strategies to counter the effects of these biases.

A complete agenda can be found online.

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