ABA News

ABA Annual Meeting to be held Aug. 2-7 in Chicago

Registration is now open for the 2018 American Bar Association Annual Meeting, the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals, Aug. 2-7 in Chicago.

The ABA Annual Meeting attracts more than 5,000 registrants from around the world who represent the law’s best legal minds and showcases law’s most cutting-edge legal ideas and initiatives. This year’s meeting, headquartered at Chicago’s largest hotel property, the Hyatt Regency Chicago, will include nearly 1,000 educational sessions, networking opportunities and social functions.

High-profile speakers at the 2018 meeting include Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of the U.S. Department of Justice; Tina Tchen, founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund; and Executive Director Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of “Just Mercy.”

Other highlights of the 2018 Annual Meeting include:

CLE in the City Series

The ABA has developed a special series of continuing legal education programs that take participants out of typical meeting rooms and into Chicago law firms to experience first-hand the city’s vibrant legal community. Eight specialty tracks are offered including cybersecurity law; ethics; gaming, sweepstakes and franchise law; mergers and acquisitions; legal writing, ethics and persuasion; litigation; family law; and privacy and security. Participating Chicago-area law firms and law schools include Locke Lord LLP, The John Marshall Law School, Jenner & Block LLP, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP, Mayer Brown LLP, Greenberg Traurig LLP and Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Hot topic programs

Among the more than 100 continuing legal education programs offered at this year’s Annual Meeting, will be these panel presentations on newsworthy hot topics:
• “#MeToo, Time’s Up – Sexual Harassment in the Workplace”

• “The Deputy Attorney General of the United States”

• “Managing Social Activism and Freedom of Speech in Sports”

• “Government Searches, Privacy, and Cybersecurity in a Digital Age”

• “The Trump Administration and Diverse Communities: A Kaleidoscope of Controversies”

• “The Quest for Transparent Government in the US and Abroad”

• “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace”

• “Cybersecurity Wake-Up Call: The Business You Save May Be Your Own”

• Noteworthy social functions and networking opportunities

General Assembly

Considered one of the social highlights of the 2018 meeting, this annual celebration includes the presentation of the association’s highest honor, the ABA Medal, to a recipient yet to be announced, and a keynote presentation by the Equal Justice Initiative’s Bryan Stevenson. The event will also feature local entertainment from the award-winning Chicago Mass Choir and the Chicago Bar Association’s Barristers Big Band.

Concert for the Legal Services Corporation: “It’s Only Fair 2”

The ABA will host a concert to raise awareness for the need for legal aid from the Legal Services Corporation, which helps provide access to justice to millions of low-income Americans. Defense attorney Joey Jackson will serve as master of ceremonies. The event will include noted Chicago-based performers from Broadway, cabaret and local companies, who will entertain with song or performance. Interspersed will be inspirational stories of people who have been helped by legal aid. This is a non-partisan event.

President’s Reception

ABA President Hilarie Bass will host a taste of Chicago under the world’s largest stained-glass Tiffany dome. The reception will include local food favorites and entertainment by Big Band group, the Chicago Catz, along with live blues music, local improv theater and local cabaret performers.

Registration options for the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting include:

• All-access registration (includes opportunity to purchase discounted Chicago Cubs and “Hamilton” tickets) - $495 for ABA members, $695 for non-members;

• Standard registration - $250 for ABA members; $450 for non-members;

• Limited registration - $95 for ABA members; $295 for non-members;

• Special discounted registration options for law students.


Lawyer chosen to receive ABA 2018 Pickering Award

Michael J. Gonring, director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee and formerly a partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, is the 2018 recipient of the John H. Pickering Award of Achievement, presented by the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division. Gonring will be recognized at the Senior Lawyers Division annual Pickering Award dinner at the Union League Club of Chicago at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2, during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The award honors the life and accomplishments of John H. Pickering, co-founder of the Washington, D.C. law firm then known as Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale), who was involved in a variety of pro bono activities and law-related societal issues affecting the elderly. It recognizes lawyers or judges who demonstrate outstanding legal ability; and have compiled a distinguished record of service to the profession and their communities, resulting in significant contributions to improving access to justice for all.

“Mike Gonring, through his pro bono and legal services activities, exemplifies John Pickering’s commitment to equal justice for all,” said Brooksley Born, chair, 2018 Pickering Selection Committee.

Gonring spent 28 years as a litigation partner and six as an associate with Quarles & Brady LLP. He has held varied legal roles and served as the National Pro Bono coordinator and the assistant practice group leader. Gonring has mentored and inspired attorneys to respond to the needs of the community and commit to consistent pro bono activities.
Recently, Gonring recruited lawyers to assist Milwaukee’s immigrant community to respond to the increased immigration enforcement efforts and deportations.

As pro bono coordinator, he led various programs involving legal representation to victims of domestic violence, death row inmates who appealed convictions and asylum seekers. Quarles & Brady LLP, created an award in his honor, the Michael Gonring Pro Bono Award (The Gonring Award) for his “longstanding pro bono leadership and commitment to justice for the poor.” Following his retirement, Gonring continued to represent victims in domestic abuse court and volunteered at legal clinics. He started a legal clinic for undocumented individuals at the Mexican Consulate in Milwaukee. He was appointed director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee last year.

Considered an inspiration by many Wisconsin lawyers, Gonring, 70, is dedicated to helping those who are poor and disadvantaged. He has built pathways for lawyers and law students to serve the legal needs of the most vulnerable in society, which includes the creation of a Mobile Legal Clinic project, which offers several legal clinics a month and is staffed by various firms and volunteer lawyers.

A former Milwaukee Journal sportswriter and Marquette University sports information director, Gonring is a graduate of Marquette University Law School. He received his JD in 1982. He received his BA, cum laude, from Marquette University College of Journalism in 1969.