Legal technology, hate crimes and disaster relief top agenda at ABA joint conference

Hate crimes, legal technology innovations and natural disaster relief are among the topics at the 2018 Young Lawyers Division and GPSolo Division joint fall conference, “Tradition Meets Innovation,” Oct. 25-27 at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, S.C.

A highlight of the meeting is the GPSolo Difference Makers Awards luncheon, featuring motivational speaker Jack Canfield, author of “The Success Principles” and co-author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. The annual Difference Makers Awards Program recognizes extraordinary lawyers who make a difference by breaking barriers through community service, pro bono work and service to the profession.

The 2018 Difference Makers Award recipients are:

• J. Michelle Childs, Columbia, S.C. (Difference Maker Award)

• Jean H. Toal, Columbia S.C. (Difference Maker Award)

• I.S. Leavey Johnson, Columbia, S.C. (Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers Award)

• Elizabeth S. Hilbun, Houston, Texas (Making a Difference through Community Service Award)

• Andrea E. Loney, Columbia, S.C. (Making a Difference through Pro Bono Award)

• David D. Farr, Houston, Texas (Making a Difference through Service to the Profession Award)

The Young Lawyers Division will launch its new initiative called Men of Color Project at a noon luncheon on Saturday, with a program called “Without Your Health, You Have Nothing: A Fit Mind, Body, and Soul.” Speakers will discuss why lawyers often neglect their own well-being, which is especially widespread in communities of color, and steps to address the problem.

Other conference highlights include:

• “Domestic Violence & Natural Disasters: A Stark Reality” — A panel of legal experts will discuss the connection between natural disasters and domestic violence. Speakers will address why domestic violence often results after a natural disaster occurs and how lawyers and the greater community can help those facing this crisis.

• “Adapting Legal Services to the Changing Legal Landscape — Innovative ideas from entrepreneurs, law firms and law schools seek to disrupt the traditional means of legal service delivery, but these innovators face challenges along the way. Gain a deeper understanding of these innovations and how they could potentially impact the legal system. Special guest speaker: ABA President-elect Judy Perry Martinez.

• Representing Children in Immigration Matters — This session will provide an overview of how to represent a child in a legal matter, including strategies and techniques for effectively working with children. Panelists will discuss the basics of representing a child in an immigration matter, from procedural overview to the key forms of relief available to children in immigration court. 3:30-5 p.m., Calhoun Room, Mezzanine Level.

• “Mother Emanuel Tragedy: Where Do We Go from Here?” — On the evening of June 17, 2015, Mother Emanuel African AME Church held its regular Wednesday night Bible study. One of the largest and oldest black congregations in the South, the church’s roots reach back to 1816. During the bible study, a young white male pulled out a handgun and killed eight parishioners and the pastor. This panel will delve into the shooting and subsequent federal hate-crime trial, and discuss the tragedy’s impact on our country.