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ANTITRUST Building a fair, sound, transparent oversight regime The Section of Antitrust Law is the world’s largest group of competition lawyers. This year it will initiate a number of activities designed to accomplish its twin missions: assisting antitrust attorneys in their practice and serving the public interest by encouraging and helping to shape coherent antitrust law. The 2006-07 year will provide a unique opportunity to address antitrust policy, as the congressionally created Antitrust Modernization Commission completes its three-year mission of evaluating the antitrust landscape. The section has already weighed in heavily, submitting 19 sets of comments to the commission addressing such issues as whether contribution and claim reduction should be permitted in antitrust cases, whether certain statutory exemptions should be revoked and when U.S. antitrust law should apply to foreign conduct. This year, the section will comment on specific issues and legislation that it proposes. As U.S. practitioners are increasingly called upon to counsel clients regarding their worldwide activities, it serves the interests both of counsel and client to have competition law around the globe be transparent, neutral (i.e., not favoring firms from the enacting country) and based on sound economics. The section is well positioned to share U.S. experiences (both successes and failures) with other nations and international competition organizations. It will continue to submit comments to foreign antitrust authorities considering new and amended laws. In particular, it will remain involved in the European Commission’s consideration of facilitating private antitrust enforcement and revamping its standards for evaluating dominant firm conduct. The section will continue to help its members in their daily practice by making available a wide range of resources, including the sixth edition of its multi-volume treatise, Antitrust Law Developments; its three principal periodicals ( Antitrust Law Journal, Antitrust magazine and the online Source); approximately 70 committee newsletters; and about the same number of telephonic programs addressing significant developments in the law. Its spring meeting will once again be the world’s largest gathering of competition lawyers, drawing more than 2,000 attendees from the United States and abroad. Heavy litigation focus In its long-run planning, the section will focus even more heavily than usual this year on litigation. A task force will consider what additional steps the section can take to provide value to its litigating members and to enhance the antitrust litigation process itself. The task force will consider, among other things, providing expanded training opportunities for young litigators and taking steps to keep the section’s model civil jury instructions even more current and useful to counsel and the courts. The section will expand its involvement in consumer protection law, focusing on both the traditional problems of misleading advertising and the newer problems relating to privacy and information security. It will sponsor a major program on this topic and continue work on its new treatise, Consumer Protection Law Developments. The section will continue its Janet D. Steiger Fellowship Project, which subsidizes internships in the consumer protection groups at state attorney general offices. Joseph Angland is chair-elect of the Section of Antitrust Law and a shareholder in the New York office of Heller Ehrman. BUSINESS LAW The equity boom leads the agenda for the new year The mission of the Section of Business Law is to further the development and improvement of business law, educate section members in business law and related professional responsibilities and help section members to serve their clients competently, efficiently and professionally. In pursuit of this mission, the section will engage in a number of initiatives in the coming year in addition to the ongoing work of its 50-plus substantive committees. With growing numbers of international and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, the number of mergers and acquisition (M&A) deals is on pace to set a six-year high. We also are seeing significant growth in the private equity M&A market, as a growing number of equity firms are flush with cash and undertaking bigger deals. Transactions worth $10 billion or more-sums that would have been inconceivable only one year ago-are growing increasingly prevalent. To address this significant development, a subcommittee on private equity firms is being formed within the section’s Committee on Negotiated Acquisitions. This subcommittee, open to any section member with an interest in this area, will meet for the first time during the 2006 ABA annual meeting. It will bring together private equity specialists with the initial goal of building a library of the tools and resources that practitioners are using in the field. In other projects, the section will work with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the coming year on implementing securities offering reform, including advocacy for Offering Reform Part 2, and interpreting the new executive compensation disclosure rules that the SEC is expected to adopt late this summer. Because in both of these areas rules have been adopted already-or soon will be adopted-we don’t expect to offer any formal comment. However, the section will seek interpretive guidance from the SEC staff, and will coordinate an effort to gather questions that the SEC staff could use in a “frequently asked questions” document. Women in business law Thousands of American women lawyers experienced in addressing business challenges are beginning to transition out of active law practice. As American boards face the need for independent directors, these women can bring to business governance superb independent judgment and deep understanding of business, financial and management issues. ABA President-Elect Karen Mathis, with the ABA Section of Business Law, is developing the DirectWomen initiative to enable women lawyers leaving private practice to prepare for service as independent directors. This initiative will launch with a luncheon on March 30, 2007, in New York City. Back to Business Law, a pilot project sponsored by the Section of Business Law, provides periodic continuing legal education programs and informal networking opportunities for attorneys who temporarily leave active practice in law firms or corporate settings (including women who leave for months or years to care for children) but remain interested and engaged in business law issues. Business law develops rapidly, and lawyers who have left active practice have fewer ways to stay in touch with cutting-edge developments, and fewer opportunities to satisfy their mandatory continuing legal education requirements. When these lawyers decide to re-enter practice, they will benefit from the information and contacts that they gain from Back to Business Law events. While the pilot program will take place in New York City, it will expand nationally in the coming year. Legal-opinion questions are emerging as a new category of malpractice cases. There are risks for opinion recipients’ counsel as well as opinion givers. In October, the section, together with the TriBar Opinions Committee and the business law sections of a number of state bars, will sponsor a legal opinion risk management seminar. This seminar will provide a look at this emerging area of the law and provide practical guidance. To learn more about these projects and other programs of the Section of Business Law, visit Linda C. Hayman, a partner in the New York office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, is the incoming chair of the ABA Section of Business Law. Her practice focuses on commercial law with an emphasis on secured transactions. CRIMINAL LAW Katrina proved the need for better disaster planning As the leading national organization representing prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and academics on criminal justice-related issues, the Section of Criminal Justice has the unique ability to garner and synthesize expertise to promote a balanced perspective on the American criminal justice system. During the coming year, the section will continue ongoing policy and efforts in white-collar crime, youth at risk, disaster recovery, criminal justice standards, bias in the system, national security and effective criminal sanctions, among others. It also will address issues critical to the proper functioning of the justice system as they arise. The prosecution of white-collar crime presents challenging policy issues, which the section will work with the defense community and the U.S. Department of Justice to address. Its youth-at-risk efforts will target truancy and other offenses that, on a typical day in 2004, accounted for about 7,000 inmates under 18 being held in adult jails-with nearly nine in 10 of these juveniles being held as adults. See Howard N. Snyder and Melissa Sickmund, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, at 236. On Nov. 2 and 3, the section will host a conference in New Orleans entitled, “Recovering From and Preparing Criminal Justice for a Disaster.” The section has assembled major local and national organizational and individual criminal justice leaders to participate in the event. Experience from Hurricane Katrina has poignantly demonstrated the importance of all segments of the criminal justice system developing, coordinating and implementing a successful response to disaster. For more than 30 years, the ABA Criminal Justice Standards have been critically important for prosecutors, defense attorneys, policymakers and judges, who cite them often as authority. By the beginning of my term as chairman, the section will have published expanded standards on speedy trial and the timely resolution of criminal cases, and will have presented to the House of Delegates for approval new standards on DNA evidence. The section will continue to address critical criminal justice issues, including new prosecutorial investigation standards, revised prosecution and defense function standards and updated standards on prisoners’ legal status. Questions of trust Public safety requires trust in the criminal justice system, and even a perception of bias threatens the ability of the system to protect the community. At the end of 2004, about 8.4% of black males between ages 25 and 29 were in state or federal prison, compared to 2.5% of Hispanic males and 1.2% of white males in the same age group. Paige M. Harrison and Allen J. Beck, “Prisoners in 2004,” Bureau Just. Stat. Bull., October 2005, at 1, available at An important goal for the section is to reduce or eliminate actual bias and unwarranted perceptions of it within affected segments of the population. The criminal justice ramifications of the Bush administration’s effort to improve national security fall squarely within the jurisdiction of the section. Warrantless monitoring of telephone conversations prompts concern for Fourth Amendment rights, and there is debate over whether Sixth Amendment rights are compromised by policies that allow monitoring of communications between inmates and attorneys. The section’s extensive experience in these areas will be applied to its analysis and policy statements this year. Finally, the section’s work with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions holds great potential. The commission has proposed a number of policy statements that would address topics such as alternatives to incarceration and conviction, improvements in probation and parole supervision, collateral consequences of conviction and training in the exercise of discretion. ABA Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions, Reports with Recommendations to the ABA House of Delegates, August 2006, available at We strongly believe that governments that adopt these policies will advance public safety-while at the same time helping offenders to lead law-abiding and productive lives. Robert M.A. Johnson is chair-elect of the Section of Criminal Justice. He has served as the county attorney for Anoka County, Minn., since 1983, and is a past president of the National District Attorneys Association. DISPUTE RESOLUTION The focus is on removing barriers to the practice For the past 20 years, the legal community has been told to expect a tidal wave of mediation and arbitration that will affect the way American society resolves disputes. Trials were going to become a poor stepchild of a robust system of consensual dispute resolution processes that would be more efficient, produce better solutions and leave fewer scars on the participants. It’s true that we have seen some notable successes along these lines. It is hard to find a court that doesn’t require spouses seeking divorce to mediate custody issues, for example. The awareness that trials are an imperfect and, at times, toxic way of managing family disputes has been perhaps the greatest spur to growth of our field. Small claims also are routinely sent to mediation. And federal policy at every branch of government has encouraged or mandated alternative dispute resolution. So why are there so many more mediators looking for work than there is work for them to do? Instead of creating barriers to entry that limit the number of mediators and arbitrators, the dispute resolution field must take a hard look at the demand for its services and determine how better to meet the needs of its consumers. One major initiative of the Section of Dispute Resolution this year will be the work of the Task Force on the Quality of Mediation. The task force has drawn its members from a broad array of the legal community, including the plaintiffs’ and defense bars, academia and accomplished mediators. The task force already has held three focus groups that included different consumers of mediation. Preliminarily, the members of the task force learned that the traditional model of mediation may not be what sophisticated consumers expect. This in turn may call into question the manner in which we train mediators. More sessions are planned, but the work is exciting and may very well lead to a meaningful re-examination of the mediation field. (Anyone who would like to participate in this effort is encouraged to contact me directly at the e-mail address below.) The section is the undisputed leader in the field of dispute resolution, having more members than any professional organization of dispute resolution professionals, and, more importantly, being the pre-eminent force in setting public policy in the field. In the year ahead, the task force will build upon its successful collaboration with the Section of Litigation in winning House of Delegates approval last August for model standards of mediation, and earlier work with the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws in developing the Uniform Mediation Act. Furthermore, the association’s Section of Dispute Resolution has recently banded together with several public interest groups to lobby Congress against ill-conceived federal consent legislation that would eviscerate the ability of federal agencies to enter into consent agreements. Pro bono and diversity also will continue to be priorities in the coming year. The section will initiate a pilot project with the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia to provide free mediators to resolve disputes between individuals who cannot afford legal assistance. Additionally, the section will reach out to underserved populations, especially the American Indian community, which often have been ignored by the established legal community. John Bickerman is the incoming chair of the Section of Dispute Resolution. He is a full-time mediator and arbitrator and a former adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]. LITIGATION Training the next generation in uncertain times The Section of Litigation continues its important work as the home for trial lawyers in the profession. With more than 75,000 members, the section is one of the fastest growing in the American Bar Association. From the most senior trial lawyer or general counsel to young lawyers conducting their first trials, the section provides a wide range of member benefits designed to address the needs of trial lawyers at every level of practice. Our award-winning traditional and online publications are practical and scholarly, and address both established and emerging legal issues. A task force on the rule of law in times of calamity will be one of the key initiatives for the 2006-07 year. As the planning for this year commenced, the section was reviewing the many issues that faced the legal system in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Then came hurricanes Katrina and Rita, with their cataclysmic effects on the legal system and our profession. Few anticipated and certainly none had adequately planned for the devastation these natural disasters wrought-the complete shutdown of court systems; the loss of evidence; the displacement of lawyers, judges and court personnel; the inability to meet constitutional requirements such as affording speedy trials; and the loss of essential infrastructure that allowed our justice system to function. The bar needs to be ready to respond in a principled manner to the needs of victims, society and the legal system in these times of emergency. The section has assembled influential lawyers, judges and academics in a task force on the rule of law in times of calamity that will address issues of compensation, procedural justice and civil rights. From the tolling of limitations to anti-gouging statutes, the task force will work with the section’s committees to propose a package of legislation that every state should have on its books in time of emergency. Independence of the judiciary As part of its rule of law initiative, the section will address issues related to the independence of the judiciary. From the Terri Schiavo case to challenges to the jurisdiction of the courts, our judicial system is under attack. While independence of the judiciary is the subject of much recent discussion, trial lawyers have always had a special role in educating the public as to the critical importance of this issue. A task force of leading lawyers and judges will consider ways in which the profession can better educate the public on the importance of the independence of the judiciary and what that means in our constitutional system and in the life of the average citizen. The section continues to develop those core programs so critical to the work of trial lawyers. A new program this year is the symposium titled “Elevating Your Game: Lawyers of Color Accessing Power.” This program will address the issues faced by minority lawyers later in their careers, from the courtroom to business development. We will assemble prominent lawyers in private practice, government, the nonprofit world and general counsel of leading companies to discuss these critical issues and steps for improving access for these lawyers. The section will continue its emphasis on the jury trial and the training of advocates and will, for the first time, hold a Litigation Institute for Trial Training. Recognizing that lawyers who are new to the profession simply do not have the same opportunities for first-hand trial experience, seasoned trial lawyers will provide in-depth training on persuasion, effective trial techniques and ethics and civility principles. The section will publish a book that addresses some of the workplace and career development issues identified as part of its Raise the Bar project, our effort to identify concerns lawyers have about the practice of law including unhealthy work-life balance. The work of the Vanishing Trial and the American Jury Project will continue through a trial symposium and a jury symposium. Working with the Children’s Rights Litigation Committee, the section will fund a video, How to Interview a Child. The Judicial Internship Opportunity Program, which served some 165 students and worked with 116 judges in five states last year, will be further expanded. The section periodically assesses its mission and members benefits. We have begun a strategic planning process called “The Section at 40.” As the section develops, we are always assessing our services and how we can better meet the needs of all trial lawyers and judges on the key issues in the legal profession. Kim J. Askew, a partner at Hughes & Luce in Dallas, is the incoming chair of the ABA Section of Litigation. She chairs the Committee on Institute Size of the American Law Institute. REAL PROPERTY The watchword for the new year is collaboration The Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law continues to focus its programs and projects on communication, collaboration, community service and creative continuing legal education (CLE) offerings. Maintaining this focus has helped to establish the section as the nation’s authoritative voice of probate and trust and real property lawyers. Recognizing the need for constant attention to external and internal communications and public relations, the section has created a new standing committee on communications dedicated to the section’s needs to publicize its activities. Also, the section’s focus on improved communication to and between its members includes the development of new and improved Web sites for its substantive law committees. Through these Web sites, these committees will be able to share information about the law as well as their meetings, activities and projects. In addition, the section is developing a new electronic periodical that will be sent to all members and will contain breaking news on legal developments and forthcoming section meetings and activities. This yet-to-be-named “e-periodical” will have a full editorial staff and will be the third star in the section’s constellation of periodic publications, including Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal and its magazine, Probate & Property. National conferences Many of the section’s projects involve collaboration with other ABA sections (e.g., the taxation and intellectual property law groups) and other professional organizations, such as the American Bankers Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. Information sharing and working with these outside groups has improved the effectiveness of the section’s efforts, as well as its visibility. These collaborative efforts include two national conferences, one in partnership with the bankers’ association and another with AICPA; and in two synergy summits, one with other professional probate and trust organizations and the other with additional professional real estate organizations. The section is a participant in two task forces involving additional groups, one to examine the issues surrounding the patenting of tax and legal techniques and another to comment on the USA Patriot Act. In addition, the Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law will continue extending its Community Outreach Program to new locales. Designed to raise the economic horizons of minority-group lawyers and expand diversity in these specialized branches of the law, this program trains lawyers on the important details related to their specialty that they never learned in law school. Continuing its outreach efforts, the section is maintaining its involvement in a project that identifies the character, scope and possible solutions to the loss of tenancy-in-common property throughout the United States. Its focus is to deliver legal services to owners of jointly owned property, helping them understand the problem. Another section concern this year is the increasing lack of emphasis on real property courses in law school curriculums. In response to this observation, the section has created a task force to develop a canon that will prescribe appropriate content for first-year property classes in order to ensure consistency in courses around the country. The section continues to expand its successful electronic CLE programming, as evidenced both by the large attendance at these programs and by the wide variety of topics covered. This type of programming allows the section to deliver CLE to the legal community in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Additionally, it attracts more luminaries in the profession to serve as speakers due to the convenience provided by the available technology. Christine L. Albright, chair-elect of the Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, is a partner and department head of Winston & Strawn’s trusts and estates department. She is based in the firm’s Chicago home office. TAXATION Making sure the system works fairly for everyone The ever-changing, complex world of tax law provides challenges and opportunities for those of us in the Section of Taxation. Last year was no exception, as we participated in more than 50 comment letters to tax policymakers and federal agencies on far-ranging issues affecting the tax system. One of the section’s most important projects last year was coordinating our response to the tax needs of those affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and other storms. We created a task force that worked with our committees to develop comments on guidance promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), met with legislators working on Katrina aid issues and coordinated with American Bar Association assistance efforts. The tax section continues to provide assistance through the online Katrina Legal Aid Resource Center and other resources available on our Web site. We have a signed memorandum of understanding with the IRS to assist taxpayers, as needed. Last year was an active one for tax-policy issues. The report from the President’s Advisory Council on Tax Reform contains recommendations that will be part of the public debate in coming months. Pension reform legislation in Congress is something we are watching, with an eye to providing technical comments after a bill has passed. The section is always concerned about issues facing taxpayers and practitioners, each of whom faces specific challenges. For example, taxpayers face issues regarding the electronic filing of their taxes and getting assistance from reliable, reputable tax-return preparers whom they can trust. A proposed change to the laws regarding the disclosure of taxpayer information by return preparers is something we will be following closely. The overriding goal must be to protect taxpayer privacy. Enron, WorldCom fallout Tax practitioners also are facing issues that initially arose from the Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. bankruptcies. The section has provided comments on many of the legislative proposals and regulatory guidelines that were developed to help ensure fairness and accountability. Implementation of those guidelines, including Circular 230 provisions, taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation, corporate governance of tax-exempt organizations, accounting guidelines and others, continues to be a focus. The section fully supports the goal of assuring taxpayers that the system is working fairly, efficiently and effectively for all. Finally, I want to mention the section’s support of the ABA’s Goal IX-our commitment to diversity within the profession and to the promotion of an atmosphere of inclusion within the section and our committees. Although tax law has not traditionally been a field in which many women and minorities choose to practice, we are seeing that change slowly but surely. I am proud to say that I will be the second woman to chair the section, after Pamela Olson. We hope that many others-and many lawyers of color-will follow that lead. The section’s diversity committee encourages women and minority tax lawyers of color to join us and help increase diversity among future practitioners. The committee provides outstanding continuing legal education programs, and has begun to organize urban community outreach programs in cooperation with local minority and ethnic bar associations. We encourage law students of diverse backgrounds to choose tax law as a career, and to participate in our section’s activities. Susan P. Serota is incoming chair of the Section of Taxation. She is a partner in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s New York office, and chairs the firm’s executive compensation and benefits practice. TORTS Nurturing youth, building diversity in the profession The Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), with a membership of more than 35,000, is the only national forum that brings together plaintiffs’ attorneys, defense attorneys and insurance and corporate counsel for the exchange of information and ideas. With such diverse practice concerns, the section is committed to representing all facets of its membership. Recommendations presented by the section on asbestos legislation, for example, were the result of input from plaintiffs’ lawyers, defense lawyers, corporate in-house counsel, insurance company representatives and academics. The section’s task force on contingent fees took the same approach in writing its report on medical malpractice litigation. This balanced point of view is a model for moving forward in the legal arena. The new year will see the unveiling of the new TIPS Leadership Academy. This program aspires to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to lead the legal profession and serve the community. The goals are to diversity the profession’s leadership, promote ethical, professional and community service values; build relationships among leaders across the country and from

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