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For 35 years, the Section of Litigation has provided a critical forum for the nation’s trial lawyers. With more than 75,000 members, it is the national home for litigators at all stages of their practice and one of the fastest-growing sections in the American Bar Association. The section has a rich history of providing practical tools for effective advocacy and excellent analysis of process and substance through our books, continuing legal education programs, quarterly journals, newsletters and mentoring and training programs. The section offers counsel on legislative and other reforms and provides guidelines and model standards. High on our agenda is our commitment to advancing the public good by working to improve access to justice for all through our many pro bono and public service programs. In the new bar year, the section plans to build upon some exciting and successful initiatives we have undertaken in the past few years. A core activity of the section is the Judicial Intern Opportunity Program, which provides minority and disadvantaged law students with an opportunity to work as summer law clerks under the guidance of federal and state judges. The program gives students an inside look at how the courts work and helps them see clerkships as a career path to success. In light of a study revealing that there are fewer trials and thus fewer opportunities for young lawyers to learn trial skills, we have developed advocacy and trial skills programs, including mentoring efforts and, new this year, the Litigation Institute for Trial Training. As part of our outreach to the next generation of lawyers, we will hold our 2008 annual leadership conference in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Young Lawyers Division. We hope to build meaningful relationships with those who will be taking the reins of the profession in coming years. To mark the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the ABA’s Canons of Ethics, the section will sponsor a symposium at its spring annual meeting, focusing on ethics for litigators and civility, confidentiality, zealousness and diversity. Our goal is to examine how we will meet the ethical challenges facing lawyers in the 21st century. As part of an ongoing effort to make the rule of law a reality around the world, the section held the Darfur Legal Training Project in June. The project provided training for lawyers from Sudan who will represent victims of human rights abuses and genocide before international tribunals. A special training program is planned for lawyers involved in ending human trafficking in Kosovo. During this annual meeting, the section will recommend that the ABA adopt principles for maintaining the rule of law in times of major disaster. Our goal is to assure that the system is able to function and that the rule of law trumps attempts to rein in rights and responsibilities when we face a crisis � be it human-made or natural. Judith A. Miller, general counsel of Bechtel Group Inc. in San Francisco, is incoming chair of the Section of Litigation. For more information about the section, see www.abanet.org/litigation.

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