Atlanta Skyline.
Atlanta Skyline. (John Disney/Daily Report)

The Federal Bar Association, which serves lawyers and judges who work in the U.S. courts, will descend on Atlanta this week for its annual conference.

About 500 attendees are expected for the Sept. 14-16 event at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, said the outgoing president of the organization, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Newman of Dayton, Ohio. He will be succeeded by Kip Bollin of Thompson Hine in Cleveland.

Newman said Kevin Maxim of Atlanta headed the committee planning the three-day event.

Two highlights of the meeting are separate appearances Friday by former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, now at DLA Piper, and by NPR legal correspondent Nina Totenberg.

Newman said making sure litigants can afford competent counsel for civil litigation is a struggle for the courts. “You want the playing field to be level,” he said.

Newman said a key initiative of his term as president was a project with the administrative office of the U.S. Courts in which students met with federal judges. About 10,000 students had that experience, he said, during which some were able to argue a mock case.

Frequent questions from students, Newman said, are, “How are judges fair?” and “What do you do if you have a conflict?”

Aside from teaching children about recusals, Newman said, “It makes me happy young people are learning about the courts.”