ABA meeting focuses on emerging legal trends

Attorneys at all levels of practice have gathered for the first-ever American Bar Association Joint Spring Meeting on nontraditional delivery of legal services this week in Las Vegas.

The joint conference, scheduled today through Saturday, was the brainchild of Judge Jennifer Rymell, chair of GPSolo, and GLSA President Gerald “Pat” Monks.

The State Bar of Nevada’s newly formed Solo and Small Practice Section is also participating.

“Given the overlap of group legal plan attorneys and solo and small firm attorneys, working together was a natural fit,” Rymell said.

Group legal services plans are frequently sold as a voluntary employee benefit and provide a wide variety of personal legal services for a monthly fee. Most of the lawyers providing the legal services for the plans are solo or small-firm practitioners.

The conference will cover a wide range of topics, including building a practice with group legal, drafting a will and understanding technology in the small law office.

Attendees can also participate in a variety of networking opportunities, including a poolside reception on May 1 and scheduled “power networking” sessions.

Among the conference highlights are:

• “The Wide World of Advertising Law — A Look at Past Disasters and Future Challenges” — Conference organizers note there is something to be learned from campaigns that have gone wrong — not just to understand what happened, but also to see how the sponsor dealt with the situation and how the legal rights of the parties were determined.

This presentation will provide a look at a few of the most famous (and not-so-famous) examples over the past 25 years, as well as a peek at some of the issues that advertisers and sponsors may face in the future, including with privacy and “Big Data.”

• “State of the Legal Industry” — This session brings together professionals from every segment of the group legal services industry to discuss the past year and new issues being raised this year.

Topics will include the effects of the economy, federal legislation, federal case law and the changing legal industry.

• “What Every Practitioner Should Know About Immigration Law” — This presentation will provide a general overview of immigration law, including a historical background, current law, common applications and intersections with other areas of law.

• “Defense of Marriage Act” — Last year, the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, throwing into question how individual states’ laws would work with the new federal statutes.

This session will survey same-sex marriage laws across the country and include discussions about the history of DOMA, recent legal developments and how corporations (and possibly local governments) are reacting to the changes.

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