Daily Briefs

ABA transitions 2020 Annual Meeting from in-person to virtual

The American Bar Association, in consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, announced today that it will transition its 2020 Annual Meeting, scheduled for July 29-Aug. 4 in Chicago, to an entirely virtual meeting.

“While we will not meet in person this summer in Chicago, I am pleased that we will nonetheless gather together to continue our important work,” said ABA President Judy Perry Martinez. “The ABA will present our Annual Meeting this year with a fresh, new approach to our always informative and inspiring event that so many of us and our families look forward to.”

The virtual meeting, which is free to ABA members, will offer registrants access to influential speakers relevant to the legal profession and the highest quality programming with a revised schedule to accommodate members’ locations and time. The virtual meeting will include governance and business meetings, CLE Showcase programs, virtual networking opportunities, General Assembly with the presentation of the ABA Medal, and the House of Delegates.

“The health and safety of attendees and staff remains the primary concern of the ABA,” said ABA Executive Director Jack Rives. “The decision to go virtual will allow us to give our members the best possible meeting experience while guaranteeing everyone’s well-being. We also expect that many of the innovations incorporated into this year’s meeting will be added to future in-person meetings.”

More details will be released in the next few weeks. Information on schedules and registration can be found at www.ambar.org/annual.


Nessel to investigate canceled contract to trace infections

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday her office will investigate how the state awarded a since-canceled contract to a Democratic political firm to help contact and warn people who were potentially exposed to the coronavirus, after Republicans raised questions.

Nessel, a Democrat, agreed to probe the procurement process at the request of state Sen. Jim Runestad, a Republican. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week ordered the cancellation of her administration’s no-bid contact-tracing contract to Great Lakes Community Engagement, calling it an “unnecessary distraction.”

The Grand Rapids company is owned by a Democratic consultant who planned to use software developed by a firm with ties to Democratic campaigns.

Whitmer has said the contract — which would have been worth nearly $200,000 over two months — should have been approved by the State Emergency Operations Center, not the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Whitmer said last week the state health department “does not have a political bone in their theoretical body.” Boosting efforts to track down people who came into contact with individuals who have COVID-19 is “incredibly important,” she said.

Republicans have called for Whitmer’s administration to release state emails related to the decision to give the contract to Great Lakes Community Engagement.


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