Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 10

ABA DELEGATE'S CORNER

Our New Challenges
and Obligations
By Robert N. Weiner

I

write this report cloistered for
the 90th consecutive working
day in my jerry-rigged home
office. COVID-19 has infected more
than 3.5 million Americans and
killed at least 143,000, more than
the number of U.S. soldiers killed in
all the military conflicts of the last
hundred years excluding World
War II.
Across the country, massive protests erupted in
reaction to videos of police officers suffocating
an unarmed African American man. While the
protests have abated, their message has gained
broader acceptance. The killing of George Floyd,
captured on video, personalized for millions of
Americans the enduring social inequities that
can infect, among other things, law enforcement and the justice system.
In this time of crisis, I worried at first that it
would seem out of touch to report on the
activities of the ABA, rather than address the
exigent issues confronting the community, the
profession, and the legal system. It turns out,
though, that to report on the activities of the
ABA is to address these important issues.
Speaking out on the protests and on the injustices that engendered them, ABA President Judy
Perry Martinez has reminded us that as lawyers,
we are responsible for the rule of law - that we
depend on it, benefit from it, and sustain it. But
ultimately, we cannot maintain the rule of law
unless Americans have faith in our system of
justice. As the voice of the legal profession, the
ABA is taking a key role in the effort to restore
that faith. For example, Martinez has called on
lawyers to intensify their efforts to end systemic

10

WASHINGTON LAWYER

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racism and urged as a priority the elimination of
immunity for police brutality.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also imposed
special obligations on lawyers. Millions of
people displaced by the pandemic need assistance with bankruptcies, evictions, employment issues, health concerns, and labyrinthine
federal relief programs. Lawyers have provided
such assistance, and the ABA has helped them
to do so.
In March, the ABA launched an initiative
addressing legal needs arising from the
pandemic. The ABA Coronavirus Task Force,
chaired by former D.C. Bar President and Legal
Services Corporation President Emeritus Jim
Sandman, includes legal specialists in disaster
response, health law, insurance, criminal
justice, benefits, and civil rights, among others.
The task force will make recommendations
to address the legal challenges posed by
COVID-19 and mobilize volunteer legal
professionals to meet them. The task force
has created a website1 that catalogs resources
from law firms, research services, ABA entities,
affinity bars, and other organizations. It also
links to a database that aggregates 5,260 legal
memos relating to the pandemic.
Lawyers also have been victims of COVID-19
and its economic shockwaves. In response, the
ABA has established the Coordinating Group
on Practice Forward to harness resources
related to the pandemic and assemble the
expertise needed to deal with the emerging
needs of the profession. The group will take
advantage of the ABA's unique vantage point
spanning all practice areas and settings to help
lawyers be productive, financially viable, and
professionally gratified in the new reality they
confront. You can find on the ABA website
resources such as a free video series on
working remotely, job search tips for attorneys
during the pandemic and beyond, and new

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

Lawyers need to
remain focused on
those values and to
find creative ways
to meet the new
professional challenges
confronting us.
virtual versions of what previously were major
in-person substantive conclaves.
Although this period of upheaval has engendered rapid technological, economic, and
social changes affecting our lives and livelihoods, the values that have sustained our profession remain intact. Lawyers need to remain
focused on those values and to find creative
ways to meet the new professional challenges
confronting us. The ABA is a valuable resource
in that effort. Use it.
Robert N. Weiner is a partner at Arnold & Porter
LLP and D.C. State Delegate to the American Bar
Association. He is also an adjunct professor of law
at Georgetown University Law Center. Reach him
at robert.weiner@arnoldporter.com.

NOTE

	1	 americanbar.org/advocacy/the-aba-taskforce-on-legal-needs-arising-out-of-the-2020pandem.


https://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/the-aba-task-force-on-legal-needs-arising-out-of-the-2020-pandem/ https://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/the-aba-task-force-on-legal-needs-arising-out-of-the-2020-pandem/

Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
ABA Delegates Corner
Calendar of Events
Re-Envisioning the Bar Exam feature
The New Normal in Legal Education feature
On Shaky Ground feature
How the Pandemic Has Transformed Courts Feature
The Science of Why Clients Ignore Counsel's Advice feature
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Susan Biniaz
Member Spotlight - Whit Washington
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Re-Envisioning the Bar Exam feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The New Normal in Legal Education feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - On Shaky Ground feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - How the Pandemic Has Transformed Courts Feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The Science of Why Clients Ignore Counsel's Advice feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Member Spotlight - Susan Biniaz
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Member Spotlight - Whit Washington
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover4
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