September 23-25 |
This past September, the South Florida Chapter of the Federal Bar Association hosted hundreds of FBA members from around the country for the 2021 FBA Annual Meeting & Convention.
Thursday, September 23, marked the first full day of convention activities in Miami. FBA President W. West Allen and South Florida Chapter Board member and Planning Committee Chair Oliver Ruiz gave welcome remarks to start off the day.
The morning session kicked off with an insightful discussion on implicit bias, which addressed how implicit bias affects decision making and how it influences the criminal justice system, including charging decisions, jury selection, and sentencing. Another morning panel focused on other jury biases that could work to derail a trial; the panelists discussed how to deal with unsympathetic witnesses or clients who may have difficult backgrounds or issues, including drug or alcohol dependency issues. The third morning panel provided a bankruptcy practice update.
The afternoon session was packed with four panels addressing a wide range of topics, including: advocacy in the international arbitration arena; emerging issues involving abuse of INTERPOL systems by authoritarian governments; how to handle and fight ransomware attacks; and constitutional issues surrounding COVID-19 restrictions and mandates imposed by state and local governments.
The line-up of impressive and thoughtful speakers on Thursday included partners from law firms around the country; attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Public Defender’s Office, the Department of Justice, the Perception Institute, and The Heritage Foundation; and state and federal judges, including U.S. District Court Judges Rodolfo “Rudy” Ruiz II and Raag Singhal of the Southern District of Florida, U.S. District Court Judge Joshua David Wolson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth A. Gunn of the District of Columbia, and Florida Circuit Court Judge Lisa Walsh of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Miami-Dade, Florida.
The Annual Meeting continued on Friday, September 24, and was kicked off by a general session featuring George Piro, the Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Division. Mr. Piro discussed his experience interrogating Saddam Hussein and addressed strategies for collecting evidence and information.
The morning continued with a variety of excellent programs, including a panel discussion regarding cryptoassets that featured U.S. District Judge Roy Altman and City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez. Later programs explored topics such as the Hague Child Abduction Convention, featuring U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan and U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, and First Amendment free speech issues in schools, presented by attorneys who argued a leading case on the topic at the United States Supreme Court.
In the afternoon, business meetings for the various sections and committees of the national Federal Bar Association took place. One of the highlights was the meeting of the FBA's IP Law Section, which was held at the Frost Science Museum, and which included ten law students whose attendance at the Annual Meeting was sponsored by the Section.
On Friday evening, the Chapter hosted its signature event, the Welcome Reception at the Perez Art Museum Miami, which was bought out through the generous support of the Chapter’s sponsors. Hundreds of attendees gathered to enjoy food and drinks on the museum terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay, and to stroll the museum at their leisure. Attendees were able to enjoy live music, a Brazilian dance troupe, fine cigars, and poems typed on the spot by The Biscayne Poet. Most importantly, it was an opportunity for FBA members from around the country to gather in person for an enjoyable time.
On Saturday, the final day of the Annual Meeting, the FBA held programs for chapter leaders and hosted an awards luncheon. The South Florida Chapter received an award for excellence in programming and activities, and Immediate Past President Yaniv Adar received a Chapter Leader of the Year Award, an award given to only three individual leaders from across the country. The FBA’s National Council meeting took place as well, and the finale for the Annual Meeting and Convention was the National President’s Dinner, to celebrate the installation of Anh Le Kremer as President of the Federal Bar Association.
The South Florida Chapter was honored to host the 2021 Annual Meeting and Convention, and it received many compliments from attendees and much praise from national FBA leaders for the planning and execution of the event. We want to once again thank our generous sponsors and the judges and lawyers who participated in the programs for making the convention an overwhelming success.
Thank You For Your Support of the FBA South Florida Chapter Welcome Reception at PAMM
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