ABA conference features $40K charitable 'shoot out'

A competition featuring the best litigators in the country, remarks from the nation’s most influential LGBT lawyers and more than 40 programs on a wide range of litigation topics are on the agenda for the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference in San Francisco from May 3-5.

Four of the nation’s top trial lawyers, including Daralyn Durie, founder of Durie Tangri, one of Silicon Valley’s go-to boutiques, whose clients include  Google, Genentech and Twitter, have each donated $10,000, and will compete in “Shoot Out at the Barbary Coast Corral—The Masters of Closing Argument.”

Each will present a closing argument for a fact pattern modeled on the high-profile Pao v. Kleiner Perkins trial, with $40,000 to be awarded to the winner’s designated charity.

Others competing are: James Brosnahan, senior trial counsel of Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office, who defended the “American Taliban” in the first post-9/11 terrorism prosecution; Robert Clifford, founder of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, who won a $29.6 million settlement for an internationally acclaimed violinist who was run over by a train; and Bart Williams, co-chair of Proskauer Rose’s Los Angeles litigation department, who has been described by the Chambers USA guide as “one of the smoothest trial lawyers you’ll ever come across.”

Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, chief justice of the state of California, will address the conference attendees.

The John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award will be presented to Eva Paterson, president and co-founder of the Equal Justice Society.

The award celebrates outstanding contributions to the equality of justice.

The Diversity Leadership Award will be presented during the luncheon to the Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence, a collaboration between the University of Baltimore School of Law and Maryland’s four historically black colleges and universities.

The award recognizes demonstrated commitment to full and equal participation in the legal community for women, people of color, persons with disabilities and persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities. 

Other programs include:

• “LGBT Politics and Justice” —This keynote luncheon features Tina Tchen, chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama and Therese M. Stewart, the first openly lesbian justice appointed to the California Court of Appeal and successful advocate in the California Supreme Court in the marriage cases.

• “President Trump and the Courts: The First 100 Days” — Panelists include former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and Yale Law School professor Harold Koh. The program will be moderated by Pamela Karlan, co-director of Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.