Hundreds of JRCLS attorneys and their guests flocked to warm Dallas for the Annual Conference held at Southern Methodist University. BYU Law School Dean James Rasband started off the event Thursday evening with an overview of statistics and trends in the legal profession and legal education; on Friday, Ambassador Robert King introduced us to the human rights complexities of North Korea. Friday morning, attendees chose between a lively and humorous insight into trial practice, including several U.S. District Court Judges' pet peeves, and an interesting and informative analysis of the development of national security law. Attendees then tried to find standing room in a packed forum to hear Von Keetch present the legal developments -- from Hawaii to Prop 8 -- on same-sex marriage, while across the hall, Judges Elrod and Haynes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and Justice Tom Lee of the Utah Supreme Court offered their perspectives on appellate practice.
Former White House Counsel Harriet Miers offered a gracious and insightful keynote address on professionalism at lunch. Following her remarks, attendees chose from several panel options, concluding with a discussion of religious liberty issues, including conscience rights of medical personnel and the pledge of allegiance. Friday night we enjoyed a true Texas dinner and country dancing at Eddie Dean's Ranch, while former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey offered a real insider's look into the ethical choices the United States confronts in the war on terror.
Saturday morning participants attended practice-group meetings and presentations on entering the legal profession and pursuing clerkships, then assembled for the perennial fan-favorite presentations of the LDS Church's Office of General Counsel. This year, we heard from the Area Legal Counsel serving in Central America, the Caribbean and South America, who shared the power and influence of the Lord in the Church's international legal developments. At the concluding luncheon, Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel of the Church, presented an overview of the Church's legal challenges, including the eroding principle of church autonomy in the United States and abroad.
At the Saturday morning meetings, the Conference organizers announced that Law Society members in the Bay Area will host next year's Conference at Stanford Law School. Anyone interested in helping with the Conference should contact Joshua Randall, Chair of the JRCLS Conference Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you all in Palo Alto!
By Elaine Young
Posted: March 31, 2011