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January 24, 2002

America's Lawyers Head to Philly for 200th Birthday Observance

Lawyers from throughout the nation will converge on Philadelphia from Friday, Jan. 30 through Tuesday, Feb. 5 for the 63rd Midyear Meeting of the American Bar Association. More than 3,000 lawyers, judges and their guests will attend the convention, which is also part of the ongoing observance of the Philadelphia Bar Association's bicentennial. The event marks the first time in 14 years that the ABA has come to Philadelphia.

"We're delighted to be hosting the ABA," said Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Allan H. Gordon. "Many well-known speakers will be in town and important topics and issues will be examined. It's also good news for the local economy." Gordon noted that more than 7,000 room nights have already been booked in seven participating center city hotels and that restaurants are busy with reservations and function planning. "This is a desirable group to have in town and frankly, it couldn't come at a better time," Gordon added. "This is the culmination of a five-year effort to bring the ABA back to Philadelphia. We're thrilled about it"

The headquarters for the meeting will be the Philadelphia Marriott on Market Street. Registration will be located in the Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin Hall A, Level 4, and will be open daily beginning at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30. The Midyear EXPO will also be located at the Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin Hall A, Level 4. The Midyear EXPO, featuring vendors of legal products and services, will open Friday, Feb. 1, at noon and close Saturday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m.

Members will be attending some of the more than 780 meetings and events taking place in the Philadelphia Marriott and at various hotels, restaurants, museums, clubs, law firms and other locations. Program information and the names of the approximately 110 speakers will be listed in the 96-page program to be distributed on site. More than 66 programs will be certified for continuing legal education credit.

ABA President Robert E. Hirshon of Portland, Maine, will preside over the meeting of the ABA Board of Governors on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at the Philadelphia Marriott. On Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 4 and 5, Karen J. Mathis of Denver, will preside over the meeting of the 535-member House of Delegates, the Association's policy-making body, in the Grand Ballroom, Level 5, of the Philadelphia Marriott.

Logistics for the Midyear Meeting include shipment in one 53-foot truck more than 35,000 pounds of materials gathered from the ABA offices in Chicago and Washington, and from its printers. Equipment to be set up for the ABA staff offices in the Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin Hall B, includes a server with 17 computers for word processing, Internet and e-mail access; two printers; two heavy-duty photocopy machines; one convenience copy machine; and other office equipment and supplies.

The ABA offices will total more than 20,000 square feet and will be divided by 1,170 linear feet of pipe and drape. Offices will be fully equipped with desks, file cabinets and phone service for staff. To help keep the staff in touch, the Association is installing more than 57 direct dial lines, 30 personal computer lines, nine fax lines, seven conference phone units and 78 single and multi-line phone sets at the Philadelphia Marriott. There will also be 15 cellular phones, 40 Internet connections, two credit card reader lines, and walkie-talkie wireless communication services.

Almost 40 percent of the events listed in the program will be meal functions. Oversupplies of food will be donated to Philabundance, a non-profit organization that distributes meals to shelters, kitchens and other community organizations serving people in need.

Credentialed representatives of the news media are welcome to attend and cover events at the meeting. Credentials can be obtained in the full-service press room that will be set up for working journalists in the Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin Hall B, in the ABA staff office area. ABA credentials will be extended to journalists who present appropriate identification to the staff of the press room.

The press room will be open for on-site news media registration beginning at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 30, and daily thereafter from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will close one hour after the adjournment of the House on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The press room phone number will be (215) 409-4054. The fax number will be (215) 409-4055.

Complete programs, copies of resolutions to be considered by the House, highlights of events, ABA background information, and more will be available in the Press Room. A news media filing room will be fully equipped with fax machines, phones and PC lines. Staff of the ABA Division for Media Relations and Communication Services will be on hand to assist media in covering events. Special lighting and sound feeds will be available for electronic broadcasters at selected events. Contact the press room for details on guidelines for coverage and for changes in schedules.

The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership association in the world. The Philadelphia Bar Association is America's oldest chartered metropolitan bar association. The two associations have always enjoyed a close working relationship though they are independent entities. Both organizations help to provide continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, legal assistance to those in need and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.

"We've worked well with the ABA over the years and have accomplished much with our colleagues from throughout the nation." Chancellor Gordon observed. "As boundaries shrink even further, we're looking forward to a bright future as we continue to serve the profession and the public."

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