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ABA First-ever Introspective Assesses Impact of Four-part Mission  

The American Bar Association has audited its chief initiatives in a first-of-its-kind report recently released. The document, entitled the ABA Impact Report, sets to identify and describe the tangible ways the trade group has aided membership to leverage the “power of law” to enhance the legal profession’s quest for justice.

The ABA announcement identified its four primary goals, which are to serve its membership, improve the overall quality of the legal profession, enhance diversity and eliminate bias and “advance the rule of law.”

ABA3“But goals are meaningless without action, and action is empty without impact,” ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross said in a statement. “ … Our work protects civil rights and liberties, expands access to justice for underserved and disadvantaged communities, promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity in the legal field and justice system, advocates for human rights defenders, strengthens legal systems across the globe, and promotes the rule of law everywhere.”

Among the program topics covered in the comprehensive introspective are:

  • The Criminal Justice Section and Center for Human Rights’ Atrocity Crimes Initiative
  • The Center for Children and the Law’s Education Barriers Project
  • The Afghanistan Response Project
  • The Afghanistan Evacuee Assistance program
  • The Death Penalty Representation Project
  • The Defending Democracy Initiative
  • The ABA Free Legal Answers project

It also covers the work of the Basic Custody and Advanced Custody Litigation Institutes, the efforts of the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium and highlights the association’s advocacy efforts with respect to student debt relief, which has become a political battleground under President Joe Biden’s administration.

“The ABA’s advocacy for student debt relief resulted in the Department of Education announcing a temporary waiver of certain rules of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, making more people eligible for loan forgiveness and the White House extending a pause on student loan repayments,” according to the organization.

Executive efforts to provide largescale student loan debt relief are being held up in the courts, and applications for relief are no longer being accepted while the matter plays out, according to the government’s student aid website. The relief plan calls for as much as $20,000 in loan forgiveness. Additionally, student loan repayments are paused until the U.S. Department of Education is allowed to implement the plan, or until litigation is resolved. “Payments will restart 60 days later. If the debt relief program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023–payments will resume 60 days after that,” according to the aid portal.

From Twitter

Susan. Davis @SusanDaviesazx

"The ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative, ROLI, promotes justice, economic opportunity and human dignity through the rule of law. Check out what ROLI is doing around the globe to work toward justice for all:"

According to the ABA, the report covers a wide range of activities, but falls short of documenting the entirety of the work of its more than 3,000 groups and committees. To

Read the full report here.

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