A special tour of the California Supreme Court followed by a luncheon with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye are the one-two punch of a momentous start of the Armenian Bar Association’s 22nd Annual National Meeting in one of the world’s most beautiful places, San Francisco, from April 29 – May 1, 2011. Leading the homeland’s team across the Diaspora-to-Armenia bridge directly into everyone’s favorite city will be the Justice Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Hrayr Tovmasyan.
In the rich tradition of the Association’s annual gatherings, fascinating discussions of broad and contemporary interest to Armenian-American legal professionals will be complemented with an array of fun and exciting social events. The elegant Marriott Union Square will serve as the headquarters and host for the spectacular weekend.
“I can think of no better place than San Francisco and no better time than the warmth and promise of Spring to bring together, family-style, all of our dear members and guests to participate in a truly ground-breaking conference,” said ArmenBar Chairperson Edvin Minassian. “We are delighted by the prospect of offering to our membership and community some real quality time with Supreme Court Justices, Armenia’s Justice Minister, and a bevy of talented and dedicated practitioners.”
ArmenBar Honorary Lifetime Member Marvin Baxter, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, will usher in the weekend’s activities on Friday, April 29, 2011, with a personalized tour of the Supreme Court facilities. The Association will then be recognized by the Judicial Council of California which will be in session. The Judicial Council, led by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Associate Justice Baxter, is the policymaking body of the California courts, the largest court system in the nation. The private luncheon with the Chief Justice in the court complex will cap off the day-time events.
The festivities will kick off on Friday evening at the Marriott Union Square with a welcome reception atop the pemier hotel in the heart of the city. The reception—billed as the Bingham Reception—will pay special tribute to champion litigator David Balabanian and his law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP for the pivotal role they have played in protecting Armenian rights and the United States Constitution in American courts. Their pro bono work on behalf of the Armenian Bar Association and the community includes successfully fighting back efforts to remove a Genocide memorial plaque and cross on the Bay Area’s Mount Davidson and preparing exemplary amicus briefs in federal courts from coast to coast in matters dealing with Genocide education and asset recovery.
On Saturday, April 30, 2011, after the Association’s business meeting during which committee reports will be rendered, future plans discussed, and new Board members elected, the first of two expert panels will be assembled. The topic of discussion is entitled “Armenia On The Road To Judicial Independence And Legal Reform” and the panelists will be Professor Ruben Melikyan of Yerevan State University, author and Professor of Journalism Garin K. Hovannisian, and ArmenBar Vice-Chairperson and Professor of Law Garo B. Ghazarian. Each of the panelists is in a unique position to recognize the challenges and accomplishments in Armenia’s legal and judicial systems. Ideas about the Association’s involvement in meeting some of those challenges and being part of the accomplishments will be shared.
The Saturday gala luncheon will be keynoted by Justice Minister Hrayr Tovmasyan, a young, articulate, forward-looking cabinet member of the Republic of Armenia. His presence and participation will be the latest footprint on the highway connecting the Association with Armenia. Over the last 22 years, the Association has hosted at the annual meetings and established professional relations with Armenia’s best, brightest and most deserving, including its Constitutional (Supreme) Court Justices, prosecutors and public defenders, human and civil rights practitioners, and university faculty and students.
The second expert panel on Saturday afternoon is dubbed “A Rose By Any Other Name: The Armenian Genocide’s Legal Significance in Recovery Litigation” and centers on the legal and other consequences, both positive and negative, of anchoring the litigated recovery efforts of Genocide-era assets to the use of the phrase, Armenian Genocide. The discussants will be David Balabanian of Bingham McCutchen LLP, Professor Lee Crawford-Boyd, Steven Dadaian of the Armenian National Committee, Brian Kabateck of Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP, and Harut Sassounian, Publisher of the California Courier and President of the United Armenian Fund. Each of the panelists will offer first-hand experiences and innovative thoughts on the issue.
A fun-filled night is planned for Saturday evening, beginning with a group dinner in Little Italy or China Town and then continuing among the city’s charming and eclectic gathering places. On Sunday, May 1, 2011, after the newly-constituted Board’s first meeting during which the Association’s executive officers will be elected, the bow on the weekend package will be a lovely excursion and luncheon either to Sausalito or Napa Valley.
For further and registration information, please contact Lisa Boyadjian at [email protected] or visit www.ArmenianBar.org

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