Over 80 participants from across the country attended this year's CLAC Conference, which was held in Portland, Oregon, on April 27-30, 2014. The attendees, who came from across the nation included language access managers, program managers, and court professionals. Chief Justice Balmer of the Oregon Supreme Court welcomed the group to the State and Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz (Ret.), Oregon Supreme Court, presented keynote remarks. Mary McQueen, the NCSC President, opened the conference with comments and was followed by Judge Patricia Griffin, Chair of the Language Access Advisory Committee.
The theme of the conference, "The Many Hats of Interpreter Program Management," was selected in order to address and recognize the multitude and diversity of issues that are involved in managing interpreter and language access programs. Throughout the conference, the overriding theme running through all of the issues addressed was Access to Justice and its interconnectivity to all facets of language access. In an eye-opening panel presentation, It's About Justice: Personal Reflections on Language Access, Santiago Ventura Morales told his story about being wrongfully convicted due to a bad interpreter. This and other presentations greatly illustrated the impact of the work of interpreter program managers.
Some of the numerous topics presented at the conference included:
This year, in addition to the wide range of topics listed above, the conference offered several new dynamic and highly interactive sessions, including Express Lessons, Legal Snapshots, a facilitator led community building group workshop, and lots of discussion and networking opportunities.
One of the highlights of the conference was the Express Lessons, which were 20 minute rotating sessions presented by a series of experts. At each 20 minute interval, participants could select a different topic - up to 10 topics from which to choose. Topics included general legal issues, such as ADA and immigration law, and also key management areas such as, Excellent Programs on Limited Funds and Data! Data! Data! Top five things it can do for you.
Another session designed to present a great deal of information in a short period of time was Legal Snapshots . Experts presented the most important aspect of four legal areas, such as immigration and employment law, with which program managers should be most aware.
Also, there were more opportunities to network and collaborate interwoven throughout the program. The facilitator led interactive group session focused on community building both within state programs and among programs across the nation. Participants got up on their feet and worked together to find solutions to shared problems.
Finally, the conference was topped off with a networking event. All joined in the fantastic evening of singing and music and showed how great a community can sound when they come together in harmony!
The Conference was hosted by the National Center for State Courts and the Oregon Judicial Department.