2023 DRI Fire Science and Litigation Seminar

August 16–18, 2023 | Washington, D.C.

Conducting fire extinguisher inspection

Gain New Strategies for Defending Fire Losses!

DRI’s Fire Science and Litigation Seminar is returning to Washington, D.C.! The seminar will provide cutting-edge education, including a live burn demonstration, which provides a rare opportunity for participants to go off-site to a facility where experts—with the assistance of the great folks at D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)—will have multiple live burn stations. After observing actual fire suppressions and inspections, attendees will be walked through what they observed and how to best use this evidence in the courtroom. With a number of other excellent speaker sessions and premier networking events, this is a seminar you won’t want to miss!

View registration information here, and make sure to register by July 17 for the best pricing!

What You Will Learn:

  • Updates on lithium-ion battery fires.
  • How experts approach fire scenes.
  • The dos and don’ts of evidence gathering after a fire loss.
  • Insight from a former fire investigator-turned defense counsel.
  • New ways to defend fire losses using biomechanical evidence.
  • How best to use NFPA 921 to challenge opposing experts.

Expand Your Network By:

  • Spending valuable time working in groups with other defense counsel.
  • Meeting and developing relationships with new expert witnesses.
  • Becoming involved with one of the premier defense counsel groups.

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Thank You to DRI's Product Liability Committee Leadership

Andrew E. Stead
Andrew E. Stead
Program Chair
Allison Waase
Allison Waase
Program Vice Chair
Gretchen N. Miller
Gretchen Miller
Committee Chair
Fred E. (Trey) Bourn III
Trey Bourn
Committee Vice Chair
Sharon Stuart
Sharon Stuart
Law Institute

Join the Product Liability Committee

Registration Information

Save up to $500 when you register on or before July 17!

Register Now

Member Pricing Non-Member Pricing
Early Bird Registration* $1,195 $1,395
Regular Registration* $1,395 $1,695
Group Registration (Non-Sponsored)** $1,095/person $1,095/person
Government Government members will receive the applicable government rate for the seminar upon login. If the government rate does not appear after logging in, please call DRI directly at (312) 795-1101 to receive the discounted rate. Invoices can be sent after purchase upon request.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate. If you would like to join DRI to receive the member pricing and see the benefits of becoming a member, click here to go to the Application page.

**Group registration is for registering four or more attendees, members and non-members. There is one free registration with every 10 registrations. You must lock in the rate three weeks prior to the seminar. If you want to register for the group pricing, fill out the form here (online registration is not available for this offering).

Networking Events

Premier Networking Reception
Sponsored by Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Date: Thursday, August 17 from 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Pricing: Free when you register for the seminar; all attendees must be 21+ (guest tickets are $100 each, available at check-out. A limited number of guest tickets may be available on site for $125 each.)
Location: Heights Courtyard at the Washington Hilton

Join the Senior Living, Fire Science, Strictly Automotive, and Talc Litigation Seminars for a relaxing evening at the Heights Courtyard, an outdoor plaza off the lobby level of the Washington Hilton. Complement your networking with cocktails, soft drinks, wine, assorted beers, and light appetizers.

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Time (Eastern) Program Location
10:00 a.m. Registration

10:00 a.m. Live Burn at Washington D.C. EMS Fire and Training Academy

More details to come.

6:00 p.m. Networking/Cocktail Hour
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Time (Eastern) Program Location
8:00 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Coffee & Conversations

The early bird gets the most out of this networking session. Get to know the early risers in our group over a cup of coffee. Rise, shine, caffeinate and connect!
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

Sharon D. Stuart, Attorneys Insurance Mutual of the South, Hoover, AL
Andrew E. Stead, McMillan LLP, Calgary, Alberta

9:15 a.m. Expert Counsel – A Fire Investigator’s Perspective on Defending Fire Claims and Cross-Examining Witnesses

Brett Henne, Swanson, Martin & Bell, Chicago, IL
10:15 a.m. Coffee Break

10:30 a.m. Defending Lithium Ion Claims

Susan Clare, King & Spalding LLP, Atlanta, GA
Hallie Semmel, McCoy Leavitt Laskey LLC, Falmouth, ME
Jared Giroux, McCoy Leavitt Laskey LLC, Falmouth, ME

11:30 a.m. Consumer Litigation: Updates, Pitfalls, and Best Practices (Joint Session with Strictly Automotive)

This presentation will highlight the increasing threat that consumer warranty litigation poses to auto manufacturers and address key trends, including litigation involving corporate policies, class action-type discovery, and fraud and punitive damage claims. The panel will present key strategies to reduce the number of lawsuits filed and efforts to handle matters quickly to limit Plaintiff attorney fees.

Rob Shields, Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP, San Diego, CA

Luis Gomez, Ford Motor Company, Detroit, MI
Nicholas Johnson, Volkswagen of America, Inc., Washington D.C.

12:30 p.m. DRI Networking Lunch

Join the Strictly Automotive, Fire Science, and Senior Living and Long-Term Care and Litigation Seminar attendees for lunch and networking opportunities that are second to none.

DRI Cares | Blessings in a Backpack

On your way into lunch, support Blessings in a Backpack, DRI Cares and the DRI Foundation by filling a bag with food for a child experiencing food insecurity in our community. Feeding a child before you feed yourself is a wonderful way to make a difference in the lives of children and families all over our country and in this local community.

Click here for details.
2:00 p.m. Live Burn De-Brief (Joint Session with Strictly Automotive)

More details to come.

3:00 p.m. Committee Business Meeting

3:30 p.m. Small Group Networking Opportunities

Sign up for one of these options and start building your connections and developing relationships! More details to come.

6:00 p.m. Premier Networking Reception
Sponsored by Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Click here for details.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Time (Eastern) Program Location
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

Allison A. Waase, Coffey Modica O’Meara LLP, White Plains, NY

9:10 a.m. Using NFPA 921 to Challenge Experts

10:10 a.m. Coffee Break

10:25 a.m. Under Pressure – How Using Biomechanical Evidence Can Assist in Defending Pressure Cooker Claims

Jennifer L. Rediehs, Goldberg Segalla, Irvine, CA

11:25 a.m. Technical and Code Aspects of Investigation of Fire Impact on Buildings and Their Occupants

When investigating the impact of fires on buildings and their occupants, the knowledge of code requirements and intent for design, construction, and maintenance of buildings plays a critical role. In this presentation, we present a roadmap of the issues relevant to understanding the fire impact as well as the roles and responsibilities of the involved parties. This presentation will help attorneys and investigators understand how to approach a fire case and what questions to ask.

Ali Ashrafi, Thornton Tomasetti, New York, NY

12:25 p.m. Adjourn

Headquarters Hotel Information

A limited number of discounted hotel rooms have been made available at the Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20009. Take advantage of the group rate of $219.00 Single/Double in one of two ways:

The hotel block is limited, and rooms and rates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You must make reservations by July 18, 2023, to be eligible for the hotel’s group rate. Requests for reservations made after July 18 are subject to room and rate availability.

CLE Information

Earn up to seven (7.00) hours of continuing legal education hours (CLE) from this seminar.

Fire Science CLE by State


DRI's Fire Science and Litigation Seminar is proudly sponsored by:

Envista Forensics ESi Exponent logo IFO Group Safety, Risk & Fire Consultants S-E-A Know.

Thank you to our Official Supporter: TBD

If you would like to contact DRI about seminar sponsorship opportunities, including pricing, or to reserve a spot, please go to Advertising and Sponsorship.

DRI Cares

Blessings in a Backpack

Blessings in a Backpack Who Will Feed the Kids this Weekend?

Please join our four August seminars in supporting Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry. Your donation will help purchase food to feed 500 children in the Washington, D.C. area. Seminar attendees will have the opportunity to fill bags of food on the way to the joint networking lunch on Thursday, August 17th. Feeding a child before you feed yourself is a wonderful way to support children and families in the D.C. area.

To donate online:

  1. Click the "Donate" button or scan the QR code below.
  2. If you have an account with DRI, log in. Use the same login that you registered for this seminar.
  3. If you do not have an account with DRI, create a guest account.
  4. Select from one of the gift amounts or set your own amount. The default value is $100.
  5. Select your DRI Committee from "My SLC/Region" dropdown box.
  6. Click “Submit Donation.”
  7. The page will refresh. Click “View Cart” to checkout.
  8. Enter your credit card information and click “Submit Order” once all required information is entered.


Substantive Law Committee QR Code Foundation Contributions


NEW in 2023 – Four Additional On-Demand Programs Included With Every Seminar!

CLE Credit will be sought from every state requiring CLE hours in elimination of bias/diversity and inclusion, ethics, substance abuse/mental health, and law practice management. The CLE grid will provide updated information concerning hours that have been approved by each jurisdiction and for which credits. For states not requiring these special credits, general education credits will be sought.

View On-Demand Library

Diversity/Elimination of Bias in the Profession

Invisible or Mixed-Visible Diversity – Combatting Bias

Often diversity programs and initiatives are focused on visible traits such as gender or race, but bias exists related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and some disabilities that are not readily visible to the eye. This panel will discuss how to address these biases and to create an environment where those with invisible or mixed-visible diversity can operate at the highest level.

Stacy Douglas, Everett Dorey LLP, Irvine, CA
Gary Howard, Bradley, Birmingham, AL
Ronna Kinsella, Glassman Wyatt Tuttle & Cox PC, Memphis, TN

Law Practice Management Credit

Succession Planning: Failing to Plan Is a Plan to Fail

Succession planning is considered one of the most pressing issues facing not only law firms but also clients. Senior partners are working into their golden years and can sometimes be reluctant to engage in a succession plan, but clients want to know that there is a plan for the transition of their work without interruption. Join us to learn:

  1. the importance of succession planning for the benefit both the law firm and its clients;
  2. how succession planning impacts retention and continuity of the firm and client relationships;
  3. how to approach the subject with senior attorneys; and
  4. strategies for implementing a successful succession plan.

Marie E. Chafe, Conn Kavanaugh, Boston, MA
Matthew Cairns, Textron Inc., Providence, RI
Elizabeth M. Brotten, Foley & Mansfield PLLP, Minneapolis, MN
Meade Hartfield, Bradley Arant, Birmingham, AL


Technology, Ethics & Remote Work: What You Need to Know Now

The Rules of Professional Conduct regarding competence and diligence require all lawyers to keep abreast of changes in technology. This webinar will provide you with tips and information on new issues related to technology and the practice of law, including the challenges of the remote work environment. You will learn the ethics and professionalism considerations when using technology in your practice and your ethical duties when it comes to “keeping abreast of changes” in technology.

Amber Garcia, Deutsch Kerrigan LLP, New Orleans, LA
Alyssa Johnson, Barron & Newberger PC, Milwaukee, WI
Clare Roubion, Louisiana Legal Ethics, LLC, Lafayette, LA

Mental Health & Attorney Wellness

Lessons for Lawyers from the Science of Well-Being

This presentation will focus on the practical steps that we can take as individuals to improve well-being, drawing on recent research from cognitive science and beginning with the preface that happiness can be learned and applied. Specifically, we will provide an evidence-based arsenal of practical tools that lawyers can apply in their own lives to improve their well-being.

Emma Ross, Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, Chicago, IL
Shayna Cook, Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, Chicago, IL

Other Information

If you have any questions or concerns regarding DRI programs, please contact DRI Customer Service at 312.795.1101 or custservice@dri.org.