2023 DRI Litigation Skills Seminar

February 1–3, 2023 | Austin, Texas

Litigation skills attorneys in meeting

Back in Action: Preparing for Trial in a Post-Pandemic World!

Cases being set for trial are on the rise as courts emerge from the pandemic, and counsel must be prepared. Set yourself up for success through DRI’s 2023 Litigation Skills Seminar, featuring presentations from skilled trial lawyers across the country on new developments in litigation techniques, jury behavior, and strategies for optimal trial preparation. The seminar will also focus on insights from the client perspective with two panels of nationwide claims executives touching on the most important aspects of litigation practice. Join us in Austin, Texas, to learn about the latest and greatest in trial techniques while networking with colleagues and building new relationships. The new post-pandemic reality is here. Let’s get back in action!

View registration information here, and make sure to register by January 5, 2023, for the best pricing!

What You Will Learn:

  • Recent updates from jury consultants on the importance of diversity in trial teams.
  • How the pandemic and the rise of nuclear verdicts has affected how we defend damages claims.
  • Effective techniques for the exclusion and cross-examination of experts.
  • Claims executive perspectives on succession planning, building relationships, and trial management.
  • Recent trends and methods regarding jury selection.

Expand Your Network By:

  • Attending the joint Young Lawyers Networking Event with young lawyers from the Litigation Skills and Products Liability committees.
  • Participating the Premier Networking Reception at Bull & Bowl, with free duckpin bowling, karaoke, and games.
  • Attending small group networking opportunities, including a private tour of the Still Austin Distillery and a hike to scenic Mt. Bonnell.

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Thank You to DRI's Litigation Skills Committee Leadership

Brandon Ehrie
Brandon Ehrie
Program Chair
Nick Rauch
Nick Rauch
Program Vice Chair
Christopher Turney
Chris Turney
Committee Chair
Pamela Lee
Pamela Lee
Committee Vice Chair
Todd Presnell
Todd Presnell
Law Institute

Join the Litigation Skills Committee

Registration Information

Save $300 when you register on or before January 5, 2023!

Register Now

  Member Pricing Non-Member Pricing
Early Bird Registration* $1,095 $1,395
Regular Registration* $1,395 $1,695
Group Registration (Non-Sponsored)** $995/person $995/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 4 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, please send an email to rstiner@dri.org (online registration is not available for this offering).

Premier Networking Reception | Bull & Bowl Austin
Sponsored by Campbell Conroy & O'Neil, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani

Date: Thursday, February 2 from 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Pricing: Free when you register for the seminar (guest tickets are $100 each, available at checkout. A limited number of guest tickets may be available on site for $125 each)
Location: Bull & Bowl, 501 W 6th St #200, Austin, TX 78701

Join the Product Liability Conference and Litigation Skills Seminar to reconnect with your DRI friends on Thursday evening for a networking event at Austin's Bull & Bowl sponsored by Campbell Conroy & O'Neil, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani. Bull & Bowl is a short walk from the hotel and offers a unique experience in Austin featuring gaming experiences, including duckpin bowling (a variation of mini bowling), a mechanical bull, karaoke rooms, skee-ball, and more! Light appetizers and beverages will be served.

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

Wednesday, February 1, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
5:00 p.m. Registration
5:30 p.m. Jump Start Your Seminar Networking Experience

Whether you’re a new member, non-member, seasoned attendee or in-house counsel, join committee leaders and your fellow attendees to learn how to make the most of your networking opportunities this week.
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).
9:00 p.m. After Hours with DRI Litigation Skills

More details to come.

Thursday, February 2, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service
8:30 a.m. Coffee & Conversations

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

Todd Presnell, Bradley, Nashville, TN
Brandon W. Ehrie, Lewis Wagner, LLP, Indianapolis, IN
9:15 a.m. The Importance of Diversity in Trial Teams

This presentation takes on the importance of diversity in trial teams from the perspective of juries and will discuss jurors’ changing expectations for trial council. We will cover survey results, and present candid takes on diversity, and attorney presentation style from jurors themselves. Finally, we will cover some best practices for trial teams considering the results presented.

Aref Jabbour, PhD, Litigation Insights, San Francisco, CA
10:15 a.m. Coffee Break
10:30 a.m. Communication is Key: Navigating/Managing Client Relationships from Suit Referral Through Trial

This panel of claims executives will discuss how to effectively manage your client relationship through trial. The panel will focus on best practices through trial, active communication, and the foundations of building a strong client relationship in practice.

Bradley Wallace, Tyson Foods, Springdale, AR
Cathy Woodfield, Admiral Insurance, Mount Laurel, NJ
Tracee Allen, NAMIC Insurance Company, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
11:30 a.m. Trying Cases in a Post COVID-19 World Part 1: Defending Damages Claims

Our presentation will analyze jury awards rendered pre-COVID and post-COVID along with strategies to combat techniques utilized by plaintiff counsels to inflate damages claims and jury awards in a post-COVID era. From a preliminary standpoint, potential strategies to be discussed are blocking juror sympathy, understanding “severity shift,” defense damage anchors, and making the law an important part of the case.

Jake Liro, Wicker Smith, Miami, FL
Nick Prudenzano, Wicker Smith, Miami, FL
12:30 p.m. Networking Lunch (included in registration)

Join the Product Liability & Litigation Skills seminar attendees for lunch and networking opportunities that are second to none.
2:00 p.m. Handling Experts: Daubert Motion Practice and Cross Examination Techniques

This session will address tips for executing a successful Daubert challenge and provide an understanding of how, why and when to file a Daubert Motion. The session will also discuss suggestions and best practices for conducting an expert examination of an expert witness.

Moira Pietrowski, Roetzel, Akron, OH
3:00 p.m. Committee Business Meeting
3:30 p.m. Small Group Networking Opportunities

More details to come.
6:00 p.m. Premier Networking Reception | Bull & Bowl Austin
Sponsored by Campbell Conroy & O'Neil, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani

Click here for more details.

Friday, February 3, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

Nick Rauch, Larson King, St. Paul, MN
9:10 a.m. Panel Discussion

We covered a lot of ground in areas of knowledge gaps, training, retaining talent, and succession planning from the perspectives of both a law firm and in-house counsel. Join us as we set up the issues, discuss barriers and practical ideas and invite audience participation.

Emily Motto, Baylor Evnen, Lincoln, NE

Paul Hyman, Westchester Casualty Claims (CHUBB), Jersey City, NJ
10:10 a.m. Coffee Break
10:30 a.m. Trying Cases in a Post COVID-19 World Part 2: Jury Selection/Voir Dire

The pandemic has changed the way jurors may view a case. There are several factors for the altering views, including demographics of post-pandemic jury pools, as well as the psychological strain that the pandemic has placed on individuals who may report for jury duty. This presentation will provide insights on the things that we should be aware of when selecting a jury in the new era, including the effect of “Terror Management Theory” on post-pandemic juries.

Juan Marquez, Rodey Law Firm, Albuquerque, NM
11:30 a.m. The Stars of the Show: Eliciting Testimony on Direct and Cross Examination of Witnesses

In this presentation, Pamela Lee and Bill Casey will walk through the dos and don’ts of direct and cross examination, both in depositions and at trial. We will review tips and strategies for getting the information you need, while also not being surprised by testimony.

Pamela Lee, Swift Currie, Atlanta, GA
Bill Casey, Swift Currie, Atlanta, GA
12:30 p.m. Adjourn

Hotel and Travel Information

A limited number of discounted hotel rooms have been made available at the Austin Marriott Downtown, 304 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX, 78701. Take advantage of the group rate of $309.00 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 January 2, 2023, to be eligible for the hotel’s group rate. Requests for reservations made after January 2, 2023, are subject to room and rate availability. A small portion of your room rate offsets the costs of the seminar.

Travel Discounts: DRI is pleased to announce that discounted air fares are available on various major air carriers for DRI seminar attendees. To receive these discounts, please contact Direct Travel Ltd., DRI’s official travel provider, at 800.840.0908. If you would like to have access to the DRI online travel booking tool, you must complete a Business Travel Profile form at www.dt.com. Within 24 business hours, you will receive information on accessing the system.

CLE Information

Earn up to 7.00 hours of continuing legal education hours, including up to one (1) hour of elimination of bias in the profession credit from this seminar.

Litigation Skills CLE by State


DRI's Litigation Skills Seminar is proudly sponsored by:

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.

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NEW in 2023 – 4 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 Chafe, Conn Kavanaugh, Boston, MA

Ethics: 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.