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Annual Meeting Spotlight

Get a Sneak Peek of DRI's 2023 Annual Meeting!

By Sara Turner

I am writing to invite you to the 2023 DRI Annual Meeting in San Antonio on October 24-27, 2023.  What you’ve heard is true, everything is bigger in Texas!!  As the home of the Alamo, the River Walk, a World Heritage site, and plenty of Texas history – this Annual Meeting is certain to be one you won’t want to miss.

As Chair of the 2023 DRI Annual Meeting, I have the privilege to lead an incredible group of people already working hard to plan a fantastic meeting for all of you to enjoy.  This meeting will truly be the flagship conference for DRI and the entire civil defense community.  

You will get the chance to experience first class networking opportunities, but in many new and exciting ways.  We will be bringing back the popular CLE on the Go with some added improvements which will allow you to get CLE credit, network, and see the sights of San Antonio – all at the same time. There will be opportunities to network at a signature event on Thursday evening, but also provide ways to connect in more intimate settings, during meetings of SLDOs, substantive law committees, DRI Cares activities, and DRI for Life events. We will continue to offer great blockbuster CLE as well as interactive CLE learning opportunities focused on the latest emerging technologies and cutting-edge areas of the law.

The meeting will be held at the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk.  With brand new rooms and situated on the vibrant River Walk in downtown San Antonio, the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk is going to be the perfect location to explore the city.  The hotel rooms come with stunning views of either downtown San Antonio or the picturesque River Walk and the hotel features a state-of-the-art fitness center, complete with an indoor pool.  The River Walk has lush riverside paths lined with towering Cypress trees, restaurants, hotels, shops, museums, and recreation spots.  We will be in the perfect location to soak in the history and ambiance of this authentic San Antonio destination.

The 2023 DRI Annual Meeting will be the best opportunity to connect with future clients and referrals along with hundreds of civil defense attorneys and clients from across the country.  With four days of networking and relationship-building, this meeting will be dedicated to promoting meaningful interactions to make it easy for you to meet other attendees. 

I can’t wait to tell you more about what our committee has planned for San Antonio in the coming months.  For now, please mark your calendars for October 24-27, 2023, and join us in San Antonio!

Sara Turner

Sara M. Turner is an attorney in the Birmingham, Alabama office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC. She is the Chair of DRI's 2023 Annual Meeting.

2023-Civil Rights-NL-Sponsored

2023 Construction Law

2022 Leadership Conference Spotlight

DRI Leaders Come Together for the 2022 Leadership Conference 

Members of DRI’s Board of Directors, DRI State Representatives,‎ DRI Substantive Law Committee (SLC) Leaders, and State, Local, and National Defense Organization Leaders came together following the 2022 Annual Meeting to wrap up the week idea sharing, networking, and strategizing for 2023.    

Keynote Sarah Sladek of XYZ University kicked off the program looking at how membership and workforces have been impacted by new generations of lawyers entering the practice in addition to the pandemic. Sarah’s presentation was followed by a workshop focused on increasing member engagement as well as a session from DRI’s Center for Law & Public Policy and Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) on the upcoming amendment to Federal Rule of Evidence 702. 

The program wrapped up with breakout sessions for SLDO and SLC leadership.  Thanks to all the DRI and SLDO/NDO leaders who joined us for the 2022 Leadership Conference. 

Leadership Conference Keynote 1


DRI Voices

More Than Calm: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Make You a Better Lawyer

By Claire E. Parsons

How to Be a Badass Lawyer

This is going to sound weird coming from a meditation teacher, but it sometimes irritates me when people talk about how mindfulness makes them so calm. I don’t deny that this happens. It’s one of the reasons I continue to meditate and why meditation changed my life. Calm is a part of meditation or at least one of the benefits it can help you achieve. 

But if I was going to try to pick a single word to showcase the power of meditation, it wouldn’t be calm. It would be something entirely different. The word that comes to mind when I think about mindfulness is “badass.” That’s because over the years mindfulness and its sidekick, compassion, have helped me feel like one as I represented clients, managed my life, and raised my kids. 

You see, the power in meditation for me hasn’t been in how it makes me feel for the few minutes I am sitting on my cushion in silence. The power in the practice is what it has enabled me to do out in the world and who it has empowered me to become. 

For most of my life before I started meditating, I was an anxious, tightly wound, hyper-judgmental, doubt-ridden overthinker. In school, this helped me work hard and earn good grades. When I started practicing law, it helped me write good briefs and meet billable hours goals. 

As long as things went well and according to plan, I did great. The problem, of course, is that life as a litigator rarely goes as planned. When I added motherhood to this situation, plans seemed to go out the window. After a period of intense shame, self-judgment, and depression caused by fighting against this situation, I finally decided to try something new. 

Instead of trying to control everything in my life and work hard to be as perfect as possible, what if I learned to relax, accept myself, and be kind to myself when things were hard? This is not a conscious idea that I had when I started meditating but, after some time, it is gradually what I learned to do. That changed everything. 

Now, this may not sound all that badass to you, but when you see what it enables you to do you may become convinced. Have you ever been caught in a thought spiral and couldn’t get out of it? Meditation helped me curb my overthinking so that thought spirals rarely ensnared me. Have you ever felt anger rise up that you felt powerless to control? Meditation helped me make friends with my emotions and manage them better. 

Have you ever felt scared or overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do? Meditation helped me learn how to cut through shame and seek out help to support myself. Have you ever needed to appear calm when you were scared or upset or tired? Meditation helped me learn to rest and recharge quickly and cope during difficult times. Have you ever made a mistake and couldn’t stop beating yourself up? Meditation helped me learn to show myself compassion and move forward. 

In most of these situations, I didn’t feel calm at all. Meditation helped me because it gave me a way of getting back to calm when it seemed lost or hidden. It helped me feel how powerful and durable kindness, care, and joy were so that I could bring them in to heal myself or support others when needed. This is why meditation isn’t just about being calm. Instead, it’s about learning to be powerful in a steady, loving, and spacious way. 

While this may sound new to lawyers, it’s easy to see why it can help us so much. Our lives are busy, our jobs are filled with risk, adversity, and complex and challenging relationships, and we regularly venture into high stakes situations. Though being tough and aggressive may sometimes be necessary, calm and kind presence are essential to making law practice effective and sustainable over time. 

This is why meditation was so effective for me and why it has been essential to so many other lawyers. Meditation is badass because it can help you bring kindness and calm into your law practice to serve your clients better.  

Of course, I know from many years of struggle, practice, and training that meditation isn’t an easy habit to establish. It takes time to build skills. It takes courage to learn to trust yourself so you can relax. It takes patience and practice in minutes of the day that many of us lawyers don’t have. 

That’s why I wrote my book, How to Be a Badass Lawyer: The Unexpected and Simple Guide to Less Stress and Greater Personal Development Through Mindfulness and Compassion. It’s a four-week guide to help you learn the basics of mindfulness and compassion, build essential skills, and develop a sustainable meditation practice. Without lingo or metaphysics, it will help you understand why meditation works and how to start practicing at just one minute a day. More than anything, it will help you let go of the idea that perfection is required to obtain meaningful benefits from your practice. 

Though calm is appealing in many situations, you deserve more than a few minutes of calm each day. Instead, you deserve to feel like you can handle the challenges of your law practice and life. You deserve to trust that you’ll have your own back no matter what happens. You deserve to see that you are a powerful litigator, not just because you are tough and analytical but also because of how much you care. Whatever you do to take care of your mind, body, and spirit in this coming new year, I hope it makes you feel more than calm. I hope it makes you feel like a badass lawyer. 

Claire ParsonsClaire E. Parsons is a former Member of the DRI for Life Committee and a Past President of its state affiliate, Kentucky Defense Counsel. She is a Partner at Wood + Lamping LLP in Cincinnati, Ohio where she practices in the areas of local government, school law, litigation, and employment law. Claire is a certified meditation, yoga, and compassion teacher, the founder of the Brilliant Legal Mind blog, and the author of How to Be Badass Lawyer, which is now available on Amazon, and the forthcoming children’s book, Mommy Needs a Minute. You can follow the blog at www.brilliantlegalmind.com or follow Claire on LinkedIn. 


Amicus Update: The Center Files Brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on Scope of the Corporate Attorney–Client Privilege

The Supreme Court will decide the test lower courts should apply to determine whether the attorney–client privilege protects dual-purpose communications.

Supreme Court

On November 23, 2022, The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy (The Center) submitted an amicus brief in support of the petitioner, a law firm, in In re Grand Jury, No. 21–1397.  The law firm, which specializes in international tax issues, withheld on privilege grounds several communications otherwise responsive to a subpoena from a grand jury investigating one of the firm’s clients. The withheld documents contained a mixture of tax advice classified as legal advice and tax advice that was more business related.

The Ninth Circuit had not adopted a standard for determining when the attorney–client privilege applies to dual-purpose communications involving legal advice and business advice. The appellate court followed “the primary purpose” test, which directs courts to assess whether the communication’s sole primary purpose is to furnish or receive legal advice as opposed to business-related, nonlegal advice.

In its amicus brief, The Center focused on the upcoming decision’s effect on in-house counsel and urged the Court to reject the primary purpose test in favor of the significant purpose test. The significant purpose test recognizes that dual-purpose communications can have more than one primary purpose and applies the privilege where one of a communication’s significant purposes is to provide or obtain legal advice. Trial courts should not be tasked with weighing and balancing a communication’s multiple purposes to find the “one” primary purpose and decide whether it was a legal one. Instead, trial courts should ask whether obtaining or providing legal advice was a primary purpose of the communication, meaning one of the significant purposes of the communication and, if so, apply the privilege.

The Center argued that the significant purpose test better recognizes the day-to-day reality that in-house lawyers operate closely with business colleagues and engage in more dual-purpose communications than other lawyers. The significant purpose test provides in-house counsel with more certainty that the privilege will protect their dual-purpose communications, which will encourage employees to provide candid information so in-house counsel can provide sound legal advice without fear that their advice will later become discoverable.

The Center’s brief was authored by Todd Presnell, Grayson Wells, and Casey Miller of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Nashville, Tennessee.

Sign up to receive updates and news about The Center for Law and Public Policy.

Sponsored Content

Canary in the Coal Mine: A Financial Perspective 

By Simon P. Oddy, FCA, CFE, MCIArb and Derek W. Royster, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE

For decades, coal miners used canary birds as an early warning system to help detect dangerous levels of methane gases while working underground. Over the years, measurement technologies improved such that canaries were no longer needed, yet the danger of an invisible threat remained. When it comes to the financial aspects of your case, what are you doing to measure the risk? 
Using financial subject-matter experts when planning and managing your case 
In modern disputes and litigation, economic damages experts apply a similar warning concept. Experts can be retained as consultants to act in that fashion. There is an observable trend toward hiring consultants in the early stages of a dispute to advise on the warning signs and risks of potential financial claims. 
Benefits of early retention 
• Building scenarios for possible outcomes, using strategic and coverage assumptions to address critical questions, such as: “Where might the damages claim go?” and “What’s the potential scale and volume of the claims?” 
• Providing advance commentary on damages presented: Have fundamental concepts been applied? Have economic forces in play been suitably considered, such as supply chain issues, workforce challenges, inflation, operating costs pressures and reduced margins? 
• Examining, in products liability and complex casualty situations, small, initial data sets and extrapolating/forecasting possible outcomes and evolving exposure 
• Developing LIVE models in which assumptions can be changed and the impact on damages is immediately know. 
• Constructing decision trees to develop a series of possible damages outcomes 
• Evaluating completeness and sufficiency of the data submitted in support of a damages claim 
• Preparing requests for documents, records, financial and nonfinancial information — making the most of the discovery period 
• Prepping key witnesses and corporate representatives for interviews, depositions and cross-examinations 
• Assisting with mediation and settlement of the case — experts can prepare analysis that arms legal counsel (and their client) with pertinent financial damages knowledge to potentially resolve the dispute.

Trends toward early retention 
• Accelerated virtual access to experts has reduced logistics and associated costs making it easier for experts to get involved at the beginning to evaluate initial data and provide feedback.  
• Increasing amounts of data are being provided to our clients and their attorneys; as a result, filtering and understanding that data becomes more and more important. Demand for managing data, hosting and reviewing tools is increasing for financial and nonfinancial information. 
• Evolving technology allows for full review of all data as opposed to only a sample or segment of the population. 
• LIVE models foster collaboration and strategy earlier in the dispute. 
Ease of access to financial experts and the sufficiency of modern technology used to manage and analyze complex data underscore the early warning system you need to evaluate the risks of potential financial claims. Early retention of financial experts as consultants provides an opportunity to establish results-oriented strategies for evaluating the economic aspects of your case. 
Baker Tilly was proud to be a Signature Sponsor for DRI's 2022 Annual Meeting -- learn more at www.BakerTilly.com


SLC Spotlight

Get Involved and Join a Substantive Law Committee Today! 

One of the many benefits of DRI Membership is the opportunity to join one or more of our 29 Substantive Law Committees (SLCs) at no additional charge. By connecting with your civil defense practice-area community, DRI provides you with the tools you need to ensure your career will flourish. DRI’s SLCs deliver: 

  • Access and engagement with leaders in your area of expertise 

  • Updates on trending topics that affect your practice through seminars, webinars, on-demand programs, podcasts, and more 

  • Development of your leadership skills, including speaking and publishing opportunities 

  • Exclusive member-only publications and papers that keep you current  

  • Committee-only information sharing with peers nationwide through DRI’s online communities 

  • Opportunities to participate in philanthropic events to give back to the community 

  • Connections that include client referrals, networking, and the ability to build your book of business while fostering lifelong friendships 

By joining an SLC, you will make a difference in the profession, your community, and your life! Please take a few minutes to peruse the list of SLCs. You can join as many as you like. If you have more than one area of practice, this is an efficient way to stay abreast of all the trends you’re tracking. Whether you’re looking to be involved in a leadership capacity or just want to access exclusive content, you can find your home with an SLC today. 

Want to learn more about DRI’s 29 committees? Stay tuned for individual committee spotlights in future issues of The Voice

Product Liability

Sponsored Content

Strategies to Manage Student Loan Debt 

Figuring out how to pay off your student loans can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a lawyer with debt in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. For many borrowers with high student loan debt, the burden of paying off these loans can often induce stress and anxiety—even for those deep into their careers. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s important for you to know that you could have options that allow you to consolidate your loans, defer or lower your payments, or have some of your student loan debt forgiven. 

Understanding Different Loan Types 

The key to managing your student loans effectively is understanding the types of loans you have and what options they offer. If you’re like most law school graduates, you probably have multiple loans from multiple financial institutions. Begin by visiting your lender websites or reaching out to them directly to confirm your student loan types, loan balances, and their payment status. If you have a federal student loan, you may be able to access your information through your loan servicer or at https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/servicers

If you have private student loans, they’ll be subject to the terms and conditions of the lending institution, which are usually different than those established by the U.S. Department of Education for federal loans. 

Consolidation vs. Student Loan Refinancing 

Consolidation is when you combine multiple federal student loans into a single monthly payment. The interest rate is calculated based on a weighted average of the loans. Consolidation is limited to federal student loans. The benefits of consolidating federal loans include simplifying to one monthly payment but may consolidating may also include a longer repayment term – which could mean paying more over the life of the loan. 

When you refinance a student loan, a lender pays off your original student loan(s) and issues you a new loan with a potentially lower rate or shorter term. This is a good option if the interest rate on your new loan is substantially lower than your current loan, or if you’re looking to pay down your loans faster with a shorter term. But make sure you read the fine print because some loans have fees, penalties, and terms that change throughout the life of the loan. Also keep in mind, if you refinance federal student loans with a private lender you may lose access to federal programs, such as income-driven repayment and federal loan forgiveness. 

Biden’s Student Loan Relief Plan 

Federal student loans are the only type of loans eligible for debt cancellation under President Biden’s proposed new Student Loan Relief Plan. If you have a federal “Direct Loan” – the most common type of student loan – issued before June 30, 2022, you may be able to apply to have your outstanding balance reduced under the proposed plan. All direct loans are eligible, including loans to parents and graduate students. Your law school loans and any other graduate school loans may be eligible for this forgiveness. 

Under the proposed new plan, the Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients, and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. To be eligible for forgiveness, you must have earned $125,000 or less as an individual or $250,000 or less as part of a married couple in 2020 or 2021. To learn more details on the proposed plan, read more here. 

Even if you qualify for federal loan forgiveness, you can still take advantage of refinancing options. For example, if you leave $10-20K in federal loans that could qualify for loan forgiveness, you could still refinance your other debt to benefit from refinancing. 

If you have any questions about refinancing your student loans – head to Laurel Road’s FAQ page! Their Premium Care team is also available via phone and email to answer your questions about refinancing or other repayment options. 

You can also learn more at www.laurelroad.com/partnerships/DRI.

The DRI Blog

Read Our Newest Blog Post: How to Build Your Legal Practice by Publishing

Becoming a thought leader in your space can help you create value for your clients.

Blog Slider

As a lawyer, you might wonder how to build your book of business and elevate your influence in your niche. One great way to build your portfolio is by publishing your legal writing.

Check out our new post on Court & Counsel: The DRI Blog to learn more!

Court & Counsel: The DRI Blog – Your premier resource for civil defense content.

Membership Spotlight

Are You Getting the Most from Your DRI Membership? 

Membership with DRI means access to networking, leadership opportunities, exclusive publications, special pricing for continuing education, and more. Here are some easy ways to make the most of your DRI membership: 

  • Personalize your membership by joining any of our 29 Substantive Law Committees. For no additional cost, you are connected with leaders in your practice area to discuss trending topics, continuing education, and potential referral opportunities. 

  • Check out publications exclusive to DRI members. All DRI members receive For The Defense, the nation’s only monthly legal magazine focused on civil defense practice, The Brief Case: DRI Committee News, and DRI’s monthly E-newsletter, The Voice. In addition to those publications, in-house and corporate members receive In-House Defense Quarterly, a quarterly publication that offers in-depth reporting on topics relevant to in-house counsel, and our newest information source, the DRI blog, Court & Counsel

  • Take advantage of DRI’s countless business networking opportunities. Connect with potential clients and attorneys for business referrals. 

  • As a DRI member, you’re included in DRI’s Find a Lawyer tool. This provides you with a searchable online profile to connect you with future clients. Last year, nearly 10,000 people visited the online directory of DRI members. 

  • Earn points and rewards through the DRI Dividends program. Use your points for advocate certificates, complimentary seminar registration, gift certificates/travel vouchers, and more! 

  • Take advantage of DRI’s Solutions Marketplace. Exclusive to DRI members, it offers a range of desirable Affinity Programs, affording special savings and services across a range of products, both at the enterprise level as well as for individuals. 

Thank you for being a DRI member. We look forward to serving you in 2023. 

From the Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Introducing the Women of Color Subcommittee

By Valerie Phan

Earlier this year, the DRI Diversity and Inclusion Committee formed the Women of Color subcommittee to focus on issues specific to women of color in the legal profession.  The subcommittee is the brainchild of Ebony S. Morris, who “saw a need for more representation among women of color within DRI and the legal profession.”  Morris’s goals include increasing the membership of women of color within DRI and firm leadership, and raising awareness of issues affecting women attorneys of color such as retention and promotion.               

The subcommittee’s inaugural members include DRI Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Stacy Lynne Douglas, Kori S. Carew, Shawnette A. Fluitt, Enjoliqué A. Lett, Shalyn McKitt, Aleida M. Mielke, Valerie Phan, Stephani Roman, Donia A. Royster, and Tiffany Taylor, who shared some of their reasons for joining the subcommittee and what they hope to accomplish over the next year:

Why did you join the subcommittee?

  • Because issues pertaining to women of color often go unnoticed as people do not appreciate or understand the unique challenges women of color face, as they deal with racial discrimination and gender discrimination.

  • As a woman of color who has been practicing for over 20 years, I have seen and fully understand the necessity for mentorship through varying avenues for women of color within the legal field.  I enjoy being in a space where shared experiences, wisdom and knowledge can be helpful to women.

  • I joined the subcommittee to assist in highlighting the talent and increasing the representation of women of color in the defense bar and legal profession.

  • To further the goal of increasing representation and appreciation for the skills women of color bring to the legal profession.

  • The opportunity to find a group of women that I could relate to and that I could work with to support a common goal of advancing women of color in the law.

What would you like to see the committee accomplish over the coming year?

  • Programming specific to women of color and development of professional support for women of color that is lacking in the industry.

  • I want to see this committee flourish as both a training ground as well as a support system to help with professional and personal growth for women of color.

  • I would like to see the subcommittee create programming in larger DRI that increases representation and grows the membership of women of color in DRI.

  • Collaborative programming to advance women of color professionally and in DRI.

  • Begin building a community to support women of color advancing their careers in the legal profession, including providing them with tools and resources for success

Since its formation, the subcommittee has hit the ground running with plans for programming over the next year, including brainstorming an annual women of color boot camp, which would provide executive coaching, skill building, and professional development for DRI women of color.  Anyone with interest in joining or learning more about the subcommittee should contact any of its members, listed below.

Women of Color Subcommittee Members

Ebony S. Morris (Chair)

Firm: Phelps Dunbar LLP

Location: New Orleans, LA

Practice Area(s): General Civil Litigation – Defense, Mass Tort Defense, Workers Compensation

Kori S. Carew

Firm: Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Location: Chicago, IL

Practice Area(s): Diversity & Inclusion

Stacy Lynne Douglas

Firm: Everett Dorey

Location: Irvine, CA

Practice Area(s): Transportation, Employment

Shawnette A. Fluitt

Firm: Barry McTiernan & Moore

Location: New York, NY

Practice Area(s): Toxic Tort Litigation

Enjoliqué A. Lett

Firm: Greenberg Traurig, P.A.

Location: Miami, FL

Practice Area(s): Products Liability, Mass Torts, Commercial Litigation

Shalyn McKitt

Firm: Vedder Price

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Practice Area(s): Healthcare, Regulatory, Litigation

Aleida M. Mielke

Firm: Segal McCambridge

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Practice Area(s): Complex Litigation, Professional Liability, Maritime & Admiralty

Valerie Phan

Firm: Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

Location: San Diego, CA

Practice Area(s): Business, Complex Commercial, and Real Estate Litigation

Stephani Roman

Firm: Robinson & Cole LLP

Location: Hartford, CT

Practice Area(s): Insurance

Donia A. Royster

Firm: Resnick & Louis, P.C.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Practice Area(s): Complex Civil Litigation, Construction Defect, Transportation

Tiffany Taylor

Firm: Gordon & Rees

Location: Atlanta, GA

Practice Area(s): Employment

Valerie PhanValerie Phan is a Litigation Associate at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. in San Diego, California.  She helps individual and corporate clients navigate challenges and issues in business, complex commercial, and real estate litigation.  

Sponsored Content

Are You Reviewing Recorded Prison Calls When Defending Municipal Clients Against High Exposure Section 1983 Lawsuits? You Should and Here Is Why:

Witnesses lie at depositions. Sadly, this is a frustrating truth that attorneys defending reversed conviction cases must accept as a practical reality. Recorded prison phone calls, however, often provide an unfiltered window into a plaintiff’s world that cannot be screened by their counsel. Prison calls tend to offer a treasure trove of helpful evidence - including outright admissions concerning the crime underlying the case as well as evidence of witness tampering and perjury. Discoveries made from the review of a plaintiff’s prison phone calls often turn the entire case around. Given the important information likely to be contained in a plaintiff’s phone calls, it is imperative that this evidence be fully and methodically reviewed. Case-critical information will often arise briefly within a broader conversation which may seem unimportant. It is not unusual for inmates to have thousands of hours of recorded call time. With this volume of data, it is tempting to review the calls in an ad hoc and incomplete manner. However, if the defense takes short cuts and fails to review the entire database of available calls, case-critical information may be missed.

In addition, timeliness of the review is a critical component of any successful prison call review strategy. When the calls are reviewed quickly, it allows the assigned attorneys to utilize the information from the prison calls to develop carefully crafted interrogatories and deposition questions. For example, if the plaintiff’s calls suggest that an intermediary was used to pay a witness, this information could be used to draft an interrogatory to obtain the identifying information for the intermediary. This information could then be used to take the individual’s deposition. If the same information from a plaintiff’s call is obtained after the close of discovery, the defense could expect a motion in limine to exclude the phone calls under Fed. R. Evid. 403 because the defense did not sufficiently establish the probative nature of the call. Thus, the later in the discovery process that a critical phone call is received, the likelihood that a court will permit it into evidence is greatly diminished.

Another good reason to review prison calls is the possibility that it will reveal evidence so powerful for the defense that it could result in the dismissal of the case. For instance, in one 13- year wrongful conviction lawsuit, the case was dismissed outright as a litigation sanction when the defense discovered prison calls which showed that he paid the recanting witness $10,000. Dewitt v. Ritz, No. CV DKC 18-3202, 2021 WL 915146, at *1 (D. Md. Mar. 10, 2021). A similar result occurred in a 30-year reverse conviction lawsuit filed by a plaintiff who was “exonerated” by a Conviction Integrity Unit. In this case, Plaintiff claimed Brady information was withheld, but was caught on a prison call saying “the reason I’m out of prison, and ... got a 60-million-dollar lawsuit against the police, is because we saying they withheld that statement. Now, you saying they said something to you about it...,I’m telling you, don’t say nothing about that.” This was 1 of 7773 prison calls reviewed, but this 1 call made all the difference, and the lawsuit was dismissed as a litigation sanction. Johnson v. Baltimore Police Dep't, No. CV ELH-19-0698, 2022 WL 9976525, at *1 (D. Md. Oct. 14, 2022). Finally, in a case brought against Chicago arising out of a police scandal, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his case after defendants showed that “roughly 20% of Plaintiff’s [prison] calls involve discussions of drug manufacturing and/or sale activity.” While not all phone call reviews will lead to a case’s dismissal, it provides valuable information in virtually every case.

Prison calls also commonly contain information relevant to damages. It is typical for plaintiffs in reversed conviction cases to characterize the prison experience in the harshest terms possible. These allegations range in topics from prison food, isolation, and violence. Calls between the plaintiff and his family members which are inconsistent with the litigation characterization of the prison experience could be provided to defense damages experts to rebut plaintiff’s claim for damages.

Authors: Avi Kamionski and Shneur Nathan, seasoned police litigation defense attorneys, created Pointed Discovery LLC to provide lawyers with back-office litigation support, including reviews of recorded prison calls, bodycam and dashcam footage, and large volumes of police documents.  Pointed Discovery LLC is a Premier Sponsor of DRI's 2022 Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar, taking place in Las Vegas, January 23- 25, 2022.  Learn more at pointeddiscovery.com.

Litigation Skills

And the Defense Wins

DRI Members Share Their Victories


Meagher + Geer Litigators Achieve Trifecta of Defense Verdicts

One week, two states, three jury trials . . . and three defense verdicts

Meagher + Geer’s three most recent trials have all resulted in defense verdicts. The last week of October 2022 found three trial lawyers from Meagher + Geer’s Professional Liability – Healthcare group engaged in jury trials in courtrooms in North Dakota and Minnesota. In the first of those cases to go to verdict, Tracy Kolb successfully defended a foot and ankle surgeon through a seven-day trial in Bismarck, North Dakota. Plaintiffs sought $4.1 million in damages, alleging the defendant had “botched” a bunion surgery that led to the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The defense, however, established that the patient experienced a known potential surgical complication and that the care provided met the requisite standard. The jury reached its verdict quickly, finding no fault by the surgeon and rejecting Plaintiffs’ case in its entirety.

In the second case, Rodger Hagen secured a defense verdict in a matter involving a 27-year-old male who died in the hospital, following bowel perforation. Plaintiffs alleged that defendant surgeon should have recognized that bowel perforation was imminent and operated preemptively. They asked the jury to award next-of-kin damages between $1.5 million and $3 million. The defense argued that the bowel perforation and the patient’s rapid deterioration and death thereafter could not reasonably have been foreseen and, thus, that the surgeon’s care was appropriate. The jury returned a verdict of no negligence after a seven-day trial and two hours of deliberations.

In the third of those cases to conclude, Nicole Brand secured a defense verdict on behalf of a chiropractor whose treatment was alleged to have caused arterial dissection leading to stroke in a young adult female patient. Plaintiffs asked the jury for a multi-million dollar damage award. In defending her client’s care, Nicole established that the patient had experienced vertebral artery dissections a week or more before undergoing chiropractic treatment and that the arterial dissections and subsequent stroke were not caused by chiropractic treatment. After a three-week trial, the jury returned a verdict finding that the defendant chiropractor was not negligent and rejecting the plaintiffs’ theory of lack of informed consent.

Tracy Kolb bio pictureRodger HagenNicole Brand
Pictured L to R: Kolb, Hagen, Brand

Case Name: Patricia Adcox v. Orthopedic Associates, LLC, et al.

Firm Name: Brown & James, P.C.

Position: Principal

City of Practice: St. Louis, MO

Email Address: jhardin@bjpc.com

Phil Willman and Justin Hardin secured a defense win in a case in which the plaintiff suffered a cervical spinal cord injury during lumbar surgery. The plaintiff, a 71-year-old female, presented to the defendant, an orthopedic surgeon, with low back pain that radiated into her legs. She was only able to walk short distances. An MRI revealed that she had severe spinal stenosis in her lumbar spine with bilateral foraminal stenosis as well as lumbar kyphosis with sagittal imbalance. After conservative treatment failed, the defendant offered lumbar surgery to plaintiff, and she underwent a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion procedure along with decompression of her spinal cord nerve roots with placement of interbody spacers and instrumentation. The plaintiff woke up from that surgery unable to move her arms and legs, and another MRI revealed plaintiff had herniated discs and accompanying spinal cord impingement in her cervical spine. The doctor performed an urgent cervical decompression surgery the following day to alleviate the spinal cord impingement. Her upper extremity strength improved, but her lower extremities remained weak. She underwent another lumbar surgery that ruled out further issues causing her continued neurological deficits. She eventually regained full strength in her upper extremities, but never regained strength in her lower extremities. At the time of trial, plaintiff was wheelchair-bound and unable to walk or stand. Unbeknownst to the defendant, the plaintiff had an MRI of her cervical spine five years earlier that revealed spinal cord impingement and cervical stenosis to nearly the same degree as seen in the MRI performed after the second surgery. Plaintiff did not undergo any treatment following the earlier MRI, and her symptoms of neck pain and arm numbness eventually subsided. It was agreed that plaintiff suffered a cervical spinal cord injury during the original lumbar surgery. 

Plaintiff filed suit against the defendant alleging that he was negligent in not discovering plaintiff’s spinal cord impingement in her cervical spine prior to performing her lumbar surgery. Plaintiff presented evidence of a $2.6-million life care plan to provide for her medical needs for the remainder of her life and sought $17 million in non-economic damages (pain and suffering). The defense presented evidence that that the standard of care did not require the surgeon to order an MRI or otherwise work up plaintiff’s cervical spine because she was asymptomatic. The jury deliberated for four hours after a week-long trial and were deadlocked at 6-6. The jury was instructed to return the following Monday and returned a defense verdict after two and a half more hours of deliberation.  

 Phil WillmanJustin Hardin
Pictured, L to R: Willman, Hardin

DRI members Rob Blank and Carie Hall of the Tampa office of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell obtained a defense verdict in a premises liability case against Busch Gardens.  Plaintiff alleged back, neck and shoulder injuries after a 50-pound, six-foot sunglass display fell on her while inside Montu Gifts during a storm.  During closing arguments, Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $492,334.02 in damages. After 50 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict.

Rob BlankCarie Hall
Pictured, L to R: Blank, Hall

Partners John Nunnally and Ed Coleman of the firm Ragsdale Liggett PLLC in Raleigh, North Carolina, obtained a complete defense verdict in a federal jury trial held in the Western District of North Carolina.  The case involved the delivery of frozen pizza dough, sauce, and other products to a well-known pizza restaurant chain by the defendant logistics company.  The product was delivered during nonbusiness hours before the plaintiff, a restaurant employee, arrived to open the store. The plaintiff claimed that frozen boxes had been improperly stacked during delivery, causing them to immediately fall on her when she opened the freezer door that morning. No witnesses were present when the plaintiff claimed this incident occurred.  
The plaintiff settled her worker’s compensation claim and then pursued a negligence action against the defendant. She alleged numerous injuries but focused on a right ankle injury at trial. She claimed that two surgeries to repair a torn tendon in her right ankle were related to the incident and sued for damages.  The defendant’s delivery driver was an extremely effective witness and was able to describe to the jury his delivery methods and how the boxes were properly stacked.  
The plaintiff testified at trial and during her cross-examination, the defense focused on her extensive medical history of prior injuries and chronic pain, her gaps in treatment, and her non-compliance with the treating providers’ instructions. The non-compliance was a significant factor in the need for the second surgery.
At trial, the Plaintiff asked the jury to award $500,000 for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and introduced evidence as to the worker’s compensation lien amount that would have to be repaid from any judgment. The jury found no negligence and returned a defense verdict.

John NunnallyEd Coleman
Pictured, L to R: Nunnally, Coleman

Keep The Defense Wins Coming!

Please send 250–500-word summaries of your “wins,” including the case name, your firm name, your firm position, city of practice, and email address, in Word format, along with a recent color photo as an attachment (.jpg or .tiff), highest resolution file possible, to DefenseWins@dri.org. Please note that DRI membership is a prerequisite to be listed in “And the Defense Wins,” and it may take several weeks for The Voice to publish your win.


DRI Member News

Congratulations to DRI Members for Their Achievements


Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC and Foland, Wickens, Roper, Hofer & Crawford, P.C. announced today that the two law firms will merge effective Jan. 1, 2023.  The combined firm name will be Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC. Baker Sterchi managing member, Scott Kreamer, will continue to serve as the managing member of the merged firm. More than 20 Foland Wickens attorneys will move into the Baker Sterchi Crown Center offices in Kansas City, Missouri. The new firm will have offices throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas.  Both firms have had DRI members for many years; in addition, Baker Sterchi is DRI’s first Enterprise Member.

McGlinchey is proud to announce that partner Francis "Rasch" H. Brown, III has been named to Lawdragon’s inaugural 500 Leading Litigators in America list in the practice areas of commercial liability, products liability, and torts. Rasch has been a member of DRI since 1999, and is an experienced trial lawyer who advises clients throughout the country on tort litigation and commercial disputes, with an emphasis on products liability defense.

Irwin Fritchie Urquhart Moore & Daniels LLC is pleased to announce that DRI member Timothy F. Daniels has been elevated to a named member of the firm. Tim Daniels is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, President-Elect of the National Association of Railroad Counsel, former President of the New Orleans Bar Association, and serves as an Adjunct Professor and member of the Board of Trustees at the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center.  Timothy has been a DRI member since 1995.

Plunkett Cooney partner and medical liability trial lawyer and DRI member since 2018, Justin J. Hakala was recently inducted as a member of the Michigan chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. With membership by invitation only, Justin is one of six attorneys selected by current members to join ABOTA’s Michigan Chapter.

National defense litigation firm Hawkins Parnell & Young LLP will grow its West Coast presence at the beginning of 2023 by bringing on 50 Selman Breitman LLP attorneys, expanding Hawkins Parnell's litigation team by more than a third and its number of locations by roughly a quarter.

Congratulations to Gretchen F. Richards (DRI member since 2022) and Carlos A. Benach (DRI member since 2016) for their election to Partner at Irwin Fritchie. Gretchen and Carlos have each demonstrated exceptional leadership both within the firm and in their communities, and Irwin Fritchie is excited to see them thrive in their new roles.

If you have a recent achievement or recognition, you would like featured, email your news to membership@dri.org. Please note that DRI reserves the right to review all accomplishments to ensure they are adequate for publishing. All submissions will be reviewed for relevance and compliance with DRI’s mission.  Submissions may be edited to conform with our standards, and space limitations.


SLDOs Name Officers for 2022-2023 Term


During the month of November, five DRI members have been named officers for the upcoming 2022-2023 leadership term in their State and Local Defense Organization (SLDO):

Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana has named DRI members Chris Lee (DRI member since 1995) as President and Scott Cockrum (DRI member since 2022) as Secretary. 

Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys elected David W. Orlandini as President. David has been a DRI member since 2000.  

South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys' Association has selected Giles M. Schanen, Jr. as President and William “Trey” W. Watkins, Jr. as Secretary. Giles joined DRI in 2013 and William joined in 2008. 


DRI Cares

Looking Back on 2022

 By Catherine Dugan

This past year has been one of the most successful and fulfilling years for service projects within DRI in recent memory.  Most SLCs and SLDO Regions were able to return to in-person programming and with that came so many opportunities for our members to give back to the host communities!  Looking back on the year, we are proud to share that DRI members planned and participated in over 20 DRI Cares projects across the country during 2022!

From the Substantive Law Committees side, 16 committees hosted or participated in events at their Seminars this past year.  From the SLDOs, we had 10 Regions host DRI Cares events during 2022.  Further projects were completed by the Board of Directors at each board meeting, as well as the huge project for Ronald McDonald House at the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  These projects have ranged from fundraising, to card-making, to book donations, and more!  At the recent Asbestos Seminar, attendees prepared Thanksgiving boxes for homeless families through Solutions for Change in San Diego.  In Nashville, Senior Living and Drug and Medical Device painted beautiful butterfly houses that provide fundraising opportunities for Alive Hospice.  In February in Las Vegas, Litigation Skills attendees created care kits for Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth.  Just to highlight a few!

DRI Cares, now a part of the DRI Foundation, is really a showcase of the positive impact that DRI members can have on our communities and on our society in general.  We are looking forward to another successful and meaningful year of volunteerism and engagement in 2023!

Catherine DuganCatherine Dugan is the Southern Region Director for DRI and the new DRI Cares Chair.

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New Members and Advocates

DRI Welcomes the Following Members and Advocates:

New Members
Jeffrey P. Fultz, Houston, TX                                                                       
Rachel R. Hager, Morristown, NJ                                                                     
David A. Cyr, Chicago, IL                                                                           
Kenneth L. Hopper, Morgantown, WV                                                                   
Jonathan A. Lax, Concord, NH                                                                        
Kirsten McNelly Bibbes, San Francisco, CA                                                           
Victoria Kelly, Phoenix, AZ                                                                         
Wendy Stein Fulton, Fort Lauderdale, FL                                                             
Katherine Hagmann, Hartford, CT                                                                     
Kaeanna Dzialo, Cincinnati, OH                                                                      
Kenesha L. Starling, Houston, TX                                                                    
Alan J. Taylor, Southfield, MI                                                                      
Blair Boyd, New Orleans, LA                                                                         
John Coleman, Chicago, IL                                                                           
Blakely Lloyd, Birmingham, AL                                                                       
John Pelczar Wright, Charlotte, NC                                                                  
James Brent Johnson, Jr., Oklahoma City, OK                                                         
Austin D. Rogers, Charleston, WV                                                                    
Rebecca Curcio, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                 
Christopher Stetler, Chicago, IL                                                                    
Charles A. Schreck, Oklahoma City, OK                                                               
Tara M. Mokhtarzadeh, Portland, OR                                                                  
Jeffrey A. Beer, Jr., Morristown, NJ                                                                
Sharri Bell, Springdale, AR                                                                         
Alayna Poole, Raleigh, NC                                                                           
Camille N. Burge, Oklahoma City, OK                                                                 
Jake Seidel, Oklahoma City, OK                                                                      
Virginia R. Bradley, Montgomery, AL                                                                 
Grayson B. Cassada, Richmond, VA                                                                    
Austin T. Ray, Oklahoma City, OK                                                                    
Peter Luccarelli, Tampa, FL                                                                         
Brianna N. Caldwell, Ridgeland, MS                                                                  
Kevin Stryker, Huntington, WV                                                                       
Julie Ward, Lincoln, NE                                                                             
Jay L. Phillips, Lexington, KY                                                                      
Jessica Chong, Denver, CO                                                                           
Joshua Walker, Houston, TX                                                                          
Kyle Schroader, Lexington, KY                                                                       
Olivia Arnett, Lima, OH                                                                             
Katherine Blair Johnson, New Orleans, LA                                                            
Bethany J. Anderson, Minneapolis, MN                                                                
Daniel Krupko, Akron, OH                                                                            
Tiffany Fendley, White Plains, NY                                                                   
Moreen Mekha, San Diego, CA                                                                         
Jordan Shewmaker, Lexington, KY                                                                     
Angelica Agnitti, Boston, MA                                                                        
Maggie McClatchey, Atlanta, GA                                                                      
Mark Luckett, Owensboro, KY                                                                         
John Scott Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA                                                                  
Christopher M. Griffin, Montgomery, AL                                                              
Mia Stigler, Seattle, WA                                                                            
Mia Stigler, Seattle, WA                                                                            
Blair Elizabeth Wessels, Charleston, WV                                                             
Jo McMinn, Charleston, WV                                                                           
Michael Byrne, Dublin, Ireland                                                            
Victoria Giese, Austin, TX                                                                          
Brice Peyton Phillips, The Woodlands, TX                                                            
Hunter Rommelman, Louisville, KY                                                                    
Kenna Duckworth, Seattle, WA                                                                        
Matthew Jospeh Minero, Huntington Station, NY                                                       
Isaiah Kelly Robinson, Charleston, WV                                                               
Laura B. Dowgin, New York, NY                                                                       
Alexander Meissner, Los Angeles, CA                                                                 
David Frederick Walker, Mobile, AL                                                                  
Janine Panchok-Berry, New York, NY                                                                  
Gary Svirksy, New York, NY                                                                          
Alisa Micu, Louisville, KY                                                                          
Dave Miyamoto, Honolulu, HI                                                                         
Farrell Miller, New York, NY                                                                        
Patrick Daniel Newman, Minneapolis, MN                                                              
Kevin R. O'Neill, Chicago, IL                                                                       
Murray Weed, Harrisburg, PA                                                                         
Karine Russell, Vancouver, BC, Canada                                                               
Jamie Scott Hendrickson, Las Vegas, NV                                                              
Frank Wilbert, Nashville, TN                                                                        
Ann Motl, Minneapolis, MN                                                                           
Michaela Stone Morrissey, Colorado Springs, CO                                                      
Joshua Jefferson, New Orleans, LA                                                                   
D. Craig Allred, Montgomery, AL                                                                     
Solomon Schae Thomas, Birmingham, AL                                                                
Joshua G. Latzman, Houston, TX                                                                      
Dalton Huerkamp, Rogers, AR                                                                         
Brett R. Koehn, Ridgeland, MS                                                                       
Edward Culver, Atlanta, GA                                                                          
P Thomas Distanisalo, III, Richmond, VA                                                             
Terra L. Silva, Birmingham, AL                                                                      
Ryan Ott, Springfield, MO                                                                           
Brielle McKinlay, Great Falls, MT                                                                   
William Chadwick Lamar, Jr., Birmingham, AL                                                         
Prathyusha Matam, Chicago, IL                                                                       
Amy Nicole Lee, Tampa, FL                                                                           
Afam Okeke, Sugar Land, TX                                                                          
Brikk Elizabeth Bralley, Vista, CA                                                                  
Matthew Queen, Rome, GA                                                                             
Britt A. Carlson, Scottsdale, AZ                                                                    
Johnathon K. Carter, Portland, OR                                                                   
Ryan J. Coufal, Omaha, NE                                                                           
Michael L. Norton, Elmhurst, IL                                                                     
Danielle K. Berry, Atlanta, GA                                                                      
Tricia Martino, Pittsburgh, PA                                                                      
Camrie M. Ventry, Dallas, TX                                                                        
Terrell Blakesleay, Birmingham, AL                                                                  
Keith Allen, Aurora, IL                                                                             
Valerie Garcia, Seattle, WA                                                                         
Brian M. Peters, Jr., Spartanburg, SC                                                               
Manuel Ugarte, Jr., Walnut Creek, CA                                                                
Azniv Khararjian, Los Angeles, CA                                                                   
Matthew James Lang, Red Bank, NJ                                                                    
Aiden Spencer, Philadelphia, PA                                                                     
G David Mathues, Itasca, IL                                                                         
Carlos Martinez, Indianapolis, IN                                                                   
John Holmen, Merrillville, IN                                                                       
Yongli Yang, Chicago, IL                                                                            
Maggie Ogletree, Birmingham, AL                                                                     
Evan Walker Elam, Atlanta, GA                                                                       
Samantha LeJune, Charlotte, NC                                                                      
Stephanie Romano, Wilmington, NC                                                                    
Jordan Gehlhaar, Des Moines, IA                                                                     
Timothy Stucky, New Albany, IN                                                                      
Thomas William Matthew, II, Washington, DC                                                          
Zachary Damian De Leon, Charlotte, NC                                                               
Elizabeth Graves, Portland, OR                                                                      
Kara Hunter Bailey, Philadelphia, PA                                                                
Madeline R. Becker, Providence, RI                                                                  
Gabriel Dowdell, Birmingham, AL                                                                     
Kelsey Sandler Gee, Columbus, OH                                                                    
Trey Bundrick, Birmingham, AL                                                                       
Simon Paransky, Montréal, QC, Canada                                                                
Sezen Izer, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                     
Desirae Demore, Overland Park, KS                                                                   
Angelica Ruby Melecio Pineiro, Tampa, FL                                                            
Emmanuelle Solenn Nohad Khoury, Montréal, QC, Canada                                                
Arielle Heinke, Tampa, FL                                                                           
Davis House, Ridgeland, MS                                                                          
Cody Thomas Wright, Saint Louis, MO                                                                 
Yassin Gagnon-Djalo, Montréal, QC, Canada                                                           
Matt Koehler, Saint Louis, MO                                                                       
Olivia Paxinos, Western Springs, IL                                                                 
Christen Ann Petruzzelli, Tallahassee, FL                                                           
CaroLea Casas, Seattle, WA                                                                          
Trent J. Andreasen, Portland, OR                                                                    
John M. Collier, Jr., Birmingham, AL                                                                
Monica A. Carranza, Alexandria, VA                                                                  
Lee Sands, Nashville, TN                                                                            
Cynthia Lee, Nashville, TN                                                                          
Debora Marie Blair, Atlanta, GA                                                                    
Dessi N. Day, San Diego, CA                                                                         
Fred E. Bourn (Trey) III, Ridgeland, MS                                                             
James J.S. Holmes, Los Angeles, CA                                                                  
Jean E. Faure, Great Falls, MT                                                                      
Andrew DeSimone, Lexington, KY                                                                      
Bryan E. Stanton, Oklahoma City, OK                                                                 
Bradford G. Hughes, Los Angeles, CA                                                                 
Charles E. Hervas, Itasca, IL                                                                       
Dale R. Sisco, Tampa, FL                                                                            
Corey A. Bauer, Pittsburgh, PA                                                                      
Danielle M. Waltz, Charleston, WV                                                                   
David R. Ongaro, San Francisco, CA                                                                  
Jeffrey E. Lowe, Agoura Hills, CA                                                                   
Ellis B. Murov, New Orleans, LA                                                                     
Lana A. Olson, Birmingham, AL                                                                       
Mark A. Fahleson, Lincoln, NE                                                                       
JoAnne B. Gilliam, Amelia, OH                                                                       
Robin D. Linley, Toronto, ON                                                                        
Kate Mercer-Lawson, Denver, CO                                                                      
Rubina Khaleel, Omaha, NE                                                                           
Kevin Clayton Baltz, Nashville, TN                                                                  
Ryan Blue, Rogers, AR                                                                               
Stephen O. Plunkett, Minneapolis, MN                                                                
Kristie S. Crawford, Springfield, MO                                                                
Marjorie A. Farris, Louisville, KY                                                                  
Michael D. Carter, Oklahoma City, OK                                                                
Monté L. Williams, The Woodlands, TX                                                                
R. Mark Willingham, Houston, TX                                                                     
Reuben Rothstein, Toronto, ON                                                                       
Rodney E. Pettey, Raleigh, NC                                                                       
Ryan James Roberts, Seattle, WA                                                                     
Taryn W. Harper, Atlanta, GA                                                                        
Timothy M. Miller, Charleston, WV                                                                   
William Jeremiah Tolton III, Portland, OR                                                           
Andrea Balsamo, Boston, MA                                                                          
Frank J. Lavery, Jr., Harrisburg, PA                                                                
Ilana B. Olman, Fort Lauderdale, FL                                                                 
Jordan Jarreau, Austin, TX                                                                          
Joseph D. Cohen, Houston, TX                                                                        
Mary G. Erlingson, Baton Rouge, LA                                                                  
Megan L. Southern, Huntington, WV                                                                   
Timothy Liam Epstein, Chicago, IL                                                                   
Xeris Gregory, Birmingham, AL               

From the Women in the Law Committee

2023 is the Year to Invest in Yourself, Reenergize, and Achieve Your Goals! 

Join women attorneys in Las Vegas for DRI's 2023 Women in the Law Seminar and be a part of a supportive community of high-achieving legal professionals. Save $300 on registration when you secure your spot by January 5th! Learn more here.

What You Will Learn:

  • Lessons from your peers (no matter your age) on how to be your best and most confident self.

  • What clients really want (and how to be their first call).

  • Why our friendships make us better lawyers and better people.

  • How to maximize technology and win in the courtroom.

  • How to manage challenging public relation situations for clients while still protecting privilege.

  • Ways to reduce your litigation spend without increasing your litigation risk.

Expand Your Network By:

  • Engaging in small group sessions with peers from your same generation/life stage to share and learn from each other.

  • Meeting new friends and reconnecting with old friends through WITL’s signature small group networking that allows us to enjoy Vegas while creating space to truly develop relationships.

  • Collaborating with members of the Construction and Civil Rights committees during joint CLE sessions and shared networking opportunities.


DRI Education

Upcoming Seminars & Webinars

2023 Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar
January 23–25, 2023 | Las Vegas, Nevada 
Attend the 2023 Civil Rights and Governmental Liability Seminar and gain invaluable information and tools to represent your governmental clients. You will also have opportunities to network and exchange ideas, techniques, and winning strategies with experienced litigators and insurance professionals.
Early Bird Discount of $300 ends January 5.

2023 Women in the Law Seminar
January 23–25, 2023 | Las Vegas, Nevada
Attend the 2023 Women in the Law Seminar and benefit from a variety of workshops, CLE sessions, and networking opportunities designed to help women attorneys and their supporters take control of their professional development and prioritize their health and wellness.
Early Bird Discount of $300 ends January 5.

2023 Construction Law Seminar
January 23–25, 2023 | Las Vegas, Nevada
The future of construction defense is happening now. Join the DRI Construction Law Committee in Las Vegas as we share thoughts and strategies for advancing the defense construction practice moving forward.
Early Bird Discount of $300 ends January 5.

2023 Litigation Skills Seminar
February 1-3, 2023 | Austin, Texas
The 2023 Litigation Skills 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.
Early Bird Discount of $300 ends January 5.

2023 Product Liability Conference
February 1-3, 2023 | Austin, Texas
At the 2023 DRI Product Liability Conference, learn the latest in product recall news, elevate your expertise on product liability issues arising from the expansion of artificial intelligence, and examine the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on jury selection strategies.
Early Bird Discount of $300 ends January 5.

Quote of the Month

"A new year can begin only because the old year ends." – Madeleine L’Engle