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Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Spotlight on DRI CEO Dean Martinez 

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we at DRI believe it is essential to recognize and celebrate the incredible contributions of Hispanic individuals to the association space and beyond. 

This article shines a light on Dean Martinez, CEO of DRI. 

Dean Martinez: A Hispanic CEO Making a Difference 

As CEO of DRI, Dean leads the largest international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. Dean is a first-generation Cuban-American whose parents came to the United States after fleeing communist Cuba. Although they themselves had limited education, Dean’s immigrant parents instilled in him the importance of being a leader in your community and earning an education. As a result, Dean has a Bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and a J.D. from the School of Law at Loyola University Chicago. He is an attorney who has spent over 20 years leading wide-ranging association activities and high-visibility government projects. Prior to joining DRI, Dean spent 11 years with APICS/ASCM. He served as its General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer, and he also worked for four years as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, where he was responsible for a $450 million annual budget and over 800 employees. 

Under his leadership, DRI has actively promoted diversity of thought and provided opportunities for underrepresented groups in the legal profession while broadly advocating for the integrity of the defense bar. Experienced as both an attorney and corporate leader, Dean continually emphasizes the importance of embracing different perspectives and backgrounds within the legal community. 

When asked about the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month and expanding opportunities for Hispanic leaders, Dean said: “Now more than ever I believe the importance of ensuring we have diversity of thought in all of our decision-making to ensure we can meet the needs of our members and the civil diverse bar. The only way to have diversity of thought is by having a diverse team.” 

Hispanic Leadership in Associations 

The Hispanic community has made some strides in leadership positions across countless sectors, including associations and nonprofits. The representation of Hispanic professionals in executive roles within these organizations has been steadily growing. However, there is still much work to be done. 

According to the latest data from the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, Hispanics hold about 4% of corporate board positions in the United States and Puerto Rico. However, less than 4% of Hispanics serve as CEOs, despite the Hispanic population being projected to increase to 119 million—28.6% of the nation’s population—by 2060. Furthermore, the organization reported that in 2021, Latinas represented just under 3% percent of corporate executives and less than 2% percent of board directors. The opportunity—and need—for improvement in this space is clear. 

The Road Ahead 

While Dean’s story is inspiring, DRI acknowledges that there is still work to be done in increasing the representation of Hispanic executives and CEOs across all industries. Hispanic Heritage Month serves as a reminder of the rich blend of cultures and backgrounds that make up the US and the incredible potential that lies within the Hispanic community. 

Looking Ahead 

During Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate leaders like Dean, whose leadership and dedication have made a significant impact in their respective fields. As we continue to recognize and uplift Hispanic leaders, we should also reflect on the progress made in increasing Hispanic representation in executive roles. 

It is our hope that, in the years to come, representation for Hispanic association executives and CEOs will continue to grow. The stories of leaders like Dean serve as a reminder to us to strive for a more inclusive environment, where everyone can make a lasting positive impact. 

Law Firm Leaders
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Annual Meeting Spotlight

Get Ready for DRI’s 2023 Annual Meeting!

DRI’s Annual Meeting is All About Connections! Start planning your trip to sunny San Antonio to engage and grow with your DRI community.  

Watch this video to learn more:  

DRI’s Annual Meeting is more than a meeting! It’s an experience that will shape your career. Join the most influential civil defense attorneys and in-house counsel from across the country to expand your knowledge, network, and professional profile. 

We look forward to seeing you this October 25–27 in San Antonio!


Center Brief: FCA Claims Should Not Arise from Technical Regulatory Violations 

In August, on the recommendation of its MSP Task Force, the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy joined the American Property Casualty Insurance Association and the Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition in filing an amicus brief with the Sixth Circuit in Michael Angelo and MSP WB LLC v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al. The brief endeavors to assist the Sixth Circuit in understanding the nature of reporting requirements under Section 111 of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 and why technical regulatory violations (such as Section 111 reporting) should not be sufficient to support a False Claims Act claim.  

FROM The DRI Foundation

Lawyer Mental Health – It’s a Priority! 

By Cate Dugan

The American Lawyer reported earlier this year that its survey of nearly 3,000 lawyers showed over 70% of those practicing attorneys reported suffering from anxiety, an increase from 2022 reports. Just under 40% reported dealing with depression, a 35% increase over last year. And in general, the number of lawyers reporting struggles with mental health doubled over 2022 reports. Even more concerningly, a study conducted of over 2,000 attorneys in California and Washington, D.C. in early 2023, which was recently published in the journal Healthcare, concluded that attorneys are twice as likely as other working US adults to have suicidal thoughts. High stress and “high work overcommitment,” not surprisingly, being the biggest predictor of suicidal ideations. 

The pressures on attorneys can certainly mount. Billable hour pressures, inability to disconnect, lack of sleep, client expectations, substance abuse – all play their part in the increasing stress levels and health concerns for our colleagues. However, the same survey from The American Lawyer shows that only about 1/3 of attorneys polled would feel comfortable seeking help or taking time away from work to address their mental health or substance abuse issues. 

Thankfully, as a profession in the past few years, we can see a turn in the tide of practitioners and law firms addressing lawyer mental health issues head on. Many states require mandatory CLE hours each year on well-being topics. Large law firms, as well as legal organizations such as the ABA, have well-being committees. Here at DRI, the DRI Foundation and, within the Foundation, the DRI for Life Committee, are committed to providing resources to our members to emphasize work/life balance, career satisfaction, mental health, addiction resources and tools for living a healthier life.  

Maintaining healthy boundaries is an often-cited tip for increasing lawyer well-being. While technology may make it possible to be available to our clients 24/7, taking time away from work and even just daily time away from your phone or computer are important boundaries to protect health and well-being. Daily movement, in whatever format you prefer, is also statistically proven to increase positive moods and help manage stress. Also, taking advantage of employee or lawyer well-being programs is another great tip – if your firm or any organization you are involved in offers any opportunities for wellness initiatives, group physical activity, wellness apps, gym memberships, attorney well-being CLEs or programming, these are excellent ways to ensure we as attorneys are being proactive about our own mental health. 

Finally, as a profession, I would encourage each of us to pay attention to our friends and colleagues and their mental wellness whenever possible. Social isolation or loneliness, which contributes to depression and other mental health issues, have been noted as common among lawyers due to the demanding and adversarial nature of the job. Connecting with colleagues through membership in organizations, regular collaboration or social interactions in a work environment, and just opportunities to socialize with our friends and colleagues in this profession can contribute to a sense of belonging. Reach out to a colleague – invite them to lunch, invite them to a DRI seminar, or just check in.  

Protecting attorney wellness and increasing our awareness of these issues is a priority for the DRI Foundation. If you have suggestions or ideas about attorney well-being resources, speakers, or programming that could be implemented through the DRI Foundation, we would love to hear from you! 

Catherine Dugan

Cate Dugan is a Partner at Peterson White LLP. She is the DRI Cares Chair.


LGBTQ+ History Month Spotlight

Wallflower or Dancing Partner? A Call for Allyship in Celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month 

By Kurtis R. McManus (he/him/his) 

LGBTQ+ History Month is already underway in the United States for the month of October and it’s a great opportunity for introspection, learning, and visibility, as well as reflection on the experiences and struggles that members of the LGBTQIA+ community may face in the professional industry. It is also a chance to celebrate and honor the rich and diverse history of the LGBTQIA+ community and develop how we can all exercise allyship for those in marginalized communities. (Although it is currently titled “LGBTQ+ History Month”, using LGBTQIA+ is more inclusive and representative of the community due to emerging identities. The letters are for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Ally, with the “+” representing those that may not identify within the others, including, but not limited to, non-binary/gender non-conforming, questioning, asexual, pansexual, etc.)

As a quick history lesson, LGBTQ+ History Month was created in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher (and first openly gay public school teacher in Missouri), with the goal of encouraging honesty and openness about being queer. October was selected to coincide with National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), which was already established, and the anniversary of the first march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights in 1979. In 1995, the Nation Education Association General Assembly passed a resolution to include LGBTQ+ History Month within its list of commemorative months.   

Over the recent decades, we have seen a steady increase of those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community and with that came some growing pains, but also increased support and acceptance, sometimes in the most surprising of places. That being said, we are definitely not where we need to be and should be constantly moving the needle closer and closer towards equality, equity, and inclusion.   

While I certainly don’t speak on behalf of each member of the LGBTQIA+ community and appreciate that each of us have our own individual experiences and perspectives, I believe that our identities have influenced how we all navigate our professional careers in one form or another, which is a common experience for underrepresented communities. There is an additional layer of consideration in how we act and react in many scenarios, and despite oppressive legislation, frequent social discourse about our basic human rights, and acts of violence, we have persevered and thrived, finding strength within our community and leaning on the support of allies. 

As most of us know, prejudices can often be “Death By a Thousand Paper Cuts” and not necessarily a blatant act or event. Making disparaging comments or even using hushed tones during conversations when identifying someone in the LGBTQIA+ community sends the message that there is something wrong with that person or their identity. While I’ve personally been fortunate to have many supportive employers and colleagues overall, I still go through mental gymnastics navigating conversations, since you never know who may say something either out of bigotry or possibly just ignorance, or if my identity will negatively influence others during an appearance, deposition, hearing, etc. Do I correct the person who asked me what my wife does for a living or just let it go as small talk? When asked when I’m having kids, do I explain the struggles and costs we face to have a family or just stick with a generic, “We’re thinking about it and will see how it goes!”? Do I engage in political discussions out of a sense of obligation to be visible and support my community, especially in this climate? Do I explain why I have my pronouns in my email signature when asked about it by an adversary while we wait for our case to be called? 

One of the things that I believe people outside of the community sometimes fail to appreciate is that we never stop coming out and it can be incredibly taxing. You start a new job, move to a new area, have a case with a new adversary/client/Judge…we literally have to come out again and again when presented with a new situation and environment. Being out is so important for visibility and representation, however, every coming out story is different. Some people risk their physical safety in order to come out, especially in countries where you can be killed. Even for those who have a solid support system, internalized homophobia and the thought that you coming out makes you “less than” or may jeopardize your professional career is so prevalent. Unfortunately, some people are unable to come out and live their true, authentic lives, leading to increased instances of self-harm and suicide. 

For those who would like to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community and how to be an ally, I would recommend exploring the Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, and Anti-Defamation League, as well as joining your local LGBTQIA+ bar association or the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association. Actively seeking and interacting with those with which you don’t identify enriches both of your lives and provides a new perspective, as long as you go in with genuine curiosity and interest in learning, instead of tokenism. This can be done through the recruitment and hiring process, mentorship and training, and in simple day-to-day interactions. Consider joining committees and infinity groups that work to eliminate bias in your industry and that strive to promote DEI policies and initiatives. There is power in your respective privilege and you can weaponized that to make space for everyone, actively seek others’ input, and celebrate others’ successes and strengths. 

An increased self-awareness benefits every situation and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community through that practice is no different. Being aware of common microaggressions is a great way of drastically improving a professional environment, as well as understanding that, while you may have had the best of intentions with your actions, the impact may have been negative and requires acknowledgment and adjustment. Those in and out of the community should also remember that how we identify is only one part of who we are, so appreciate and celebrate the other facets of the person.  

Unlearning and education are crucial for moving forward with an open mind. You need to be willing to let go what you think you may know and take someone else’s experiences and input at face value, without questioning their experiences. The LGBTQIA+ community has been perpetually represented in society and media through outdated and prejudicial stereotypes, so it can be a lot of work to break down those implicit biases. It’s difficult and uncomfortable to be vulnerable, but that can become one of the shared experiences you can have with the person in the LGBTQIA+ community, as they are being vulnerable discussing their experience. It’s in that place where people grow.  

One of my favorite quotes that I always go back to when thinking about allyship is by Vernā Myers and I invite you to incorporate this into your daily mantra: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Now let’s get dancing! 

Kurtis McManusKurtis McManus is a Partner at Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan LLP.


New Center Appointments 

The Center is honored to announce that U-Haul has joined as the newest member of its Advisory Council, with Konrad Pilatowicz, Director of Regulatory & Risk, serving at U-Haul’s corporate liaison.  Additionally, several members of the U-Haul team have accepted appointments to various Center working groups and task forces. 

Konrad Pilatowicz
Konrad Pilatowicz

Within the Center’s Legislation and Rules Committee, John Lytle, Assistant General Counsel for U-Haul, is now a member of the Federal Rules Task Force. Barrett Flynn, also Assistant General Counsel, is now a member of the Class Actions Task Force. Newly appointed to the State Legislation & Rules Task Force is Assistant General Counsel Sarah Wolfe, who will represent Arizona on the task force. 

Lytle_John Sarah Wolfe
Pictured, L to R: Lytle, Wolfe; Not Pictured: Flynn

Within the Center’s Public Policy Committee, U-Haul Associate General Counsel - Corporate Governance & Securities Martin Fisher-Haydis now serves on the Artificial Intelligence Working Group. Josh Goldberg, Director of Corporate Law at U-Haul, was appointed to the Data Privacy & Protection Working Group. Holly Stanford, Assistant General Counsel - Regulatory & Risk, is now a member of the Climate Change and Sustainability Task Force.

Martin Fisher-HaydisJosh GoldbergStanford_Holly
Pictured, L to R: Fisher-Haydis, Goldberg, Stanford

Robert E. Johnston (Hollingsworth LLP) was recently appointed to serve on the Center’s Legislation and Rules Committee. “Robert’s decades of litigation knowledge and experience will be tremendously beneficial to the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy,” said Committee Chair Jim McCrystal (Sutter O’Connell). “We are grateful and honored that has agreed to become involved!” Johnston will also serve as a member of the Center’s Third-Party Litigation Task Force. Hollingsworth LLP is a member of the Center’s Advisory Council.

Robert E. Johnston

The Advisory Council is a group of companies, law firms, and other organizations within the Center for Law and Public Policy. The Advisory Council regularly meets to provide input into the Center’s overall strategy. Advisory Council members may also support specific Center initiatives, depending on their interest. To learn more about the Advisory Council or how to join, email

Finally, the Center is pleased to announce two more appointments to its State Legislation and Rules Task Force. Anne Marie Sferra (Bricker Graydon LLP) was recently appointed to represent Ohio, and Lisa Bellino Apelian (Zurich NA) becomes the second representative for Pennsylvania. Zurich NA is a member of the Center’s Advisory Council. Read more about the State Legislation and Rules Task Force’s mission and how SLDOs can seek its assistance.

Sferra_Anne MarieBellino Apelian_Lisa
Pictured, L to R: Sferra, Bellino Apelian

Summer Associates Spotlight

Give the Gift of DRI Membership! 

Summer Associates

For a very limited time (October 2, 2023, through October 31, 2023) as an added benefit of membership, you can show your Summer Associates and Judicial Interns appreciation with the gift of DRI membership.  

If your firm had Summer Associates this year, DRI has a special offer that allows you to recognize and thank them with a FREE Law Student membership!   

Membership includes: 

  • Complimentary registration to all DRI seminars and Annual Meeting. 

  • Access to all 29 DRI Committees, including the Young Lawyers Committee. 

  • Subscriptions to The Voice, For the Defense, The Brief Case, and In-House Defense Quarterly

Program Eligibility 

To qualify for the 2023 Summer Associates Free Membership Program, Summer Associates must: 

  • Been a 2023 Summer Associate of a current DRI member.  

  • Not a current member of DRI. 

  • Currently registered as a full time or evening student pursuing a J.D. degree 

NFJE Fundraiser Spotlight

Support the NFJE at DRI's Annual Meeting

 NFJE Fundraiser

The DRI Foundation is again holding a sweepstakes at the Annual Meeting that will support The National Foundation for Judicial Excellence (NFJE). The NFJE supports a strong, independent, responsive judiciary by providing officers of the courts with educational programs and other tools to enable them to perform at their highest level. 

Everyone is invited and encouraged to buy tickets for a chance to win one of five fabulous prizes and support NFJE. You do not need to be registered for the Annual Meeting to participate in this fundraiser.  

For $100 you will have a chance to win: 

Registration for the 2024 Annual Meeting (Value $1,695) 

The 2024 Annual Meeting is in Seattle, Washington and there are so many places to explore in and around Seattle. Win an AM registration and start planning for next year!  

85-Inch Television (Value $1,000) 

Whether you are interested in a home theater experience or preparing for the next football game, you can enjoy the big screen in your own home.  

Christian Louboutin Gift Card (Value $500) 

The Lightfoot Louboutins are back by popular demand! This year we have a $500 Christian Louboutin gift card, which will help add a little sizzle to any wardrobe. Donated by Women of Lightfoot Franklin (“WOLF”) 

reMarkable Tablet (Value $300) 

Replace your notebooks and printouts with the only tablet that feels like paper. Don’t you feel more efficient already? 

Exotic Meat ($200) 

Plan a new holiday meal with packages of elk meat that provide a change of pace from the usual chicken or beef. Acquired and donated by the Defense Lawyers Association of Wyoming. 


Center Supports Proposed Revisions to FL R.C.P. 

On October 2, 2023, the Center for Law and Public Policy was pleased to join a comment to the Florida Supreme Court submitted on behalf of a coalition of organizations, including sister orgs IADC, FDCC, ADTA, as well as Center Advisory Council members NAMIC and APCIA, among others.  The organizations asked the court to consider three revisions to the proposed Florida Rules of Civil Procedure that were published in the September 1, 2023.  First, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.280 should be revised to state that discovery must be “proportional to the needs of the case” consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1). Second disclosure of third-party litigation funding agreements should be required. Third, the extreme unfairness under new Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.460—under which failure to continue trial would result in a defendant having to defend multiple trials simultaneously or close together, forcing the defendant to try some cases with a lawyer who is not the defendant’s preferred choice of counsel—must be addressed. 

Read the full comment. 

Annual Meeting 

Legal System Abuse

Legal system abuses have dramatically increased both costs and verdicts in civil litigation that outpace general economic inflation without significant changes in legal or factual bases to support the increase. Join the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy during DRI's 2023 Annual Meeting for an in-house panel discussion about the most rampant abuses, their impact on the legal industry, and how the defense bar can respond. 

Legal System Abuse: An In-House Perspective will be moderated by Patrick Sweeney (Sweeney & Sheehan) and feature speakers Lisa Bellino Apelian (Zurich North America), Andrew Pauley (National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies), Konrad Pilatowicz (U-Haul International, Inc.), and Stef Zielezienski (American Property Casualty Insurance Association). 

More Center Activity at the Annual Meeting: 

The Center in FTD 

In the September issue of For The Defense, Chris Turney (Turney LG), who chairs the Center’s Social Inflation Task Force, teamed with task force member Eric Passeggio (Sulloway & Hollis) to publish “Anchoring a Verdict Without Angering the Court,” which assessed a recent Supreme Court of Texas holding that made the most definitive rejection of the practice of damages anchoring to date. 

They were joined in the September FTD by fellow task force member Lisa Bellino Apelian (Zurich U.S.), whose article “The Cost of Doing Business: Jurisdiction by Consent Under Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co.” discussed the overwhelming implications and “intolerable unpredictability” resulting from the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent opinion. 

For more on recent activities, read the Center’s newsletter covering Q3 of 2023. 

Professional Liability

World Mental Health Day

Celebrating World Mental Health Day

Tuesday, October 10th was World Mental Health Day. First celebrated by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992, World Mental Health Day brings attention to mental health education and fights against the social stigmas surrounding mental health.  

This year, we’d like to bring attention to the potential signs of burnout. Part of taking care of your health is making sure you’re giving yourself time to recover mentally and physically. This list of burnout symptoms from the Mayo Clinic could help you recognize burnout in yourself and others.  

Ask yourself:  

  • Have you become cynical or critical at work? 

  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started? 

  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients? 

  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive? 

  • Do you find it hard to concentrate? 

  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements? 

  • Do you feel disillusioned about your job? 

  • Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel? 

  • Have your sleep habits changed? 

  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints? 

If you said yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing burnout. Take the time to address your burnout and help yourself recover through one or more of these activities: 

  • Address any immediate changes you can make to your workload both professionally and personally. 

  • Seek support through your friends, family, peers, and professional mental health advocates. 

  • Get some rest that’s good for your mind and body by taking a nap, unplugging from technology, or meditating. 

  • Get moving by setting aside time to exercise, getting up and moving for a few minutes every hour or two, or by fitting a walk into your day. You can start right now by getting up for a few minutes!

You may not be able to avoid the stresses that cause burnout, but you can help your body take the steps it needs to recover. 

Check out more resources from DRI for Life here.

Diversity Professionalism & Business Development Program Mentees

Congratulations to the 2023/2024 DRI Diversity Professionalism & Business Development Program Mentees!  

Diversity Professionalism & Business Development Program

Please join us in congratulating the 2023/2024 DRI Diversity Professionalism & Business Development Program Mentees!  

Govinda M. Davis (Dinsmore & Shohl LLP) 

Shundra Crumpton Manning (Polsinelli)  

Logan Moses Owens (Carlton Fields) 

Tyrra V. Walker (Chartwell Law) 

Courtney E. Dunn (Segal McCambridge) 

A.  Solomon Luwoye (Segal McCambridge) 

May K. Song (Redgrave LLP) 

Camille Bryant (McGlinchey Stafford PLLC) 

Chris Weaver (Norman, Wood, Kendrick & Turner) 

Marcus K. Pierre (Johnson, Yacoubian & Paysse) 

Jared E. Nelson (Liskow & Lewis) 

Shawn J. Alves (Milligan Lawless, PC) 

The DRI Diversity & Inclusion Committee launched this program with the DRI Corporate Counsel Committee to enhance opportunities for high-potential, early-career civil defense attorneys who are members of DRI and are from historically underrepresented groups. The goal of this program is to provide mentees with practical tools for developing and leveraging relationship-building skills applicable to law firm practice. 

Election Spotlight

2023 DRI Election Update


At the 2023 DRI Annual Meeting in San Antonio, October 25–27, the DRI Board of Directors will name four individuals to join them as national directors (each serving three-year terms). The final candidates are presented to the board upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, chaired this year by DRI Past President Toyja E. Kelley. In addition, an individual will be elected as the next DRI second vice president, which begins his or her track to the presidency after serving subsequent years as first vice president and president-elect. Also, one candidate will be elected to serve a one-year term as secretary–treasurer. The following DRI members have filed Declarations of Candidacy for this year’s second vice president and national director positions.

To read a candidate's declaration, click on his or her name. Adobe Reader is required to view the PDF file. Please send any letters of support for the 2023 DRI candidates to

Check out DRI's Election Hub for more information.

Second Vice President

Kathy J. MausButler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP, Tallahassee, Florida

Jill Cranston Rice, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Morgantown, West Virginia

Sara M. TurnerBaker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Birmingham, Alabama

National Director

Jody C. CorbettCity of Phoenix Law Department, Phoenix, Arizona

Mario J. Delano, Campbell, Foley, Delano & Adams, LLC, Wall, New Jersey

Stacy L. DouglasEverett Dorey LLP, Irvine California

Matthew P. KerisMarshall Dennehey, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Danielle M. WaltzJackson Kelly PLLC, Charleston, West Virginia

Seminar Spotlight

DRI's Upcoming Seminars

Law Firm Leaders and Managing Partners: 

Tackle Issues Facing Law Firm Leaders Around the Country 

“The new “Wild West” of issues facing law firm leaders has presented numerous challenges for defense firms across the country. Join us November 14-15 in lively Austin, Texas for insightful discussions on how to tackle the novel issues facing law practice management at the 2023 DRI Law Firm Leaders and Managing Partners Conference! Equip yourself with the knowledge and strategies necessary for success – register now and reserve your spot today!” 

Retail and Hospitality: 

Stay Current on Issues Facing the Retail and Hospitality Legal Space 

Join us for the 2023 DRI Retail and Hospitality Litigation Seminar in Austin, Texas from November 15-17 and learn from the leading experts on the latest legal issues facing the retail and hospitality industries. This is a great opportunity for lawyers, retail and hospitality operators, vendors, claims professionals, and insurers to stay up to date on the latest trends and developments in the law, as well as learn how to effectively manage risk in their practice. Don’t miss out on this incredible educational and networking opportunity! Register now and reserve your spot today. 

Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium: 

Stay on the Cutting-edge of Emerging Trends and Issues in the Insurance Industry 

The 2023 DRI Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium is the flagship educational and networking program for insurance executives, claims professionals, and outside counsel who specialize in insurance coverage. This year's symposium will once again offer the unparalleled opportunity to engage with a distinguished faculty of insurance industry leaders and coverage lawyers on emerging and cutting-edge issues such as the impact of artificial intelligence, the future for coverage issues involved in "forever chemical" environmental claims, and the continuing impact of nuclear verdicts on coverage and excess insurance issues. As always, the symposium will provide exceptional networking events and will offer the opportunity to build relationships with other professionals who share your interests. 

Join us for the Insurance Law Committee’s largest event of the year – register now to reserve your spot! 

World-Renowned Researcher and Pathologist Dr. Michele Carbone Scheduled to Speak at 2023 Asbestos Medicine Seminar 

DRI is excited to have Dr. Michele Carbone as one of its speakers at the 2023 Asbestos Medicine Seminar, November 15–17 in Austin, Texas.   

Recognized for his groundbreaking research in cancer genetics, Dr. Carbone discovered that germline mutations of the BAP1 gene cause mesothelioma and other cancers, a new medical condition known as the “BAP1 Cancer Syndrome”. Studying the families affected by germline BAP1 mutations, Dr. Carbone discovered unique pathological and clinical characteristics that set apart genetically induced mesotheliomas from the more common sporadic mesotheliomas which are often caused by asbestos. 

In addition to his innovative research, Dr. Carbone is an accomplished teacher and pathologist who specializes in pleural pathology. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with Dr. Carbone at a meet and greet seminar session on Wednesday, November 15! Register now and join us for what is sure to be an unforgettable event. 

Preview 2023 DRI Professional Liability Seminar Sessions 

Attendees of the 2023 DRI Professional Liability Seminar, November 29 - December 1 in New York City will gain valuable education on advancements in technology like ChatGPT and other AI, practical and ethical challenges of effective advocacy with an eroding limits policy, and more from experienced lawyers and professionals. 

Here are just some of the sessions we have in store for you: 

AI Hallucinations, Discrimination, and Legal Liabilities, Oh My! How Generative AI is Transforming Professional Practices; AI Legal and Ethical Risks; and Recommended Best Practices to Reduce Risk 

This presentation will focus on (1) how professionals are using Generative AI; (2) legal and ethical risks arising from AI, including risks posed by AI “hallucinations;” disinformation risks; cybersecurity risks; privacy risks; IP risks; professional ethics risks; and insurance coverage and other contractual risks; and (3) best practices to help reduce such risks. The presentation will conclude with a short discussion of other technologies coming down the pike that will further transform professional practices (and pose significant, additional legal and ethical risks for the professionals that use them). 

Limitation of Liability Provisions in Design Professional Agreements 
A comprehensive discussion of how courts are interpreting, enforcing, and denying these clauses. Learn how and when to draft and incorporate these terms, and tactical considerations for defense counsel, client, and insurer. 

Professionals at Risk: Social Vices and Addictions 
This session will provide clear and concise data on the increase in addictive behaviors in the past three years since the start of the Pandemic, and specifically how they are impacting the legal profession. It will present Addiction Interaction Disorder in a clear and accessible way for non-clinical professionals to more readily see issues and help identify them in order to help colleagues seek help and reduce the risk of liability in the law firm. Ethics and civil liability will be reviewed. 

You have until by October 30 to register and book your hotel in order to save up to $500. But why wait? Secure your spot today! 

January Seminar Early Access

2024 DRI Seminar Early Access Registration for Members Only

DRI members can register now for January 2024 seminars and get best pricing thanks to exclusive, limited-time Early Access Registration! This special offer ends October 19. Everyone else can take advantage of Early Bird Registration starting October 19 through December 4. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to secure your spot now at the lowest price for these 2024 seminars:

Civil Rights
Construction Law

Publications Spotlight

DRI's 2024 Editorial Calendar is Here: Reserve Your Committee Spotlight Issue(s) Now!

Looking to expand your thought leadership in 2024? Contribute to DRI's publications!

2024 Editorial Calendar.pdf_Page_12024 Editorial Calendar.pdf_Page_2

If your committee would like to reserve a spotlight issue of For The Defense for next year, please contact with the issue you’d like. We recommend 4-8 articles for a committee spotlight, and an introductory column from committee leadership can count toward that total. Articles in For The Defense are typically 3,000-5,000 words. 

Each committee may reserve up to two (2) dedicated issues of For The Defense for 2024. Features will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. We are able to spotlight up to three (3) committees per issue of For The Defense. (You may also, of course, contribute articles across several issues, if your committee prefers that format instead of a dedicated feature issue.)
Additionally, we’d love to get content from your committee for The VoiceIn-House Defense Quarterly, and The Brief Case: DRI Committee News. Our Communications team is happy to work with you on where to best slot content. Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), Well-Being Week in Law (May), Hispanic Heritage Month (mid-September through mid-October), Cybersecurity Awareness Month (October), and more are examples of themed content features we’d love to highlight next year!
We look forward to your quality submissions in 2024. Please note that we require all recognized authors to be DRI members. 


Read Our Newest Blog Post —In-House Counsel's Guide to Success: Tips from the Pros 

Check out key insights below as seasoned in-house counsel share their invaluable tips for success in this dynamic field. 

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In the world of corporate law, in-house counsel bear the weight of unique challenges and responsibilities. They are the architects of expansive legal strategies, guiding organizations through complex regulatory terrain and serving as guardians against legal risks.

So, we asked our in-house counsel members: What key piece(s) of advice would you offer to people in your profession, whether they are just starting their career or have years of experience, based on your role as in-house counsel? 

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.


SLC Corner | Intellectual Property Litigation

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Intellectual Property Litigation
Brian Brookey, Committee Chair 

The Intellectual Property Litigation Committee focuses on providing outstanding, practical educational content in every area of IP: patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, and right of publicity. The Committee also provides ample networking opportunities. We have a tight-knit group that learns together, has fun together, and refers work to each other. The Committee particularly focuses on issues related to IP litigation and provides the IP practitioner with the skills and tools needed to thrive in this competitive market. The Committee welcomes both full-time IP litigators as well as those whose practice includes IP litigation only on occasion. 

Our biggest challenge with respect to membership has always been brand awareness within the IP bar. There are other, much larger organizations devoted to IP, and most of our members already are involved in one or more of their organizations. Because DRI is not as well known among IP practitioners, we need to get the word out about our Committee and convince prospective members that they should add DRI to the list of organizations to which they belong.

We always welcome help with planning our seminar – with respect to ideas for content, securing speakers, or planning networking events. Next years’ seminar will be on March 20-22 in Philadelphia. We also will continue with our networking events, both virtually as well as smaller events in the cities where we have a critical mass of members. 

The best way to get involved with our committee is to reach out to our Chair Brian Brookey or Vice-Chair Rachael Rodman and discuss areas in which you might be interested! There are many opportunities to get involved, and the path to leadership is much shorter than in most other organizations, both within and outside of DRI. We find our new members often bring new energy, input, and ideas that make our committee even better. We welcome anyone who’s interested in becoming involved with this fantastic group.

Our Committee is often referred to, not inaccurately, as “small but mighty.” You won’t find a better, smarter, more fun group of IP attorneys anywhere. Participating in our Committee is not a chore, or just another entry on a resume or firm biography. We are passionate about our Committee. And we enjoy spending time together, both from the social and business development aspect, and for the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and grow professionally.

Want to get involved?

  • Join the Intellectual Property Litigation Committee.

  • Register for the DRI Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, October 25-27, 2023, and join us for our business meeting to learn more about how you can get involved.

  • Reach out to the Committee Chair Brian Brookey, at or Vice Chair Rachael Rodman at


DRI Members Share Their Victories

On September 12, 2023, a Riverside County jury returned a defense verdict in a catastrophic injury trial held in Department PS2 in Palm Springs. The plaintiff fell at the JW Marriott Desert Springs while it was in the middle of a two-year construction project which included a total renovation of all 844 guest rooms and common areas. The plaintiff was a guest at the property which had remained open during renovation, and she sustained serious and permanent injuries including a traumatic brain injury, and cervical tear requiring a C4-C7 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. DRI member Will Kronenberg was retained to take over the defense three months before trial to represent the general contractor, who proceeded to trial alone after the remaining defendants settled out, including the hotel ownership group and management company. The court bifurcated the trial pursuant to a request by the defense and the jury returned a verdict of no liability in favor of the general contractor.

Will Kronenberg

Congratulations to DRI members John Fitzpatrick and Kate Mercer-Lawson for a defense jury verdict for Foster Wheeler last Thursday after a three-week trial in Massachusetts federal court. The plaintiff was the sympathetic widow of a Navy sailor who died from mesothelioma. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $20 million in compensatory damages and $43 million in punitive damages.

WTO’s team faced multiple challenges in this case, which was closely watched by companies that face asbestos claims and by the asbestos defense bar, with about two dozen lawyers observing closing arguments. Numerous lawyers and one of our other clients observed the court proceedings live at different times to see how the judge and jury would react to and learn from WTO’s trial presentations. Some of the hurdles to this total defense victory included:

  • Today, asbestos is indisputably understood to cause mesothelioma—a fatal disease to which there remains no effective treatment or cure. But the dangers of asbestos were not well understood in the 1950s, which is when our client had delivered asbestos-containing boilers—without any asbestos-related safety warning—to the Navy for installation in the destroyer on which the plaintiff’s deceased husband served, the U.S.S. Mullinnix. 

  • WTO had to persuade a skeptical jury to understand that our client was unaware of the dangers of asbestos in 1956, and also persuade the jury that the Navy did know about the dangers of asbestos by the time the decedent served from 1966 to 1968, had safety measures in place, and would not have accepted or altered its conduct even if Foster Wheeler had issued a new warning to the Navy.  

  • The WTO team also had to educate a judge who had never presided over an asbestos trial, with Kate arguing for two days with Plaintiff’s counsel and the Court about the proper legal standards that apply to a maritime failure-to-warn claim.

  • Fitz successfully cross-examined one of the plaintiffs’ bar’s leading medical-causation experts, who earns nearly $15 million per year by opining and testifying in these cases. Fitz got under the expert’s skin and had the courtroom riveted as Fitz exposed the doctor for being a liar and a professional expert who treats no patients. After the expert left the stand, the judge remarked to Plaintiff’s counsel: “You know, for as much as this guy testifies, you’d think he’d have thicker skin.”

  • WTO also had to prepare and present a 94-year-old corporate witness to testify for our client.

Kudos to Fitz for a tremendous closing and Kate for her effective questioning of Foster Wheeler’s star witness, among other the other highlights. The team is exhausted but still running on adrenalin. 

Congratulations, team! 

John FitzpatrickKate Mercer-Lawson
Fitzpatrick, Mercer-Lawson

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 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


Josh R. Bauman has joined Lamson Dugan and Murray, in Omaha, NE, as an associate attorney in Lamson Dugan & Murray’s litigation department. His areas of expertise include medical malpractice defense, business dispute litigation, wrongful death, personal injury, and insurance matters. Josh has been a DRI member since 2021. 

Daniel Bryer has joined White and Williams LLP, in Newark, NJ, as a Partner and provides clients advice regarding general commercial liability, excess liability, multimedia, environmental, and professional liability insurance policies. He has advised clients on claims involving opioids and other pharmaceutical products, baby food products, construction defects and catastrophic injuries. His litigation practice focuses on insurance coverage matters in state and federal court. Dan has been a DRI member since 2022. 

Tricia Wisenbaker Macaluso has joined Seyfarth Shaw, in Dallas, TX, and brings a broad range of experience representing corporate and individual clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts in all phases of complex commercial and injury litigation. Tricia has been a member since 2008. 

Issac Messmore joined Soule & Stull, in Minneapolis, MN. Ike has over 11 years of experience as a litigator and trial lawyer in product liability, class action, and commercial cases.  He has been a DRI member since 2022. 

John J. McDonough has joined London Fischer, in NY, NYH as a Partner and Chairman of Strategic Risk and Complex Litigation. He specializes in handling high value complex litigation and has been a DRI member since 1988. 

G. Kenneth Robertson has joined Hendrickson & Long PLLC and is defending legal positions in all forms of litigation, including toxic torts, products liability defense, asbestos exposure, and other forms of business, commercial and insurance law. Ken has been a DRI member since 1992. 

Justin Ruedaflores joined Fisher & Phillips as an Associate, in Los Angeles, CA. His focus is on litigation and will defend companies throughout all phases of complex employment disputes while also advising them on compliance with various state and federal agency regulations. Justin has been a DRI member since 2022. 

Beth Sebaugh has joined Weston Hurd as a Partner and has an active litigation defense practice involving employment law, general liability, nursing home, and toxic tort. Beth has been first chair counsel in approximately 100 jury trials and has extensive experience in federal court multi-district litigation relative to toxic tort lawsuits. Beth has been a DRI member since 2022. 

If you have a recent achievement or recognition, you would like featured, email your news to 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 Host Annual Meetings in September

During the month of September 2023, eight State and Local Defense Organizations hosted their Annual Meetings. The organizations were: District of Columbia Defense Lawyers Association, Idaho Association of Defense Counsel, Kentucky Defense Counsel, Inc., and New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association. Four DRI members were elected to new leadership roles during these Annual Meetings.  

  • District of Columbia Defense Lawyers Association selected Dana Schultz as President, Matthew D. Berkowitz as President-Elect (DRI member since 2015), and Paul E. Knupp II as Secretary.  

  • Idaho Association of Defense Counsel selected Julliane Hall as President (DRI member since 2022), Christopher Graham as President-Elect, W. Dustin Charters as Secretary, and Stephen Adams as Treasurer President (DRI member since 2022).  

  • Kentucky Defense Counsel, Inc. selected Andrew DeSimone as President (DRI member since 2008).  

  • New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association selected Jeffrey Mitchell as President (DRI member since 2022).


DRI Welcomes the Following Members and Advocates:

New Members
Edward J. McCambridge, Chicago, IL                                                                  
Heather J. Chesnut, Salt Lake City, UT                                                              
Andrew J. Blackburn, San Diego, CA                                                                  
Hannah Black, Birmingham, AL                                                                        
Sabrina R. Salvato, Santa Fe, NM                                                                    
Nicolette Zachary, Bloomfield Hills, MI                                                             
Alan Richard Trenz, Harrison, OH                                                                    
D. Scott Rendleman, Denver, CO                                                                      
Jacque Paul Biggs, Shreveport, LA                                                                   
Lindsey C. Brock, III, Jacksonville, FL                                                             
Sean P. MacCarthy, Chicago, IL                                                                      
Amme Christine Verbarendse, Everett, WA                                                             
Lydia K. Graves, Birmingham, AL                                                                     
Paul Stewart, Spokane, WA                                                                          
Karl E. Daniel, Buffalo, NY                                                                         
Madison Brooke Alger, Charleston, SC                                                                
Weldon L. Coates, Florence, SC                                                                      
James Stengel, New York, NY                                                                         
Andrew Silverman, New York, NY                                                                      
Stephen Hall, Boston, MA                                                                            
Jeffrey R. Babbin, New Haven, CT                                                                    
Alexandria McFarlane, Hartford, CT                                                                  
Gary Carter, Jr., New Orleans, LA                                                                   
Michael Dea, Vista, CA                                                                              
Elizabeth Reeths, Wausau, WI                                                                        
Julie Benfield, Duluth, MN                                                                          
Michelle Parsons Kelley, Columbia, SC                                                               
Jesse M. Schmidt, Cleveland, OH                                                                     
Scott E. Sanders, Wichita, KS                                                                       
Jennifer Lynn Woulfe, Saint Louis, MO                                                               
Virginia Rogers Floyd, Charleston, SC                                                               
Noel Cho, Boston, MA                                                                                
Brian Alan Metcalf, San Antonio, TX                                                                 
Georgia Hamann, Phoenix, AZ                                                                         
David Larsen, Albuquerque, NM                                                                      
Brian Kahn, Los Angeles, CA                                                                        
Paige Goodwin, Nashville, TN                                                                       
Michael G. Brady, Boise, ID                                                                         
Matthew D. Murphy, Sioux Falls, SD                                                                  
Meghan E. Kelly, New York, NY                                                                       
Steven J. Sheridan, Minneapolis, MN                                                                 
Daniel Granfield, Concord, NH                                                                       
Alicia M. Matsushima, Houston, TX                                                                   
William W. Oxley, Los Angeles, CA                                                                   
Karli Johnson, Baton Rouge, LA                                                                      
Peter A. Bicks, New York, NY                                                                        
Zohra Khorashi, Deerfield Beach, FL                                                                
Kate Cooper, Seminole, FL                                                                          
Jason Peck, Pittsburgh, PA                                                                          
Gregory J. Young, Minneapolis, MN                                                                   
Meggan J. Hathaway, Cheyenne, WY                                                                    
Constance Fraenkel, Greenbrae, CA                                                                   
Jennifer Bovitz, Saint Paul, MN                                                                     
Amy H. Craft, Seattle, WA                                                                           
Maxwell H. Brusky, Aurora, IL                                                                       
Diane Webster, Chicago, IL                                                                          
David Dill, Greenville, SC                                                                          
Aaron Dunn, Seattle, WA                                                                             
Jack William Leverenz, Des Moines, IA                                                               
Amin Hfaiedh, New York, NY                                                                         
Charles Short, Boca Raton, FL                                                                      
Steven R. Kropski, Charleston, SC                                                                   
Calvin J. Combs, Shreveport, LA                                                                     
Christopher Petrick, Southfield, MI                                                                
David Fuad, Los Angeles, CA                                                                         
Robin Sammer Behn, Cherry Hill, NJ                                                                  
Charles Swartwout, Belleville, IL                                                                   
Keith Ganther, Cleveland, OH                                                                        
Brian Shank, Saint Louis, MO                                                                       
Jon Anthony Dieringer, Murrieta, CA                                                                 
Eric A. Befeler, Woodbridge, NJ                                                                     
Jessica D. Marshall, Albuquerque, NM                                                                
John W. Mervilde, Indianapolis, IN                                                                  
Maxwell James Seferian, Mount Pleasant, SC                                                          
Brian L. England, Indianapolis, IN                                                                  
John Badagliacca, Roseland, NJ                                                                      
Angela Wynn Konrad, Huntington, WV                                                                  
Upnit Bhatti, New York, NY                                                                          
Shelbie Bradley, Dallas, TX                                                                         
David Porter, Birmingham, MI                                                                        
Tyler Pare, Providence, RI                                                                          
Nicole L. Cannon, Twin Falls, ID                                                                    
Marta Alcumbrac, Encino, CA                                                                        
David M. Golub, Milwaukee, WI                                                                       
MARISSA MERRILL, Atlanta, GA                                                                        
Shawn Bevans, Mount Pleasant, SC                                                                    
Gregory F. McGroarty, Newark, NJ                                                                    
Andrew L. Foulston, Wichita, KS                                                                     
Timothy Michael McKercher, Fountain Hills, AZ                                                       
Hugh Gallagher, Columbia, SC                                                                        
Michael Dolan, Westlake Village, CA                                                                 
Denise Puckett Lubliner, Miami, FL                                                                  
Jay Zych, St. Louis, MO                                                                             
Brett S. Covington, Washington, DC                                                                  
Rosa Derieux, Westminster, CO                                                                       
Hillary D. Patterson, Greenwood Village, CO                                                         
Johanna M. Smith, San Juan, PR                                                                      
Jaime Matier, Boise, ID                                                                             
EMILY ANNE VELCAMP, Red Bank, NJ                                                                    
Anne Malik, Washington, DC                                                                          
Naomi Scotten, New York, NY                                                                         
Allison C. Nussbaum, Mount Pleasant, SC                                                             
Erin Edwards, Mount Pleasant, SC                                                                    
Michael S. Rogers, Seattle, WA                                                                      
Kristie Escudier Johnson, Houston, TX                                                               
Mark Shepherd Ashworth, Ladera Ranch, CA                                                            
Marc S. Lafer, Los Angeles, CA                                                                      
Daniel M. Young, MOUNT LAUREL, NJ                                                                   
Rachael M. Conte, Philadelphia, PA                                                                  
Michael J. Bedesky, Edwardsville, IL                                                                
Alexa Leigh Morris, Charleston, SC                                                                  
Patrick Dennis Murphy, Kansas City, MO                                                              
David W. Overstreet, Charleston, SC                                                                 
Matthew Estberg, West Chester, PA                                                                  
Ashley Hoover, London, KY                                                                           
Gillian Gilbert, Minneapolis, MN                                                                   
Kori Wagner, Atlanta, GA                                                                            
Jeffrey Morris, Los Angeles, CA                                                                    
John Reddin, Miami, FL                                                                              
Anthony Dwain Lyons, Jr., Dallas, TX                                                                
Renee Diaz, Los Angeles, CA                                                                        
Nancy Crosta Landale, Fort Wayne, IN                                                                
Elizabeth Perkins, Albuquerque, NM                                                                  
Lindsay L. Builder, Greenville, SC                                                                  
Jordan Riley Quinlan, Albuquerque, NM                                                               
Keith Liguori, Seattle, WA                                                                         
Spencer Vasey Dirth, Des Moines, IA                                                                 
Vicki Shea Connolly, Red Bank, NJ                                                                   
Michelle A. Hernandez, Albuquerque, NM                                                              
William Stute, Washington, DC                                                                       
Bryant Hickie, Urbandale, IA                                                                        
Teresa A. Klaum, New York, NY                                                                       
Tess Fortune, Pewee Valley, KY                                                                      
Robert Esrock, Bloomington, IN                                                                     
Melissa Romero, Houston, TX                                                                         
Scott Berends, Chicago, IL                                                                          
William Brinkerhoff, Indianapolis, IN                                                              
Francis Julian Barry, Jr, New Orleans, LA                                                           
Sean Hughes, Miami, FL                                                                              
Christopher D. George, Boston, MA                                                                   
Emma Farha, Oklahoma City, OK                                                                       
Chloe Elyse Kennedy, Chattanooga, TN                                                                
Kathleen S. Bray, Minneapolis, MN                                                                   
Moira E. E Colquhoun, Morristown, NJ                                                                
Mitchell Tobias, Columbus, OH                                                                       
Melanie Moredock, St. Louis, MO                                                                     
Cory Stegelmeier, Idaho Falls, ID                                                                   
Adam H. Howden-Duke, Vancouver, BC, Canada                                                          
Amelia M. Leckey, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                               
John L. Kellogg, Overland Park, KS                                                                  
Michael B.T. Wilkes, Spartanburg, SC                                                                
William S. Brown, Greenville, SC                                                                    
Christopher G. Dunnells, Ridgeland, MS                                                              
David A. Gonzales, Albuquerque, NM                                                                  
Malcolm D. Schick, San Diego, CA                                                                    
R. Brandon McCullough, Pittsburgh, PA                                                               
Martin P. Lavelle, Hartford, CT                                                                     
Sean C. Griffin, Washington, DC                                                                     
Jennifer Boehm Groszek, Chicago, IL                                                                 
Jonathan L.S. Hodes, Vancouver, BC    


DRI's 2024 Events Calendar is Now Available! 

Calendar 1Calendar 2Calendar 3

2024 will be here before we know it! We are happy to announce all of the incredible seminars we have planned for upcoming year, as well as the 2024 DRI Annual Meeting. Be sure to check out the dates and location for your seminar under the Education/CLE tab on the DRI website.

Find a seminar you are interested in attending? Click on it and fill out the form to sign up for registration updates - we'll send you an email when registration is open so that you can take advantage of Early Bird discounts and special hotel rates!

Make sure to include DRI seminars in your 2024 budget for business and professional development opportunities. See the lineup of 2024 events below to discover what we have in store for you. Additionally, you can view and download a PDF version here.

DRI Education

Upcoming Seminars and Webinars

 Early Bird Savings for November Seminars in Austin, TX end this Monday, October 16!

2023 DRI Annual Meeting
October 25-27, 2023 |San Antonio, Texas
Don’t miss the flagship event of the year for the civil defense community. Join us in San Antonio and explore new ways to learn, connect, and engage with your DRI community! Make meaningful connections through first-class networking opportunities, expand your expertise in your practice area with cutting-edge education, develop your book of business, and so much more. Save your spot and start planning your trip. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio this October!

2023 Law Firm Leaders and Managing Partners Conference
November 14-15, 2023 | Austin, Texas

Join the Law Practice Management Committee in Austin for a look at the new “Wild West” of issues facing law firm leaders in defense firms around the country. Law Firm Practice Management has entered a new frontier with fast-changing technology, evolving client claims management philosophies, an uber-competitive job market, novel post-pandemic employment law issues, and ongoing generational differences in the practice of law. This seminar is packed with cutting-edge presentations to arm law firm leaders on how to respond to and handle new and novel issues we face on a daily basis.

Register by October 16, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $895 for DRI members and $1,095 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2023 Asbestos Medicine Seminar
November 15-17, 2023 | Austin, Texas

Join us in Austin, Texas, for the DRI Asbestos Medicine Seminar, where you will learn about the biggest challenges and opportunities facing practitioners in asbestos litigation. This year’s educational focus will involve taking lawyers on a journey through all aspects of a case with a fact pattern involving a young, living, female, mesothelioma plaintiff with a genetic mutation, direct talc exposure and bystander friction exposure. Plus, you'll have an unparalleled opportunity to engage with distinguished faculty on timely topics and national trends, as well as network at various breakout sessions.

Register by October 16, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2023 Retail and Hospitality Seminar
November 15-17, 2023 | Austin, Texas

Join us for the 2023 Retail and Hospitality Litigation Seminar in Austin, Texas—a vibrant and eclectic city with a thriving music scene, a diverse population, and a beautiful downtown with a wide variety of dining and entertainment options! The seminar will feature insight by leading experts on the latest legal issues facing the retail and hospitality industries. This is a great opportunity for lawyers, retail and hospitality operators, vendors, claims professionals, and insurers to stay up to date on the latest trends and developments in the law, as well as learn how to effectively manage risk in their practice.

Register by October 16, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2023 Professional Liability Seminar
November 29 – December 1, 2023 | New York, New York

The last three years have launched unprecedented changes in the world as we knew it. These changes carry over into issues faced by professionals in multiple disciplines. With advancements in technology like ChatGPT and other AI products come a myriad of unique ethical issues. And when professional negligence results in potential licensure exposure, the stakes can be particularly high. Soaring costs of litigation, particularly e-discovery, present real and logistical challenges with eroding limits policies. The stresses of practice, while always significant, are magnified as insurers, lawyers, and clients return to the new real world as if blinking into the sunlight after recent years of remote work, quarantine, and remote meetings. Effective communication both within and outside the office, self-care, employment, and retention issues, including aging professionals have become pressing concerns. Join us as we explore this new landscape with dynamic speakers and thought-provoking topics, all in the heart of New York City.

Register by October 30, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2023 Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium
November 29 – December 1, 2023 | New York, New York

DRI's Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium is the flagship educational and networking program for insurance executives, claims professionals, and outside counsel who specialize in insurance coverage. This year's symposium will once again offer the unparalleled opportunity to engage with a distinguished faculty of insurance industry leaders and coverage lawyers on emerging and cutting-edge issues such as the impact of artificial intelligence, the future for coverage issues involved in "forever chemical" environmental claims, and the continuing impact of nuclear verdicts on coverage and excess insurance issues. As always, the symposium will provide exceptional networking events and will offer the opportunity to build relationships with other professionals who share your interests.

Register by October 30, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 Women in the Law Seminar
January 17-19, 2024 | Phoenix, Arizona
Women professionals, and particularly lawyers, are under a lot of pressure to succeed despite the systems and cultural norms that present obstacles in our daily lives. These systems and cultural norms can hamper our ability to be our best and truest selves in both our professional and personal lives. At the 2024 Women in the Law Seminar, we will thoughtfully analyze these tough issues together. We hope you join us for this incredible seminar, where we know each of you will gain valuable skills to help you embrace your authentic self and bring out the best in each other. When we empower ourselves, we empower others. Together, we will rise!

DRI Members can register now for $1,195 thanks to exclusive, limited time Early Access Registration! Everyone else can take advantage of Early Bird Registration starting October 19 through December 4. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 Construction Law Seminar
January 17-19, 2024 | Phoenix, Arizona
The future is upon us. Construction professionals face new challenges at every stage of the build. The race for alternative energy has changed not just how we build but what powers the build. Traditional building methods are rapidly giving way to novel methods due to both necessity and invention. Attorneys, clients, and insurers must be prepared to address the future workforce, products and contractual relationships which come with this change. In challenging legal and economic times, how do we as lawyers best represent our clients moving forward into an era where AI and the global view impact the drafting, management, and litigation of construction? Join the DRI Construction Law Committee as we share our thoughts and strategies for practicing in this challenging and exciting time.

DRI Members can register now for $1,195 thanks to exclusive, limited time Early Access Registration! Everyone else can take advantage of Early Bird Registration starting October 19 through December 4. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar
January 17-19, 2024 | Phoenix, Arizona
DRI is proud to announce the 37th annual Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar in Phoenix, AZ! This seminar will provide you with invaluable information and tools to represent your governmental clients. This year’s faculty include preeminent insurance professionals, a renowned Supreme Court advocate, a qualified immunity scholar, and Section 1983 experts from across the United States. Attendees will develop litigation and trial tactics, including maintaining client relations, defending officer depositions, addressing medical causation in use-of-force cases, giving an opening statement, and more! As always, attendees will also have opportunities to network and exchange ideas and winning strategies with experienced litigators and insurance professionals. See you in Phoenix!

DRI Members can register now for $1,195 thanks to exclusive, limited time Early Access Registration! Everyone else can take advantage of Early Bird Registration starting October 19 through December 4. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 Medical Liability and Health Care Law Seminar
February 28 - March 1, 2024 | Miami, Florida
Join us in Miami, Florida, for an engaging and exciting seminar that will address some of medicine’s most relevant and controversial issues. Topics include: a maternal fetal medicine and pediatric neurology “blockbuster” two-part series addressing common themes and countervailing claims in a birth injury case; the latest insight into gastroenterology and hepatology, including use and possible claims related to weight loss injectables; the newest concerns and claims in sports medicine and the problems facing treatment of elite athletes; and issues of social inflation and combating jury influence. Each day has dedicated time for networking opportunities in a variety of settings such as dine-arounds and an offsite event on Thursday night.

DRI Members can register now for $1,195 thanks to exclusive, limited time Early Access Registration! Everyone else can take advantage of Early Bird Registration starting November 30 through January 16. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

So You Want to Be a Mediator?
November 15 | 11 a.m. CST
Mediation continues to be a significant aspect of defense practice for litigators, in-house counsel, and claims personnel alike, and has become one of the primary forums where the real work of resolving claims, litigation, and other disputes takes place. For defense attorneys, expanding one's practice into serving as a mediator can be a natural extension and can provide significant legal, business, and professional benefits. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) committee chair Pete Cantone will lead a discussion/roundtable with Sidney Kanazawa and John Trimble, two defense attorneys and DRI members that have developed significant practices as mediators/neutrals. The discussion will focus on how and why John and Sid entered into this practice area for themselves, what defense attorneys can learn from their experiences, and how developing this practice area can improve and complement a defense practice.

The registration is $75 for DRI members and $150 for non-members.

Quote of the Month

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." — Lucy Maud Montgomery