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In Memoriam

DRI Mourns Passing of John Stults, Former Vice President of Development 

By Dean Martinez, CEO 

John Stults

We are sad to announce the passing of beloved DRI team member John Stults, who died on August 5, 2023, after a brave battle with cancer. 

John was a beloved colleague and more importantly a friend. His spirit, humor, and dedication will be missed.     

As DRI’s Vice President of Development, John left an incredible legacy across the organization. He continually elevated all that he touched, and his absence will be felt across the team. 

We thank you for your patience as we work to realign our team and update relevant parties of John’s passing. 

A link to John’s obituary is available on Legacy.

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Annual Meeting Spotlight

This Year’s Annual Meeting Is All about Connections! 

Engage with the most influential civil defense attorneys and in-house counsel from across the country at the DRI Annual Meeting in San Antonio. From October 25-27, connect with peers and leaders in your field, promote your practice, grow your expertise, and more. 

Early registration ends soon! Secure your spot by September 25 and save with early bird rates!  

Make every moment count by staying at the center of the action. Reserve your hotel room at San Antonio’s Marriott Rivercenter by September 26. 

Mark your calendar for our exciting lineup of keynote speakers:  

Award-winning author Connie Podesta will take you inside the minds and personalities of the people you connect with every day. Learn secret communication insights and rare psychological know-how to build, maintain, and grow your personal and professional relationships! 

Jeffrey S. Sutton, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, asks the question: how is the future of American constitutional law changing? Dive into the many ways in which our 50 state constitutions and 50 state courts have the potential to alleviate pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court as the perceived sole arbiter of American constitutional values. 

NPR National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson will deliver a candid perspective on how the media will impact the politics and policy issues facing the country leading into the 2024 elections, how the pandemic has reshaped politics, and how recent events have affected the public’s confidence in our public institutions, including state and federal legislative bodies and the Supreme Court. 

Click here for our full agenda.  

It’s all about connections, so this year we’ve brought back some of the great opportunities at our Annual Meeting to further enhance your knowledge base and make meaningful connections. Some opportunities include:  

1. On-site CLE offerings including CLE on the Go, plus 4 additional hours of on-demand CLE.  

2. Reimagined networking receptions to help promote significant interactions.  

3. Committee meetings, including opportunities for peer engagement and philanthropy.  

4. Complimentary on-site power hour networking lunch to connect with fellow attendees.

See you this fall!


Amicus Update: Center’s Brief, Filed Jointly with LCJ, Urges Court to Take Case Involving MDLs and the Impact of Binding Bellwether Cases  

Supreme Court

The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy filed an amicus curiae brief in support of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., jointly with Lawyers for Civil Justice, in support of DuPont’s petition for certiorari.  DuPont seeks Supreme Court review of a Sixth Circuit decision applying nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel to thousands of claims against DuPont, essentially deciding key elements of liability against DuPont based on these a few unrepresentative cases.  

The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy and Lawyers for Civil Justice have worked collaboratively on the abuses in multidistrict litigation (MDL) for years. Their past work and interests in a fair and even playing field for litigants allowed them to argue that review is needed because of the American civil justice system depends on fundamental fairness; that is, the parties are entitled as a matter of due process to get a fair shake on an even playing field. But MDL has been described as the “wild West” because normal rules are ignored or don’t seem to fit. Courts, encouraged to be creative and flexible, all too often latch on to novel approaches that are fundamentally unfair—all to try to assure speedy settlements before cases are returned to the transferor jurisdictions for trial.  

The litigation history here illustrates these problems. So, The Center and LCJ urged the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to avoid drastic consequences to DuPont and to the entire MDL process. They argued that binding 75,000 claims against DuPont based on a handful of unrepresentative cases through the use of nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel, contrary to the earlier agreement of the district court and the parties, is staggering and contrary to law. Such powerful asymmetries have prompted courts to refuse to apply nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel in these circumstances.  

The Center and LCJ took the position that when nonmutual offense collateral estoppel is applied in the context of mass torts in an MDL, the disproportionate effect on defendants renders its use a violation of due process regardless of the selection process for bellwether trials. It violates due process for all plaintiffs to retain their right to their day in court, even if hundreds of other plaintiffs have lost at trial, while a defendant can succeed on hundreds of cases but then be bound as to thousands more because it lost a single case tried before an aberrant jury.  

The Center and LCJ also pointed out the devastating effects of the Sixth Circuit decision. As entities with deep knowledge of litigation strategy, The Center and LCJ explained to the Court that review is needed because no defendant would agree to a bellwether trial if it can potentially bind the defendant on thousands of future cases even when the parties and court initially agree that it will not be binding. They contended that defendants already face an uneven playing field in MDL proceedings because of pleading problems that allow for a high proportion of meritless claims to be filed. They offered insight into the many factors that can result in aberrant jury verdicts and thus make such broad application of nonmutual offensive collateral estoppel problematic and unfair to defendants.  

The Center and LCJ also argued that the lack of notice of the binding outcome made the outcome even more problematic. The parties and district court judge all agreed that bellwether trials would not be binding, and no effort was made to ensure that the cases selected as bellwethers were representative. An after-the-fact ruling that a few early losses bind the defendant on key liability issues is the antithesis of the rule of law. A federal judge going back on his word in the most consequential way undermines faith in the integrity of the judiciary. The Center and LCJ were able to explain in practical terms how a defendant’s strategy for a bellwether would likely have differed if the broad binding effect had been disclosed before the trials. And they argued that, regardless of the knowledge of the parties or the steps taken to try to assure representative cases were tried first, such broad asymmetries violate due process.  

The brief of The Center and LCJ was authored by former DRI President Mary Massaron of Plunkett Cooney PC in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  

Awards Spotlight

DRI Announces its 2023 Award Recipients

DRI’s Annual Professional Achievement and Service Awards celebrate and honor outstanding performance by state, local, and national defense organizations (SLDOs/NDOs), DRI law firms, and individual members.

These awards identify peers who deserve recognition either for their professional contributions to, and achievements on behalf of, the defense bar and the civil justice system or their involvement in community and public service activities that have a positive impact on society at large. Recognition enhances members’ personal growth and accomplishments, provides us all with role models and strengthens members’ images in the legal and business communities and with the general public.

Winners will be recognized at the 2023 DRI Annual Meeting closing reception on Friday, October 27, in San Antonio.

The 2023 award recipients are as follows:

Atoyia Scott Harris, 2023 Diversity for Success Seminar

Gretchen N. Miller, Product Liability Committee

Matthew P. Keris, Pennsylvania

Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.

Jennifer W. Hayes, Alabama Defense Lawyers Association

Matthew G. Moffett, Georgia Defense Lawyers Association

Susan E. Gunter, Thomas J. Hurney Jr., and Marta-Ann Schnabel
“Nonlawyer Investment in the Legal Economy”

Mark R. Beebe, IADC Past President
Evelyn Fletcher Davis, ADTA Past President
Howard A. Merten, FDCC Past President

Allen C. Smith, North Carolina

Amy L. Miletich, Colorado

J. Richard Moore, Indiana

South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys' Association

Wisconsin Defense Counsel

Sergio E. Chavez, Texas

Lee C. Schmeer, Pennsylvania

To learn more about the awards and to view past recipients, check out our awards brochure (PDF).


TPLF Task Force Continues Advocacy Efforts Seeking Disclosure 

TPLF Disclosure

David Levitt (Hinshaw & Culbertson), Chair of the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy’s Third-Party Litigation Task Force, recently drafted a letter that was submitted to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. The letter voiced support of a proposed amendment to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that would mandate disclosure of third-party litigation funding (TPLF) agreements. While the Center was also a signatory on a May 8, 2023, coalition letter in support of a proposed amendment, this supplemental letter emphasizes DRI’s perspective—bolstered by the litigation experience of its members—that such TPLF disclosure is necessary for the even-handed administration of justice, and to guarantee that defendants, no less than plaintiffs, are able to “secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding” required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 1. 

On August 3, Mr. Levitt also had an article published by Law360 advocating for disclosure of litigation funding.   

Wellness Webinar Spotlight

How Does Attorney Wellness Lead to Retention?

Why are civil litigation attorneys leaving their firms and what can we do about it? 

Hear the answer to this question and more at the upcoming FREE webinar, “How Attorney Wellness Leads to Attorney Retention: Tips + Tools for Your Firm.” Join us for this DRI for Life webinar on Thursday, September 21st at 12:00 CDT to learn about the importance of prioritizing wellness and pragmatic ways to retain talent. Speakers Patrick Krill, Sarah Burke, John Floyd, Jr., and moderator Stacy Douglas will address key issues about wellness and retention in our law firms, including: 

  • Why is wellness important in civil litigation practice? 

  • What are young lawyers looking for from firms regarding wellness? 

  • What can law firm management do to retain attorneys through wellness programs?  

  • Why should firms be intentional in addressing and promoting wellness? 

  • What are the disparities in wellness associated with gender and diversity? 

Register here and learn how to retain talent by prioritizing wellness.  

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Federal Rulemaking: The Process and How to Participate 

By John Guttmann and Jim McCrystal 

Litigators who practice in the federal courts are familiar with the federal rules of practice, such as the rules governing civil and appellate procedure and evidence. Many are not familiar with how the various rules are developed and change over time. We see (and sometimes read) Advisory Committee Notes below the rules, but many lawyers do not know where they come from. The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy is involved in issues related to the rules that are of importance to DRI members and their clients. The Center welcomes the involvement of individual DRI members who are interested in various rulemakings. Participating in the process can be of significant benefit to you. By commenting on proposed rules and offering oral testimony at an advisory committee hearing, you can contribute to the work of the Center. In addition, you are providing a service to the profession in a way that can help you grow your practice by enhancing your credibility and personal brand. Here is a summary of how the process works. 

First, a Little History 

In 1934, Congress authorized the judicial branch the authority to promulgate the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and over the years that authority has been expanded to include Appellate, Bankruptcy, Criminal, and Evidence rules. Congress retains the right to reject, modify, or defer any of the rules. The authority and procedures for promulgating rules are set forth in the Rules Enabling Act. 28 U.S.C. §§ 2071–2077. The Judicial Conference of the United States is also required by statute to "carry on a continuous study of the operation and effect of the general rules of practice and procedure." 28 U.S.C. § 331.  

The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, commonly referred to as the "Standing Committee" was formed by the Judicial Conference and recommends changes to these rules to the Judicial Conference. The Standing Committee is assisted by an advisory committee for each set of rules: appellate, bankruptcy, civil, criminal, and evidence. The Standing Committee and its advisory committees meet several times a year.  

Membership on these committees is composed of federal judges, lawyers, law professors, and Justice Department representatives. The reporter for each committee is a distinguished law professor and coordinates the committee's agenda and drafts appropriate rule amendments with notes. 


The advisory committees can initiate rule changes and they also receive suggestions from judges, lawyers, organizations, and the general public. Suggestions that merit further review are sent to the Standing Committee, which evaluates them and authorizes their publication for comment. The advisory committee receives those comments and holds hearings where they receive testimony on the proposal. If the advisory committee believes a rule change is then warranted, they submit the proposed language and a report to the standing committee. The Standing Committee may approve or amend a proposal and submit it to the Judicial Conference and, if approved there, the proposal is sent to the Supreme Court. Before May 1 each year, the Supreme Court submits proposed rule changes to Congress. Unless Congress enacts legislation to reject, modify or defer a pending rule, it takes effect on December 1 of that year. These details are more fully explained here: How the Rulemaking Process Works

The United State Courts website publishes Rule Suggestions whenever one is submitted by an individual or organization. The site contains the Agenda Books published before each advisory and Standing Committee meeting, generally containing several hundred pages of material and frequently including draft minutes from prior meetings. The final Meeting Minutes are published later. Following their meetings, the Committee Reports from the advisory committees are submitted to the Standing Committee and this weblink also contains the Standing Committee reports to the Judicial Conference. Finally, this site has the Rule Packages as submitted to the Supreme Court and to Congress.  

The Center’s Work 

The Center’s Federal Rules Task Force tracks and advises the Center’s Management Council about Civil and Evidence rule changes that may impact members and their clients. In addition, because of the unique issues associated with certain topics covered by these rules, the Center has formed a Class Action Task Force and an MDL Working Group. These Task Forces and the Working Groups may suggest that the Center consider proposing amendments or comments on proposed amendments to any of the Federal Rules. If the Management Council agrees, the amendment or comment is forwarded to the Executive Committee for final approval.  

In the recent past, DRI has commented and offered testimony in support of the portions of the proposed amendments to Civ.R. 30(b)(6) concerning organizational witnesses and successfully opposed draft language that would have required predeposition disclosure of the identity of such witnesses; comments on changes to Civ.R. 7.1 concerning disclosure statements were offered; and most recently DRI commented and offered testimony in support of the amendment to Evid.R. 702, which is expected to take effect this December. Historically, DRI had gained a national reputation as a leader by supporting previous amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding class actions and the Federal Rules of Evidence governing e-discovery, among others, through efforts in testimony and comments.  

While the Center is involved in these issues, individual members are also encouraged to participate in this process. For instance, during the effort to clarify Evidence Rule 702, many members, their firms, and clients submitted comments when the issue was before the Advisory Committee before a draft rule was prepared and after it was published over 530 Comments on Evidence Rule 702 were received.  

Currently, amendments to Civil Rules 16 and 26 concerning a new process to address claims of privilege and privilege log preparation are being considered. Also, a new Civil Rule 16.1 addressing multidistrict litigation is being considered. The Center, through its Federal Rules Task Force and MDL Working Group, respectively, is planning to offer comments in support of these amendments. This webpage, Civil Rule Amendments 2023, contains these proposed amendments and is the site where comments are being submitted, and where you can find the proposal and any comments offered. You can register to receive notices as comments are posted.  

Virtual and in-person hearings on these proposed rules are being held by the Civil Rules Advisory Committee on October 16, 2023, January 16, 2024, and February 6, 2024. The above website explains how to request to appear and present testimony at one of these hearings. Comments on these proposed rules are being accepted at the website until February 16, 2024. 


The Center’s State Legislation and Rules Task Force stands ready to work with SLDOs that are interested in working on related state rule amendments. 

Guttmann_JohnJohn Guttmann is a principal of Beveridge & Diamond PC, in Washington, D.C. He is vice chair of the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy.

Jim McCrystalJim McCrystal is of counsel for Sutter O’Connell Attorneys, in Cleveland, Ohio.  He is chair of the Center’s Legislation and Rules Committee. 

Federal Rules Task Force 

Bob Massie, Chair 
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP 

Bruce Cranner, Vice Chair 
Milling Benson Woodward LLP  

Greg Farkas 
Franz Ward LLP 

MDL Working Group 

Toyja Kelley, Chair 
Locke Lord LLP 

Darleene Peters, Vice Chair 
Irwin Fritchie Urquhart Moore & Daniels LLC 

Carlos Benach 
Irwin Fritchie Urquhart Moore & Daniels LLC 

Ryan Clark 
Lewis Thomason King Kreig & Waldrop PC 

Jeffrey A. Holmstrand 
Grove Holmstrand & Delk PLLC 

Torrey Peterson 
Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP 

Rob Wise 
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP 


Give Back Through the DRI Foundation’s International Day of Service

Join the DRI Foundation for the International Day of Service this month. It’s not too late to get involved and plan your service project for this year’s International Day of Service!  

The DRI Foundation, along with participating state, local, and national defense organizations (SLDOs/NDOs), is hosting its second International Day of Service.    

The Foundation is asking SLDOs/NDOs to hold a service project of their choice, irrespective of size or scope, anytime during the month of September—and then let us know about it! Participation will give SLDOs/NDOs the chance to give back to the community; strengthen relationships with DRI members and SLDOs/NDOs across the nation; assist in membership development; and generate positive publicity. It’s as simple as that—hold a service project in September and share it with us. All you need to do now is plan your activity!   

To get started, complete this short form with the name of your organization, your service project details and date, and the contact person for your organization. DRI will follow up to request a short article and picture of your service project, which may be publicized in DRI’s publications and on social media. 

There is still time to participate! The DRI Foundation welcomes all SLDOs/NDOs to be part of the International Day of Service. Please register your service project here

The DRI Foundation is committed to giving back to DRI members, their communities, and the cities that host DRI events. Proceeds raised by the DRI Foundation go directly toward funding and fostering initiatives that make a difference, including diversity programs, healthy living programs, and more.   

New Associates Webinar

DRI Members Offer Advice for New Lawyers 

Fall is almost here, which means many new attorneys will be starting their practice at law firms for the first time. This experience may seem daunting, but luckily, most seasoned attorneys are willing and eager to provide mentorship and advice.  

We asked DRI members for their best piece of advice for new lawyers, and many of the things they said can be applied to other career paths or aspects of life, as well. Read on to hear what our members have to say. 

“Treat failure as your best teacher. Try your best now not to let fear be your motivation.”  
Trey Bourn, partner at Butler Snow. 

“Your reputation is important and hard work pays off.”  
Kennard B. Davis, associate at Baker Donelson

“Always walk away with a lesson. Whether it's walking away from a deposition with a lesson from co-counsel on impeachment techniques, walking away from a hearing with a lesson from opposing counsel on how not to behave in front of a judge, or walking away from a job with a lesson that the practice area did not suit you, every situation should be viewed an opportunity for learning and growth.”  
Christine E. Westberg Dorn of Mooney Lenaghan Westberg Dorn LLC. 

“The best advice I have for new lawyers is communication. Communication is key within the firm, whether it be with your assistant or superior, as well as outside your firm, especially with opposing counsel and clients. We have become very reliant on email communication which has somewhat handicapped our ability to create and maintain a human connection with people. The human connection is critical in our ability to defend our clients.”  
Stacy Lynne Douglas, partner at Everett Dorey LLP. 

“Forge lasting and meaningful relationships with clients.”  
Lawrence Bradfield Hughes of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

“Read the original authorities and cases; do not accept summaries or analysis from secondary authorities. Stand on your own research, rather than that of others.”  
Roger W. Hughes, of counsel at Adams and Graham

“Understand from day one at your firms that no one will look out for your own professional development better than you will. Despite what any firm markets as its ability to develop young legal talent, no firm will do that better than you. And you should take control of your professional development from the start of your legal career. There are tons of opportunities for professional development outside of your law firms. Organizations that provide young attorneys with opportunities to lead and develop, like DRI, should be an important part of your development plans. Consider paying for membership, seminars, etc. even when your firms won't support you. Consider it an investment in yourselves.”  
Toyja E. Kelley Sr., partner at Locke Lord LLP. 

 “Get comfortable with networking early.”  
Catherine Ava Leatherwood, partner at Rogers Townsend LLC. 

“Listen more, talk less. Ask questions. Find a mentor."
Dan L. Lindstrom, shareholder at Jacobsen Orr Lindstrom & Holbrook

“Figure out how to develop and maintain a book of business in your practice area. The firm you're with may or may not be the right fit, but as long as you can take your book with you, you'll be fine.”  
Stewart G. Milch, senior attorney at Cooper & Schully, P.C. 

“Stay engaged. Make the file your own. Ask for more responsibility.”  
Brandon Pellegrino, partner at Bowman and Brooke LLP. 

“Learn how to bill, account for your time and market yourself by writing and speaking even if you have to work non-billable hours.”  
Mark Perkins, owner of Perkins & Associates. 

DRI has many resources for those who are new to practicing law or new to specific practice areas. Our Young Lawyers Committee provides its members with the best professional development, high-quality CLE programs, and networking opportunities of any legal organization. The Young Lawyers Committee is hosting a webinar on September 27th, “A Young Lawyers Guide to Initial Communications with Clients and Claims Professionals,” where attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the skills necessary for making a great first impression when receiving a new file. After a brief lecture, attendees will break out into small groups, led by claims professionals or representatives of corporate clients, to practice these skills. This webinar will provide 1 hour of CLE credit. 

DRI is also providing the New Associate Webinar Bundle, a comprehensive set of four on-demand products offering the right skills, knowledge, and litigation strategies to help you tackle the toughest challenges in your career with confidence. By purchasing the bundle, you’ll benefit from the opportunity to earn four hours of on-demand CLE for the price of one - that's a savings of 75%!

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 Voice, In-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. 

Social Media Spotlight

Follow DRI on Social Media!

Social Media

Did you know that DRI is active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter)? 

Don’t miss out! Follow us on social media to stay current with news and trends impacting the civil defense bar, educational opportunities, networking events, publications, and more! Plus, keeping up with DRI on social media is a great way to stay connected to your peers from across the country.  

Never miss an update! Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and X

In Memoriam

Remembering James Parton III

October 19, 1951 – June 4, 2023

James Parton

Longtime Mill Valley resident and highly respected Bay Area attorney James Parton III passed away peacefully from cancer at his home on June 4, 2023. He was 71 years old.

Born in NYC to James Parton II, founder/publisher of American Heritage Magazine, and Jane Bourne Parton, Jim spent his early years in Westport, CT. He graduated in 1969 from the Loomis School (today the Loomis Chaffee) in Windsor, CT and spent a year at Uppingham School in Rutland, England. He then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a B.A. cum laude in 1973.

After graduating, Jim moved to Washington DC where he met Diane King, a divorcee with two boys, ages six and nine. They moved across the country so he could attend law school and married in 1976.In 1980, Jim’s wife Diane passed away. Jim adopted and raised her boys. The elder son, Philip King Parton, who became a respected Bay Area architectural designer, died of lung cancer in 2011.

In 1982, Jim met Maureen Ann Brown, a second-year law student at UCSF School of Law. They wed in 1985.Jim received a J.D. cum laude from the University of San Francisco School of Lawin 1977 and was hired by the firm Lynch & Loofbourrow (ultimately Lynch, Gilardi & Grummer) as an associate, He achieved partnership in 1983, and practiced there for 25 years.

In 2008, Jim formed the law firm of Parton & Sell in San Rafael, CA with Jim Sell, a Lynch colleague and then Ralph Rhoades becoming Parton, Sell, Rhoades. Jim specialized in employment law, product liability and commercial litigation and was honored as a “Super Lawyer.” He was a member of the California, the Northern and Eastern Districts of California and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar Associations. He retired from the practice of law in June 2016. Jim was a member of DRI and a leader in the Employment Law section. 

Jim was dedicated to outdoor recreation and the arts. He served on the Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Commission and on the boards of Antenna Theater, an experimental theater group, and of the Acoustic Vortex, a house-concert series in Larkspur, CA. He was deeply involved for many years with the West Point Inn atop Mount Tamalpais.

In retirement, Jim vigorously pursued the things he loved best: travel, gardening, hiking, family history and genealogy, and photography. In his early fifties, Jim was successfully treated for prostate cancer. In April of 2020, Jim learned he had ocular melanoma with a genetic marker revealing it as terminal and without effective treatment. Jim enrolled in an experimental immunotherapy drug trial at UCSF, but the cancer progressed. He then became Stanford University Medical Center’s first patient to receive Tebentafusp; but it too failed to halt the disease. Yet to the end he remained active, upbeat and devoted to seeing friends.

In addition to his first wife Diane and son Phillip, Jim’s brother Dana predeceased him in 1991. Survivors include his wife, Maureen Brown Parton, his son from his first marriage, Christopher of Forest Knolls, and two children from his second marriage, Jane and Nathaniel, both of Oakland. In addition, he leaves his sister Sara Parton Pelgrift and her husband James Pelgrift of Danbury, CT and their three children, Samuel, Elisa (Robert Hamilton Wallace, Jr.) and Daniel, and an infant grandniece, Elinor Marie Wallace. Maureen’s family survivors include her siblings Clement R. Brown, III (Barbara Brown), Kathleen Brown (John Cullather), Jeannie Brown, Lisa Lizzo (Tom Lizzo), John Brown (Joann Brown) and several
nieces and nephews.

The family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the organizations that Jim loved most: The West Point Inn Association, Loomis Chaffee School or Pine Island Camp.

For a more extensive review of Jim’s life, please go to

The DRI Blog

Read Our Newest Blog Post —The Fastest Growing Areas of Law Practice in 2023

Whether you’re a law student, a young lawyer looking for the right practice area, or a seasoned attorney considering a change, this article will help you understand the fastest growing areas of law practice in 2023.

Blog Slider

As the world continues to evolve, so do the legal needs of businesses, individuals, and governments. In 2023, certain areas of law practice have seen skyrocketing growth, reflecting the changing dynamics of our society.

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 | Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee & Workers’ Compensation Committee

SLC Corner Narrow

Alternative Dispute ResolutionAlternative Dispute Resolution
Pete Cantone, Committee Chair

While mediation, arbitration, and the like may have traditionally been considered “alternative” forms of dispute resolution, these extrajudicial forums have largely become primary venues for resolving claims, litigation, and other disputes.  The goal of the ADR committee is to be a key resource for defense attorneys and in-house counsel engaged in ADR, a forum for discussing emerging issues and developments in this area, and a catalyst for positive changes in ADR practice for the defense bar.

Some of the key issues facing our members include the impact of new technologies on ADR, and the promotion and advancement of diversity among neutrals appointed to resolve disputes.  DRI’s initiatives in the area of ADR include the excellent DRI Neutrals Database and the important DRI ADR Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative.

In many ways, the ADR committee is a cross-section of DRI.  Our members include defense attorneys, in-house counsel, claims representatives, and neutrals from throughout DRI’s geographic footprint and with practice areas across virtually all of DRI’s other substantive law groups.  Our committee’s work touches on all of these areas.  We have both speaking and publications opportunities available, and have an active and engaged Steering Committee.  We welcome both experienced DRI members and young and developing members to serve in meaningful leadership positions within our committee.  If ADR is a part of your practice, please consider joining and contributing to our committee.  

Want to get involved?

  • Join the Alternative Dispute Resolution 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 Pete Cantone, at, or Vice Chair Doug Hayden, at

Workers’ Compensation
Robert Stokes, Committee Chair

The DRI Workers’ Compensation Committee provides a community where other lawyers understand the problems faced in defending comp claims and can offer their experience, skill, and knowledge to help address these and other issues that crop up in our part of the legal world.

Workers’ compensation traditionally has been a specialized area of law confined to one particular state, rarely with a need to consult or to seek anyone outside that jurisdiction. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly changed how attorneys address worker’s compensation issues. 

First and foremost, the pandemic changed the workforce and where people actually work, increasing the need for WC attorneys to understand other jurisdictions. Second, the pandemic interrupted the dispute resolution process. Third, it prompted legislative changes that affected how cases could be resolved. Finally, this change in the workface created a need for WC lawyers to analyze and resolve cases presenting new and unique legal theories. 

We have multiple projects ongoing at this time and we are always looking for members who seek to be active in our committee. Our main project is a worker’s compensation podcast where we present clients and attorneys to address various issues. We have produced two podcasts so far and have identified topics that will carry us into mid-2024. Many members of our committee travel to hearings on a weekly basis and listening to podcasts is one way our committee can inform and educate our members. 

Additionally, within the next year, we hope to offer our members the opportunity to meet online on a regular basis to trade practice tips, develop multi-jurisdictional client relationships, or just trade war stories with lawyers who share a common love for our area of the law. We plan to conduct these meetings in collaboration with other SLCs whose substantive legal issues cross-pollinate with the experience and knowledge of our committee membership.

If you are unsure about joining, we highly recommend practicing in comp. Workers’ compensation has always been a dynamic area of the law that provides a training ground for young litigators who ache to do more than crank out or respond to discovery. Ask any busy litigator and the majority will tell you that they “cut their teeth” through the door of worker’s compensation. The practice allows you to develop trial experience rapidly and develop your own style for arguments. 

Finally, if you ask those members who choose to practice comp as their primary vocation, you will hear the real reasons that they are in WC: (1) variety (2) autonomy (3) work/life balance and (4) the happiness of building a relationship with a client that can last for decades. Our committee is filled with potential mentors and experienced colleagues.

Whether you are looking for a primary committee home or are simply interested in expanding your skill set by becoming the “comp expert” at your firm while practicing in another substantive area of the law, we have a place for you on our committee.

Want to get involved?

  • Join the Workers’ Compensation 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 Bobby Stokes, at, or Vice Chair Debra Doby, at

DRI Committee News

Workers Compensation Committee Launches Inaugural Podcast

DRI's Workers Compensation Committee launched its inaugural podcast, "The Past, Present, and Future of Medicare Set-Asides" with Rafael Gonzalez.

In this initial episode of DRI’s Comp Conversations, Ryan Hathcock of Chartwell Law and Steve Armstrong of Armstrong and Peake PLLC speak with Rafael Gonzalez of Cattie and Gonzalez about Medicare secondary payer issues and compliance, including how best to consider and protect the interests of Medicare/ CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). Rafael discusses the history of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, and how we got to where we are today. Most importantly, Rafael discusses coming changes in this arena with stringent fines and new rules becoming effective February 2024. You can find Rafael on LinkedIn and at his website

Professional Liability


DRI Members Share Their Victories

Tom Riney, Senior Counsel at the Underwood Law Firm in Amarillo, Texas recently obtained a unanimous defense verdict after a four-day jury trial in a lawsuit against the owner of a strip shopping center for alleged breach of a restrictive covenants. The plaintiff alleged that a restrictive covenant applied to the lot where a multi-million-dollar strip shopping center was constructed and operated and sought damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees.  If the restrictive covenants applied and were enforced by injunction, it would have effectively shut down the shopping center. The jury found that the developer of the area never intended for the restrictive covenants to apply to the commercial lot. The case was Cause No. 79349B in the 181st District Court, Randall County, Texas; Mike Fisher v. Plaza Amarillo, LLC, Step Values, LLC dba Dunkin’ Donuts, and Edit Clean, LLC dba Tide Dry Cleaners.

Thomas Riney

Robert E. Galindo, et al. v. VHS Brownsville Hospital Co., et al., Cause No. 2020-DCL-983, 197th Dist. Ct., Cameron County, (8/16/2023).  The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, Dallas, Texas, brought suit against Valley Baptist Medical Center—Brownsville on behalf of the father, estate, wife, and son of a 32-year-old who was to assume control of the family’s lucrative business. The patient was emergently transferred to the hospital with acute viral myocarditis, and it was alleged the hospital failed to properly screen the patient, report critical vital signs, and delayed the transfer for financial reasons. The patient expired shortly after being transferred to a Houston hospital. Punitive damages were sought. The wrongful death case was successfully defended in an eight-day trial to a no liability finding by Will Hughes with Hughes Health Law, PLLC, Harlingen, Texas.   

Will Hughes

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.


Congratulations to DRI Members for Their Achievements

Patrick Coronel has joined Saiz Chanez Sherrell + Kaemper as an associate. Patrick handles all aspects of medical malpractice, product liability, and general liability litigation. He has extensive experience representing healthcare providers, including hospitals, long-term care and assisted living facilities, and individual practitioners. His product and general liability experience includes representing clients in premises liability, tractor-trailer accidents, breach of contract, and commercial dispute matters. A significant part of Patrick’s experience involves representing clients in complex wrongful death cases. Patrick joined DRI in 2019. 

Cameron V. Ervin has joined Cranfill Sumner’s White Collar, Government Investigations & Special Matters practice group. She has experience defending medical providers in state and federal courts and responding to complaints against medical providers from medical and nursing boards. In addition, Cameron has worked on professional liability, coverage actions, and general civil litigation matters. Cameron joined DRI in 2022. 

Elizabeth “Lizz” Esfeld has joined Preg, O’Donnell & Gilett’s Portland office. Ms. Esfeld’s practice focuses on complex litigation matters including insurance defense, commercial, construction, employment, personal injury, malpractice, and insurance coverage claims. Ms. Esfeld’s advocacy skills have allowed her to obtain defense verdicts at trial and arbitration as well as favorable outcomes in mediation. Lizz has been a DRI member since 2022. 

Thomas Joseph Flynn has joined Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP.  He has represented numerous high-profile Fortune 500 companies in various class action suits, with a focus on asbestos and talc claims. He has defended dozens of suits in various areas of law, including but not limited to toxic tort/mass tort, complex litigation (including multi-forum litigation), environmental law, product liability and general civil litigation. He joined DRI earlier this year. 

Maureen Doerner Fogel has joined Shook Hardy Bacon LLP. Maureen excels in complex litigation matters. Her diverse experience includes product liability and tort claims involving automotive, commercial equipment and consumer products; commercial, contract and business-related litigation; employment litigation and insurance coverage disputes. Maureen has been a DRI member since 2014. 

Mitchell P. Hedrick has joined Chartwell Law’s Peoria office. He is a veteran civil litigation attorney who focuses his practice on the transportation industry, including complex and high exposure catastrophic bodily injury and wrongful death litigation. Mitch has been a member of DRI since 2013. 

Brian Patrick Kershaw has joined Tucker Holmes PC as a senior attorney. His practice focuses on all areas of insurance defense related litigation and bad faith defense. Brian has been a DRI member since 2022. 

Mitzi Mayfield, DRI member since 2007, has joined Underwood Law Firm, in Amarillo, TX. Mitzi has practiced civil trial law for over 30 years, and regularly represents clients in general civil litigation, transportation litigation, commercial litigation, medical malpractice, premises liability and products liability litigation. She also practices in the areas of oil and gas litigation and business litigation and has defended clients against intentional tort claims of libel and slander. 

Heather McFeeley has joined Fisher Phillips as an Associate. She represents employers in a range of workplace-related issues and disputes including claims involving trade secrets, non-compete agreements and employment discrimination. Heather joined DRI in 2022. 

Ciara Perritano has joined Winstead as an associate and has experiences range from representing Fortune 100 companies in commercial and tort litigation, with particular emphasis in premises security and liability, Section 1983 based claims, and product liability defense litigation, to representing residential landlords and tenants. Ciara joined DRI in 2022. 

Danielle Waltz has joined Dinsmore & Shohl LLP as a partner. Danielle serves as a go-to resource for her clients in addressing the full spectrum of government relations matters and has a diverse legal background. Danielle has been a DRI member since 2006. 

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. 


State, Local, and National Defense Organizations Host Annual Meetings

During the month of August 2023, four State and Local Defense Organizations hosted their Annual Meetings. The organizations were: Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Wisconsin Defense Counsel, and Defense Lawyers Association of Wyoming. Seven DRI members were elected to new leadership roles during these Annual Meetings.  

  • Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel selected Shane Baker as President (DRI member since 2022), Tom Wyatt as President-Elect (DRI member since 2018), and Stuart Miller as Secretary (DRI member since 2000).  

  • Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association nominated Brendan Tupa as President (DRI member since 2023), Elizabeth Sorenson Brotten as Vice President (DRI member since 2009), Stephanie Angolkar as Treasurer (DRI member since 2019), and Cally Kjellberg-Nelson as Secretary (DRI member since 2018). 

Regional Meeting attendees joined DRI in Washington, D.C., for the Mid and Northeast Joint Regional Meeting. The meeting was led by DRI Regional Directors Chris Pyles (Northeast Region) and Tanner Walls (Mid Region), and included a presentation by DRI Second Vice President, Jeff Lowe. Regional Meeting attendees spent time learning and networking, hearing updates from DRI and The Center. Regional Meeting attendees also had an opportunity to tour the US Supreme Court. 

Joint Regional Meeting

DRI Cares

DRI Diversity & Inclusion Committee Teams Up with CHOC Project One

By Gary Howard


At the 2023 Diversity for Success Seminar held June 14-16 in Charlotte, DRI Diversity & Inclusion Committee members and seminar participants raised funds to benefit Champion House of Care (“CHOC”) Project One. CHOC is a local Charlotte day support program that provides care for individuals (called “Champions”) aged 13 and older with intellectual and developmental exceptionalities. CHOC provides its Champions with support to develop vocational skills and opportunities to connect with peers. Through its enrichment, afterschool, and summer programs, CHOC gives the Champions a safe place to develop skills they need to be successful in the community. The DRI Diversity Committee’s DRI Cares project raised funds through the DRI Foundation to benefit CHOC directly and to purchase school supplies that were then assembled into backpacks for elementary, middle, and high school students. If you are interested in supporting CHOC, please donate through the DRI Foundation page on the DRI website and select Diversity and Inclusion under “My SLC/Region.”  


DRI Welcomes the Following Members and Advocates:

New Members
Nicole Boehler, Boeblingen, BW, Germany                                                             
Jameson W. Toner, Boston, MA                                                                        
Elizabeth Ferguson Herrera, Edinburg, TX                                                            
Charles J. Noel, Minneapolis, MN                                                                    
Matthew Nevaranta, Waukesha, WI                                                                     
Butch T. Mathenia, Tampa, FL                                                                        
Bhairav Radia, Northbrook, IL                                                                       
Justin Knight, Lincoln, NE                                                                          
Elisa Leighton, Saint Louis, MO                                                                     
Maria R. Kupillas, Scottsdale, AZ                                                                   
Mary Christian Barr, Dallas, TX                                                                     
Jacqueline Kirk Dubois, San Diego, CA                                                               
Lori D. Proctor, Houston, TX                                                                        
Ryan Hargrave, Charlotte, NC                                                                        
Jeffrey R. Bick, Madison, WI                                                                        
Natalie Inchaustegui Duenas, Miami, FL                                                              
Ernest Harrell, IV, Atlanta, GA                                                                     
Peri Bailey, Atlanta, GA                                                                            
Michael P. Turiello, Chicago, IL                                                                    
Gregory P. Durham, Melbourne, FL                                                                    
Jacob Flowers, Columbia, SC                                                                        
Kendall Manini, Jacksonville, FL                                                                    
Courtney Dunn, New York, NY                                                                        
May Song, Chantilly, VA                                                                             
Sarah Zimmerman Fogle, Deland, FL                                                                   
Carrie A. Dysart, Charleston, WV                                                                    
Kyle L. Brady, Columbia, SC                                                                         
Philip Wiseberg, North Palm Beach, FL                                                               
James C. Worthen, Casper, WY                                                                        
Chris Edison, Bismarck, ND                                                                          
Connie Elizabeth McCarthy, Maitland, FL                                                             
Cristina Cambo, Maitland, FL                                                                        
Christopher Gallinari, Chicago, IL                                                                  
Julia Kelly, Minneapolis, MN                                                                        
Lauren Oswalt Baber, Fayetteville, AR                                                               
Nicole A. Mitchell, West Chester, OH                                                                
Michael J. Hallock, Chicago, IL                                                                     
Abigail Wood, Greenville, SC                                                                       
Garrett Griggs, Phoenix, AZ                                                                         
Thomas M. Brown, Boston, MA                                                                         
Joseph J. Stathius, Bensalem, PA                                                                    
Randall A. Juip, Livonia, MI                                                                        
Michelle O'Brien, Bernardsville, NJ                                                                
Michael Bennett Stein, Tampa, FL                                                                    
William L. Coggshall, III, San Diego, CA                                                            
Christian Lee Gonzalez Rivera, Tampa, FL                                                            
Elizabeth "Lisa" Massey, Houston, TX                                                                
Gino Ronald Forte, Gretna, LA                                                                       
Candace Phillips, Fort Lauderdale, FL                                                               
Luis Alexander Arguelles, Coral Gables, FL                                                          
Robert R. Harmening, Chicago, IL                                                                    
Steven B. Witman, Madisonville, LA                                                                  
Amy Millan DeMartino, Sarasota, FL                                                                  
Lily Hubbard, Seattle, WA                                                                           
Lily Hubbard, Seattle, WA                                                                           
Joseph G. Glass, Metairie, LA                                                                       
Elizabeth Anne Lindgren, Columbus, OH                                                               
Brian Paice, Hartford, CT                                                                           
Elizabeth M. Brooks, Savannah, GA                                                                   
Paige Nettles, Atlanta, GA                                                                          
Connor Smith, Kansas City, MO                                                                      
Shanda Marie McKenney, Oklahoma City, OK                                                            
Jackie S. Cooper, Dallas, TX                                                                        
Allegra M. Mason, Detroit, MI                                                                       
Jennifer A. Emmaneel, San Mateo, CA                                                                 
Morgan Kathleen Stippel, Madison, WI                                                                
Alex Mouhot, Lake Charles, LA                                                                       
Nathaniel Donald French, Chicago, IL                                                                
Ryan B. Johnson, Scottsdale, AZ                                                                     
Erin Seeberger, Tacoma, WA                                                                         
Stuart Harris, Columbus, OH                                                                        
Kyle R. Kroll, Minneapolis, MN                                                                      
Sean Perrin, Charlotte, NC                                                                          
Peter Mularczyk, Los Angeles, CA                                                                    
C. BROOKS RICCA, Jr., West Palm Beach, FL                                                           
Alex Battey, Atlanta, GA                                                                            
Courtney Burroughs, Tampa, FL                                                                       
Kimberly Jones Woods, Jacksonville, FL                                                              
Braden S. Murphy, Kalispell, MT                                                                     
Barry Vogel, Sacramento, CA                                                                        
Warren E. Voter, Philadelphia, PA                                                                   
Jeffrey Charles Brohel, Norwalk, CT                                                                 
Kim T. Duong, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                   
Cristina V. Azcoitia, Atlanta, GA                                                                   
Richard Cameron Stephenson, Columbia, SC                                                            
Surama Suarez, Tallahassee, FL                                                                      
Adam Glen Cohen, Wellesley Hills, MA                                                                
Shay Powell Talbitzer, Omaha, NE                                                                    
Elliot Moormann, Saint Paul, MN                                                                     
Whitney Boyd, Casper, WY                                                                            
Beth L. LaCanne, Minneapolis, MN                                                                    
Jennifer C. Barron, Orlando, FL                                                                     
Jerry Garner, Little Rock, AR                                                                       
Jennifer D. Aufricht, Dallas, TX                                                                    
Forrest Guedry, Baton Rouge, LA                                                                     
LaVerne Chang, Houston, TX                                                                         
Patti J. Skoglund, Lake Elmo, MN                                                                    
Taylor R. Anderson, Madison, WI                                                                     
Rayja Fowler, Greenville, SC                                                                       
Tammy B. Denbo, Tampa, FL                                                                           
Patrick S. Martin, Jacksonville, FL                                                                 
Stephanie Ries, Seattle, WA                                                                         
Andre A. Revaz, Tampa, FL                                                                           
Gianna N. McArthur, Ny, NY                                                                          
Adelia A. Mohan, Columbus, OH                                                                       
Catherine DeAngelis, Philadelphia, PA                                                              
Michael A. Lloyd, Los Angeles, CA                                                                   
Ryan M. Dempsey, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI                                                            
Katrina Feller, Kalispell, MT                                                                       
Kevin Gallo Barreca, Metairie, LA                                                                   
Daniel Seth Montgomery, Jacksonville, FL                                                            
Norma Miranda Davies, Plantation, FL                                                                
Brandy Dixon Rood, Deland, FL             
Anne M. Talcott, Portland, OR                                                                       
Carmen R. Toledo, Atlanta, GA                                                                       
Brent A. Lorentz, Minneapolis, MN                                                                   
Dana F. Braun, Savannah, GA                                                                         
Peter M. Hart, San Francisco, CA                                                                    
Gary D. Sharp, Ferndale, MI                                                                         
John H. Barr, Dallas, TX                                                                            
J. Pablo Caceres, Tampa, FL                                                                         
Teresa L. Shull, Albuquerque, NM                                                                    
Timothy S. Groustra, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI                       

DRI's 2024 Events Calendar

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

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!

Register by September 25, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. Click here.

2023 Boot Camp for New Life, Health, and Disability Lawyers
November 3, 2023 | Chicago, Illinois
Join the DRI Life, Health, and Disability Committee for a boot camp aimed at providing a basic understanding of the concepts applicable to life, health, and disability litigation. Taught by highly experienced attorneys and ideal for young lawyers, or older lawyers who are new to the practice or who wish to brush up on their skills, this program receives rave reviews each year it is held! Don’t miss this opportunity to benefit from a classroom atmosphere that will be limited to 50 persons.

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.

2023 DRI OSHA Virtual Boot Camp
September 13 | 12 p.m. CDT 
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is becoming more involved with business operations every day. The stated purpose of OSHA is “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards,” and while all businesses are concerned with the safety of their employees, the nuances of OSHA law and its compliance requirements can trip up even an experienced practitioner as its provisions are often not intuitive. This three-hour Boot Camp will provide a primer on the Agency, discuss agency priorities and provide an overview of and guidance on navigating OSHA’s inspection/investigation process. In addition, a business’s duties under OSHA will often intertwine, interact and sometime interfere with its obligations pursuant to Workers Compensation insurance policies.

Our presenters are highly-skilled lawyers who cumulatively have decades of experience representing and advising employers on OSHA inspections, investigations and citations, as well as the relationship between the Agency and requirements to most Workers’ Compensation carriers.

The registration is $300 for DRI members and $500 for non-members.

Navigating the Future: Understanding AI in Legal Practice
September 19 | 11 a.m. CDT  
In this presentation, we delve into the realm of artificial intelligence, specifically focusing on large language models that power ChatGPT, Bing, Bard and Microsoft Co-Pilot. Designed for lawyers and legal professionals, this session aims to demystify AI and explain its potential impact on the practice of law. Whether you're a seasoned attorney or a young associate, this presentation will provide valuable insights into the rapidly evolving landscape of AI and its implications for the future of law.

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

How Attorney Wellness Leads to Attorney Retention: Tips + Tools for Your Firm
September 21 | 12 p.m. CDT
Why are civil litigation attorneys leaving their firms and what can we do about it? Please join us for this free webinar from the DRI for Life Committee that will help firm leaders learn the importance of prioritizing wellness and pragmatic ways to retain talent. Speakers Patrick Krill, Sarah Burke and John Floyd, Jr. will address key issues about wellness and retention in our law firms, including:

1. Why is wellness important in a civil litigation practice?
2. What are young lawyers looking for from firms regarding wellness?
3. What can law firm management do to retain attorneys through wellness programs? 
4. Why should firms be intentional in addressing and promoting wellness?
5. What are the disparities in wellness associated with gender and diversity?

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

A Young Lawyers Guide to Initial Communications with Clients and Claims Professionals
September 27 | 11 a.m. CDT
This program will cover the skills necessary for making a great first impression when receiving a new file. Attendees will be provided with a mock case assignment that will include a complaint, demand letter, and other relevant materials. The lecture portion of the program will focus on the practical skills of communicating with clients when your knowledge of the case is limited. This CLE is designed to teach participants how to strategize when considering a new case and set out a framework of the general legal information you should be prepared to provide in an initial call with a client or claims professional. After the brief lecture, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss these skills in small groups led by claims professionals or representatives of corporate clients.

The registration is $100 for DRI members and $200 for non-members. Attendance is limited to 30 participants.

Quote of the Month

“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” ― T.S. Eliot