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Women's History Month Spotlight

Take Up Space.

By Meghan Wynkoop

Traditionally, Women's History Month is dedicated to honoring past trailblazers. However, as a self-described "millennial go-getter," I cannot help but look for opportunities to leave my own legacy of success, while also celebrating and uplifting the women around me. One way I have opted to do that is by mentoring some of my younger female colleagues and readily teaching them the things I wish I knew while I was grinding my way to partnership. This month, and every month, I hope we are empowered to openly share our success strategies with other women, as we all strive to break through one glass ceiling after another. 

Self-marketing is the key to success. Any time you are in the room with someone who is responsible for making decisions that impact your life, be persuasive about what you want and about what benefits your personal growth. You cannot always rely on your work to speak for itself, despite what you may have previously been taught. Always advocate for yourself and tell people why you are deserving, without hesitation.

Find a mentor and ask them questions— all kinds of questions, not just law-related. Develop that relationship with someone you respect. A good mentor will encourage you and revel in your success and will not get frustrated when you seek guidance. Do not settle for a poor mentor. 

If given the chance to broaden your experience, take it. But do not be afraid to ask for help to prepare. You are going to be nervous. You may suffer from imposter syndrome (been there!). But you would not have been given the opportunity if you had not earned it.

Do not burn bridges. This is a small community—even if you are leaving a position amid unfavorable circumstances, take steps to facilitate the success of your former colleagues after your departure. Your character follows you, and small choices leave a lasting impression.

Loyalty is important, but loyalty to oneself is essential. If you are not in a place that is supportive, fulfilling, and reflective of your goals and your skillset, find somewhere that is. The right place will inspire you to plant roots, which will allow you to truly take pride in yourself and your work. Choosing yourself is never selfish.

More likely than not, there will be an instance where you are mistaken for the court reporter or the secretary—both of which are respectable professions and crucial in our field. It does not matter if you are in a tailored suit and the other attorney is in ill-fitting khakis and a wrinkled shirt. It will be said in a dismissive and condescending way to get under your skin or to remind you that women must work harder for the same things men are given without a second thought. Keep your head high. Prove yourself with your competence. Let them be embarrassed, not you. The flagrant showing of bias says more about them, and as society grows into a more inclusive environment, those who refuse to grow will be left behind.

All things considered, making space for ourselves as women in the legal profession can be daunting, especially considering the added complexities of intersectionality. This means that women attorneys often encounter additional hurdles that can amplify the challenges we face. The most radical thing we can do is embrace our complete selves in every space we occupy. 

As my favorite trailblazer, Bella Abzug, once said, "Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over." I personally could not agree more.

Meghan Wynkoop Meghan Wynkoop is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Practice group in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office of Margolis Edelstein. Her practice focuses on representing both public and private employers in all aspects of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, retaliation, hostile work environment, and breach of contract claims. Meghan also has experience in handling workplace investigations and assists employers in drafting policies, handbooks, and employment-related agreements to ensure compliance with state and federal laws while also serving employers’ individual business needs. 

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Annual Meeting Spotlight

Save the Date for DRI’s 2024 Annual Meeting!

Mark your calendars for DRI’s 2024 Annual Meeting! This year’s event will be held on October 16–18 in beautiful Seattle, Washington. Home of the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, endless scenic hikes, and more, Seattle is a destination you won’t want to miss.  

Join us in the Emerald City for the perfect opportunity to connect with future clients and secure referrals, network with hundreds of civil defense attorneys and in-house counsel, and deepen your knowledge and connections through meaningful interactions. Earn high-quality CLE, hear from a lineup of notable keynote speakers on cutting-edge topics, and facilitate meaningful connections through valuable business meetings with leaders in the civil defense space.

This meeting will truly be the flagship conference for DRI and the entire civil defense community! 

Registration opens this spring, so sign up for notifications. This is an event you won’t want to miss! 


Center Seeks Clarification on Bankruptcy Code Preemption, Protection of Uniform Principles

Supreme Court

The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy (the Center) has filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in PHH Mortgage Corporation v. Mark Anthony Guthrie in support of PHH, the petitioner.  DRI’s amicus brief was written by Mary Massaron, a former DRI President, and DRI member Josephine DeLorenzo—both partners of Plunkett Cooney, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

The issue in the case is whether the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. § 501, et seq., preempts state-law claims arising out of efforts to collect debts in violation of a bankruptcy court’s discharge order under § 524(a)(2)–(3). The Fourth Circuit held that such efforts are not preempted.

The issue presented is important to DRI and its membership because DRI members often advise and assist clients who are collecting debts from a party that has filed for bankruptcy. Petitioner’s position, which DRI supports, is that state-law claims addressing collection efforts are preempted and must be brought as a contempt proceeding in federal bankruptcy court and adjudicated under the standard set forth by the Supreme Court in Taggart v. Lorenzen, 139 S Ct 1795, 1799 (2019) (“[C]ivil contempt may be appropriate if there is no objectively reasonable basis for concluding that the creditor’s conduct might be lawful.”). The Fourth Circuit’s decision and its reasoning also have the potential to impact DRI members’ clients who themselves need to file for bankruptcy, as well as DRI members when they engage in collection practices on behalf of a client.

If the Fourth Circuit’s decision is allowed to stand, DRI members and their clients will potentially face 50 different state-law standards on whether their efforts to collect a debt are unlawful, many of which are more severe than the proper test under Taggart. That result would significantly undermine longstanding principles of uniformity in the law of bankruptcy. And worse, it would lead to forum-shopping and potentially diminished protection for debtors whose debts have been discharged through bankruptcy and for creditors engaged in good faith and reasonable efforts to collect on debts that are later held to have been discharged through bankruptcy.

In support of Petitioner’s position, the Center argued that the Supreme Court should grant certiorari and clarify that the Bankruptcy Code preempts state-law claims arising out of efforts to collect debts in violation of a bankruptcy court’s discharge order. Both the Constitution, U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, and Bankruptcy Code envision a uniform bankruptcy system under exclusive federal control. The Center’s brief emphasized that unlike the Fourth Circuit’s decision, other circuits recognize that Congress intended to preempt state courts from deciding claims arising out of alleged discharge injunction violations because, among other reasons, “Congress placed bankruptcy jurisdiction exclusively in the district courts under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(a),” and “Congress created a lengthy, complex and detailed Bankruptcy Code to achieve uniformity.” E. Equip. & Servs. Corp. v. Factory Point Nat. Bank, Bennington, 236 F.3d 117, 121 (2d Cir. 2001) (citing MSR Expl., Ltd. v. Meridian Oil, Inc., 74 F.3d 910, 913–16 (9th Cir. 1996); Koffman v. Osteoimplant Tech., Inc., 182 B.R. 115, 123–27 (D. Md. 1995)). Moreover, as the Supreme Court previously has made clear, “[s]tates may not pass or enforce laws to interfere with or complement the Bankruptcy Act or to provide additional or auxiliary regulations.” Int’l Shoe Co. v. Pinkus, 278 U.S. 261, 265 (1929). Thus, the Center concluded that the Fourth Circuit’s decision is contrary to these principles and should thus be reversed.

Massaron_MaryJosephine DeLorenzo
Massaron, DeLorenzo

FROM THE DRI Foundation

Wellness Inspired

By Lori O'Tool

Inspiring wellness in the legal profession requires collective effort, and the DRI Foundation through its DRI for Life Committee has been an active participant. For our DRI members in 2023 alone there were 60 DRI for Life events, “Wellness Wednesday” social media posts, and the sponsorship of two FREE webinars on wellness

Inspiration comes from many sources, and some personal wellness encouragement over the past year includes:

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who left us with a legacy of a life lived with purpose. In the memorials following the First Lady’s death, we were reminded of her groundbreaking work in the passage of the 1980 Mental Health Systems Act, and her championing of women’s rights and humanitarian issues. After leaving the White House, the Carter Center was founded, which includes the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism & Media, formed to give journalists resources to report on mental health and help dismantle through storytelling the stigma and discrimination that millions of people face every day. 

Patrick Krill’s articles and studies on legal professional mental health and well-being. Patrick was a panel speaker for the DRI for Life’s 2023 webinar: “How Attorney Wellness Leads to Attorney Retention.” His most recent article, “Improving Mental Health and Well-Being Requires Strategic Vision and Long-Term Commitment,” offers recommendations for law firms to move toward a more effective, enduring, and sustainable well-being model that better supports their people.

Steven Yeun’s Emmys acceptance speech acknowledging his character in Beef: “I want to thank Danny for teaching me that judgment and shame is a lonely place, but compassion and grace is where we can all meet.” 

Team POG Dunk Tank. Towards the end of 2022, my firm formed “The Fun Committee” to promote wellness activities. One of these events was our 2023 summer party. It had been over three years since we had gathered with our co-workers and their families. The party was held at a local farm and fun park that provided a dunk tank for entertainment. All Partners of my firm volunteered (or voluntold?) to be “dunkees” and to make it interesting, we made it a fundraiser: $5 per throw with over $2,000 raised for several local charities that created much laughter and happy memories. 

Dunk Tank

Looking to the near future, be inspired to start planning and promoting Well-Being Week in Law on May 6-10 at your firm and in your legal organizations. The aim is to raise awareness about mental health and encourage action and innovation across the profession to improve well-being with daily campaigns focusing on:

  • Monday, 5/06, Stay Strong (Physical): East well, get enough sleep, recover from stress. Minimize addictive substances. Seek help when needed.

  • Tuesday, 5/07, Align (Spiritual): Foster a sense of meaning and purpose in all aspects of life. Align life and work to serve your values.

  • Wednesday, 5/08,Engage & Grow (Occupational & Intellectual): Continuously learn and develop. Strive for personal satisfaction and growth at work. Aim for financial stability.

  • Thursday, 5/09, Connect (Social): Build connection, belonging, and reliable support network. Contribute to groups that matter to you.

  • Friday, 5/10, Feel Well (Emotional): Understand, identify, and use emotions well. Seek help for mental health when needed.

Let’s continue promoting and recognizing that lawyer wellness is a necessity for a thriving practice. Towards that end, please report back to me by sharing wellness activities by you, your firm, and your legal organization. Prioritizing well-being makes a difference inside and outside the courtroom by positively impacting our careers, service to clients, and communities.

Lori O'ToolLori O'Tool is a partner with Preg O’Donnell & Gillett PLLC. She is the Vice-President of the DRI Foundation and past DRI for Life Chair. The DRI for Life’s Committee’s charge from the DRI Foundation is to support its members to lead healthy, balanced and productive lives through wellness activities, support programs and mentoring.


FROM THE DRI Foundation

CLOSING SOON | Encourage Law Students in Your Network to Apply for DRI's Law Student Diversity Scholarship  

The DRI Foundation is still accepting applications for its annual Law Student Diversity Scholarship program, but time is running out soon! Encourage law students you know to submit an application by the March 31 deadline.  

Hear from former scholarship winner, Jay Esparza Castillo, on how the Law Student Diversity Scholarship helped them: 

One scholarship in the amount of $10,000 and two scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each will be awarded. The recipients will be recognized at the DRI Diversity for Success Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee in June. The Foundation’s goal is to provide financial assistance to three worthy law students from ABA accredited law schools in order to promote, in a tangible way, the DRI Diversity Statement in principle.  
This scholarship is open to rising (2024-2025) second- and third-year law students who come from historically marginalized groups, including those who identify as:  

  • African American 

  • Hispanic 

  • Asian 

  • Native American 

  • LGBTQ+ 

  • Multiracial 

  • Second- and third-year female law students, regardless of race or ethnicity 

  • Any other second- and third-year law students who come from backgrounds that would add to the cause of diversity, regardless of race or gender 

Students who are a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), law school, law student members of AAJ, or students otherwise affiliated with or employed by AAJ are not eligible for DRI's Law Student Diversity Scholarships.  

To qualify for these scholarships, a candidate must be a full-time student. Evening students qualify for consideration if they have completed one-third or more of the total credit hours required for a degree by the applicant's law school.  
Do you or someone you know meet the above requirements? Learn more about the application process and make sure they submit an application by March 31! They won’t want to miss this opportunity! 

FROM THE Legislation and Rules Committee

Center Task Force Offers State Advocacy Support

In 2023, the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy formed a new State Legislation and Rules Task Force within the larger Legislation and Rules Committee to 1) monitor legislative and rulemaking developments at the state level; 2) be a source of reliable information for SLDOs to track legislative and rulemaking developments in other states; and 3) provide support for SLDO efforts to promote or oppose state legislative and rulemaking efforts. The Task Force’s webpage includes a form by which any SLDO can request (through the Task Force) assistance from the Center in connection with any state law or rulemaking activity.

The Task Force meets bimonthly and recently has focused on efforts to replicate amendments to FRE 702 at the state level, increasing the transparency of third-party litigation funding arrangements, and attempts in various states to repeal or raise limits on damages awards.  The hour-long agendas lead to meaningful discussions, often leaving just enough time for the various state representatives to report on local developments for future discussion.  

The Task Force consists of representatives of approximately 30 states.  The Task Force welcomes participation by members of every state.  Currently, the Task Force is looking for representatives from the following jurisdictions:

  • Alabama

  • Alaska

  • Arkansas

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Hawaii


  • Idaho

  • Kansas

  • Kentucky

  • Maine

  • Michigan

  • Mississippi

  • Nevada


  • New Mexico

  • North Dakota

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Vermont

  • Virginia

  • Wyoming


If interested in joining, please contact Center Director Jay Ludlam (jludlam@dri.org) or Task Force Chair Brooks Magratten (bmagratten@pierceatwood.com).

Free Webinar Series Spotlight

Join the Center for the Next Free Webinar!

2024 free webinar

Join the Center in April for the next installment of the DRI Free Webinar Series, “Inflated Settlements and Verdicts - The Pushback.” As settlement demands and some verdicts rise, trial counsel can strategically push back on plaintiff tactics inside and outside of the courtroom. Learn from client representatives about how companies and trial counsel can better coordinate in combating the rise in litigation costs.

Best of all, this webinar is FREE for all DRI members! Register now.

Center News

New Appointments

The Center for Law and Public Policy continues to grow and is pleased to announce new appointments to two of its task forces.  

Now serving on the Center’s Social Inflation Task Force are Molly Lang and Rhonda Hurwitz. Lang is Vice President - Associate General Counsel for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), working from their headquarters in Chicago. From APCIA’s Washington, D.C., office, Hurwitz serves as Senior Director – Liability and Counsel.  

The Social Inflation Task Force is responsible for studying factors influencing the rise in the size of jury verdicts above expected levels given inflation and to recommend steps to limit that rise. APCIA is a member of the Center’s Advisory Council.

Also, recently appointed to the Center’s State Legislation and Rules Task Force is Jessica L. Mullen, a partner in the Highland, Indiana, office of Lewis Brisbois, where she is a member of the general liability, healthcare and medical malpractice groups and the firm’s 24/7 Rapid Response Team.

The Center’s State Legislation and Rules Task Force coordinates activities and collaboration related to state and local defense organizations (SLDOs). The Center may assist, upon request, SLDOs concerned about legislation or rule issues in their state.  


DRI International

Webinar Series Spotlight

New Webinar Series for Young Lawyers 

We are excited to offer a four-part practical skills webinar series to help young lawyers develop their case-handling skills! Sign up now for our new live webinar series, "A Young Lawyers Guide To Handling A Case, From Evaluation to Arbitration for interactive," hands-on instruction and insights into best practices. 

Our first webinar in the series, "A Young Lawyers Guide to Initial Case Evaluation and Client Communication," is coming up on March 27th at 11:00 a.m. CDT. Join us to gain the skills necessary for making a great first impression when receiving a new file, including evaluating for potential monetary exposure.  In addition to walking through a mock case with attendees, lecturers will cover how to strategize when considering a new case and set out a framework of the general legal information you should be prepared to provide. Learn more and register here! 

Save 25% when you purchase the entire series! Other upcoming webinars in the series include:  

Considering Whether to Remove a Case to Federal Court 

Preparing Corporate Witnesses and Telling a “Company Story”  


Earn CLE credit and build valuable skills for less. Plus, DRI members pay less as part of their membership benefits. 

Publications Spotlight

Today's Managing Partner Highlights Post from DRI Blog 


An article published in Today’s Managing Partner highlighted a recent post from Court & Counsel: The DRI Blog on effective strategies for lawyers to generate referrals and foster lasting professional relationships. Referrals not only bring in new clients but also serve as a testament to your credibility and expertise. Developing a robust referral network is a strategic move that can significantly impact your legal career.

Did you know that in a survey of active DRI members, 49% of respondents reported that they have given or received a referral in the last 2 years, and at least 45% of those referrals were worth more than $50K?

Interested in having your own thought leadership published through DRI? Check out publication opportunities here.

The DRI Blog

Read Our Newest Blog Post — A Lawyer's Guide to Seattle  

Read on for our Seattle travel guide and discover why it's a must-visit destination for legal minds. 

Blog Slider

Seattle, otherwise known as the Emerald City, is a lively destination in the Pacific Northwest that provides diverse culture, nature, and opportunities. Beyond its iconic skyline punctuated by the Space Needle, Seattle offers numerous experiences tailor-made for legal professionals.  

Whether you're in town for business or leisure, check out our guide to exploring the city's legal landmarks, indulging in its culinary delights, and finding new ways to further your career. There's something for every lawyer in Seattle. 

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 | Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee

SLC Corner Narrow

Flammable Barrel and Radioactive IconToxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee
Jennifer L. Dlugosz, Committee Chair


1. Tell us about your committee’s practice area. What does it cover?

The Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee focuses on litigation and regulatory issues related to toxic substances and environmental contamination. Our members represent companies, insurers, and governmental entities in cases involving asbestos, lead, mold, pesticides, chemicals, hazardous waste, and other environmental pollutants. We also cover topics such as environmental justice, climate change, natural resources, and emerging technologies.  

2. What are the highlights of your upcoming seminar?

Our committee is hosting its annual seminar on March 20-22 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The seminar will feature expert speakers and panelists who will discuss updates in toxic tort litigation, environmental litigation, regulation, and enforcement. The seminar covers a range of topics, such as recent Supreme Court rulings, emerging PFAS issues, asbestos, talc, microplastics, and radioactive materials litigation, diversity and choice of counsel, social media and public relations strategy, and more.

The seminar will also offer networking opportunities and CLE credits for attendees. As part of DRI Cares, we will be supporting Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry. Seminar attendees will have the opportunity to fill bags of food on the way to the joint networking lunch on Thursday, March 21.

Finally, we will be hosting our annual Young Lawyers Lunch at the end of the conference on Friday, March 22. This is always a great opportunity for young lawyers to connect with TTEL leadership and clients.  

3. Are there committee projects that current and prospective members should look for in 2024?

A few projects that our members can get involved in are:

• The Toxic Torts and Environmental Law edition of For the Defense. The TTEL Committee will be featured in the June edition. If you have a topic you would like to publish on, please let us know.  
• Young Lawyer Lunch on Friday, March 22 at the seminar. This will be a great way to network with other young lawyers as well as committee leadership.  

4. How can someone get involved with your committee? What opportunities are available?

The best way to get involved with our committee is to join us as a member. Membership is open to anyone who is interested in toxic torts and environmental law.  We also always have openings for formal roles on our steering committee. Email Jen Dlugosz (jen.dlugosz@huschblackwell.com) and Roy Prather (rprather@bdlaw.com) if you are interested.  

5. What is the best thing about the Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee?

The Committee is truly a community of lawyers helping lawyers. Whether you’ve attended our conference ten times, or whether it’s your first time, you will feel welcomed and among friends.  

6. What are you interested in learning more about this new year? (This could be about a legal issue or just in general.)

As a committee, we are always interested in learning more about the latest developments and challenges in toxic torts and environmental law. Some of the issues that we are following closely this year include:

  • The status and prospects of the federal and state legislation and litigation related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

  • The expansion of toxic tort litigation including Camp Lejeune, Paraquat, Firefighting Foam, Talcum Powder, and Hair Relaxer Litigation, and their corresponding MDLs.

  • The impact of changes to Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and how the rule may impact the use of expert testimony in federal courts.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court decision Loper Bright v. Raimondo and Relentless v. U.S. Department of Commerce, where the Court is expected to rule on whether to overturn agency deference established in its 1984 decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council.

  • Climate change litigation that has been filed in state and federal court, including novel suits filed by young plaintiffs in multiple states claiming violations of the youths’ constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment.”

  • The ongoing saga surrounding the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, which dictates the scope of federal authority over certain water bodies.

  • The continued activity from federal and state agencies to enforce environmental justice priorities and litigation challenging agency authority to enforce.

DRI Communities Spotlight

Be on the Look-Out for Something New in the DRI Communities!


Later this spring, DRI will be enhancing your DRI Communities experience. The opportunity to connect with peers and thought leaders in your practice area will expand in meaningful ways. DRI CEO Dean Martinez said, “We know how important connections are for our members, so we’re focusing on refreshing the member experience on our communities platform. It’s exciting to roll-out this new member benefit.”

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And the Defense Wins

DRI Members Share Their Victories

After a hotly disputed liability and damage trial, a Hillsborough County jury entered a defense verdict for Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (“Coke Florida”) and its driver. Plaintiff claimed the Coke Florida tractor-trailer violated his right of way proceeding to an intersection, causing an accident resulting in a lumbar discectomy and the need for future lumbar and cervical fusions; Plaintiff asked the jury to award just under a million dollars in damages. The trial team of attorneys, which included DRI member Rob Blank, argued that Plaintiff caused the accident by failing to pay proper attention while driving with a clear and unobstructed view of the tractor-trailer as it properly entered the left turning lane, and that Plaintiff's injuries were not caused by the accident. The jury found there was no negligence on the part of the Coke Florida driver that caused Plaintiff's damages. Defendants will be moving for their attorneys’ fees based on Plaintiff’s rejection of their Proposal for Settlement. Judge Emily Peacock presided. This is Coke Florida’s third defense verdict in the last year.

Rob Blank

January 2024, Graves County, KY Shipp & Heath v. Arrowhead Camper Sales Inc
DRI member Melissa Richardson obtained a unanimous defense verdict on liability for her client, Arrowhead Camper Sales, Inc. This case involved a motor vehicle accident that occurred on October 13, 2017, in Graves County, Kentucky, related to an alleged sight-line obstruction due to campers/RVs parked in Arrowhead’s parking lot. The Plaintiffs were a 16-year-old woman and her grandmother, who were traveling back to the grandmother’s home when they attempted to navigate the subject intersection. Video surveillance showed the 16-year-old driver “rolled” through the intersection despite the presence of a stop sign and red flashing lights. Their vehicle was struck by a drunk driver, who had a BAC level three times the legal limit. The responding officer claimed the campers/RVs in Arrowhead’s parking lot created a sight obstruction at the stop bar and took photographs of the alleged obstruction. Further, after the officer obtained the video of the “rolling stop” he continued to claim the obstruction caused the accident.

The Plaintiffs were both airlifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center, with the younger Plaintiff having sustained life-threatening injuries. The 16-year-old driver suffered a pelvic fracture, seven broken ribs, orbital fractures, spleen, kidney, and live lacerations, traumatic brain injury, and had an embolization procedure due to internal bleeding to save her life. She was hospitalized at Vanderbilt for a month and then transferred to Frazier Rehab in Louisville for inpatient rehab for another month before returning home. The grandmother was hospitalized at Vanderbilt for five days for injuries including: spleen laceration, five fracture ribs, and a shoulder injury that eventually led to shoulder surgery. The 16-year-old had medical expenses of approximately $700,000 and the grandmother had medical expenses of over $215,000.

The Plaintiffs alleged Arrowhead violated KRS 177.106 (encroachment onto the state right-of- way) and general negligence. As discovery proceeded in the case, the Plaintiffs put forth fact witnesses claiming the intersection had been dangerous for 20+ years because of the campers. However, no one from the community or any state officials told Arrowhead’s owners or employees the campers were creating an obstruction at the intersection at any time. The witnesses claimed they would come to the stop sign, look, and then proceed a little further past the stop sign to gain a clear view down the highway if needed. The owner of Arrowhead testified he had probably driven through the intersection 45,000 times since 1977 and the campers never caused any visibility issue. He testified if they did create an obstruction for his, his family, or the community, he would have moved them.

The drunk driver testified at trial; he confirmed he saw the Plaintiffs’ vehicle approaching the stop sign and presumed she would stop as she did slow down. He contended the accident would not have happened if she had simply stopped.

Arrowhead hired Heath Spivey of Delta V Engineering to recreate the accident scene. Mr. Spivey’s reconstruction showed the driver had a sightline of 351 feet down the highway at the stop bar and a completely, unobstructed view of the highway of over 1,000 feet three feet ahead of the stop bar. At the time of trial, the Plaintiffs were seeking over $17 million.

After a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for an hour before returning a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Arrowhead on all counts.

December 2023, Union County, KY: Baird v. Greenwell Brothers Farm, LLC, et al. 
Melissa Richardson successfully obtained a unanimous defense verdict on liability for her clients, Greenwell Brothers Farm, LLC, Thomas Randall Greenwell, and James Neal Greenwell, in a unique case involving a negligence action filed by a farm employee after he contracted a rare fungal infection. Plaintiff is a life-long farmer who was hired by Greenwell Brothers Farm as a farmhand in 2018.

In or around August 17, 2020, Greenwell Brothers underwent the task of replacing the floor of a grain bin located on the property. The Greenwells, several of the Greenwell children, and Plaintiff, among others, first removed the perforated floor of the grain bin. Thereafter, they worked to remove the grain remnants that had accumulated under the floor. The Greenwells would shovel the grain remnants into buckets, hand the bucket through an opening in the grain bin to Plaintiff who was standing outside, and Plaintiff would then empty the bucket into a wagon.  

No one wore respiratory protection while working on the grain bin. Greenwell Brothers did not require employees to use respiratory protection for this particular type of work. However, various respirators, including N-95 masks, were readily available for employees to use at their discretion. Respirators were kept in the grainery control room, the office shop, and in most service trucks, all of which were located beside of the grain bin. Greenwell Brothers contended that all employees knew where the respirators were kept and had access to them.

While Plaintiff initially denied that respiratory protection was available, he later acknowledged that he had used respirators provided by Greenwell Brothers in the past and that he could have found one had he looked. He indicated he used his extensive experience as a farmer to determine whether or not to wear a respirator. In this instance, and based on his experience, he did not believe a respirator was necessary for the grain bin project. As such, he did not use a respirator and testified that he would not have worn one if it were handed to him due to the August heat.

Less than two weeks after completing the work on the grain bin, Plaintiff was hospitalized and diagnosed with disseminated blastomycosis, a rare fungal infection caused by the organism blastomyces. Blastomyces is primarily found in soil and is endemic to the Ohio River Valley, Mississippi River Valley, and the Southeastern United States. Plaintiff alleged he inhaled blastomyces spores during the grain bin project. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the Greenwell Brothers were negligent for failing to provide proper respiratory protection and a grain vacuum. Plaintiff elicited testimony from an industrial hygienist who claimed that Greenwell Brothers should have, at a minimum, required its employees to wear half-face respirators with P-100 filters. She acknowledged that N-95 respirators were designed to protect against airborne particulates, such as grain dust; however, she would not recommend them due to the potential for leakage.

Among other things, Greenwell Brothers asserted that Plaintiff could not link his infection to the grain bin project. Plaintiff’s expert, Plaintiff’s treating infectious disease doctor, and Greenwell Brother’s expert all agreed that blastomyces spores are endemic to the area and that Plaintiff could have been exposed to blastomyces spores virtually anywhere in the general environment. This was determined to be particularly true in areas where the soil is being plowed. Plaintiff, who worked on a farm and lived on his own farm that was actively being farmed, was routinely exposed to this type of environment. Moreover, Greenwell Brothers’ expert, Dr. Keith Armitage, opined that the normal incubation period for blastomycosis is greater than 30 days. Because Plaintiff began experience symptoms less than two weeks after the grain bin project, it was unlikely that the grain bin project work was the source of the infection. She further noted that no other employee who worked in or around the grain bin became ill. Moreover, Greenwell Brothers relied on Plaintiff’s medical records which noted that he had been losing weight, had sores on his body that would not heal, and had been feeling fatigued for a couple of months prior to the grain bin work, as all of those complaints are symptoms associated with blastomycosis. According to Dr. Armitage, this suggested that Plaintiff likely contracted his infection at least months before the grain bin project was started.   

Greenwell Brothers further contended that they complied with any duty they may have owed Plaintiff by providing N-95 respirators for employees to use on a voluntary basis. Greenwell Brothers’ agriculture operations expert, Bob McIndoo, opined that it is industry standard for farming operations to have N-95 respirators available for voluntary use when cleaning the interior of a grain bin. Additionally, Greenwell Brothers’ industrial hygienist, James McIntosh, opined that the N-95 respirators made available by Greenwell Brothers would have offered adequate protection against airborne particulates had Plaintiff chosen to wear one.

Following his infection, Plaintiff asserted that he was experiencing ongoing respiratory issues, severe depression due to his alleged inability to work, chronic headaches and migraines, ambulation issues, nausea, fatigue, and a general inability to engage in any activity without becoming sick. Plaintiff claimed that these alleged symptoms prevented him from returning to work. However, Plaintiff’s treating infectious disease doctor opined that Plaintiff had made a full recovery from his infection and there was no indication that Plaintiff should be experiencing lingering symptoms. In fact, Plaintiff’s own expert acknowledged that from a pulmonary and physical standpoint, Plaintiff was able to return to work. Further, Plaintiff had an extensive history of pre-existing health issues that were playing a role in his alleged ongoing complaints, including an extensive history of anxiety, depression, diabetes, COPD. In fact, Plaintiff had reported to his primary care physician just months before trial that his depression was in full remission and that he had been performing work outside on his house.

After a four-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict within 30 minutes of deliberation.

Melissa Richardson

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

DRI Member News

Congratulations to DRI Members for Their Achievements

Corey A. Bauer has been promoted from Senior Attorney to Director effective January 1, 2024, at the law firm Houston Harbaugh located in Pittsburgh, PA. His practice areas include business litigation, intellectual property, cybersecurity/data privacy, UAS/UAV drone law, and much more. Corey has been a DRI member since 2021.  

Ryan L. Garner has joined Norris Choplin & Schroeder as an Associate located in Indianapolis, IN. He focuses on civil litigation, insurance defense and coverage, workers’ compensation, asbestos, and business litigation. Ryan has been a DRI member since 2020.
Ryan Thomas Hand has joined Naman Howell Smith & Lee as a Member in the Houston, TX office. He defends clients with a focus on litigated disputes involving transportation, personal injury, commercial, employment and business claims. Ryan has been a DRI member since 2022.   

Jonathan L.S. Hodes has joined Virgin Law Group as a Principal located in Vancouver, BC. He has more than 25 years of experience practicing law in British Columbia and defends claims brought under all types of insurance policies. Jonathan has been a DRI member since 2004.   

Corey E. Krueger has joined Tressler as a Partner in the Los Angeles, CA office. He has joined the General Defense Litigation Practice Group and represents clients in a range of industries. Corey has been a DRI member since 2023.   

Marcus M. Maples has been named Chair of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group at Baker Donelson. He is a shareholder in the Birmingham, AL office and focuses on complex commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, and construction litigation. Marcus has been a DRI member since 2008. 

Noelle M. Natoli has joined Kahana & Feld as a Partner in the Los Angeles, CA office. Her civil trial practice focuses on elder abuse, transportation defense, and representation of individuals, family-owned businesses, and national corporations. Noelle has been a DRI member since 2021.  

William Peseski joined Weston Hurd in January 2024 as a Partner in the Cleveland, OH office. His practice includes litigation matters with insurance coverage, defense, toxic tort, and construction. William has been a DRI member since 2022.   

Erin Salfen has joined Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani as a Senior Counsel in the St. Louis, MO office. She is a member of the Commercial Litigation and Appellate practice groups at the firm. Erin has been a DRI member since 2023.  

Phillip M. Sarnowski has been promoted from Associate Attorney to Shareholder Attorney effective January 1, 2024, at the law firm Roetzel & Andress in their Akron, OH office. His legal industries include transportation & logistics, insurance, construction, retail & hospitality services, and aviation. Phil has been a DRI member since 2021.  

Lucy E. Savorgnan has joined Johnson & Johnson as Senior Counsel, Product Liability Litigation in New Brunswick, NJ. Her practice areas include general litigation, personal injury, mass tort, product liability, and toxic torts & environmental law. Lucy has been a DRI member since 2019.   

Robert Jackson Sewell has joined Gordon Dana & Gilmore as an attorney located in Birmingham, AL. His practice areas include appellate advocacy, commercial litigation, product liability, and trial tactics. Robert has been a DRI member since 2016. 

James P. Strenski has joined Drewry Simmons Vornehm as a Partner in the Carmel, IN office. He concentrates his practice on insurance coverage, insurance defense, and personal injury defense. Jim has been a DRI member since 2004.   

Robert E. Thackston has joined Nelson Mullins as a Partner in the Dallas, TX office. His cases involve Fortune 500 companies from around the world defending manufacturers of products and equipment from different industries. Robert has been a DRI member since 2023.   

Marisa A. Trasatti has received the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) Board of Governors’ nomination as President-Elect for the 2024-2025 leadership term. She is currently the Managing Partner in Cipriani & Werner’s Hunt Valley, MD office. Marisa has been a DRI member since 2001. 

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


OADC, ASCDC Welcome New Board Members

In February, the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (OADC) held its Annual Meeting, and the following people took office for 2024:   

  • Heather Bowman (OADC President), of the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund. Heather has been a DRI member since 2020. 

  • Megan Cook (OADC Secretary-Treasurer) of Bullivant Houser PC. Megan has been a DRI member since 2023.  

In addition, the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (ASCDC) welcomed its new Board members for 2024: 

  • Ed Tugade (ASCDC President), of Demler Armstrong & Rowland.  Ed has been a DRI member since 2021.

  • Patrick Deedon (ASCDC First Vice President), of Maire & Deedon. Patrick has been a DRI member since 2010. 

  • Laura McHugh, (ASCDC Second Vice President), of Duggan Law Corporation. Laura has been a DRI member since 2018. 

DRI Cares

Product Liability Conference Supports Blessings in a Backpack

At DRI’s 2024 Product Liability Conference in Denver, attendees participated in a DRI Cares project benefitting Blessings in a Backpack to fill 500 bags of food that will provide weekend meals for school-aged children in the local community who might otherwise go hungry.  There was a strong turnout by committee members for this extremely worthwhile cause.  Blessings in a Backpack is a national non-profit organization dedicated to feeding school children who might experience food insecurity on the weekends.  

Product Liability DRI Cares

New Members and Advocates

DRI Welcomes the Following Members and Advocates:

New Members
Loren S. Cohen, Chicago, IL                                                                         
David P. Schaffer, New York, NY                                                                     
Renee M. Coury, Phoenix, AZ                                                                         
Heather Kathleen Bardot, Fairfax, VA                                                                
Michael A. Golemi, Houston, TX                                                                      
Earl G. Greene, III, Omaha, NE                                                                      
Adrienne C. Publicover, San Francisco, CA                                                           
David J. Mincer, Charleston, WV                                                                     
Anthony J. Monaco, Chicago, IL                                                                      
I. Hooshie Broomand, Sacramento, CA                                                                 
Jeffrey H. Kass, Denver, CO                                                                         
Peter J. Melaragno, Miami, FL                                                                       
Philip Jay Spengler, II, Tampa, FL                                                                  
Christopher J. Leopold, Kansas City, MO                                                             
Mark Nickel, Salt Lake City, UT                                                                     
Sonya R. Burke, Albuquerque, NM                                                                     
Joseph Rupcich, Springfield, IL                                                                     
Daniel B. Rotko, Des Plaines, IL                                                                    
Houston Bragg, Lexington, KY                                                                        
Richard Michael Schlaifer, Cherry Hill, NJ                                                          
Danielle Charlot, Stamford, CT                                                                      
Katherine Mendiola Wyatt, Austin, TX                                                                
Jessica L. Mullen, Highland, IN                                                                     
Derek W. Mullins, Chattanooga, TN                                                                   
Thomas Brink, Tampa, FL                                                                             
James Gross, New York, NY                                                                           
Wilbert Vancol, Orlando, FL                                                                         
Reagan N. Brock, Jackson, TN                                                                        
Jake Stewart, Charlotte, NC                                                                         
Jeremy K. Schrag, Wichita, KS                                                                       
Mary Williams, Charleston, WV                                                                       
Brandy G. Price, Lancaster, SC                                                                      
Courtney Hunter, Nashville, TN                                                                      
Sarah Nicole Hall, Louisville, KY                                                                   
Christopher Lewis, Lexington, KY                                                                    
Alexander Joseph Buckley, Charlotte, NC                                                             
Michelle Renee Brady, Gaithersburg, MD                                                              
Diana-Marie Laventure, Parsippany, NJ                                                               
Kayla Giese, Madison, WI                                                                            
Lauren Kickel, Houston, TX                                                                          
Jennifer Black, Philadelphia, PA                                                                    
J. Spencer Ward, West Des Moines, IA                                                                
Jesus Orlando Valentino, Miami, FL                                                                  
Marva Graham, Duluth, GA                                                                            
Kiralyn J. Locke, Minneapolis, MN                                                                   
Brady John, Nashville, TN                                                                           
Michael LoCoco, Waukesha, WI                                                                        
Madeline L. Richmond, Indianapolis, IN                                                              
Sean Catherine Harrison, Lexington, KY                                                              
Clinton J. Wolbert, Houston, TX                                                                     
Justin Blaylock, Brea, CA                                                                           
Danica Denny, New Orleans, LA                                                                       
Stephanos Yiannas, Woodland Park, NJ                                                                
Kiernan O'Keefe, Tampa, FL                                                                          
Jessica Parent, Montréal, QC, Canada                                                                
Kristin Ingulsrud, Los Angeles, CA                               
Phoebe A. Hathorn, New Orleans, LA                                                                  
DAVID HIRSCH DAVIS, Winnipeg, MB, Canada                                                            
Anastasia Triantafillis, Dallas, TX                                                                 
Marissa Kuryla, Delaware, OH                                                                        
Kathryn Bryson Stewart, Martinsburg, WV                                                             
Kathleen Rice, New Orleans, LA                                                                      
Regina M. Taylor, Atlanta, GA                                                                       
Gina Faldetta, New York, NY                                                                         
Aleksandra Rybicki, Washington, DC                                                                  
Heather White Martin, Ridgeland, MS                                                                 
Matthew W. Smith, Mobile, AL                                                                        
Laura Keener Grant, Baltimore, MD                                                                   
Christopher Moon, Merrillville, IN                                                                  
Jake Zigenfus, Merrillville, IN                                                                     
Matthew Sorem, Chicago, IL                                                                          
Francis D. McWilliams, Houston, TX                                                                  
Tiffany Fischbach, Cleveland, OH                                                                    
Kalliopi Kousis, New York, NY                                                                       
Maggie Wallner, Minneapolis, MN                                                                     
Sarah Gene La Pearl, Chicago, IL                                                                    
D. Craig Parry, Salt Lake City, UT                                                                  
Quinn Ford, Chicago, IL                                                           
Ariella Schreiber, Madison, WI                                                                      
Elena N. Boop, Cleveland, OH                                                                        
Jill Cranston Rice, Morgantown, WV                                                                  
Kurtis Robert McManus, Valhalla, NY                                                                 
Maureen M. Middleton, Duluth, GA                                                                    
Tracy J. Van Steenburgh, Minneapolis, MN                                                            
Christian W. Castile, Philadelphia, PA                                                              
Kimberly A. Jones, Chicago, IL                                                                      
William H. Oldach, III, Washington, DC                                                              
Clark Monroe, Ridgeland, MS                                                                         
Collin J. Hite, Glen Allen, VA                                                                      
David W. Henderson, Montgomery, AL                                                                  
Elaine D. Walter, Miami, FL                                                                         
Rafael E. Martinez, Orlando, FL                                                                     
Albert K. Alikin, Los Angeles, CA                                                                   
Kari B. Zangerle, Phoenix, AZ                                                                       
Steven Davidson, Omaha, NE             

DRI Education

Upcoming Seminars and Webinars


2024 Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute 
March 13 - 15, 2024 | Chicago, Illinois

Join us this March in Chicago at DRI’s flagship seminar for insurance executives, claim professionals, and outside counsel. The 2024 Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute promises to provide an array of outstanding speakers to keep you up to date on the latest developments in the industry and current trends in insurance coverage. The seminar will provide skills-based instruction and litigation guidance for coverage attorneys, as well as multiple opportunities to network. The Windy City welcomes you!

2024 Business and Intellectual Property Litigation Super Conference 
March 20 - 22, 2024 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The practice of law is changing, from where we practice to how we preserve and present evidence. At DRI’s Business Litigation and Intellectual Property Super Conference, you will learn about generational differences impacting the practice of law, issues in front of the Supreme Court and the anticipated effects of future rulings, the sweeping changes affecting restrictive covenants, and much, much more. Our featured experts will cover a wide range of issues affecting the modern litigator in an informative and interactive setting. Come reconnect, recharge, and leave reenergized about your practice!

2024 Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar 
March 20 - 22, 2024 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The nation’s best conference for toxic tort and environmental practitioners will be in the City of Brotherly Love, with best-in-class CLE, enhanced networking opportunities, and new ways to connect with your colleagues. Explore Philadelphia through networking events that offer something for everyone and earn CLE from top industry leaders and practitioners. This is the seminar you will not want to miss!

2024 Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Seminar 
March 20 - 22, 2024 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Whether you think of it as the City of Brotherly Love or the Cradle of Liberty, there can be no question that Philadelphia is the perfect venue for the nation’s premier Life, Health, Disability & ERISA (LHD&E) conference. Take a selfie with Rocky and then enjoy unparalleled CLEs from some of the country’s top LHD&E practitioners before heading out to network with colleagues, old acquaintances, and new friends. There will be plenty of time to soak up the local history, check out art museums, and maybe even enjoy a famous cheesesteak in between honing your knowledge on the latest legal trends your clients are facing. This is the seminar you will not want to miss!

2024 Trucking Law Seminar
April 10 - 12, 2024 | St. Louis, Missouri

In a litigation environment hallmarked by increasingly high jury verdicts, the time is now for the trucking industry to act and to re-evaluate what defense strategies and methods will best protect our clients and ensure the vitality of the industry moving forward. Learn practical strategies for trucking litigators, claims professionals, and industry representatives to get aggressive in the defense of cases in the face of new and changing plaintiff tactics. Plus, discover how to address the shift in jury pool demographics, ideals, and mentalities. Presentations include a forum discussion by jury consultants, speaking to what they are seeing nationally in the jury pool, what defense strategies are working, and what is no longer effective. There will also be a practical workshop for using consultants to best prepare your key defense witnesses. Attendees will learn to employ practical approaches aimed to counter emerging tactics leveraged by plaintiff attorneys meant to fuel excessive verdicts and settlements. This includes how to maximize the benefit of mock trials/focus groups and how to employ aggressive defense tactics early to get the edge and turn the tide in trucking litigation.

2024 Drug and Medical Device Seminar
May 20-22, 2024 | Washington, D.C.

Join us in Washington D.C. for the Drug and Medical Device industry’s premier event for learning, networking, and advancing the defense of life sciences clients! You’ll hear from heads of litigation from the world’s foremost drug and medical device companies and get the latest insight on jurors’ changing perceptions. Take advantage of new CLE opportunities and small group, off-site networking events, which provide more opportunities than ever to network with renowned industry experts while enjoying the best of the nation’s Capital.

Register by April 8 to receive the early bird discounted rate. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 Employment and Labor Law Seminar
May 20-22, 2024 | Washington, D.C.

Join us in our nation’s capital as we reconnect at DRI’s 47th annual Employment and Labor Law Seminar. The nation’s best employment law seminar brings together leading management-side employment and labor attorneys, in-house counsel, human resources professionals, and employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) representatives from throughout the US and Canada. Always intensely practical, and accompanied by helpful written materials, this seminar is indispensable for experienced practitioners and those just getting started in labor and employment law. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from some of the best practitioners and professionals in the labor and employment arena.

Register by April 8 to receive the early bird discounted rate. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 DRI International Seminar
May 29-31, 2024 | Madrid, Spain
Join us for the next annual DRI International Seminar to reconnect with peers and make new connections in Madrid! The theme of this year's seminar is "Disruption." There have been several significant legal and regulatory developments which are impacting our global clients and disrupting business agendas. We expect more pressures in 2024, including the increasing risk of class actions and the rise of collective redress regimes across Europe; the maturing litigation funding market; the evolving regulation and liability frameworks around technology and artificial intelligence (AI); a growth in cybersecurity and data breach disputes; and the emergence of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disputes and the dominance of AI. We will be joined by lawyers, in-house counsel, and other members of the legal industry to discuss how the disruption is intensifying and how global businesses need to keep pace or risk falling behind. There will also be a number of excellent opportunities to reconnect and network with friends and colleagues from around the world in the beautiful city of Madrid.

Save on registration by reserving your spot online! If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 Diversity for Success Seminar
June 12-14, 2024 | Nashville, Tennessee

The DRI Diversity and Inclusion Committee invites you to the 19th annual Diversity for Success Seminar and Corporate Expo in Nashville, Tennessee. With the theme, "Fighting the Current of the Anti-Diversity Tide," this seminar is designed to address the recent legal decisions and lawsuits meant to stunt recent efforts to increase diversity in our educational and occupational settings. In addition to gaining insights from and networking with in-house counsel and potential referral sources, attendees will also find resources and tools to incorporate in their career and organization that will improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.

DRI Members can register now for $895 thanks to exclusive, limited time Early Access Registration! Everyone else can take advantage of Early Bird Registration starting March 15 through April 29. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 Insurance Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability Seminar
June 12-14, 2024 | Nashville, Tennessee

DRI’s Insurance Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability Seminar is the preeminent program for insurance executives, claims professionals, and outside counsel who specialize in bad faith insurance litigation. When bad faith litigation ensues, these claims are some of the most complex and highest exposure claims faced by insurers. Our featured speakers consist of some of the nation’s leading in-house and outside bad faith lawyers, who will share their valuable insights and strategies on evaluating and winning bad faith cases as well as how to avoid them in the first place.

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 March 15 through April 29. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2024 Young Lawyers Seminar
June 12-14, 2024 | Nashville, Tennessee

Join us in Nashville for DRI’s Young Lawyers Seminar! If you are an attorney within your tenth year of practice, this seminar is designed for you. Gain expert insight into how the practice of law is, first and foremost, a business. You will discover that to grow your law practice, you need to hone your legal skills, and learn what it takes to run a successful business - from building and nurturing client relationships, to staying on top of current trends and developments and using technology to your advantage. In addition to exciting programming, there will be ample networking opportunities with attorneys and in-house counsel from across the country!

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 March 15 through April 29. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

A Young Lawyers Guide to Initial Case Evaluation and Client Communication
March 27 | 11 a.m. CDT
This program will cover the skills necessary for making a great first impression when receiving a new file, including evaluating for potential monetary exposure. Attendees will be provided with a mock case assignment that will include a Complaint, demand letter, contract including a mandatory arbitration clause, 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, and on critical points for advising clients at early stages (think: document retention notices, etc.). 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.

Registration is $75 for DRI members and $100 for non-members.

Save 25% when you purchase the "A Young Lawyers Guide to Handling A Case" series. Learn more.

A Young Lawyers Guide to Considering Whether to Remove a Case to Federal Court
June 27 | 11 a.m. CDT
This program will provide attendees with a step-by-step guide for removing a case from a state court to a federal district court. Attendees will be provided with a mock case for consideration, along with a checklist that covers the situations that make a case removable, the relevant deadlines impacting removal, and the steps that must be completed to effectively remove a case to federal court. After the lecture, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the “how, why, and when” of removing a case to federal court in small groups.

Registration is $75 for DRI members and $100 for non-members.

Save 25% when you purchase the "A Young Lawyers Guide to Handling A Case" series. Learn more.

A Young Lawyers Guide to Preparing Corporate Witnesses and Telling a “Company Story”
September 25 | 11 a.m. CDT
This program will provide attendees with all prior case materials, along with some specifics on a corporate witness to “prepare” for testimony. After the lecture, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss corporate witness preparation in small breakout groups.

Registration is $75 for DRI members and $100 for non-members.

Save 25% when you purchase the "A Young Lawyers Guide to Handling A Case" series. Learn more.

A Young Lawyers Guide to Arbitration
November 20 | 11 a.m. CDT
This program will provide attendees with the prior case materials, along with select rules from CPR, AAA and other arbitration processes.  The program will provide discussion what makes arbitration different from trial, and how young lawyers in particular can have an expanded role in Arbitration (per the rules, themselves). After the lecture, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss what it’s like taking an arbitration from start to finish and ask questions of fellow young lawyers who have done so.

Registration is $75 for DRI members and $100 for non-members.

Save 25% when you purchase the "A Young Lawyers Guide to Handling A Case" series. Learn more.

Quote of the Month

“As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg