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State, Local, and National Defense Organizations: Supporting the Civil Defense Community

Updated February 13, 2024

Are you familiar with state, local, and national defense organizations (SLDOs/NDOs)? This article will help you understand who these groups are, what they do, and how DRI is partnering with these groups on key issues.

The legal profession and the civil defense practice serve as cornerstones of our society. Civil defense lawyers help businesses grow and operate all over the country, and in many cases, the world. Businesses need legal representation on everything from litigation to contracts, employment matters to regulatory compliance and more. SLDOs/NDOs play a pivotal role in supporting lawyers and businesses across this country. While some laws apply across the United States or Canada, many laws, rules and regulations are more local in nature. That is where the SLDOs and NDOs become critical.

Here’s how these groups function to bring value to their members and help shape the legal landscape.

In-Person Programming, Virtual Programming & Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

SLDOs and NDOs promote the ongoing education and professional development of attorneys through continuing educational programming. This could be in the form of an in-person seminar or a webinar and can include a CLE component. By offering and sponsoring these types of programs, SLDOs/NDOs help lawyers stay updated on changes in the law (both federal and local), emerging legal trends, and new legal technologies.

Networking and Collaboration

SLDOs/NDOs also serve as valuable platforms for lawyers to connect, collaborate, and send business to their peers in their geographic area. Through annual meetings, seminars, cocktail receptions and other events, lawyers can build professional relationships and develop a sense of community within the legal profession.

Looking for additional opportunities to connect with defense attorneys, in-house counsel, and SLDO/NDO leaders? DRI offers numerous seminars throughout the year that will help you build your legal practice.

Preserving the Civil Jury Trial Through Education and Advocacy

SLDOs/NDOs can influence the legal landscape by engaging in legislative and judicial advocacy and policy initiatives. Some SLDOs and NDOs monitor proposed laws and regulations in their jurisdiction, providing expert opinions and recommendations to lawmakers. They may also coordinate with bodies like the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy on matters that could have an impact on other jurisdictions. By participating in the legislative and judicial rules process, these organizations advocate for legal professionals and promote a fair and just legal system.

How DRI Is Supporting SLDOs/NDOs

DRI's Center for Law and Public Policy works with key stakeholders to defend justice and fairness through the promotion of an equitable judicial system.

The Center is currently working with SLDOs/NDOs in the following ways:

Rule 702

The Center has hosted a webinar to explain the evolution of Federal Evidence Rule 702; the impact that this change brings to presenting and challenging experts; how we can use the rule, even now; and how this change can serve as the basis of improving expert witness practices in federal courts. Learn about the background and reasons for the changes to FRE 702 that occurred on December 1, 2023, and how to use these changes in your state. The webinar is free for all DRI members and available for purchase for non-members to view on-demand.

The Center is prepared to work with and support SLDOs/NDOs interested in promoting corresponding changes to Rule 702 in their states similar to what is being accomplished in the amendments to the federal rule.

State Legislation and Rules Task Force

The Center’s State Legislation and Rules Task Force provides support by assisting, upon request, SLDOs/NDOs that are interested in evaluating, supporting, or opposing potential legislation or rules affecting their members and their members' clients. It also helps SLDOs/NDOs evaluate legislation or rules adopted in other jurisdictions. With representation in 17 states (CO, IA, LA, MD, MA, MO, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, TX, UT, WV, and WI), the task force is looking for members from other jurisdictions to join the effort.

SLDOs/NDOs interested in seeking assistance from the task force are encouraged to complete and submit the online intake form.

Third-Party Litigation Funding Toolkit (TPLF)

The TPLF Task Force within The Center is developing a toolkit for use by SLDOs/NDOs that would include draft "model" legislative language, talking points, and information about other states’ experiences. To learn more about the task force’s work and positions, read their white paper: Third-Party Litigation Funding: Civil Justice and the Need for Disclosure (PDF).

For more information about these or other groups and initiatives at The Center, we encourage you to email

About DRI

DRI is the largest international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. Membership provides access to resources and tools for attorneys who strive to provide excellent service to their clients and corporations.

Join DRI today for access to more networking, CLE, and other resources to support your practice.

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