As we enter the holiday season, I am reminded of the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” My five year old daughter is a huge fan of the version by Straight No Chaser. If you have not heard it, you should stop now and take a listen. Anyway, in celebration of this holiday season, I give you “The Twelve Gifts of DRI.”
12. Free Membership in DRI’s 29 Substantive Law Committees
If you are like most people, you practice in more than one area and in DRI you can join as many substantive law committees as you like at no additional charge. Since you are reading this you must be at least a part-time commercial litigator (or hope to be). But – do you try cases? If so, check out the Trial Tactics Committee – for free. Do you deal with e-discovery? Poor you. Why not try out DRI’s e-discovery committee? DRI’s substantive law committees really do offer something for everyone. Log in to www.dri.org (call DRI at (312) 795-1101 if you need help with your log-in information) and then click here to try out a new committee or two in 2014. Did I mention they are free?
11. For the Defense Magazine
Every month, DRI publishes a fabulous, full-color, glossy magazine (delivered right to your real mailbox) designed to help you, the defense practitioner, stay on top of new developments in the law. If you are not into paper magazines, you can even download the new DRI App and get FTD every month right on your tablet. Now that we no longer have to turn off our iPads and other devices on airplanes you will never be without great DRI content while you are on the go. What to do with the paper magazine then? Give it to a colleague and share the gift of DRI with them!
10. Referrals – The DRI Membership Database
Did you know that as a DRI member, you have a place to create your very own profile? DRI’s online membership directory allows you to create a profile that is searchable by others. Just log in to www.dri.org and click on “edit profile” in the upper right hand corner where you see your log-in name. Then fill in your profile. That’s all you have to do. You can even add your picture. Last year more than 10,000 people visited DRI’s online directory of members each month looking for lawyers just like you. Update your profile today!
9. Free Legal Research Tools
DRI Online is available to DRI members only and it houses past and present issues of For the Defense magazine, seminar materials, articles from Defense Library Series publications, substantive law committee newsletters and more. It is a great starting point for research on new issues in a case or on an emerging area of law and it is free! Log into www.dri.org and try it out now!
8. CLE at Right From Your Desk
DRI sponsors numerous webcasts every year covering all kinds of different substantive practice areas. These webcasts are a great value at only $150 per site. This means you can invite your entire office to watch the webcast (maybe even pop some popcorn) and everyone can earn CLE credit for only $150. Check out the current webcast offerings here. If you missed a webcast, or need emergency credit (come on, we’ve all been there) you can order a DRI webcast on demand! DRI is just as fancy as your local cable or satellite provider and way more economical.
7. DRI Keeps You in the Know
You can get all the legal news you can shake a stick at right on the DRI Today webpage. You can even make it your home page so you never miss a thing. You can filter the news by the topic(s) in which you are interested and find everything from insurance law to class actions and medical liability to expert witnesses. You can find it all at DRI Today with just a quick search. And it’s free too!
6. Amazing Seminars and CLE Opportunities
DRI’s bread and butter has always been, and continues to be, affordable, high-quality CLE. DRI is the leading provider of defense-oriented education in this country offering dozens of seminars all over the nation every year on timely and important topics in the areas in which its members practice. You can check out all of DRI’s seminar offerings here. The highlight of the year for DRI is its Annual Meeting held each fall in October. If you have never attended an Annual Meeting before, mark your calendar now for October 22-25, 2014 and join 1,100+ of your favorite defense colleagues in San Francisco, California.
5. Help Retaining and Researching Expert Witnesses
DRI maintains a free expert witness database for its members. Through the database you can locate an expert for your case, research the opposing party’s expert, research an expert you are considering retaining and more. In addition, DRI has formed a strategic partnership with the legal research professionals of Expert Witness Profiler. Your membership in DRI now offers you the most comprehensive background profile of an individual expert witness on the market today. There is a fee for this service, but you will also receive enhancements to which only DRI members are entitled. Finally, Thomson Reuters Expert Witness Services and DRI have also joined forces to create Expert Intelligence Reports for DRI members that will seamlessly integrate the combined expert resources of both DRI and Thomson Reuters Expert Witness Services into a single interactive and comprehensive report detailing an expert’s background and history. Check it out here. Again there is a fee for this service, but it is significantly discounted for DRI members.
4. Influence on Law & Public Policy
The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy provides a meaningful voice for the defense bar in the national discussion of substantive law and constitutional issues as well as the integrity of the judicial system through scholarship, legal expertise and advocacy. It is a voice that is heard through published research materials, amicus briefs, practical tools and resources, and creative public education initiatives. The New York Times recently cited DRI’s amicus work as part of the growing influence of business on the United States Supreme Court. DRI advocates for its members and its members’ clients and is a strong voice in the shaping of law and policy across the country. “What has DRI done for me and my clients lately” you might ask. Well, here is a great place to start in answering that question. Additionally, DRI is a strong supporter of the National Foundation of Judicial Excellence. The mission of the NFJE is to address important legal policy issues affecting the law and civil justice system by providing meaningful support and education to the judiciary, by publishing scholarly works and by engaging in other efforts to continually enhance and ensure judicial excellence and fairness for all engaged in the judicial process. To carry out its mission, the NFJE holds an Annual Judicial Symposium each summer and pays the costs of attendance for appellate judges from across the country.
3. DRI Neutrals Database
Do you need a mediator? An arbitrator? Search no further. DRI can help. Just log in to www.dri.org and search the DRI Neutrals Database for free. DRI has partnered with the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals to provide defense firms with the foremost national roster of experienced and vetted civil mediators and arbitrators available. DRI’s Neutrals Database allows DRI members to view state rosters, perform a more detailed search by practice expertise, or see which neutrals are recommended by your fellow DRI colleagues.
2. Leadership Opportunities Galore
As you can no doubt see, DRI has a lot going on and it is all in the name of helping its members. As a direct result, DRI has lots of opportunities for its members to take on leadership roles in exciting projects, committees and initiatives. In fact, even as I type this, I am in need of a membership vice chair on the Commercial Litigation Committee! We have other openings for new leaders too! The opportunities to lead are nearly limitless and range from serving as a writer for a publication or an editor of a committee newsletter to serving as a webcast or seminar chair to serving as a main stage speaker at the DRI Annual Meeting. If you are passionate about serving in an organization committed to furthering the defense practice, we have a spot for you. Keep calm and lead on.
1. Business Development & Networking
Finally, nothing says “Happy Holidays” like getting new business, right? Even Lucy in the old Peanuts cartoon knows this. DRI’s entire Annual Meeting theme this year was on making it rain and growing a book of business. DRI’s seminars provide numerous and meaningful networking opportunities including cocktail receptions, dine arounds, committee meetings, receptions for women and attorneys of diverse backgrounds and even events specifically for young lawyers and in-house counsel. Personally, my biggest source of new business comes from colleagues I have met through DRI. The cost of DRI membership for most folks is about $300. The average cost to attend a couple of DRI seminars a year is roughly $5,000 (registration and travel). If you only get one case in 10 years that bills only $50,000, you will have repaid yourself nearly every dime of your investment in DRI. I submit to you that somewhere over the course of that 10 years, with a solid commitment to DRI you will have not only had a great time and learned a lot, but you will also have networked and met many, many more people from all over the country than you can even imagine. Such efforts will likely result in more than one case coming your way over the course of the next 10 years. Do the math on DRI. If you make a firm commitment to getting involved over the next 10 years, you won’t be sorry. Make DRI your New Year’s Resolution in 2014.
And there you have it – The Twelve Gifts of DRI Membership. So, who are you going to give the gift of membership to this year? Decide and then send me an e-mail (email@example.com) and I will help you give a gift that truly lasts all year. I will personally make you (I’m crafty like that) a DRI membership gift announcement (suitable for wrapping and gifting) that you can put under someone’s tree. Really! Just don’t wait until Dec 24th to contact me. I don’t do rush orders and I may strongly resemble the Grinch upon receiving your message.
Happy Holidays to everyone – no matter which holiday you celebrate. May this season bring you peace, happiness, joy and lots and lots of new business.
Laurie K. Miller - Jackson Kelly PLLC, Charleston, WV