Member to Member

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A little less than 15 years ago, one of my Partners served as the President of the Nebraska Defense Counsel Association.  By default and as he was my mentor in our firm, I “volunteered” to speak at NDCA’s meetings and planned annual meetings.  I eventually served on NDCA’s Board of Directors.  I write of these experiences as they were my path to DRI involvement. I participated in state service and served as DRI’s State Representative for Nebraska and now sit on the DRI Membership Committee.  Over this time, my respect for DRI’s offerings for professional and personal enrichment has grown exponentially. 

As attorneys, we are constantly faced with the responsibility of identifying, addressing and most importantly, solving the problems of our clients.  This responsibility is often carried out in the adversarial arena of litigation, where winning and losing is often the measure of our success.  Simply put, a challenging working environment for anyone.  DRI’s 50 plus year of experience has made it the go-to organization for defending your clients in civil litigation.  DRI’s support ranges from pre-eminent substantive legal writing on complex legal issues to professional opinions solicited from trusted colleagues.  Over the course of my career, I have relied on DRI’s vast resources to serve the interests of my clients.  If my client needs it, I know DRI has it.   

Upon reflection, I wish I had been more involved with DRI in the earlier years of my career. My regret has nothing to do with substantive legal issues or professional development.  It relates to lost time and opportunities to get to know and enjoy the company of great friends, who just happen to be fantastic professionals.  Despite my peek in the rearview mirror, DRI has afforded me the opportunity to establish friendships which will last for the rest of my life.  It is my most treasured experience with DRI, looking forward to and seeing friends at various DRI events. 

I encourage you to find your path to DRI involvement as soon as you possibly can.  You won’t regret it. 

Kyle Wallor – Lamson Dugan and Murray, Omaha, Nebraska

DRI Superstar – June Essis

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Being a DRI Superstar is not something that is reserved for the recognizable names of current or former Board and Executive Committee members.  While they have contributed a significant amount to DRI and the Defense Bar, there are a lot of other DRI members whose contributions to DRI are just as important; especially when it comes to recruiting and retaining new DRI members.  Without active and committed members, DRI cannot thrive.  Thus, it is an absolute honor to recognize June Essis, the current Vice Chair of DRI’s Trucking Committee for her leading the new member recruitment efforts for her committee!  June is personally leading the charge by reaching out to the Trucking Law steering committee members to assist them in their new member recruitment efforts.  She is also implementing tactics to help persuade non DRI members to join.  June’s tireless efforts are what makes her a superstar and will help DRI continue to thrive in the future.

Douglas K. Burrell – Drew Eckl & Farnham, Atlanta, Georgia

Drug and Medical Device Seminar – May 15-16, 2014

If you are looking for a reason not to join us at the Drug and Medical Device seminar on May 15 and 16 at the Renaissance Downtown in Washington, DC, below are Ten Reasons NOT to attend this year’s conference:

  • You Don’t Want to Know What In-house Counsel Are Thinking:  The conference will feature presentations by in-house counsel on what they are looking for from outside counsel.  You can hear from representatives from Allergan, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi US, Novo Nordisk, Otsuka American, Sunovion, and Eisai.
  • You Don’t Want to Hear the Latest on Cutting Edge Topics to Assist Your Clients:  A panel featuring Janet Woodcock, M.D., from the FDA will address best practices for Drug and Device companies to satisfy the duty to warn in the digital age.  You also can learn about the impact of FDA’s recent Med Watch App, predictive coding, and the most recent strategies that the plaintiffs’ bar is using to attack Drug and Device companies. 
  • DC Ain’t Big Enough For You and Gaga:  Lady Gaga’s Art Rave Tour will be at the Verizon Center the night of Thursday, May 15.  You can purchase tickets now and impress your friends with stories about the concert on Friday, the 16th.
  • There’s Nothing Left for You to Learn from the Masters:  There will be a trial skills presentation on the tension between your defense that your client warned of the plaintiff’s injury and convincing a jury that your client’s product didn’t cause the injury; a Master Class on the art of mediation; and insightful information from a jury consultant on how jurors really perceive your experts.
  • You’ve Got So Much Money that You Don’t Like Free:  You can see the Wright Brothers’ plane, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, the Hope Diamond, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, and priceless works of art at the National Gallery without ever opening your wallet – all conveniently located near the seminar hotel.  If you have not been to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, plan a trip now for an unforgettable and emotional experience
  • You Don’t Like Baseball:  The Nationals are hosting the Mets on Friday, May 16; Saturday, May 17; and Sunday, May 18. 
  • You Don’t Want to Give Back:  Throughout the conference, the Drug and Device Committee will be raising money for a local Washington food bank.  In addition, you can join us for some “hands on” work at the food bank on Friday afternoon, May 16. 
  • You Think Mozart Is Overrated:  The Magic Flute will be performed at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday, May 15 through Sunday, May 18.
  • You’re OK Missing the Other Annual Benefits of the Seminar:  The meeting will feature the third annual in-house counsel only meeting, the Young Lawyers Blockbuster, and the Diversity Luncheon.  Several Drug and Device companies also are planning to host meetings for their outside counsel in association with the seminar.
  • You’ve Got Enough Ethics Hours for 2014:  Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell will present on integrity and civility, which qualifies for ethics credit. 
  • You’ve Never Liked a Good Time:  In addition to our exemplary seminar, there will be parties – lots of parties. 

If you aren’t convinced that you should skip this year’s seminar, here is a handy link to register:  http://www.dri.org/Event/20140070There is no better educational or networking opportunity for practitioners in the area of Drug and Device law.  Plus, there are many ways to turn this into a terrific weekend in our nation’s capital.  We hope to see you there!!

James F. Rogers – Nelson Mullins, Columbia, South Carolina

After the DRI Women in the Law Seminar – Following Up With Finesse!

Now that the DRI Women in the Law (WITL) seminar has ended, have you followed up with all the wonderful contacts you made?  If you haven’t , it’s not too late!

Undoubtedly, we’ve all heard how following up is a critical component of the networking process (it builds trust, helps you stand out from the rest, and shows  that you’re good at what you do). Ultimately, you may be wondering how you can continue building a relationship after meeting someone for just 5 minutes at a seminar.  Exactly how do you re-engage a contact so that your follow up is meaningful and provides mutual benefit to both parties? The pile of business cards you collected certainly won’t get you more business (and isn’t this the paramount reason for networking – growing our practice?). As Karen Kahn of Threshold Advisors discussed during her “Networking  401: Taking the Next Step” session, we must take action and make meaningful follow ups!

If you are wondering how to take the leap in following up, try:

  1. Picking up the phone
  2. Sending an email
  3. Writing a card/note
  4. Connecting  via LinkedIn and/or Twitter

Even more importantly, what do you say when you follow up? Simple and straight-forward messages go a long way. Try some of these ideas to get you started on your journey to becoming a follow up guru:

  1. Reinforce one or two points from your discussion. “Your perspective on drug and device preemption was unique. You really made me rethink my approach to that.”
  2.  Invite them to coffee or lunch to get to know each other’s practice. “Lana, I’d like to be able to refer you to some of my colleagues. Can we meet for coffee so I can learn more about your practice areas?”
  3. Follow-through on a referral you may have mentioned. “Heidi, I told Laurie about your practice and she is eager to meet you. She asked that you call her sometime next week!”
  4. Introduce them to a potential connector or client. “Kelly, my friend Marie has a unique practice consulting on product liability issues. Let’s have lunch and see where your practices can complement each other.”

In the end, any attempt at follow up is better than no follow up at all. So, dive into that stack of business cards, and get to following up!

Angela C. Hughes – Litigation Management Inc.

The Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute – Service Project

The Insurance Coverage and Claims institute is once again teaming up with Bridge to Success for a service project.  The mission of Bridge to Success is to enhance employment opportunities for at-risk, low-income, no-income men, women, and young adults by providing high-end interview and workplace appropriate clothing, coupled with coaching, to build self-confidence through appearance, interview preparation and sense of belonging at the workplace.  We will be assisting Bridge to Success by holding a suit drive.  We will have a station to collect suits (or monetary donations) before and during the Networking Reception on Wednesday, April 2.  We will also collect suits (or monetary donations) during the breaks on Thursday, April 3.  For every suit donated (or every $20 donation), the donator will be entered into a drawing to win a prize.  Please do not forget to bring your lightly used business suits to assist this worthy cause!

Michael D. Strasavich – Burr & Forman, Mobile, Alabama

DRI and Diversity

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DRI has a strong commitment to diversity in the legal profession and has taken great steps in promoting diversity in the profession. The Diversity Committee holds an annual Diversity for Success Seminar, which brings together companies committed to diversity with diverse lawyers.  This is the only seminar of its kind where corporate counsel has the chance to meet with diverse lawyers dedicated to the representation of companies and insurers.  This year, the annual Diversity for Success Seminar will be held May 30-31, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  The seminar will detail practical ideas and interactive programs designed to assist attorneys in achieving diversity progress.

The “Diversity Expo” which brings together diverse attorneys and corporations and insurance companies that are committed to diversifying their outside counsel is scheduled for Friday, May 30.  During the Expo the companies will have the opportunity to interview minority and women lawyers.  You must be a DRI member to be eligible to participate in the Expo.  Interviews are not guaranteed, are limited to three attorneys per law firm, and are preselected by participating corporations and insurance companies.  Interviewees will be selected based on several factors, including geographic and practice area needs.  To apply for an interview, you must first register for the Diversity for Success Seminar and complete the Law Firm Interview Application which is available on DRI’s website.  The Application must be submitted no later than April 24, 2013.  We encourage everyone to attend and participate is this amazing opportunity. 

Rosary A. Hernandez – Wood Smith Henning & Berman, Phoenix, Arizona

DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute

DRI’s upcoming Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute (“ICCI”), scheduled for April 2-4, 2014 at the Swissôtel Chicago, offers attendees a one of a kind learning opportunity to stay abreast of insurance law’s ever-evolving nuances.  But more than that, the ICCI brings practitioners and claims executives from around the country together and provides them an unparalleled opportunity to connect and forge new relationships.

Make plans now to enjoy the ambience of Chicago’s renowned restaurants at one of ICCI’s celebrated evening dine arounds.  Always enjoyable, ICCI’s dine arounds feature a restaurant for every taste and provide attendees the perfect opportunity to unwind with one another and enjoy Chicago’s fine food fare.    Here is a little “taste” of what we have to offer:

                Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Meet new friends by participating in the Dine-Around hosted by the ILC’s Diversity Committee at the award-winning Bar Toma Chicago.  If you would like more information about this event, please contact Devin Maddox (dmaddox@tresslerllp.com) or Melanie Lockett (mlockett@lowestein.com).
  • Join the ILC’s Young Lawyers for its Dine-Around through “Chicago Dine Arounds.”  This event will feature three of Chicago’s finest restaurants – Quartino, Francesca’s, and Riva at the Navy Pier.   For more information about this event, please contact Lew Wooton (lwooton@lewiswagner.com).
  • In case the decision was not already tough enough, the ILC’s Women Lawyers Committee will host a Dine-Around at Trattoria No. 10.  Trattoria No. 10 received a 2013 Michelin rating, and was one of Chicago’s first restaurants to be “Guaranteed Green.”  For more information about this event, please contact Rina Carmel (rcarmel@zelmcd.com) or Ria Cousineau (maria.cousineau@sedwicklaw.com).
  • Finally, the ILC at large will also host three Dine Arounds focused on the culinary delights offered at RL Restaurant, Tortoise Club, or Joe Fish.  Sign up for these restaurants will be available at the conference.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • If you can’t make dinner on April 2, 2014, don’t worry…..you can participate in one of the Dine Arounds hosted by the ILC at large on Thursday night.  The Thursday Dine Arounds will feature acclaimed Chicago restaurants such as Sunda New Asian, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, The Boarding House, Sable Kitchen, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Hugo’s Frog Bar, Embeya, Pump Room, Coco Pazzo, Benny’s Chop House.   Please make sure to sign up for one of these Dine Arounds at the conference.

As you can see, in addition to an amazing educational experience, ICCI provides unprecedented networking opportunities.  So, if you haven’t already done so, register today and take advantage of all of the opportunities ICCI offers.  For more information, please click on ICCI

Michael D. Strasavich - Burr Forman, Mobile, AL

DRI Member Benefits – Making DRI Work for You

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Utilize your DRI resources and network with like-minded professionals around the globe!

Join a DRI Committee

As a committee member you will receive the most up-to-date legal information and meet some of the leading defense lawyers in your area(s) of practice. Committees offer numerous opportunities to network, exchange ideas, offer client referrals, and collaborate with other members with similar interests.  You can keep informed about key issues within the practice, as well as upcoming committee activities such as meetings, seminars, webcasts and publications.  Committees offer the opportunity to speak, write and participate as a leader in your practice area.

Joining any of our committees is FREE with your DRI membership. Visit any committee’s page and click “Join.”

Expert Witness Profiler

DRI has formed a strategic partnership with the legal research professionals of Expert Witness Profiler (“EWP”). Your membership in DRI now offers you the most comprehensive background Profile of an individual expert witness on the market today with enhancements to which only DRI members are entitled.

  • Average of 25 hours of labor per Profile by specially-trained legal professionals
  • Reliance on all major primary legal research sources, plus proprietary sources
  • Integration of all DRI data into the final Profile report
  • Huge strategic advantage over opposing attorney in depositions and at trial
  • Links to all source documents

DRI Seminars and Webcasts

DRI’s educational programs are unmatched in the world of defense litigation. From committee-sponsored seminars tailored to individual practice areas, to in-depth reference publications offered through the Defense Library Series, to the Annual Meeting, DRI annually offers a multitude of continuing education opportunities in several forms.

Click here for a complete calendar of upcoming 2014 DRI seminars and webcasts.

Cheryl Palombizio, DRI Director of Member Services

The Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute

 

DRI’s upcoming Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute (“ICCI”), scheduled for April 2-4, 2014 at the Swissôtel Chicago, offers attendees a one of a kind learning opportunity to stay abreast of insurance law’s ever-evolving nuances.  But more than that, the ICCI brings practitioners and claims executives from around the country together and provides them an unparalleled opportunity to connect and forge new relationships

Make plans now to enjoy the ambience of Chicago’s renowned restaurants at one of ICCI’s celebrated evening dine arounds.  Always enjoyable, ICCI’s dine arounds feature a restaurant for every taste and provide attendees the perfect opportunity to unwind with one another and enjoy Chicago’s fine food fare.    Here is a little “taste” of what we have to offer:

                Wednesday, April 2, 2014

  • Meet new friends by participating in the Dine-Around hosted by the ILC’s Diversity Committee at the award-winning Bar Toma Chicago.  If you would like more information about this event, please contact Devin Maddox (dmaddox@tresslerllp.com) or Melanie Lockett (mlockett@lowestein.com).
  • Join the ILC’s Young Lawyers for its Dine-Around through “Chicago Dine Arounds.”  This event will feature three of Chicago’s finest restaurants – Quartino, Francesca’s, and Riva at the Navy Pier.   For more information about this event, please contact Lew Wooton (lwooton@lewiswagner.com). 
  • In case the decision was not already tough enough, the ILC’s Women Lawyers Committee will host a Dine-Around at Trattoria No. 10.  Trattoria No. 10 received a 2013 Michelin rating, and was one of Chicago’s first restaurants to be “Guaranteed Green.”  For more information about this event, please contact Rina Carmel (rcarmel@zelmcd.com) or Ria Cousineau (maria.cousineau@sedwicklaw.com).   
  • Finally, the ILC at large will also host three Dine Arounds focused on the culinary delights offered at RL Restaurant, Tortoise Club, or Joe Fish.  Sign up for these restaurants will be available at the conference. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • If you can’t make dinner on April 2, 2014, don’t worry…..you can participate in one of the Dine Arounds hosted by the ILC at large on Thursday night.  The Thursday Dine Arounds will feature acclaimed Chicago restaurants such as Sunda New Asian, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, The Boarding House, Sable Kitchen, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Hugo’s Frog Bar, Embeya, Pump Room, Coco Pazzo, Benny’s Chop House.   Please make sure to sign up for one of these Dine Arounds at the conference. 

As you can see, in addition to an amazing educational experience, ICCI provides unprecedented networking opportunities.  So, if you haven’t already done so, register today and take advantage of all of the opportunities ICCI offers.  For more information, please click on ICCI

Jonathan L. Schwartz – Goldberg Segalla, Chicago, IL

 

DRI Women in the Law Tweets

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DRI Women in the Law (WITL) has reached new levels of social media activity.  We are on Twitter!  If you have a Twitter account, you may follow @DRIWomeninLaw and join the conversation.  If you do not have a Twitter account, this is the perfect opportunity and reason to join. 

You might be asking, “What is Twitter and why do I need it?” 

Twitter is a social media application that allows you to send and receive short messages (140 characters) called “tweets.”  You can engage with people that you know or people that you would like to know.  You engage by “following” the person, which allows you to receive and read his/her Tweets.  I, for example, follow some DRI favorites, like Mary Massaron Ross (@MMassaronRoss), Mike Weston (@DRIPresident) and John E. Cuttino (@SCLitigator).  I even follow and connect with speakers from our WITL Seminars.  Remember Verna Myers (@VernaMyers) or Arin N. Reeves (@arinnreeves), both incredible speakers who joined us at past seminars?  I follow both, which enables me to stay abreast of their latest projects.

You can also engage with people who share your interests through hashtags.  The hashtag (#) feature allows users to thread similar Tweets into a searchable string.  For example, I might tweet, “Kicking off day one of the WITL Seminar!  First speaker is former McDonald’s President Jan Fields!!  #DRIWITL.” The “#DRIWITL” will link my tweet to everyone else who also includes “#DRIWITL” in her Tweet, so when a user searches “DRIWITL,” all of our Tweets return in the search results.

I would be remiss if I did not encourage you to join so you can follow DRI (@DRICommunity).  In the past week alone, the DRI Twitter account has tweeted about upcoming seminars, speakers, webcasts, membership benefits, blogs, scholarships, and more!  By not having a Twitter account, you are missing out on some great information and an opportunity to join the conversation with DRI’s 900+ followers! 

Now is the time to join Twitter and join the conversation.  If you do, let us know by including @DRIWomeninLaw in your first tweet!

Lydia S. Hu – Tydings & Rosenberg, Baltimore, Maryland