About 1,000 lawyers attended the second annual Beasley Allen Retreat in November at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa. The two-day retreat, which was open to all Alabama lawyers in private practice, provided continuing education credits and a great deal of useful information to those in attendance. We were fortunate to have Rep. Artur Davis and Dr. David Bronner as our featured speakers for the event. I gave the meeting’s keynote opening address and explained “Why I am a Trial Lawyer.” One of the highlights of the weekend event included special guest luncheon speaker Paul Finebaum, a popular sports commentator and columnist, who was very entertaining. Dr. Bronner’s most informative talk was great and was well received. His topic, “The Future of Alabama and the Laws that Apply,” was timely. Congressman Davis, who spoke on “National Politics and the Law,” received a tremendous response from the lawyers. Most came away believing that Artur is running for Governor of Alabama in 2010.
Other featured speakers included the Honorable Charles Price, presiding judge for the 15th Judicial Circuit; Mark White, President of the Alabama Bar Association; veteran State Senator Roger Bedford; Ted Hosp of Maynard Cooper; and Jeremy McIntire from the Alabama State Bar. Firm lawyers Greg Allen, Dee Miles, Cole Portis, Rhon Jones, Julia Beasley, Kendall Dunson, Andy Birchfield, LaBarron Boone, and Dana Taunton gave excellent presentations on their specialties during the retreat. Tom Methvin, the firm’s Managing Shareholder, who gave the welcoming remarks, had this to say about the retreat:
We were extremely pleased to be able to offer this program as a service for lawyers from throughout the State of Alabama. It was a valuable opportunity for continuing education, as well as providing the chance for networking and building business relationships with other lawyers. We felt the entire retreat was a complete success.
Not only was the retreat good for the firm and I believe for all the lawyers who attended, it was good for Montgomery. According to Dawn Hathcock, Vice President for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau, the direct economic impact of the conference was well over a quarter million dollars. Every available hotel room in the downtown area was occupied, as well as a number of rooms at several other hotel properties throughout the city. Dawn observed:
A revitalized downtown with an expanded Convention Center allows Montgomery to host larger groups than ever before, and the economic impact is significant. This includes hotel room nights, as well as revenue generated from people dining, shopping and visiting attractions during their stay. That’s all money that goes back into the community and supports the infrastructure and quality of life for our residents.
Spouses of the lawyers attended a special showing for them at Pickwick Antiques. Many said this was a highlight of the weekend for them. Next year we hope to do a better job of providing events for the families of lawyers who come to the retreat.
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