Our law firm hosted its eighth annual Legal Conference & Expo last month at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center. This is the largest gathering of lawyers in Alabama each year. I am told that it’s one of the largest attended lawyer seminars in America. The conference has grown steadily each year, from about 400 lawyers in 2007 to more than 1,500 attending this year. One of the highlights of this year’s conference was Dean Charles Gamble who spoke at the prayer breakfast on Friday, and he let us all know how important it is to keep our focus on God’s promises.
The Beasley Allen Legal Conference & Expo also benefits the local economy, as lawyers and their spouses and guests stay and spend money in the area. Dawn Hathcock, Vice President of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitor Bureau notes that the conference gives the City an opportunity to shine as a meeting destination. Dawn had this to say:
This is the largest conference of its kind within the state of Alabama and not only showcases the city, but provides a huge economic impact in the River Region of roughly a million dollars. Events of this stature are extremely important, as we continue to market Montgomery as a true meeting destination.
The event provides a full 12 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credits, including one hour of mandatory Legal Ethics, and is open to all Alabama lawyers in private practice. Practice areas addressed at the conference include Product Liability, Mass Torts and Fraud. Special programs this year included an update on General Motors (GM) ignition switch defect litigation, featuring special guest Lance Cooper of The Cooper Firm in Marietta, Ga., who uncovered the product defect that brought about the massive GM recall.
We also were honored to welcome three senior members of the Alabama Supreme Court. Justices Tom Parker and Michael Bolin spoke on the State of the Alabama Supreme Court and participated in a panel discussion and question-and-answer session with the audience. Although a schedule conflict prevented him from participating in the panel this year, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore stopped by the Conference and addressed the crowd assembled at the luncheon.
Governor Robert Bentley was a featured speaker on the first day and he did an outstanding job. He gave a state of the state address which was well received. Governor Bentley also discussed our firm’s work on behalf of the State on the BP oil spill litigation. In addition to representing Governor Bentley, we have represented more than 1,000 Alabama businesses on their BP claims. Many of those businesses are in the River Region. Attorney General Luther Strange and Dr. David G. Bronner, Chief Executive Officer, RSA, were also featured speakers this year. Dr. Bronner continues to amaze me with his tremendous insight into the issues facing our state and nation and how we should deal with them.
Lawyers from our firm discussed various kinds of cases that the firm is handling. This is very important for several reasons. Not only do lawyers get CLE credit, but they also learn about what is happening around the country in the courts. They also gain valuable inside information about “hot topics” in litigation. The post-conference responses from attendees have been very good and it is apparent that the event was a success and most helpful to them.
At the Legal Services Expo, vendors provided demonstrations of products and answered questions about how attorneys can best enhance their practice. Event platinum sponsors for 2014 were Jackson Thornton Valuation & Litigation Consulting Group and Freedom Reporting Inc. Legal and community groups including the Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program, Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Program, Alabama Law Foundation, Alabama Civil Justice Foundation, Alabama Association for Justice and Jones School of Law also had an opportunity to share information about their programs with those in attendance.
This annual event is rewarding for our firm to host, and we hope that it is a benefit to the many lawyers who attend. This is a valuable opportunity for lawyers to make connections with their colleagues, and to learn more about the law and the types of cases that are developing nationwide. We appreciate very much the excellent participation by lawyers from all over the state.
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