Peter Perlman Service Awards

PPserviceThe Peter Perlman Service Awards recognize Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America and others within the legal profession who contribute in meaningful ways to society by giving back their time and resources in an effort to improve the lives of others. The award is supported and sponsored by Peter Perlman, the 2013 President of the LCA.

Peter Perlman Service Awards are presented throughout the year whenever the efforts and contributions of recipients are noted by the LCA or its membership. Nominations are accepted on a continual basis.

In the words of Peter Perlman, “The profession of law not only allows us to advocate on behalf of those whose rights need to be protected, but gives us a platform to improve the quality of life for those not engaged in the legal system. The betterment of society, the environment, and our way of life, improvement of the positions of people who have faced challenges outside their control, and effecting change on behalf of those without a strong voice are all causes we should take on as professionals as we work within one of the very pillars of our government. The practice of law is what we do, but our opportunities to protect and defend transcend the profession.”

Recipients of the Peter Perlman Service Awards are as follows:


Adam Arceneaux

Ice Miller LLP
Indianapolis, Indiana

Adam Arceneaux serves as the Practice Area Leader for the Business Litigation Group at Ice Miller LLP. Mr. Arceneaux helps businesses achieve their goals through the strategic use of litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation avoidance planning. Mr. Arceneaux is a litigation partner focused on complex commercial litigation and emergency litigation. He represents clients in a variety of industries, including health care, agriculture, retail, higher education, manufacturing and distribution. His practice includes drafting, defending and defeating covenants not to compete, non-solicitation clauses, confidentiality agreements, and trade secrets claims. Mr. Arceneaux has obtained, and defended against, temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, and other forms of emergency relief in state and federal courts. In addition, he represents businesses in disputes arising from the sale of goods and services, from the termination of supplier contracts, dealer agreements and business relationships, and from various breaches of contract. Mr. Arceneaux earned a juris doctorate, summa cum laude, from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1993. While in law school, he served as associate editor of the Indiana Law Review. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.  He is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the “For All” capital campaign for the law school.  He is a past president of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Alumni Association board of directors. He is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series Class XXVI. Mr. Arceneaux joined Ice Miller in 1991 as a clerk and in 1993 as an attorney. He is a member of the Seventh Circuit, Indianapolis and Indiana State Bar Associations. Mr. Arceneaux is admitted to practice in the state of Indiana and before the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, the Southern District of Illinois, the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, the Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas, and before the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals. He is a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America and a Founding Member and Chair-Elect of the Complex Commercial Litigation Institute.


cynthia alexander

Cynthia L. Alexander

Dickinson Wright PLLC
Las Vegas, Nevada

Ms. Alexander is a trial attorney who resolves business, real estate, and construction disputes and has vast experience handling lawsuits in federal and state courts, as well as in arbitration. She represents public and private owners, developers, general contractors, and suppliers on a variety of needs, including contract negotiation, risk avoidance and allocation, analysis and preparation of construction claims. In addition, she represents clients in the arbitration, mediation, and litigation of construction disputes. For financial institutions, mortgage lenders, and servicers, Ms. Alexander represents clients in disputes involving federal and state consumer protection statutes, various statutory and common law tort claims, lender liability, and dissenters’ rights actions. She also handles real estate matters, such as title and escrow disputes, real estate contract and easement disputes, and wrongful liens. Ms. Alexander is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Nevada Bar Foundation as well as a member of the UNLV Boyd School of Law Public Interest Law Advisory Board, Clark County Bar Association, and the Nevada Bankers Association. She is Chair of the Board of Directors for Nevada Public Radio and sits on the boards of Las Vegas Rescue Mission and Rocky Mountain Innocence Center. She recently received the Medal of Justice Award from the State Bar of Nevada. Ms. Alexander received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law. Ms. Alexander is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

Victor R. Anderson, III

Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP
Los Angeles, California

Mr. Anderson is a Partner in Haight Brown & Bonesteel’s Los Angeles office. He is a member of the Risk Management & Insurance Law and Product Liability practice groups. He is a skilled litigator with significant trial experience. While Mr. Anderson’s practice focuses primarily on cases involving bad faith insurance and related matters, he is well-known for his ability to assess the unique needs of both insurance and corporate clients. He has successfully defended clients in litigation involving health and life insurance, bad faith, unfair business practices, wrongful death, fraud, negligence, product liability and premises liability. Mr. Anderson’s experience places him at the top of the game as lead trial counsel in over 50 trials involving toxic exposure, asbestos, breach of contract, bad faith, misappropriation of name and likeness, unfair business practices, wrongful termination, trespass and nuisance, defamation, premises liability, wrongful death and fraud. Mr. Anderson has vast experience resolving cases through mediation, settlement and when necessary, trial. He thoughtfully handles each matter with the individual client’s best interests in mind which in turn dictates the most desirable, efficient and economical course of action for each matter. Mr. Anderson is an active participant and event coordinator for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of pediatric cancer research in the United States. He has also served as Vice President and member of the Board of Directors and Board of Governors for the Boys & Girls Club of Venice. Mr. Anderson is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

berman_ceci_137Ceci Culpepper Berman

Brannock & Humphries
Tampa, Florida

Ceci Culpepper Berman is a Shareholder with Brannock & Humphries in Tampa, Florida.  Brannock & Humphries is a boutique appellate firm, and Ms. Berman is a board certified appellate practitioner who specializes in state and federal appeals, with a focus on commercial cases.  Ms. Berman is very active in Florida’s appellate bar, and she is a past chair of the Florida Bar’s Appellate Practice Section and the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section.  She is also a past, six-year appointee of Florida’s Appellate Court Rules Committee, where she served as chair of the Civil Practice Subcommittee, and she is a current member of Florida’s Civil Procedure Rules Committee.  Ms. Berman is a frequent author and lecturer on appellate topics, ranging from bankruptcy appeals to the successful navigation of Florida’s appellate courts, and most every appellate topic in between.  Ms. Berman has been frequently recognized for her expertise, including, among other recognitions, being named by Florida Super Lawyers as one of the Top 100 lawyers in Florida and one of Florida’s Top 50 women lawyers.  In addition to her extensive professional involvement, Ms. Berman is also a hands-on participant in the Tampa community.  She is a longtime volunteer with the Junior League of Tampa, where she has served with organizations such as Connected by 25, the Children’s Cancer Center, and Joshua House.  Ms. Berman is also on the Board of Directors of the Henry Mitchell Elementary Foundation, Inc., where she serves as the Secretary.  Additionally, Ms. Berman is a member of the Mitchell Elementary Parent Teacher Association and, for five years, she provided weekly tutoring to a student there.  Ms. Berman was previously a member of the Executive Committee of the University of South Florida’s Women in Leadership & Philanthropy, and in the past, she has actively volunteered with organizations such as Dress for Success and Dream a Dress.  Ms. Berman earned her B.A., with honors, from the University of Florida, and she earned her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.  Ms. Berman is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

David R. Scheidemantle

Scheidemantle Law Group P.C.
Pasadena, California

David Scheidemantle is President and Managing Partner of Scheidemantle Law Group P.C., a boutique law firm emphasizing insurance coverage litigation and counseling on behalf of policyholders, products liability counseling and defense, complex commercial litigation, construction litigation, business transactions, and general counseling. Mr. Scheidemantle previously was an equity partner of the international law firm Proskauer Rose LLP.  He serves on the Board of Trustees of Scripps College, where he co-chairs the Scripps Association of Families, and on the Steering Committee for the Women and the Performing Arts Symposium: Diversity though Transformational Programming, the Pathway to an Inclusive Future.  He chairs the Advisory Committee of American Contemporary Ballet and is on the Board of Directors of Los Angeles Master Chorale (one of the resident companies at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles), chairing its Governance and Nominating Committee.  Mr. Scheidemantle formerly was Chair of Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, which awarded him the Rebecca Thompson Founder’s Award in 2014.  Committed to pro bono legal representation, he won the release of under the Battered Women’s Syndrome Act of a woman who had been incarcerated for 20 years.  After graduating cum laude from Fordham University School of School, where he was an editor of the Fordham Law Review, Mr. Scheidemantle was a Judicial Law Clerk to The Honorable Inzer B. Wyatt of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and The Honorable William H. Timbers of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  He received his undergraduate degree from The Juilliard School, where, as a violinist, he was Concertmaster of the Juilliard Symphony, the Juilliard Philharmonia, and the National Orchestra of New York.  He is admitted to practice in the states of California, New York, and Wisconsin, as well as various federal courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.  Mr. Scheidemantle received his Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating in 2014 and has been a Fellow of Litigation Counsel of America since 2008.

Sara Jane Shanahan

Sherin and Lodgen LLP
Boston, Massachusetts

Sara Jane Shanahan is chair of Sherin and Lodgen’s Litigation Department and co-chair of the firm’s Business Litigation Group. Her practice focuses on complex business litigation and insurance coverage disputes. She represents a variety of clients such as hedge funds and investment managers, generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, national retailers, insurers, insureds, shareholders of closely-held corporations and officers and directors of public corporations. She is also a member of the firm’s management committee. Prior to joining the firm in December 2008, Sara was partner at Griesinger, Tighe, & Maffei, LLP and junior partner at Hale and Dorr LLP. After law school, Sara clerked for the Hon. Nathaniel M. Gorton, U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts. Active in the Massachusetts legal and philanthropic communities, Ms. Shanahan donates her time to a number of organizations. She is a former member of the Boston Bar Association’s (“BBA”) Council and presently represents the BBA as Chair of the Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments.  She is a long-serving member of the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice Board of Directors, which promotes equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues. Active in her hometown of Wellesley, MA, Ms. Shanahan serves as co-chair of the Hardy, Hunnewell, & Upham Schools Master Plan Committee, which is charged with making a master plan recommendation to the School Committee.  Additionally, Ms. Shanahan serves as Secretary of the Wellesley Club, which promotes literary and social culture among its members. An ardent supporter of the Girl Scouts, she has been a Troop Leader, this year she is the Wellesley Service Unit Co-Coordinator, and has served on the planning committee for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts’ “Leading Women Awards” event. She also serves on the Advisory Committee of the New England Legal Foundation (NELF), a not-for-profit public interest foundation whose mission is promoting public discourse on the proper role of free enterprise in our society and advancing free enterprise principles in the courtroom. Ms. Shanahan is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

slaton perlman awardsMelanie V. Slaton

Hall Booth Smith, P.C.
Columbus, Georgia

Ms. Slaton was recognized for her work as a board member and volunteer with the Columbus Scholars Project, which identifies the brightest economically disadvantaged 5th graders in Columbus, Ga., and matches those scholars with a mentor and money for college. Columbus Scholars partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Chattahoochee Valley and the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley to minimize administrative costs of the program. To date, Columbus has raised more than $500,000 for scholarships in its college fund, from which no administrative expenses are deducted. The program, co-founded in 2008 by Melanie and her husband Ben, and her daughter Joy, has 56 scholars ranging in grades from 5th through 11th. Ms. Slaton has practiced in general civil litigation with an emphasis on labor and employment law, including employment discrimination and employment harassment, since 1988. Her litigation experience includes complex class actions in both state and federal court.  She has extensive experience defending employers in individual and class action wage and hour, discrimination and harassment claims, as well as in arbitrations and mediations. Ms. Slaton has argued in front of the California Court of Appeals and is a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court.  She has successfully tried over 40 cases. In the role of employment attorney, Ms. Slaton has represented clients before federal and state agencies, including the EEOC, U. | S. and Georgia Department of Labor, U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance. She is well-versed in Employment Discrimination as well as Employment Harassment. In 2015, Ms. Slaton was recognized by the National Black Lawyers Association as one of the top 100 African-American lawyers in America. Ms. Slaton is very active in her community. She serves on the Board of Directors of many organizations including Columbus Scholars, Inc. (2009- present), the Historic Columbus Foundation (2006-2009) the Open Door Community Foundation (2006-2011), the Springer Opera House, Slate Theater of Georgia (2006-2009) Junior Achievement (2006-2007), and the Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church (2009-2010). The Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia named Melanie Slaton a “Woman of Distinction” in 2009. Ms. Slaton is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

Alonzo D. Washington

Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso PLLC
Morgantown, West Virginia

Alonzo Washington brings 17 years and a broad range of experience in litigation matters to Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso. His practice emphasizes product litigation, commercial litigation, medical malpractice defense, subrogation, and other complex litigation matters. In addition, he handles claims involving automotive warranty, surety and construction law. His clients include regional, national and global manufacturers, and Fortune 500 companies. What makes him excel? “The ability to boil down complex factual issues into simple stories and themes.” He regularly represents clients before all West Virginia Courts of record and the United States District Courts. He also has experience in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Washington has successfully tried cases to juries and received verdicts in favor of his clients. Outside of the courtroom, Mr. Washington enjoys time with his three children and coaching youth football. He also likes to bike, boat, hunt, fish and ride motorcycles. As a former WVU football player, he also speaks to young college athletes about the importance of education and the balance between sports and studies. Mr. Washington is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.



Samuel H. Franklin

Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC
Birmingham, Alabama

Samuel H. Franklin was admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1972. He was one of the founding partners of Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC in 1990. During his 40 years of practice, Mr. Franklin has handled jury trials in many different areas, ranging from personal injury/wrongful death to complex business disputes. In recent years, Mr. Franklin has been active in fundraising efforts to assist various legal organizations as part of his commitment to improving access to civil justice for Alabama’s most needy citizens. In 2006, he received the Commissioners Award from the State Bar recognizing his service to the profession. He currently serves on the board of the Birmingham Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Program and has served as Chairman of the BVLP Private Bar Campaign in 2013. Mr. Franklin is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He served on the Board of Regents of the American College of Trial Lawyers from 2009-13 and currently serves as Secretary for 2014-2015. He is a former President of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, and has been active in State Bar matters, including serving as a member of the Board of Bar Commissioners from 1991 through 2000; serving as a member of the Board of Disciplinary Appeals of the Alabama State Bar from 2000 to 2008; serving as President of the Alabama Law Foundation, and is a Fellow in both the American Bar and Alabama Law Foundations.

Marion WalkerMarion F. Walker

Fisher & Phillips LLP
Birmingham, Alabama

Marion F. Walker has practiced law for 36 years. She concentrates her practice in labor and employment defense matters and corporate litigation. In 1978, Ms. Walker joined Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham which has a very involved community ministry. In 1983, she joined the Board of Directors of the Young Women’s Christian Association of Birmingham where she served for six years. As a founding Board Member of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama in 1996, she helped direct the Foundation’s initial funding-raising efforts and later served as President when the website was set up and automobile tags were obtained through the state for funding. She has served as Director Emeritus since 2010. From 2003 through 2009, Ms. Walker served as a Board member for the First Light Women’s Emergency Shelter in Birmingham. In that capacity, she participated in a multitude of fund-raising activities for the shelter. Since 2011, she has been a Board member of the Alabama Trust for Historic Places which is dedicated to preserving the historic buildings and places in the State of Alabama. For three years, Ms. Walker has served as a Trustee for the Birmingham Historical Society.


agostoBenny Agosto, Jr.

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz
Houston, Texas

Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner with Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law. He is the immediate past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and a past president of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas. Mr. Agosto founded the MABATx Scholarship Foundation, and co-founded the HNBA Legal Education Fund, both of which benefit Hispanic law students. He is a former chair of the board of editors for the Texas Bar Journal and serves as co-editor in chief of the HNBA Journal of Law and Policy. He received the State Bar of Texas 2006 President’s Certificate of Merit, the 2013 Pete Torres Service Award, and is a two-time recipient of the HBA President’s Award. Mr. Agosto was selected as one of the Top Attorneys in America for 2012 and was also named one of the 101 Top Influential Latino Leaders by Latino Leaders magazine. He was recognized as one of the HBA’s 2006 “Local Heroes”, the Houston Trial Lawyers Association’s 2006 Mentor of the Year, and was named as one of Texas Super Lawyers by Texas Monthly Magazine. Mr. Agosto is first vice-president of the Houston Bar Association and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mr. Agosto was recently named one of the Nation’s 101 Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community by Hispanic Business Magazine. He is a life fellow of the Houston Bar Foundation and a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Mr. Agosto is a graduate of South Texas College of Law. He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


archer3Dennis W. Archer

Dennis W. Archer PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC
Detroit, Michigan

Dennis W. Archer is Chairman and CEO of Dennis W. Archer PLLC and Chairman Emeritus of Dickinson Wright, PLLC. He sits on the corporate boards of Johnson Controls Inc., Compuware Corporation and MASCO Corporation. He is a former chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber and continues on their Board. Mr. Archer served two four-year terms as mayor of the city of Detroit (1994-2001) and earned national and international respect for his success in changing Detroit’s image and direction. He continues his support of the city and most recently attended a meeting at the White House and a White House Summit meeting in Detroit with members of President Obama’s cabinet and their staff as they outlined how they would help Detroit deal with its fiscal crisis. Mr. Archer has long been active in the organized bar. He was the first person of color elected president of the American Bar Association (2003-2004) as well as the State Bar of Michigan. In 1985, Governor James Blanchard appointed Mr. Archer an Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. He was elected to an eight-year term the following year. Mr. Archer remains actively on call to the State Bar of Michigan and has testified before a United States House Judiciary Subcommittee regarding the under-funding in Michigan of the indigent defense program. He is an outspoken advocate to promote the proper funding for the Michigan courts system and for long overdue pay increases for judges. In 2012, Dennis Archer was awarded the The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the Emperor of Japan and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Michigan Corporate Counsel of America for his advocacy for diversity and inclusion. On September 19, 2013, Mr. Archer announced that his Dennis W. Archer Foundation has surpassed $1 million dollars in scholarships for students attending Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. Mr. Archer is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


bernickCarol J. Bernick

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Portland, Oregon

Carol J. Bernick serves as Partner in Charge of Davis Wright Tremaine’s Portland office and has almost 25 years of experience representing employers in complex employment cases, including numerous wage and hour class actions. She has significant jury trial experience in state and federal courts. Ms. Bernick also counsels and trains employers in preventive employment practices, including ADA and wage compliance; leave, discipline and termination policies; and sexual harassment. Ms. Bernick is actively involved in a variety of community organizations. She currently serves as a board member of Northwest Earth Institute, and has participated in a number of Habitat for Humanity builds, including two weeks in Honduras and Zambia. She previously served on the board of the Multnomah Bar Association, chaired the Judicial Screening Committee and Professionalism Committee, served as a fee arbitrator for the Oregon State Bar. She is a regular mentor and speaker to new lawyers, particularly women litigators. Ms. Bernick has also provided pro bono representation to nonprofits including, Housing Development Council, Mercy Corps, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette and Stand for Children. Ms. Bernick is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the LCA’s Wage & Hour Defense Institute.


bernsteinDavid Bernstein

David Bernstein Attorney at Law
Norman, Oklahoma

David Bernstein has been an attorney since 1983, representing over 1000 clients who have been injured or killed, or who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. Mr. Bernstein’s practice is limited to truck collisions, injury claims, death claims, on-the-job injuries, product defects, product recalls and insurance-related matters. David Bernstein is a lawyer that has more than 30 years experience; has taught legal seminars every year for over 20 years on topics including personal injury, bad faith insurance and trial practice; has tried over 100 jury trials; has secured numerous six- and seven-figure jury verdicts and settlements; and has been recognized on the Oklahoma Super Lawyers list every year since 2006. Mr. Bernstein is dedicated to sharing his professional knowledge and experience. For more than 2 decades, Mr. Bernstein has presented seminars to both attorneys and insurance adjusters on behalf of the Oklahoma Bar Association, the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association, the University of Oklahoma College of Law, the National Business Institute (NBI) and the Cleveland County Bar Association on topics related to his practice. He is active in the community, having served at the Mayor’s request on the inaugural board of the Norman Historic District Commission. In addition, Mr. Bernstein is a co-founder of Lawyers Against Hunger, Inc., a newly formed 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose mission is to help feed the hungry. Last year, Lawyers Against Hunger raised over $60,000 to purchase turkeys to hand out to those in need so they could enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. Mr. Bernstein and Bernstein Law Firm also support many charitable organizations, including the United Way, the National MS Society – Oklahoma Chapter, and the Oklahoma Lawyers for Children. If you would like to help the underprivileged that go hungry in Oklahoma, please consider making a tax deductible donation to Lawyers Against Hunger by visiting Mr. Bernstein is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


blackwellDonald A. Blackwell

Seipp, Flick & Hosley, LLP
Miami, Florida

In 2006, while a freshman at USC, Mr. Blackwell’s then 18 year old daughter, Ashley, was stricken with anorexia nervosa, the most life-threatening of the constellation of eating disorders that afflict an estimated 10 million Americans. For the next several years, Ashley fought a life-and-death battle with the disease. Thanks to her courage, the resiliency of her spirit and the support of some extraordinary professionals, Ashley survived – and is now in recovery. Committed to using their family’s journey to bring inspiration, hope and healing to others, Mr. Blackwell wrote a book entitled, “Dear Ashley . . .” – A Father’s Reflections and Letters to His Daughter on Life, Love, and Hope. While certain to resonate with eating disorder sufferers and their loved ones, the book is also intended to provide insight and a unique perspective to millions of unafflicted parents and young adults before a crisis arises. In addition, Mr. Blackwell is the architect of “The Dad Initiative” – a nationwide grass roots campaign designed to educate, empower and encourage dads whose daughters are afflicted with eating disorders to become more visible and active participants in the treatment and recovery process by increasing their willingness to be vulnerable, fostering open and honest lines of communication and establishing healthy and supportive boundaries predicated on unconditional love, trust and mutual respect. Mr. Blackwell is confident the Initiative is well on its way to becoming a life-affirming resource for fathers and daughters everywhere. Mr. Blackwell also hosts a blog ( filled with insightful messages of hope, healing and inspiration. Mr. Blackwell does all this while maintaining a very active trial practice, principally focused on automotive product liability defense at Seipp, Flick & Hosley, LLP in Miami, Florida. Mr. Blackwell is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the LCA’s Aviation Law Institute of America.


blumenkopfJay S. Blumenkopf

Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP
Boca Raton, Florida

Jay S. Blumenkopf is a partner in Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP (“GSH”), a national minority-owned law firm. In-House Counsel named GSH a “Go-To Law Firm,” a firm “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies,” as published in Corporate Counsel magazine. Mr. Blumenkopf is chairman of the Board of Directors for One Heart World-Wide, an infant and maternal health charity founded at the request of the Dalai Lama. One Heart establishes culturally sensitive infant and maternal health projects in the most difficult and remote regions of the world to save lives and preserve indigenous cultures. In behalf of One Heart, Mr. Blumenkopf has traveled, under extremely dangerous conditions, on adventures to such places as Tibet, Nepal, the Congo and deep in the Jungles of South America to help establish One Heart’s life saving programs. Mr. Blumenkopf is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


bornsteinJeffrey L. Bornstein

K&L Gates LLP
San Francisco, California

Jeffrey L. Bornstein is a partner in K&L Gates LLP’s San Francisco office in the White Collar Crime and Government Enforcement practice groups. In addition to serving as the coordinating partner for the firm’s Pro Bono program in the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices, Mr. Bornstein is regularly involved in pro bono matters himself, including his current work trying to stop the unconstitutional use of force by California’s Department of Corrections against severally mentally ill inmates throughout the state’s prison system. He just concluded his second three-year term on the Northern District of California’s Criminal Justice Act panel where he, and associates working with him, represented indigent criminal defendants on a pro bono basis. Mr. Bornstein is a founding director of the Nicaraguan Children’s Friendship Committee, an organization that recently celebrated its 10th year of helping to improve the lives of impoverished Nicaraguan youth. He was also involved in creating and implementing the “Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow” (BOLT) drug education and violence prevention program for at-risk youth in the Northern District of California during his almost 20-year tenure as an Assistant United States Attorney. Mr. Bornstein is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


brownRaymond M. Brown

Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP
Iselin, New Jersey

Raymond M. Brown is a partner in Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP and Chairs the White Collar Crime & International Human Rights practice groups. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. He has also hosted the public television program Due Process for 19 years, focusing on law and social policy issues. He was co-lead counsel for an accused charged inter alia with crimes against humanity at the SCSL. At the ICC, he represents victims recognized in the Darfur Situation and in the case of the OTP v Bashir, in which the accused President of the Sudan is charged with genocide war crimes and crimes against humanity. With his wife, Wanda Akin Brown, he founded the International Justice Project (IJP) which has supported his work with Darfur refugees in the US, Africa and Europe. IJP also has programs addressing anti-human trafficking efforts as well as business and human rights. Mr. Brown has taught human rights, international criminal law, peacemaking and peacekeeping and other subjects to law students, graduate and undergraduate students in the US and Egypt. Mr. Brown has lectured to lawyers, judges, non-specialists on civil rights, human rights and related topics in more than two dozen states and numerous foreign countries. He was a Representative from the International Criminal Bar (ICB) to the Rome Treaty Review Conference (ICC) in Kampala, Uganda; is past president of the New Jersey Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; past member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; is founding co-convener of the Bar of the International Criminal Court. Mr. Brown also served for 12 years on the Board of Human Rights First and is Chairman of the Board of International Refugee Rights Initiative; a Uganda based human rights NGO. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Mr. Brown is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


clarkRoger W. Clark

The Clark Law Group
Los Angeles, California

Roger W. Clark is the founding member and managing partner of The Clark Law Group, a firm with offices in California and Florida. Mr. Clark has practiced in aviation for approximately 30 years. He is a Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School-Camden where he teaches aviation law, and is a past instructor of business law at Florida International University. Rutgers School of Law honored Mr. Clark as Adjunct Professor of the Year for 2009 and honored him again in 2012 with the Armitage Distinguished Alumni Award which is bestowed annually upon a single individual for outstanding achievement. He is the founder and president of The Iraida Foundation, a federally registered public charity that supports impoverished children in Africa, and children of active duty American military. Mr. Clark is the chairman of the New Majority Los Angeles, and is on the Board of Directors of New Majority California, an organization that is dedicated to political reform in California. He served as a trustee of Viewpoint Educational Foundation in Calabasas, California, from 2000 – 2009 and is currently a trustee emeritus. He earned his pilot certificate in 1982. Mr. Clark is a Board Certified Civil Trial Specialist of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and was appointed to the Board of Examiners for the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is Board Certified in Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy by the National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy. He is a graduate of the Master Advocate’s Program of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and a graduate of the Advanced Teacher Training Program of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He is a past Judge Pro Tempore in Los Angeles, California. He has been named “Super Lawyer” every year from 2006 through 2013 by the publishers of Law and Politics Magazine. He has also been recognized as one of the “Top Attorneys in Southern California” as published in Los Angeles Magazine. He has been a contributing author to the Los Angeles Lawyer’s Magazine and has been featured on KTLK Radio’s Meet America’s Best Lawyers and Forbes Radio Channel America’s Best Lawyers. Mr. Clark is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the LCA’s Aviation Law Institute of America.


flandersRobert G. Flanders, Jr.

Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
Providence, Rhode Island

Robert G. Flanders, Jr. is a partner in the law firm of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP, where he chairs the firm’s municipal restructuring and business litigation practice groups. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, he is a former Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, where he served for eight and one-half years (1996-2004). He recently chaired the State Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education (2007-20011) and served as a Governor on the State Board of Higher Education. In February of 2011, Governor Chafee asked Justice Flanders to serve as the State Receiver for the financially troubled City of Central Falls, which he has led successfully through a Chapter 9 bankruptcy reorganization that has eliminated a $6 million annual operating deficit from a $16 million revenue budget. Justice Flanders also serves on numerous boards of directors in both the for profit and non-profit sectors, including the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition Foundation, the Care New England Health System, the Greater Providence YMCA, the Rhode Island Bar Foundation, the Rhode Island Historical Society, the Providence Performing Arts Center, the Providence Public Library Foundation, the Veterans Memorial Auditorium Foundation, and the Brown University Leadership Advisory Council. As a lawyer and advisor, he has represented and counseled each of the last five Governors on various and sundry matters, including government litigation. He is also a former Town Councilman (Barrington, 1982-1986), a former Town Solicitor (Glocester, 1978-1990), a former Special Prosecutor for the Judicial Tenure and Discipline Commission (1995-1996), and a former outside General Counsel to the Rhode Island Solid Waste Management Corporation. At Brown, Justice Flanders was a scholar athlete. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he was also selected to play on an All American baseball team that competed in the World Federation Games, before he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers for whom he played minor league baseball while he was at Harvard Law School. As a halfback on the Brown football team, he broke the Ivy League, Brown, and Yale Bowl records for the longest run from scrimmage in a football game: 94 yards versus Yale in 1968. He and his wife Ann celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary this year. They reside in East Greenwich and have three grown children and four grandchildren. Mr. Flanders is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


friend1Jennifer Friend

Project Hope Alliance
Costa Mesa, California

Jennifer Friend is the Chief Executive Officer of Project Hope Alliance. Project Hope Alliance (formerly Project HOPE School Foundation) was formed in 2003 and educates and empowers homeless children in Orange County to end the cycle of poverty. Jennifer Friend is recognized as a leader in the area of due process and contractor debarment. She has served as the featured speaker at numerous seminars including “Public Projects: How to Bid Them, Keep Them, and Get Paid.” She continues to present to the construction community on all aspects of public and private construction work. Before working for Project Hope Alliance, Ms. Friend was at Selman in Santa Ana, California. Her area of practice was in general litigation, specializing in cases with complex personal injuries. She has extensive experience in commercial auto, personal auto, premises liability, product liability, doctor malpractice, construction accidents, construction defects, breach of contract, assault and battery, false arrest, employment and labor law, and malicious prosecution matters. In addition, Ms. Friend has successfully represented developers, contractors, subcontractors, and individual property owners in actions before administrative agencies such as city councils, planning and zoning commissions, boards of public works, unified school districts, Contractors State License Board, and the superior and appellate courts throughout California. Ms. Friend is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


georgeWarren E. George, Jr.

The Prison Law Office
Berkeley, California

Warren E. George, Jr. graduated from the Cornell Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Cornell Law Review. His first job after graduation was as staff attorney for the Cornell Prison Project, representing prisoners at the Auburn prison. Starting in 1974, he practiced at McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen (later Bingham McCutchen) in San Francisco until he retired as a partner in 2013. While at the McCutchen firm he worked with the Prison Law Office on a series of successful ground-breaking prisoners’ rights class actions seeking constitutionally adequate medical and psychiatric care for California’s prisoners, as well as an end to discrimination against prisoners with disabilities. Together with the ACLU’s Death Penalty Project he also tried the case that brought an end to California’s use of the gas chamber for executions. Mr. George has been recognized for his pro bono work with the California State Bar’s Pro Bono Service Award, the ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award, and the Robert G. Sproul Award of the San Francisco Bay Area Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Following his retirement from the McCutchen firm, Mr. George began working as a full time staff attorney at the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, California. He is currently working on cases challenging the constitutional adequacy of medical care in the California and Arizona prison systems, and on a case seeking to end California’s use of race based lockdowns in its prisons. Mr. George is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


KraussGeriGeri S. Krauss

Krauss PLLC
White Plains, New York

Geri S. Krauss is the founder of the boutique dispute resolution firm Krauss PLLC in White Plains, New York, and provides services both as an advocate and a neutral. Experienced in litigation, arbitration, and mediation, Ms. Krauss’ practice focuses on corporate commercial litigation, employment, and professional/business break-ups. Ms. Krauss has been involved in pro bono work for both the legal community and the community at large. In the legal community, her pro bono work includes service on mediation and arbitration panels in the state and federal courts, the Committees for Character and Fitness for the Ninth Judicial District (which evaluates character and fitness for admission and reinstatement to the New York Bar), and the Executive Committee of the Dispute Resolution Section of the New York State Bar Association for whom she created and administers its Resolution Roundtable Blog. She also serves on the Board of the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (JALBCA) and spearheaded the group’s outreach efforts in Westchester County to bring mobile mammography vans to conduct cancer screenings at or near courthouse sites, as well as programs to educate the general public regarding breast cancer. She is also active in voting rights projects, including representing not-for-profit voting rights organizations as amici in court proceedings and working with a lawyers group in monitoring elections. Ms. Krauss is also a Board Member of AJC Westchester and is co-chairing this year’s Learned Hand Award dinner, which recognizes leaders in the legal profession for excellence and for their contributions to the legal community relating to the rights of the individual and the importance of democratic values in an orderly society. This program also includes a debate between distinguished members of the legal community on a pressing constitutional issue, which this year focuses on the balance between national security and privacy. She is also on the National Board of Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC, which brings domestic and international opinion leaders and policy makers to Israel for a week of intensive travel and learning in which they gain direct, in-depth exposure to Israel’s diverse population, democratic system of government and complex strategic and societal dilemmas. As the author of the book Partner Departures and Lateral Moves, A Legal and Ethical Guide, she is a recognized expert in the complex issues arising in such transitions. In 2011, she was honored by Westchester Magazine’s 914 Inc. as one of Westchester County’s Most Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs and she has been named a “Superlawyer” in the New York Metro area for seven years. Ms. Krauss is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the American Academy of Alternative Dispute Resolution.


mccarthyAmelia L. McCarthy

Gass Weber Mullins LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Amelia L. McCarthy is a partner at Gass Weber Mullins LLC, a litigation boutique of trial lawyers recently featured in the National Law Journal as one of the nation’s top litigation boutiques for success in high-stakes litigation. Ms. McCarthy lived in Ondangwa, Namibia, during a two and a half year sabbatical with the United States Peace Corps, where she served as an NGO Advisor to Oonte Orphans and Vulnerable Children Organization (“Oonte”). Oonte is a non-governmental organization that serves over 450 children who are orphans or otherwise vulnerable due to the impact of HIV/AIDS. At Oonte, Ms. McCarthy secured Oonte’s Namibian non-profit status (i.e., U.S. equivalent 501(c)(3) status) and developed grant, fundraising and other support to help Oonte become self-sustainable. As a result of her efforts, Oonte purchased the land on which it operates, constructed a multi-room building to house income generating activities and a pre-school for the children, built a playground for the children and tripled the size of Oonte’s existing garden which when fully maximized will allow Oonte to feed the children it serves without outside donor support. Oonte also expanded its impact by purchasing a pick-up truck to provide essential services and supplies to distant needy households. While in Namibia, Ms. McCarthy also assisted Namibia’s Legal Assistance Centre and lawyers and judges from across Southern Africa to develop Namibia’s Child Care and Protection Bill. The Bill will reform Namibia’s existing laws relating to children (e.g., children’s courts, child trafficking, adoption, foster care, children in need of protection and care, a child’s ability to consent to get an HIV/AIDS test, medical treatment, contraceptives, etc.). The existing laws were enacted during apartheid and prior to Namibia’s independence. Ms. McCarthy is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


merrittLoretta P. Merritt

Torkin Manes LLP
Toronto, Ontario

Loretta P. Merritt has been a partner with Torkin Manes LLP since 1992. She is one of the few lawyers in Canada who has substantial experience representing plaintiffs in civil sexual abuse cases. She has represented hundreds of clients in a variety of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse cases. Ms. Merritt’s civil litigation practice also includes traumatic injury litigation (motor vehicle cases, medical malpractice, products liability), and employment litigation. In 2012 Ms. Merritt was presented with the Diamond Jubilee Medal in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Accession to the Throne and in recognition of her contributions to Canada in representing abuse survivors. In 2012 Ms. Merritt was named one of Martindale- Hubbell’s Top Lawyers in Canada, based on having received the highest peer review rating available both for expertise and ethics. Ms. Merritt is also in the Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers™ – exclusively for women lawyers who have received the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards from their peers and she was also selected by her peers for the Best Lawyers in Canada 2014. Ms. Merritt is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


morrison2Stephen G. Morrison (1949-2013)

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Columbia, South Carolina

A partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, Stephen G. Morrison has spent countless hours in the pursuit of justice for those with little to no access to justice. As co-counsel in the 102-day trial, Abbeville et al v. State of South Carolina, Mr. Morrison’s advocacy in the pro bono case helped secure a ruling that students in plaintiff South Carolina school districts are denied a minimally adequate education. Mr. Morrison’s leadership in insisting on equal educational opportunities for every child in South Carolina has been recognized by the United Black Fund of the Midlands, which awarded him the Judge Waites Waring Humanitarian Award and inducted him into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame, and by the National Urban League, which presented him an award for outstanding leadership in championing equal opportunity. As chairman of the Columbia Urban League in 2001, he challenged Columbians and South Carolinians to address glaring inequities in our society, many of which adversely affect African-Americans. The League has honored Mr. Morrison and the firm with the Virgil S. Sumner Corporate Responsibility Award. His skill and conduct in advocacy, particularly for the less fortunate, has been recognized through his service as chairman of the Richland County Public Defender Corporation Board. The Greater Columbia Community Relations Council named Mr. Morrison its Distinguished Citizen of the Year for his leadership in advocacy for human rights. The Boy Scouts named him Distinguished Citizen of the Year, and the South Carolina Education Association honored him with the Walker Solomon Award for championing human rights in education. Mr. Morrison’s nonprofit work includes service on the boards of Benedict College, Central Carolina Community Foundation, Foundation for Columbia’s Future, Allen University, Homeworks, the South Carolina Humanities Council, the Richland-Lexington Cultural Council, and the Palmetto Health Foundation. Mr. Morrison is a past chair of the United Way for his community; past chair of the Columbia Museum of Art, which honored his advocacy for the arts with the prestigious Jack Craft Leadership Award; and past chair of the Historic Columbia Foundation, which recently honored him with its Award for Innovative Leadership. Committed to serving the legal profession, Mr. Morrison has served as president of DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar representing 22,000 defense lawyers; president of Lawyers for Civil Justice, fighting for fairness in the American justice system; and chair of the House of Delegates of the SC Bar. Mr. Morrison serves as an Adjunct Faculty Member of the University of South Carolina School of Law where he has taught evidence and trial advocacy for more than thirty years. The South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association has honored him with its highest honor, the Robert Hemphill Award for lifetime service to the profession. Mr. Morrison is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the LCA’s Complex Commercial Litigation Institute.


owenLea Carol Owen

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Nashville, Tennessee

Lea Carol Owen is a shareholder in Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC’s Nashville office and a member of the Government Regulatory Actions Group. Ms. Owen concentrates her practice in complex litigation and operations/risk management and has key experience in environmental and financial services litigation. Health care companies, manufacturers, financial services providers and waste management companies are among the clients who have benefited from her experience handling complex litigation. With extensive first- and second-chair experience in federal and state court cases, Ms. Owen has successfully defended clients in environmental, securities fraud, contract, tort, trade secret and employment disputes. She assembles talented teams that understand the client’s objective, and she leads by example, tirelessly anticipating and responding to the questions that arise in a high-stakes, high-risk situation. Her reputation speaks for itself through several landmark and precedent-setting cases. Ms. Owen has spent more than 20 years and countless hours serving as an officer and trustee of non-profit educational institutions that seek to provide educational opportunities to people seeking public service careers. She recently served as Pro Bono counsel to Jane Doe 2 in U.S. v. Adan, one of the largest sex-trafficking prosecutions in U.S. history. After law school, Carol clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, for Chief Judge, the Honorable Robert L. Echols. Ms. Owen is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the LCA’s Complex Commercial Litigation Institute.


reissHoward R. Reiss

Reiss Sheppe LLP
New York, New York

Howard R. Reiss is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia University Law School and works as an arbitrator, mediator, and litigator at Reiss Sheppe LLP in New York City. With over 35 years of experience, Mr. Reiss has represented Fortune 500 companies, government entities, foreign corporations, reinsurance companies, unions, smaller, closely-held corporation and well-known individuals in significant litigations and arbitrations in Federal and State Courts, as well as national and international arbitration forums. In addition to his broad litigation experience, Mr. Reiss is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and the International Institute For Conflict Prevention & Resolution for which he has arbitrated in excess of 150 matters, many involving hundreds of millions of dollars. He also serves as a mediator both privately and in the Federal and State Court Systems. He is experienced in disputes involving contracts, insurance and reinsurance, intellectual property, securities, employment, partnership breakups and valuation issues, among other practice areas. Eight years ago he helped start a soup kitchen in Nyack, New York, called Sunday Super. It serves dinner every Sunday to anyone in need of a meal or companionship. There are fresh flowers on the tables, as well as table clothes, and the guests sit down and are served a home cooked meal from salad to dessert with the desserts freshly baked by the local French bakery. Each week Sunday Supper serves anywhere from 30 to 50 people and funds are provided by the volunteers and the community. A spinoff of Sunday Supper, Soup Angels, provides soup and sandwiches every Wednesday. Howard also serves on the Board of Trustees of Temple Beth Torah and actively supports Youth at Risk, a successful mentoring program in New York City for troubled teens. In his spare time he writes and has published two novels – A Family Institution and The Year of Soup.


robinsonWilliam T. Robinson III

Frost Brown Todd LLC
Florence, Kentucky

William T. (Bill) Robinson III is Member-in-Charge of the Northern Kentucky offices of Frost Brown Todd LLC. Throughout his legal career of over 40 years, Mr. Robinson has been a volunteer leader in his profession and in his community. Mr. Robinson has been active in the ABA for more than 25 years including as 135th ABA President (2011-12), ABA Treasurer (2005-08), 10 years as ABA Board of Governors, over 25 years in the ABA House of Delegates and nine years as a Kentucky State Delegate. His ABA service includes the Boards of the American Bar Foundation, ABA Retirement Funds, American Bar Endowment, and the ABA Journal. Mr. Robinson is a Life Member, Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, International Society of Barristers, and the American Bar Foundation. Mr. Robinson is a member of the American Law Institute, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Product Liability Advisory Council and is a Commissioner on the Uniform Law Commission. Mr. Robinson served as 50th president of the Kentucky Bar Association (1985-86), president of the Kentucky Bar Foundation (1988-89), founding chair of the Kentucky IOLTA Fund, and president of the National Caucus of State Bar Associations (1995-96). His past and current volunteer community service includes: chair, Cincinnati/N. Kentucky International Airport Board; chair, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; chair, Cincinnati USA Partnership; founding secretary-treasurer, Tri-County Economic Development Corporation; plus volunteer board service in higher education, transportation, the arts and human services including Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Taft Museum of Art; United Way of Greater Cincinnati; the Red Cross, Redwood School and Rehabilitation Center, the Free Store Food Bank and the Economics Center for Education and Research at the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Robinson’s awards and recognitions include: Judge Learned Hand Human Relations Award, American Jewish Committee; Distinguished Service Award, National Center for State Courts; Francis Award, Friars Club; Certification of Appreciation for Lifetime Pro Bono Services/Support, Legal Services Corporation; Distinguished Service Award, National Judicial College; Lincoln Award, Northern Kentucky University; Outstanding Lawyer Award, Kentucky Bar Association; Themis Award, Cincinnati Bar Association and Honorary Doctor of Laws and Doctor of Humanities Degrees from a number of law schools and universities. Mr. Robinson is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


sheffeyRita A. Sheffey

Hunton & Williams LLP
Atlanta, Georgia

Rita A. Sheffey is a partner with Hunton & Williams LLP, where her practice focuses on complex litigation, primarily environmental, toxic tort, product liability, trademark infringement, and patent infringement litigation. As chair of the Atlanta office’s pro bono committee, she dedicates half of her time to pro bono work and mentoring other lawyers in the firm. She is also a leader in the Atlanta pro bono community, and is active in the Atlanta Bar Association, the State Bar of Georgia, and other organizations. Among her many leadership roles, Ms. Sheffey currently serves as secretary of the State Bar of Georgia, vice chair of the State Bar Civil Legal Services Task Force, and as a member of the Georgia Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency, the Atlanta Bar’s Reputation and Public Trust Committee liaison to the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, and several State Bar committees. Ms. Sheffey served as president of the Atlanta Bar Association in 2011-2012 and currently serves as the Atlanta Bar’s Delegate to the American Bar Association, as well as a member of the executive committee of the Metropolitan Bar Caucus, a part of the National Council of Bar Presidents. She is president-elect of Emory University School of Law’s Lamar Inn of Court. In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Sheffey has been Hunton & Williams’ Southside Legal Center pro bono clinic director since 1995 and chair of the Atlanta Pro Bono Committee since 2005. Ms. Sheffey is a past-president of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and the Atlanta Victim Assistance, Inc. She also has served on the boards of the Sandy Springs Conservancy, the Esther Cannizzo Junior Golf Foundation, and Boys Speak Out. Ms. Sheffey has received numerous awards for her leadership and pro bono efforts, including the Atlanta Bar Association’s highest award, the Charles E. Watkins, Jr. Award for Distinguished and Sustained Service, in 2013, and the inaugural Rita A. Sheffey Public Interest Award from the Atlanta Bar’s Public Interest Law Section in 2012. Ms. Sheffey is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


smithLarry D. Smith

Southern Trial Counsel | PLC
Orlando, Florida

Larry D. Smith is a founding Partner of Southern Trial Counsel | PLC. Mr. Smith defends American and global companies in complex, catastrophic, or otherwise high-exposure personal injury cases throughout Florida and the southeast. His clients range from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies including product, medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance/reinsurance companies (and their insureds), and major theme parks. Through additional peer nomination and election, he is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, and member of the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance. Mr. Smith currently serves on the Florida Bar Civil Rules of Procedure Committee and served two terms on the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee, and is a member ex officio of the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. Mr. Smith was the recipient of the American Bar Association 2013 Diversity Leadership Award and the 2013 The Florida Bar Henry Latimer Diversity Award. He was the first openly gay attorney asked to address the Florida Bar on diversity issues as well as to serve on the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (chair, Diversity Subcommittee three terms). He is a charter member, and eventual chair, of The Florida Bar Equal Opportunities in Law Section. He is on the Advisory Board of the LCA’s Diversity Law Institute. Mr. Smith obtained his B.S. from the University of North Alabama With Great Honor in 1979 and his J.D. from the University of Alabama in 1984. He is a member of The Florida Bar, Alabama Bar, U.S. Supreme Court, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern and Central Districts of Florida. Mr. Smith recently celebrated their 15th anniversary with partner/spouse, Clayton Glover. They are the proud parents of Jennifer, a lawyer in Orlando, and Marybeth, Academic Advisor to the Honors Program at LSU. Mr. Smith is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


terez1Dennis G. Terez

Public Defender for the Northern District of Ohio
Acting Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio

Dennis G. Terez is the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Ohio (appointed in December 2006), and is currently serving as the Acting Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Ohio (since July 2013). In those dual appointments, he is in charge of all of the federal defender resources in Ohio. Mr. Terez began working as an assistant federal public defender in 1998 in Cleveland. Prior to that appointment, he was a partner in the law firm of Squire, Sanders LLP where he focused his practice on state and federal civil litigation at all court levels. His work involved the representation of a wide range of clients, from mayors and large publicly held corporations to small private business and individuals. Prior to his work in Ohio, Mr. Terez worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. offices of prominent New York-based law firms. In addition to his work with the Office of the Federal Public Defender, Mr. Terez is an adjunct faculty member at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law and at the University of Michigan Law School. At both locations he teaches seminar and clinics he designed for the law schools. Mr. Terez is presently the president-elect of the Northern District of Ohio Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ohio State Bar Foundation. He is an active member in the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. As federal defender in Ohio, Mr. Terez has spearheaded an effort to decorate all of the federal defender offices in the Northern District of Ohio with drawings and paintings done by incarcerated artists. He is in the midst of working on a similar arts-related project by recording incarcerated musical artists and creating a disk of their music. Dennis has been involved in similar community-outreach projects with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the West Side Catholic Center (a center for the homeless in Cleveland). Mr. Terez is a 1980 graduate from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service where he was the class valedictorian, and a 1985 graduate from the University of Michigan Law School. He previously studied in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar and in The Hague on a scholarship sponsored by the ABA. Mr. Terez lists his selection as the recipient of the LCA’s inaugural Thomas A. Mesereau Cup in 2012 as the most humbling moment in his career, particularly since it was bestowed upon him by two of his personal heroes in the courtroom, Mr. Tom Mesereau and Ms. Susan Yu. Mr. Terez is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


vitalVictor D. Vital

Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Dallas, Texas

Victor D. Vital is a trial lawyer who is passionate about trying cases for businesses, executives and high net worth individuals in difficult or high stakes courtroom fights and arbitrations across the country. Mr. Vital has tried more than 100 cases in his civil and white collar criminal defense practice and as a former state prosecutor in a prominent District Attorney’s Office. Clients trust Mr. Vital with their most sensitive, difficult and complex courtroom matters, and lawyers across the United States refer trial matters of all types to him because of conflicts, special sensitivities, difficult circumstances or high stakes. When he is not fiercely advocating for his clients, Mr. Vital dedicates his time to serving the people of Dallas and is a recognized community leader and advocate. Mr. Vital is a member of the Rotary International Preston Center Rotary Club, the North Texas Business Council for the Arts, and the Dallas Museum of Art. He is also an avid supporter of the Dallas Black Dance Theater, and sits on the Boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, and the Dallas Education Foundation where he continues the Foundation’s commitment of strengthening the Dallas Independent School District. Mr. Vital is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.


zellnerKathleen T. Zellner

The Law Offices of Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates
Chicago, Illinois

Kathleen T. Zellner has devoted the last 21 years to obtaining the release of wrongfully convicted prisoners and bringing civil rights cases on their behalf. She has won numerous awards, including the 2011 Trial Excellence Award for her verdict of $15.5 million on behalf of Kevin Fox; National Law Journal selection as one of the Top 10 U.S. Litigators in 2000; Lawdragon selection as one of the Top 500 Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in the United States; National Law Journal selection as one of the Top 50 Female Litigators in the Nation; and many others. Ms. Zellner has many legal successes in well-known cases, including the Fox civil rights suit; the Larry Eyler case, in which she obtained 21 confessions from Eyler that allowed law enforcement to close 21 murder cases in three states (a movie is being made by a major Hollywood producer on Ms. Zellner’s work in this case); and the Joseph Burrows case, in which Burrows’ release was obtained after six and a half years on death row and within months of his execution. Ms. Zellner has given speeches to law schools, businesses, civil organizations, hospitals, high schools and writers’ groups. She has been a presenter for the Illinois State Bar Association as well as the DuPage County Bar Association. In addition to her advocacy for wrongly convicted inmates across the United States, Ms. Zellner has used her success in this area to help educate young people in high schools, colleges, and law schools about the weaknesses in the legal system that lead to the conviction of innocent people. Ms. Zellner has been a frequent participant in programs designed to educate young people about the criminal justice system in America and the areas that need to be repaired within that system. Ms. Zellner is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the LCA’s American Academy of Medical Malpractice Lawyers.


2018 TLI Forum

The Peaks Resort & Spa
March 22-25, 2018
Telluride, Colorado

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20 Questions with Michael D. Ehrenstein

20 Questions with Michael D. Ehrenstein Read on


Thomas A. Mesereau Cup

Each year the LCA awards the Thomas A. Mesereau Cup to a deserving lawyer practicing in the area of criminal law. The award recognizes excellence and commitment at the highest level.

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2017 Fall Conference & Celebration of Fellows

2017 Fall Conference & Celebration of Fellows Read on