CAALA Vegas: “Celebrate America”

It starts with a theme

Stuart Zanville
2016 August

Every great convention has to start somewhere, and CAALA Vegas is no exception.

Widely recognized as the nation’s premier gathering of civil trial lawyers, CAALA’s signature event begins with a theme.

While this might not seem as important as the location, the speakers or the education topics, the CAALA Vegas theme sets the tone for the entire event.

The task of developing the theme falls on Cindy Cantu, CAALA’s Deputy Director who oversees the successful convention and has done so for nearly 20 years. It’s a challenge to continually surpass your own high standard from the previous convention, but Cindy nails it every year.

This year’s CAALA Vegas theme is “Celebrate America — Celebrating the American Justice System,” and it perfectly describes why CAALA Vegas is so good and why it is so well received.

More than any other similar event, CAALA Vegas brings together all of the participants in the American Civil Justice System and recognizes the importance of judges, lawyers and jurors, without whom our American democracy would not exist.

While CAALA Vegas will always be about providing resources to plaintiff attorneys, hundreds of judges and non-CAALA attorneys attend each year.

New topics and speakers

This year’s convention includes many new topics and speakers. The convention’s education schedule begins at noon on Thursday (September 1) with two highly anticipated panels, Arbitration and Mediation and Civil Rights Cases.

One highlight of this year’s convention will be the Masters Speakers Session that will be moderated by Christa Ramey on Saturday afternoon. The session epitomizes the convention theme and celebrates American Justice by presenting renowned trial attorneys who have had recent, notable civil trials; each of which garnered substantial media attention. The program will present the inside story of these trials. The attorneys include Lori Andrus, Bruce Broillet, Benjamin Crump, Tom Girardi and Kenneth Turkel and their trials are familiar to everyone. You know the names: Erin Andrews, Hulk Hogan, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Brian Stow.

Many of the education panels include defense attorneys and judges among the speakers.

A dozen of the panels have current LASC sitting judges providing a valuable judicial perspective on such topics as Basic and Advanced Trial Skills, Jury Selection, Premises Liability and Evidence.

Hearing the perspective of judges and defense attorneys helps attendees become better trial attorneys.

That’s also the opinion of many of the judges who attend the convention. In recent years, judicial officers have recognized that CAALA Vegas is a living example of the importance of using civility in dealing with opposing attorneys.

LASC Assistant Presiding Judge Dan Buckley often talks about the importance of opposing attorneys meeting prior to trial. Judge Buckley says “We need to break open the lines of communication between attorneys in a civil lawsuit and insist that communication start at the beginning of the case. Attorneys need to develop a personal relationship with each other — a personal relationship which makes it much more difficult to say no or ignore the other attorney or send a nasty email.”

CAALA Vegas does exactly that by bringing together judges and attorneys during the four-day convention.

Labor Day weekend

The 34th edition of the CAALA convention will be Sept. 1-4 at the spectacular Wynn/Encore Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

CAALA’s volunteer members make it possible. The 2016 Convention Planning Committee is Education Committee Chair and Vice-Chair Christa Ramey and Elizabeth Hernandez and Convention Co-Chairs Martin Aarons, John Blumberg, David deRubertis, Daniel Pierson, Ibiere Seck and Laura Sedrish.

On Thursday and Saturday, immediately following the sessions, all attendees are invited to two spectacular networking receptions.

An important element of the convention is the ability for attendees to meet with legal service providers and professionals at the highly popular trade show. The Exhibit Hall is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday and is conveniently located adjacent to the education session rooms. It features 125 exhibits from legal service providers.

More than 120 attorneys, jurists and legal professionals are speaking at the convention and the list runs the gamut from senior Court leadership and CAALA Hall of Fame members to up-and-coming new attorneys.

You can earn 20 hours of MCLE credit at the 20 education sessions featuring the nation’s leading trial attorneys and judges. The panels are for all attendees, from new lawyers to seasoned veterans.

Still time to register

Registration is open to all attorneys, law firm staff, jurists and law student CAALA members. The registration fee includes all sessions, digital syllabus, continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, plus the Thursday and Saturday parties and Sunday breakfast session.

If you are reading this prior to the Convention and haven’t registered yet, visit or our dedicated convention website Registration is open online through Saturday, September 3. If you are already at CAALA Vegas, you’re probably taking advantage of everything that makes CAALA Vegas so special. And don’t forget the theme, it’s your opportunity to celebrate the American Justice System.

Stuart Zanville Stuart Zanville

Stuart Zanville is the Executive Director of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA). Contact him at (213) 487-1212 or by e-mail:

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