Recapping a rewarding year as presidency ends
My presidency comes to an end this month. I will hand the torch over to Ricardo Echeverria, who will be one hell of a president for CAALA, I guarantee it.
The last few months I was often asked, “So, how has it been as president?” My response: It has been the most professionally rewarding year of my career. I have thoroughly enjoyed working my tail off as this organization’s president. The year was incredibly hectic, but incredibly rewarding. Why? Here are some of the reasons:
- Do you realize that CAALA put on over 100 events this year? Over 100!! Seminars, webinars, member mixers, political “meet & greet” events, you name it, CAALA did it.
- We kicked off the year with the CAALA GALA Black & White Ball. It was a sold out event with over 900 attendees, including CAALA members, affiliate vendors and members of the judiciary. Scott Keo performed – a well-known Michael Buble impersonator. And everyone danced the night away at the after-party with an incredible dance band, Encore.
- Diana Nyad inspired the CAALA Board at its February retreat. Diana was the first person ever (male or female) to swim in shark-infested waters from Cuba to Florida ... and she did it at age 64! This after she failed in several prior attempts. She was a fantastic speaker and really set the tone for the year with her message: “You can accomplish anything at any age.”
- In March, we launched the first meeting for the new Legal Staff Support Group. Participation in the programs has been huge and we now have over 400 Legal Staff members.
- Kamala Harris inspired our organization by speaking at CAALA’s board meeting in April. Kamala is California’s top cop (attorney general) and will be California’s next Senator in Congress. (I’m writing this before the November 8 election, but that is how much confidence I have in her). Kamala is someone who will be a leader in this country for a long time. She is a true friend of our organization, and we are fortunate to have such a critical contact in Washington.
- In May, we hosted a joint CAALA and So Cal Defense program and mixer. L.A. Superior Court’s top judges came and spoke to the crowd. We are always appreciative of Judge Kuhl, Judge Buckley, and Judge Brazile for sharing their time and insights.
- We hosted a joint CAALA, CAOC and AAJ party to kick off the AAJ convention in Los Angeles in July. Trial lawyers from all over the country attended a great party at The Engine Co.
- CAALA’s 2016 Vegas convention: We set a record for registered attendees, with over 3,000 people at the Wynn hotel for the convention. The convention was another tremendous success, and the Masters’ Panel was a highlight: some of the top trial lawyers in this country who have handled some of the highest profile cases.
- Behind the scenes, we worked hard with the LASC judges to find
solutions to the massive delays in our civil courts. And the solutions are working! Cases are again getting to trial without much delay.
- This being an election year, we worked with other trial lawyer associations to ensure that politicians who support the concepts of access to justice, consumer rights, and trial by jury were supported in their election campaigns.
There is so much more. Every week brought a new event and new challenges. But ultimately, this was a year in which CAALA continued to grow, continued to educate its members, and continued to make its mark as the premier trial lawyer association in the country.
By the way, do you realize there are over 2,000 plaintiff attorneys on CAALA’s listserve? And the information shared is amazing. It is as if we have a 2,000 lawyer firm that has the instant ability to share knowledge, experiences, and strategies.
In closing, I want to say “thank you” to Executive Director Stuart Zanville, Deputy Director Cindy Cantu, the entire CAALA staff, the Executive Committee and the CAALA Board for all their hard work and support this year. But, I really want to say “thank you” to our CAALA membership: it is you folks who make this
organization what it is by being so involved in all we do. If you don’t show up, if you don’t care, then none of this matters.
I wish all of you the best in 2017. Let’s keep doing whatever it takes to keep CAALA great.
David M. Ring is a partner with Taylor & Ring, where he specializes in plaintiffs’ personal injury and wrongful death cases. He also specializes in representing victims of crime, particularly victims of sexual abuse, assault or harassment, in civil cases and has obtained many precedent-setting verdicts and settlements in that area of law. He was named Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year (2015) by California Lawyer. The Daily Journal selected him as one of the Top 25 Plaintiff Lawyers in California (2015).
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