Many goals for 2016 – and let’s not forget it’s an election year
We are off and running! It is amazing how quickly each year passes by. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that Joe Barrett was being installed as CAALA’s 2015 President? It sure feels that way. But no, here we are already starting off 2016! I am very excited about this year and serving as CAALA’s President. This is the finest trial lawyers’ association in the nation, and this year we will continue to serve our members with outstanding education programs, seminars, mixers, unique events, and, of course, another epic Vegas convention.
I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself and share with you some of the goals that I have for CAALA in 2016.
But first, hats off to Joe Barrett, who did a great job as our 2015 President. Joe spent countless hours behind the scenes ensuring that all of CAALA’s programs and events went off without a hitch. Joe went out of his way to unify our membership and to “spread the word” about CAALA and all the good things this organization and its members accomplish. Joe is a very humble person. He isn’t the type to promote himself. So I will do it for him: Joe, great job! We all appreciate the hard work and time you put in as President. You will be a tough act to follow.
From the beginning
Before I tell you about my goals for 2016, let me introduce myself. I have been practicing law since 1991. I started out as an insurance defense attorney and quickly realized that my heart was with the plaintiff I was deposing. I wanted to represent the victim in my cases, not the business that I was being assigned to represent. Soon I had switched sides and was fortunate to land at McNicholas & McNicholas, where John P. McNicholas and his son Patrick took me under their wings and showed me how to practice law.
John McNicholas taught me that practicing law is truly a “profession,” not a business. You treat the law with honor and respect and hold yourself out with the utmost professionalism at all times. Patrick taught me the mindset of plaintiff trial lawyers: they are risk-takers; they are willing to try a case they believe in, even with a significant settlement offer on the table; they know how to get from point A to point B in a case, without getting dragged down in paper wars. And they know how to treat clients who have suffered some horrific event in their life.
After nine years with M&M, I joined forces with John C. Taylor, who left the firm he started in the 1980’s with legends Browne Greene, Bruce Broillet, and Tim Wheeler. Again, sometimes you have to be lucky in life. I was fortunate to meet John at the right time, and we both took a huge risk and decided to leave our respective firms and give a new firm a shot. It worked out. John and I have had a phenomenal partnership since 2002. We worked very hard to establish our firm and to obtain the right results for our clients.
In 2006, Ray Boucher invited me to be on the board of CAALA. I was quickly impressed with the talent, hard work, and energy that the collective board possessed. I was hooked.
In order to become president of this organization, you have to first be elected to the position of secretary. You then move up a position each year while on the Executive Committee. It takes five years until you reach the presidency. This system works; those five years provide great insight into how this organization works.
I have many goals for 2016. Of course, CAALA’s number one goal is to continue to improve and evolve its education programs to fulfill all of its members’ needs. We have such a diverse group of lawyers in CAALA. The practice areas are wide-ranging. I will strive to broaden our programs to meet such a diversity of practices. Our annual Las Vegas convention is the ultimate education program. We work hard behind the scenes all year to pull that event off come September. We will continue to increase the attendees, without sacrificing the quality of the presentations and the experience. One of the most important aspects of the convention is the attendance and participation of judges, and we want to continue to make the convention a positive experience for them.
I can also promise you this: we will have some very unique, inspirational and flat-out fun events this year that will deliver new insights, new speakers, and memorable times for our members.
Of course, 2016 is an election year. CAALA will be focused on many election and campaign issues that directly and indirectly impact our clients. It is crucial that we all recognize the importance of participating in the election process and striving to help those candidates who believe in both the jury system and the concept that individuals deserve access to the courts. Our civil courts are not there just for corporations and insurance companies to battle over arcane business disputes. Individuals who have been seriously injured, whose civil rights have been violated, or who have been discriminated against by employers all deserve access to our courts and to trials by juries. It is imperative that we, as a group, support those political candidates who believe that access to justice and trial by jury are fundamental rights in this country.
I look forward to serving you in 2016.
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).
Copyright © 2020 by the author.
For reprint permission, contact the publisher: Advocate Magazine