The CAALA Board of Governors

A committed group of trial lawyer leaders – waiting for you!

Mike Arias
2018 March

When did you join CAALA?

Who inspired you to pursue a position on the CAALA Board of Governors? 

These were the “ice breaker” questions asked of the current CAALA Board members during the working breakfast at the recent CAALA Board Retreat.  From the responses, it was evident that most of the CAALA board joined at various stages of their careers and for various reasons.  Many have been members for decades. 

The main take-a-way from the responses – that the future of CAALA leadership looks secure as there are so many dedicated members willing to step up and lead this organization.  Many leaders of CAALA were identified as the inspiration that led many current board members to pursue a leadership role.  I want to thank Mike Alder, Joe Barrett, Ray Boucher, Bruce Broillet, Bruce Brusavich, Jack Denove, Ricardo Echeverria, Michael Fields, Steve Glickman, Ned Good, Browne Greene, David Hoffman, Arash Homampour, Lawrence Lallande, Lisa Maki, Garo Mardirossian, Phil Michels, Gretchen Nelson, Russ Nordstrom, Gary Paul, Christa Ramey, Dave Ring, Jeff Rudman, Amy Solomon, Chris Spagnoli, John Torjesen, Shirley Watkins and Geoff Wells for continuing to identify the future leaders of this organization and encouraging them to become CAALA leaders.

I have been a CAALA member since 1986.  A lot has happened in the last 30+ years.  Many outstanding trial lawyers have lead this organization and many of those leaders continue to be active on the BOG.  Stalwarts like Bruce Brusavich, Tom Dempsey, Jack Denove, Mike Fields, Steve Glickman, Gary Paul, Amy Solomon, Chris Spagnoli and Tony Stuart not only continue to attend board meetings and participate in seminars, webinars, the Plaintiffs Trial Academy and CAALA Vegas, but continue to serve on committees and are always there when we need them.  This – to me – is the epitome of leadership.  The selflessness of this commitment is inspirational and sets a standard of leadership that will insure the stability and consistency of CAALA’s leadership in the future.

Even though it appears CAALA’s immediate future is in good hands, we all know we cannot rest on our laurels. As we all have learned, you don’t continue to do well in your practice unless you plan ahead and continue to stock your case pipeline.  CAALA is no different – we must continue to stock our leadership pipeline so that we can continue to provide the leadership consistency and commitment that will ensure the quality of services and benefits CAALA strives to provide to our members. 

But CAALA is only as strong as its membership.  I don’t say that simply because it’s an easily and often used cliché.  I say it because an organization such as CAALA succeeds only when its members find that the goals, purposes and programs of this organization meet their needs.  Meeting the needs of our membership is the primary goal of CAALA’s leadership and staff. 

As diverse as our membership is – so are our programs.  Education, Networking Social Events, List Serves, New Lawyers Committee, Case Collaboration Roundtables, Legal Staff Group, Document Bank, Advocate Magazine and of course our annual CAALA Vegas Convention.

The success of these programs relies heavily on contributions of dozens of CAALA members – both board members and non-board members – who collectively commit their valuable time to make on all of these programs possible.

The hundreds of hours spent developing and implementing the educational programs is an amazing process to watch.  Determining what our members want and need – putting those ideas and concepts into a presentable program is an art form.  And, as history has shown us, CAALA has mastered this process.

Another important benefit CAALA provides is networking opportunities to meet a broad range of members and vendors of CAALA.  The ability to meet and speak with fellow attorney members and legal-service providers who can provide you with insight, experiences and options to improve your practice is invaluable – as I have been told by many.  Interestingly, these networking events are only successful because our membership participates in such high numbers. 

The CAALA list serves are some of the largest and most robust list serves utilized by plaintiff trial lawyers in the country.  The nature and extent of the daily postings and the responses thereto are as valuable, if not more valuable, as subscriptions to legal research services.  The confidence we all have in utilizing these list serves does not come easy.  CAALA members monitor the list serves and ensure that the content is consistent with established rules and with the expected protections of work product. 

The CAALA Vegas Convention is the largest and most successful plaintiff trial lawyers conference in the country.  Every year we exceed the attendance record set the year before.  Most presentations are made to standing room only crowds and the feedback we receive from the attendees is overwhelmingly positive.  Why is this?  I can say proudly, it’s because of the amazing work of so many CAALA members and a CAALA staff so committed to perfection that anything less will not be tolerated.  If you haven’t attended a CAALA Vegas Convention recently, you are missing the ultimate opportunity to improve your practice and, in turn, help optimize the results for your clients.

So, now that I have “reminded” you of some of what CAALA does, when can we expect to see you?  This is not a rhetorical question.  We need you.  We need CAALA members with the energy and desire to help make all CAALA trial lawyers better at what we do.  We need CAALA members committed to helping – not only their own clients – but all consumers.

So how do you get involved?  Easy - attend CAALA Board meetings.  Join CAALA committees.  Reach out to me and our other CAALA leaders – we’ll show you how.

Mike Arias Mike Arias

Mike Arias has a national practice. He has been practicing law for over 30 years and has been a CAALA member since 1986. While he is litigating class and mass tort actions throughout the country he is also handling personal injury, employment, business and other individual cases. His trial experience is diverse as well, having tried cases involving serious personal injury, medical and dental malpractice, products liability, false imprisonment, fraud, breach of contract and employment issues. Arias is the current President of Consumer Attorneys’ Association of Los Angeles and President-elect of Consumer Attorneys of California and serves on the Board of Governors of AAJ.

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