I am back from the 2011 DRI Products Liability Law Conference in New Orleans. I had a great time at this year's conference and wanted to provide a quick re-cap of everything that went on.
I arrived in New Orleans at about 3:30 on Tuesday afternoon. After checking out the Hilton New Orleans Riverside and walking around a bit, I attended the networking reception that evening and met numerous attorneys and vendors from across the country who do products liability work. I went to dinner with a large group of attorneys that evening, and we enjoyed a great meal at Mr. John's Steakhouse. I highly recommend the red snapper special. Crazy delicious. Fantastic meal and group of attorneys.
On Wednesday, I attended the full session, which began at 8:15 a.m. My favorite presentation of the entire conference was later that morning and was presented by Richard S. Levick of Levick Strategic Communications. I have heard Richard speak before at a retreat at my prior law firm, and he is always extremely informative and very entertaining in discussing how to manage crisis communications in the world of litigation. He also has an excellent blog, entitled "BulletProofBlog: The Blog on Crisis Communications." After the morning session, I went to a "luncharound" with nine other attorneys at Palace Cafe, which was also very good. As I had learned from the previous night's dinner, good food is never "quick" in New Orleans, so we were a bit late for the afternoon session. When we returned, I attended the Manufacturer's Risk Prevention Specialized Litigation Group ("SLG") breakout meeting. After the breakout, I attended another networking reception, and dinner on Wednesday night was at Arnaud's with some of my friends and colleagues on the Agricultural, Construction, Mining and Industrial Equipment ("ACMIE") SLG. John Phelps entertained our table with some great war stories about litigation and politics in Arkansas.
Thursday was more of the same, and I attended the full session where Mark Kircher gave a really good presentation on "High Tech Demonstrative Exhibits that Work." The presentation involved animations used in cases to prove the defense's theory of the case, and some of them were really impressive. After another luncharound with attorneys at Restaurant August, it was time to prepare for my presentation at the ACMIE SLG breakout session. Our breakout session was two hours during the afternoon and the primary focus was on equipment fire cases. We had some great speakers, including John Phelps, representatives of John Deere and Caterpillar, and a forensic fire investigator. My presentation lasted approximately 20 minutes as was entitled "Who Needs Letterman? The Annual ACMIE Top 10 Cases." (I hope to post a link to the written materials once I get them on my biography website, but in the meantime, email me if you would like a copy of the written materials I prepared for my presentation). We got very good feedback from the SLG attendees after the session on all of the presentations. After another networking reception that evening, I went to Tommy's Cuisine with Lois Yamaguchi, Amy Fischer, Larry Ottaway, and Beth Anderson. Lois, Amy and Larry are attorneys affiliated with the Primerus group of law firms (of which Collins & Lacy, P.C. is a proud member), and Beth is an engineer with Anderson Engineering of New Prague, Inc. We had a great meal, and I would say that Tommy's was probably my favorite restaurant from the entire time I was in New Orleans.
Friday was the end of the conference, and I attended the Products Liability Committee meeting. Planning has already begun for next year's conference, and my congratulations to Nick Pappas, outgoing ACMIE SLG Chairman, who was selected to head up the planning of next year's conference in Las Vegas. I look forward to attending and hope to play a role in the planning of next year's activities.