Friday, April 27, 2012

Primerus Convocation De-Brief

Last week, I attended the Primerus Defense Institute (PDI) Convocation at the Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.  As I have posted in the past, my firm is a member of the Primerus network of firms, and the Convocation is a yearly event held in the spring.  It is a unique event in that each law firm brings a client with them to join in the CLE presentations, networking, and social events.  It is a great dynamic.  The members of Primerus have the opportunity to meet Primerus attorneys in other states, and we also are able to introduce our clients to additional law firms that can potentially provide service if they ever have a need in our "neck of the woods."

I arrived late Wednesday evening, and I spent most of Thursday working since the practice group meetings did not begin until the middle of the afternoon.  I attended the Professional Liability and Insurance Bad Faith Practice Group meetings before attending the Products Liability Practice Group meeting later that afternoon.  Our practice group has been very active in the last year under the leadership of Rick Quinlivan, including the webinar we presented last year and a forthcoming state-by-state Compendium on indemnification and contribution law.  Later that evening, there was a nice reception to chat with all of the attorneys and clients in attendance.

On Friday morning, I attended various CLE presentations and breakout sessions.  The afternoon was reserved for free time, which I spent doing some work and also checking out Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.  I was fairly wiped out Friday evening and turned in after dinner.  (That west coast time change always mixes me up).

On Saturday, I attended more CLE presentations, including one on social media that was led in large part Jim Adler, the Chief Privacy Officer at Intelius.  I will be the first to admit that I am a little tired of hearing about social media, but the presentation was awesome.  It really drilled into privacy issues and where technology may be headed in the future for this area of the law.  Also on Saturday, I presented my piece of our practice group's breakout session on "Indemnity Rights - Avoiding Surprises."  During the course of about 45 minutes to an hour, Rick Quinlivan, Ray Lyons, Jeremy Cook, myself, and one of our client representatives discussed various aspects of indemnification issues, strategy, and case examples.  The presentation was well-received, and I enjoyed being a part of it.

Saturday afternoon was free time, and I used it as an opportunity to visit one of my graduate school friends from my IMBA program who lives about 20 miles away in Carlsbad.  It was nice to catch up with him.  Later that evening, I ended the Convocation with a dinner at the automobile museum in San Diego known as "Evans Garage."  Lots of classic cars on display, a great meal, and a fun time. 

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and I caught a taxi around 9:15 p.m. to the airport.  I took the "red eye" flight back, and was back home by 9 a.m. for a Sunday of chasing kids and grabbing cat naps when I could.  Always nice to get home.

I really enjoyed the Convocation, and I hope to make it a yearly event.  My only complaint?  It was overcast and cold!  I came to learn that this time of year is known as "May Gray" and "June Gloom" around the area because it tends to be overcast and cool.  It certainly was not beach weather, that is for sure.  I am told that next year's event will be at Amelia Island, so it will be nice to have it closer to home and within driving distance.

Friday, April 20, 2012

New Collins & Lacy Charleston Office

Last week, the "Four Corners of the Law" got a little bit bigger, as Collins & Lacy, P.C. announced the opening of its Charleston Office at 200 Meeting Street, Suite 403, Charleston, South Carolina, 29401. 

We have three new attorneys, Mikell Wyman, Tom Bacon, and Bennett Crites.  Mikell and Tom defend workers compensation claims.  Bennett is our newest member of the Products Liability Practice Group, and he also practices in premises liability, insurance and bad faith, and commercial transportation.

We are excited to expand our statewide business defense footprint to include Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Myrtle Beach, and we welcome Mikell, Tom and Bennett to the Collins & Lacy Family!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DRI Products Liability Conference De-Brief

Yes, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.  It has been too long since my last post, so it is time to do some catching up.  Last week, I attended the 2012 DRI Products Liability Conference in Las Vegas.  As usual, this conference was an excellent event.  Below are some of the highlights of my trip.


I flew out on Tuesday, mid-morning, and I arrived about 2:30 p.m.   Now...I have done my share of flying, and I do not mind it.  However, this flight to Las Vegas was probably one of the top two or three most uncomfortable flights I have ever been on.  The flight was full, and the folks next to me were very nice...except for the fact that I felt like we were on top of each other.  By the end of it, I had a splitting headache and was looking for the...(er)..."bag" that the airline graciously makes available in the seat pocket.  But, I endured and was better once we arrived (much to the happiness of my seat neighbor).  I am not sure what model plane it was, but I will be looking out for it in the future.  Wayyyyyy too cramped.

I got settled in at the Palazzo (site of the conference) before going to the networking reception that evening.  It was nice to see some old friends, and I also spoke with many of the vendors who had set up booths in the registration room.  (I am a sucker for going by vendor kids love the little items they hand rulers, spongy model brains, etc., and I always like grabbing a spare flash drive.  Many also provide some valuable services, so I enjoy meeting them).

At the reception, I met up with my friends Ed Murphy and John Noyes for dinner.  John is our culinary leader, as he always takes the lead on organizing a fun dinner with great people.  This year was no exception.  The three of us, along with Gavin Huntley-Fenner and Julianne Fox, went to the Eiffel Tower Restaurant and enjoyed a terrific view with fabulous food and conversation.  Gavin and Julianne are human factors scientists, and I really enjoyed meeting them.


Wednesday was the first full day of the event, and there were some great presentations.  I enjoyed a presentation about discovery of plaintiff's experts and a presentation put on by representatives of TASER International, Inc. concerning media bias.  I also hosted a "lunch around" for members of the Agricultural, Construction, Mining and Industrial Equipment ("ACMIE") Specialized Litigation Group ("SLG").  We had a group of about eight members who enjoyed lunch at Postrio Bar and Grill.

I got a little work done during the late afternoon portion of the CLE, but I returned for another networking reception that evening.  Then, I joined my friends on the ACMIE SLG for our annual speaker's dinner, which was at Delmonico Steakhouse.  The food was very good, and we had a large group (all of whom were in some way involved with our SLG breakout session to be held Friday morning).


Thursday was more of the same.  The first presentation was by Curtis Wilkie, the author of The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America's Most Powerful Trial Lawyer.  He shared some anecdotes about the Dickie Scruggs' story.  I also went to the Manufacturer's Risk Prevention SLG breakout and I later enjoyed a presentation entitled, "The Best Defense is a Good Offense: The Pros and Cons of Product Manufacturers Going on the Offensive--Filing Lawsuits to Defend Their Products."  I went to lunch with Eric Junginger at Lagasse's Stadium.  Eric and I met a couple of years ago at this conference, and it is always nice to catch up with him.

That evening, I met up with friends from member firms in Primerus at Rao's Italian Restaurant.  It is always fun when circles "intersect," and when I showed up to meet my friends from Foliart Huff Ottaway & Bottom (who had organized the dinner), I found John Noyes, Julianne Fox, and Gavin Huntley-Fenner.  A nice surprise, and another terrific dinner.

Friday (Wrap-Up and "Home Sweet Home")

The last day of the conference was Friday, and the ACMIE SLG breakout session was held on this particular morning.  Friday sessions are sometimes sparsely attended, but we had around eighty attendees.  We had two panel discussions involving (1) expectations and management of outside counsel (by in-house counsel panel members) and (2) the challenges of litigating legacy (i.e., older) equipment.  Both presentations were very interesting.  Mike McWilliams and Kevin Owens are heavily involved in our SLG and did a great job moderating these two presentations.  Finally, Jennifer Johnson did our annual "Top 10" ACMIE cases.  I did this portion of the breakout last year, and it is always tough to whittle down all the ACMIE cases from the previous year to come up with the "Top 10."  Nice job, Jennifer.  Overall, we had a another great breakout session, and special thanks to our Chair, J.K. Leonard, for his hard work in doing most of the planning and organizing.

I attended the final session of the conference, and then was off to the airport.  My flight back was much, much better (thanks U.S. Airways), and I got home around midnight.  It is always good to get back to South Carolina and my family.

That's it for the conference.  Check in tomorrow for a (belated) announcement my firm made last week.