To whom much is given, much is expected. I have enjoyed the privilege of being a member of AAJ since I joined as a law student and participated in AAJ’s Student Trial Advocacy Competition. Since then, my membership in ATLA/AAJ has been one of the most valuable assets of my career. I have enjoyed the benefit of the collective wisdom of thousands of lawyers with much to teach, much to share, and an unwavering willingness to do so. I am privileged to be protected by the advocacy efforts of a legislative team that is unparalleled and an organizational staff that goes above and beyond. I enjoy the comradery, friendship, and support of lawyers across the country who share my beliefs—if the public’s access to the courts is diminished, we become a lesser nation.
My passion for our organization and a desire to be a part of ushering AAJ to new and greater heights led me to declare my candidacy for the office of Parliamentarian. AAJ was founded for the purpose of lawyers helping other lawyers improve advocacy for their clients. It grew into a partnership that allows trial lawyers to help their brothers and sisters nationwide and abroad. Now, AAJ encompasses broad advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. to protect the Seventh Amendment right of all Americans.
Thus, my AAJ path is one that has been supportive of each of these aspects of AAJ. I began by working my way up in the New Lawyers Division where I first learned the importance of AAJ and what it offered. I took a short leave when I was asked to serve as one of the Kentucky Attorney General’s senior advisors from 2008-2010. There, I developed my leadership skills as the Assistant Deputy Attorney General directing four divisions, which encompassed more than 100 lawyers, paralegals, investigators, and administrative staff, all the while litigating cases important to the commonwealth.
Upon my return to AAJ, I worked hard to further its education and advocacy missions. Since returning to private practice in January of 2011, I presented on 76 CLE programs in 25 states—- many of those to state and local trial lawyer associations. I contributed to AAJ’s fundraising priorities, raised money for the Evergreen Fund, AAJ PAC and individual candidates, and I walked the halls of Congress lobbying for AAJ’s legislative priorities. As an AAJ officer, I will work even harder to support all of AAJ’s priorities, including membership, education and legislative advocacy.
We are constantly under attack from forces that want to eliminate our clients’ Seventh Amendment right. If we are going to survive this fight, we must not only stay true to AAJ’s roots, but we must modernize our message and the manner in which it is delivered. It is time to change the way we communicate to members, prospective members, the public, and legislators. My experience with technology and marketing give me a unique perspective in this area and will allow me to help lead our organization in modernization efforts.
Finally, I have the privilege of enjoying the support of hundreds of attorneys across the country, many of who have gone above and beyond to help me over the last year. These are lawyers from big firms and small firms, big cities and small towns, mass tort firms and single event firms, leaders in sections and litigation groups, board members and former board members, and leaders in the Minority Caucus, Women’s Caucus, LGBT Caucus, and the New Lawyers Division. It is this sort of diversity that is celebrated in our organization, and represents the kind of leader I aspire to be—one who brings together lawyers from all walks of life, from all practice areas and firms of all sizes, for the good of our organization, the benefit of our clients, and the protection of the Seventh Amendment on behalf of all Americans.
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