around the bar
March 28, 2013

Joe Torre, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel Highlight Litigation Annual Conference

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Major League player and manager Joe Torre and former presidential advisor David Axelrod will join _ President Laurel Bellows and Frank Easterbrook, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, as speakers at the ABA Section of Litigation CLE Conference April 24-26 in Chicago.

“Litigation is a very broad area with a huge number of different professional subject areas,” said section chair William Bay. “We have to have programs that match those areas. We have to give our attendees a lot of options because it’s all about specialization. One size doesn’t fit all in litigation.”

Bay cites three basic reasons that he hopes this year’s conference will be a big success.

“Every hour we’ll have 10 different alternative programs, 70 programs over seven time slots,” he said. “You’ll find one of our programs to be right on target. Also included are 81 CLE offerings over 22 tracks.  You’ll be able to spend time with lawyers from around the country who do just what you do, getting best practices and latest developments.  And you can dabble in 60-some programs in subject areas other than your own. You can find out what the latest is in solo practice, what’s the latest in immigration or children’s rights, mass torts or financial services.”

Trial training is available to attendees all day Wednesday, April 24. Anatomy of a Trial, a one-day trial training boot camp for young lawyers featuring star litigators from across the country, is based on the Sacco and Vanzetti case. (Sacco and Vanzetti were suspected anarchists convicted of murder in Massachusetts and executed in 1927. In 1977, then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation that they had been unfairly tried and convicted.)

The three plenary sessions are “General Counsel Forum,” “Litigators Making a Difference” (with Judge Anne Claire Williams and including Former Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal) and “A Look Ahead” (with Mayor Emanuel, Axelrod and Illinois State Senate President John J. Cullerton). Easterbrook will address the opening reception honoring the judiciary, while Bellows will contribute to a roundtable discussion on solo practitioners and lawyers at small firms.

“Our stellar array of general counsel will talk about the issues they face in a world of increased globalization and changing technology,” said Patricia Lee Refo, moderator of the general counsel forum, former Section chair, member of the ABA House of Delegates and attorney at Snell & Wilmer. “Our panelists come from diverse settings, including public, private and government entities. They bring different perspectives to the legal needs of corporate entities and how outside counsel can best serve their clients in today’s evolving legal environment.”

Torre, making his second appearance in recent years at the Section’s Annual Conference, will speak at “The Impact of Violence” session. Torre began his Safe at Home Foundation in 2002 to edu­cate chil­dren about the issue of domes­tic vio­lence.

Other sessions include “Litigating Ethically” (in quiz show format); “Twelve Sure Ways to Lose a Trial”; and “The First 48 Hours — Crisis Management and Litigation Planning During Mass Disasters.”

“We want to make this conference accessible. We’re not charging a premium if you’re not an ABA member or a section member,” Bay said. “We want lawyers to try us. We think they’ll say, ‘This is a great conference, and it was worth my investment.’”