8:00-9:00:  Section Meetings--there are six different section meetings running concurrently at such a civilized starting hour.  Pick one and attend.  They are all excellent.


Many would be surprised at how many Federation lawyers practice in small firms.  Well, be surprised no more, because four small-firm Federation members have come together to open your eyes to a world where lawyers wear multiple hats and employ cutting-edge strategies on an every-day basis.  Small firm practitioners face many different challenges, enjoy some distinct advantages, and often experience unique opportunities that our colleagues in mid-size and larger firms do not.  How do small firms provide Federation-quality representation to their clients yet enable their practitioners to maintain a high quality of life?  In what ways can a small firm track its metrics to increase productivity?  How does a small firm remain consistently aware of what advantages it has and what its limits are?  Why engage small firms?  Finally, would you believe that a small firm can be a valuable asset for collaborative representation with mid-size and larger firms?   Our Panel looks at these questions and other aspects, including ethical issues related to marketing, management, and technology from the small firm perspective.  Join the panel for a lively discussion, shared knowledge and depart with a new understanding which will benefit your practice whether you are in a large or small firm.

· Christian J. Steinmetz III, Gannam, Gnann & Steinmetz, LLC, Savannah, Georgia

· Kile J. Turner, Norman Wood Kendrick & Turner, Birmingham, Alabama

· David J. MacMain, The MacMain Law Group, Malvern, Pennsylvania

· Alison R. Christian, Christian, Dichter & Sluga, Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona

View and download the paper here.


PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY SECTION AND HEALTHCARE PRACTICE SECTION: Arbitrating Professional Liability and Healthcare Cases: Welcome to the Wild West

In the professional and health care arena, should the defense lawyer arbitrate or submit the case to a jury?  This joint section panel will lead a discussion on the pros and cons.  If you choose to arbitrate, how do you get there by compelling arbitration in federal and state courts?  Is there an alternative non-jury route?  The panel will engage section members in arbitration procedures before and during the arbitration, post-arbitration agreements, picking your panel and evidentiary considerations.  The discussion will include the Arbitration and National Practitioner Databank and whether the arbitration is reportable.  

Gena L. Sluga, Christian Dichter & Sluga, Phoenix, Arizona

Cynthia Castro, Vice President/Team Leader, RSUI Group, Inc., Sherman Oaks, California

D. Jay Davis, Jr., Young Clement Rivers, LLP, Charleston, South Carolina

View and download the paper here.

ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION SECTION: Putting the “Alternative” Back Into ADR:  Creative Techniques for Mediation, Arbitration, and Expedited Trials That Work

ADR’s original intent was to provide an inexpensive shortcut to resolving disputes without proceeding through all the steps of traditional litigation.  Unfortunately, ADR has now just become another tedious step in laborious litigation.  Mediations are filled with meaningless posturing, hopeless brackets and a fixation on the midpoint.  Arbitration has matched full-blown litigation for cost and length of time to resolve.  Summary jury trials are in the ADR statutes, but they never happen.  Now, four of our members who have successfully broken the mold on the tried and true will share how they have made early and complicated mediations work for plaintiffs and defendants, arranged cheap and quick arbitrations, and found a way to get back in the courtroom for a fair expedited trial.

Sonia L. Bjorkquist, Osler, Hoskin, & Harcourt, LLP, Toronto, Ontario 

Kay Gaffney Crowe, Barnes, Alford, Stork & Johnson, Columbia, South Carolina

Bradish J. Waring, Nexsen Pruett, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina 

Clinton W. Thute, Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance, Arizona

View and download the paper here.

CONSTRUCTION LAW SECTION: Cameras in the Examination Room? Level the Playing Field with the Use of IME and Surveillance While Keeping the Plaintiff from Turning the Tables on You

The defense often employs independent medical examinations to level the playing field when a personal injury plaintiff or plaintiff’s counsel presents debatable injury claims.  But what response can the defense make when Plaintiff’s counsel attempts to videotape and even attend the IME?  Or hire an outside company to monitor the exam?  This roundtable discussion will include the developing law on what is becoming a hot button issue for motion practice in personal injury litigation.  Throw in surveillance and issues of the exchange and use of social media, and you will be equipped when these plaintiffs’ tactics are used against your client.

Salvatore J. Desantis, Molod, Spitz & Desantis, PC, New York, New York

Kevin G. Faley, Morris Duffy Alonso & Faley, New York, New York

View and download the paper here.

COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SECTION AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SECTION: Sticks and Stones May Break One’s Bones, but Words Can Ruin a Business: Protecting Your Client from Commercial Disparagement

What equitable remedies are available to businesses and their principals for commercial disparagement, defamation, usurpation and other reputational injuries?  This roundtable discussion will survey the case law of various jurisdictions and their respective pleading requirements, burdens of proof, defenses, damages analyses and forms of relief.  The presentation will focus, in part, on the developing law governing claims arising from opprobrious Social Media communications and domain usurpation, plus the strategy of paring a company’s litigation team with its public relations advisers.

Kevin C. Cain, Zizik Professional Corporation, Westwood, Massachusetts

Michael Q. Walshe, Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana

Sidney J. Hardy, McCranie Sistrunk Anzelmo Hardy McDaniel & Welch LLC,  New Orleans, Louisiana

Amy Gorton, Tower PR, Los Angeles, California

Gerald B. Kline, Cohen Pollack Merlin & Small, P.C., Atlanta, Georgia

View and download the paper here.

EXTRA-CONTRACTUAL LIABILITY SECTION: Your Clients Don’t Have To Be Homer Simpson: Strategies for Avoiding Preventable Bad Faith

We’ve all seen it.  A client finds itself in a real or threatened bad faith situation because of an entirely preventable mistake.  Even with better hiring practices than Montgomery Burns of the Springfield Nuclear Plant, the insurer’s employees make a preventable mistake.  What can you as a lawyer or claims professional do to reduce the risk of bad faith occurrence, and when it happens what can you do to mitigate the situation?  Join our panel of industry insiders and outside counsel for a roundtable discussion with audience input on how best to address these situations.

Andrew Downs, Bullivant Houser Bailey, PC, San Francisco, California

Lola Hogan, CPCU ARMARe, Lola Hogan Insurance Consulting, LLC, Pacific Grove, California

Meg Weist, EMC Insurance Companies. Avon, Connecticut

Marcus Snowden, Snowden LLP, Coverage Counsel, Toronto, Canada

View and download the paper here.

9:00-9:30: Networking Opportunity

9:30-12:00: Plenary Session

9:30-10:00: Past Presidents & New Members Introduction

Steven E. Farrar, President of the FDCC, Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP, Greenville, South Carolina

10:00-11:00: Trial Masters Program I:  Avoid a Shipwreck

As trial lawyers, we spend months charting the course of the lawsuit.  But there are icebergs in the water – danger that is seen but the greater danger is unseen.  How do you prevent your case from becoming a shipwreck?  What do you do when you know there are bad facts and even worse documents that will be admitted in your case?  Do you tackle them up front?  How?  Can you put your case back together when your corporate representative or significant company witness is called as an adverse witness and falls apart on cross-examination before he/she is able to articulate the company story?  You must discredit the opposition’s primary expert witness during plaintiff’s case in chief just to stay on an even playing field before you put on your case.   How do expert trial lawyers handle that?  Conversely, you need one of those primary experts to support your case.  Can you turn him/her around?  At closing argument, do you try to pick-up all the pieces that may have hurt your case?  How do you deal with the amount of damages when the Plaintiffs have argued for millions of dollars?  How should your strategies change in each of these danger zones if you have very limited time?  Our own expert Federation trial lawyers will address these icebergs through actual demonstrations and critiques, providing real examples of how to AVOID A SHIPWRECK.

Robert "Rob" T. Adams, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP, Kansas City, Missouri

Tiffany M. Alexander, Campbell Campbell Edwards and Conroy, PC, Erwyn, Pennsylvania

Victor R. Anderson, III, Haight Brown & Bonesteel, LLP, Los Angeles, California 

Molly Hood Craig, Hood Law Firm, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina

Stephen C. Pasarow, Knapp, Petersen & Clarke, Glendale, California

View and download the paper here.

11:00-12:00: Trial Masters Program II: Anatomy of the Defense of a Catastrophic Case: Lessons Learned

A commercial passenger aircraft traveling from Newark, New Jersey to Buffalo, New York crashed into a house as it approached its Buffalo destination, killing all forty-nine aboard and one person on the ground.  Federation member Neil Goldberg and his law partner, Jack Freedenberg, defended the passenger airline in the ensuing lawsuits for wrongful death.  This was the first major trial of a catastrophic aviation disaster in thirty years.  The disaster and legal proceedings were played out with high emotion in the local media, aided and abetted by plaintiffs and their lawyers.  We will be taken into the trial-prep war room by the defense team, and into the courtroom by the distinguished New York state court judge, Honorable Frederick Marshall, who presided in the case.    We will see the unfolding of the defense team’s theme development, dealing with the media, containing the punitive damages claims, and the critical selection of a jury from a pool peppered by constant bombardment of media attention.  Judge Marshall will provide us with an invaluable view of the case from the bench and discuss critical rulings he made resulting in a settlement after nine weeks of trial for an amount close to that offered before the trial began.  As a result of the manner in which he presided in the case, Judge Marshall was given a judicial excellence award.   You will be given a rare behind the scenes view of how a high profile case can be successfully defended, while at the same time experience the rarest of occasions to hear from the very judge who presided in the case. The defense team will share and educate us with the hard earned lessons they learned from the ordeal of defending the case in the glare of intense circumstances. 

Neil A. Goldberg, Goldberg Segalla LLP, Buffalo, New York

John F. "Jack" Freedenberg, Goldberg Segalla LLP, Buffalo, New York

Hon. Frederick J. Marshall, Supreme Court Justice, 8th Judicial District, Buffalo, New York

View and download the paper here.