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New elected leadership at trial lawyers group

Wrapping up its annual convention in Vancouver, B.C., the American Association for Justice has announced its new president, C. Gibson Vance, a  stockholder with the Alabama firm of Beasley Allen. Here's the AAJ's news release, "American Association for Justice Announces C. Gibson Vance as President for 2010-2011."

Like many membership organizations, the trial lawyers group has a standard process through which elected leadership rises through the major offices; Vance went from president-elect to president, succeeding Anthony Tarricone of the Boston firm of Kreindler & Kreindler, P.C.

The interesting development is the election of the Dallas attorney, Mary Alice McLarty of The McLarty Firm, P.C., as vice president. She challenged Richard Golomb of the Philadelphia firm, Golomb & Honick, P.C., who had been slotted in for the post and anticipated becoming president in 2012.(A March 2010 commentary by Golomb ended with the attribution, "Richard Golomb is a founding partner of Golomb & Honik in the firm's Philadelphia office. He is also secretary of The American Association of Justice and will become vice president in July.")

In her campaign statement (since removed from the AAJ's public site), McLarty forthrightly called for addressing the AAJ's membership and financing difficulties:

AAJ has seen a serious membership drop. I will advocate for a new plan for membership recruiting and retention with a regional approach, including a sales force of dedicated AAJ staff, placed around the country working with state TLAs. I will actively participate in this effort.

I will raise money and make sure it's being well spent. While on the Executive Committee in 2008-09, I was one of the first to recognize and advocate for a much needed management change. We need leaders with the judgment to recognize when things aren't working and the courage to speak up.

The pitch toward regional activism and fund-raising must have struck a chord with membership, even as the AAJ increasingly focuses its efforts on Washington, D.C. -- such as lobbying for a tax deduction for contingency fee litigation.

UPDATE (6:49 p.m.): A video of C. Gibson Vance talking up AAJ.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.