Why We Matter
Many consider their invitation to join the American Board of Trial Advocates as one of the special highlights of their legal career. ABOTA has chapters in all 50 states, and our members constitute a “who’s who” of the trial lawyers, nationwide.
However, unlike many Bar organizations that may be relatively inactive, ABOTA is very active, and I want to encourage you to get active in your local chapter and at the statewide and national levels. Just a few of the ABOTA projects in which you can be actively involved at the local and national level include:
Justice By the People: Partnering with Scholastic, Inc., the largest producer of educational, curriculum material in the U.S., the ABOTA Foundation has the capability of reaching 30 to 50 million students, grades 5 through 9, with lesson plans and an interactive DVD where students can try a lawsuit, select questions for witnesses, make objections, and literally engage in the trial of a case to its conclusion.
The Journalist Law School: ABOTA is one of the primary sponsors of a “law school” for journalists where journalists from television, print, radio, etc., nationwide, come together for a concentrated course on the legal topics with which they are confronted and report, so that they can better appreciate the legal principles and procedures on which they will be reporting, and will come to a better understanding of how and why civil courts conduct themselves.
James Otis Lecture Series: Centered around Constitution Day on September 17 of each year, this lecture series recognizes students, on a statewide basis, who have won essay contests in their local school districts, by having them attend lectures, which concentrate on a constitutional theme, in their state legislatures.
Civility Matters: Founded on ABOTA’s recognition of the essence of civility and professionalism, this project provides a DVD, wherein nationally recognized attorneys and judges discuss civility and professionalism, to law schools, courtrooms, civic organizations, local bar associations, and classrooms, nationwide.
Masters in Trial: Through the ABOTA Foundation, ABOTA members put on a mock trial in various cities, 20 to 30 times each year, and/or hold day-long presentations and demonstrations on subject matters such as cross-examination, demonstrative evidence, jury selection, opening statement, final argument, etc.
Legal/Political Issues: ABOTA has adopted a number of resolutions over the years dealing with issues such as caps on damages, caps on attorney fees, mandatory arbitration – to illustrate only a few of the 40 plus Resolutions that have been adopted by ABOTA.
Defending Judicial Independence: ABOTA fiercely defends the independence of the judiciary, and whenever a judge comes under unfair criticism, ABOTA quickly intervenes to defend the judge and set the record straight.
Teacher’s Law School: Spearheaded by a pilot project in Texas, teachers are invited to attend a 3-4 day concentrated course on legal subjects relevant to their students and the classroom.
Seventh Amendment and Jury Innovations: Partnering with the National Center of State Courts and other organizations dedicated to preserving the Seventh Amendment, as well as promoting the study of a number of innovations with respect to jury service, ABOTA is actively involved at both the state and national level, and every other year conducts a Jury Summit where nationally recognized leaders in these areas speak and participate with the attendees to promote programs to preserve jury trials and to promote action plans to implement innovations for jury service.
Lawyer Advertising: ABOTA has developed the Principles of Good Practice in Attorney Advertising, and is working with the Bar organizations of every state, including The Florida Bar, to promote its principles nationwide.
The above-referenced projects and activities of ABOTA represent only a small fraction of all of the projects in which ABOTA is engaged. Judges, legislators, and community leaders believe that ABOTA encompasses what is “best” in the legal profession, and as we continue to strive to educate students and their parents, educators, judges, lawyers, and all civic leaders with respect to the principles of civility, professionalism, and the precious right to trial by jury, we know we can count on the best of your efforts toward our cause.
The general purposes of ABOTA are to foster improvement in the ethical and technical standards of practice in the field of advocacy to the end that individual litigants may receive more effective representation, and that the general public may benefit from a more efficient administration of justice, consistent with time-tested and traditional principles of litigation.