Association of Trial Lawyers of America

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Association of Trial Lawyers of America

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) is a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of personal injury attorneys. The ATLA is the world's largest trial bar organization, with about 60,000 members worldwide. ATLA's goals are to safeguard the interests of people who seek redress for injury and to protect individuals from abuses of power. Any person who is licensed to practice law in any country, state, or jurisdiction, who is committed to the Adversary System, and who, for the most part, does not represent the defense in personal injury litigation is eligible for membership. In 1946, a group of plaintiffs' attorneys involved in workers' compensations litigation founded the National Association of Claimants' Compensation Attorneys (NCACCA). In 1972 NACCA became ATLA, and in 1977, the organization moved its headquarters from Boston to Washington, D.C.

ATLA is comprised of a network of U.S. and Canadian affiliates involved in diverse areas of trial advocacy. It provides lawyers with the information and professional assistance needed to serve clients successfully and protect the civil justice system. The ATLA is governed by its membership through a board of governors and national officers, who are elected at the organization's annual convention. ATLA committees help to set policies in critical areas, make recommendations to the board of governors, and over-see staff implementation of ATLA objectives. The ATLA has 155 staff members, including approximately 30 attorneys. It publishes the monthly magazine Trial, the ATLA Law Reporter, and the ATLA Advocate.

The ATLA's sections, each of which encompasses an area of litigation practice, include admiralty, aviation, Civil Rights, products liability, insurance, Family Law, and Workers' Compensation law. Services of the sections include the publication of annual directories and periodic newsletters and information exchange. The ATLA also has organized litigation groups, which are voluntary networks of ATLA members sharing an interest in a particular type of case, many of which involve hazardous products. The groups share timely documents and information, much of it obtained from discovery in similar cases. The litigation groups also organize programs that educate members about recent developments in their special areas.

The ATLA has been a leading opponent of state and federal legislative efforts to restrict the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover for Medical Malpractice or for injuries caused by a defective product. Two of the major areas of litigation to emerge in the early 2000s are related to asbestos and toxic mold. For many years, the organization has lobbied against tort reform bills, rebutting arguments that too many lawsuits have led to excessive costs and delays and that juries can no longer be trusted to render fair verdicts. The election of george w. bush as president in 2000 and the gain of Republican seats in both the House and Senate in 2002 brought the issue to the forefront. Despite vigorous Lobbying on the part of ATLA and the launching in early 2003 of "Friends of ATLA," an organization of groups that support the ATLA's position, commentators expected that some form of "tort reform," such as the capping of non-economic damages at $250,000, would prevail.

In addition to its lobbying efforts, the ATLA provides a specialization certification program for trial skills and statistical compilation, as well as a placement service. It also conducts seminars and conferences across the country.

Further readings

Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Available online at <> (accessed May 30, 2003).

Bogus, Carl T. 2001. Why Lawsuits Are Good for America: Disciplined Democracy, Big Business, and the Common Law. New York: New York Univ. Press.

Orey, Michael. 1999. Assuming the Risk: The Mavericks, the Lawyers, and the Whistle-Blowers Who Beat Big Tobacco. Boston: Little, Brown.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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A LEADING Cardiff-based personal injury lawyer has been elected vice chair of the international section of a prestigious American legal group, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA).
Further, says ATRA, many of BIAA's directors or advisory board members are also members, directors and officers of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), which is composed of attorneys who represent plaintiffs.
He is current president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and built his reputation by holding large companies responsible for the damage they did to individual patients exposed to deadly asbestos.
A traditional Democratic supporter, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America's PAC has distributed $728,000 to federal candidates, 90 percent to Democrats, in the 19971998 election cycle.
Prior to joining the BPIA, Berzan held management positions in trade and professional associations including the National Association of Realtors, Association of Trial Lawyers of America and Printing Industries of America.
During the entire 20-year battle, the rich and influentially powerful Association of Trial Lawyers of America has held the upper hand, frustrating reform lobbyists in their every move.
Any change that might reduce the number or amount of settlements in tort cases is vigorously opposed by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA).
Henderson, Jr., CAE, is executive director of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Washington, D.C.
So "any person who is harmed as a consequence of these trials, without first having been fully informed of [tamoxifen's] risks, most probably has an appropriate lawsuit against both the dispensing doctor and the government," says Schroeter, the immediate past chairman of the environmental, toxic, and pharmaceutical torts section of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
He has been a member of the Palm Beach County and Florida Bar Associations since 1974, and a member of professional legal organizations including the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He began his law practice with Jones, Paine & Foster in West Palm Beach in 1974, and then founded the firm of McFarlain, Bobo in Tallahassee in 1978, before returning to North Palm Beach in 1986 founding and founding the firm now known as Bobo, Ciotoli, Bocchino, White, Buigas & Russell, P.A.
He is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and is a past president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He served on the board of the National Judicial College.
According to a 2002 survey by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, three-quarters of our members work in firms with five or fewer lawyers.

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