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AMERICAN BOARD OF TRIAL ADVOCATES
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California ABOTA Produces Jury Service Video – Now Being Used in the Courts
Steve Glickman, 2014 CAL-ABOTA President, was instrumental in producing a video representing the importance of jury service. This video shares the jurors’ perspectives, their role, and the importance of serving as a juror.
The preservation of the civil jury trial (“Justice by the People”) is the primary purpose of the American Board of Trial Advocates and one that we can proudly say that we have championed in the San Diego County Chapter of ABOTA.
- The year was 1957. The jury system was under fierce attack by the press, legislators, judges and scholars. California’s Governor, Edmund “Pat” Brown, even suggested a commission to be established to hear workers’ compensation, liability and other civil cases. It was this dark cloud, that could have proved to be the demise for the civil jury system that was the genesis for the birth of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
- A handful of young lawyers, began the organization, ABOTA. This was a revolutionary idea according to their elders. The same forces are at work today as they were back in the 1950’s and there are still those who would like to dismantle the civil jury system. The vigilance of ABOTA helps to forestall these subtle yet still pervasive attacks. Today, more than ever, we seek attorneys who display skill, civility, and integrity, to help younger attorneys achieve a higher level of trial advocacy and to educate the general public about the vital importance of the Seventh Amendment.
- In San Diego, a couple of railroad lawyers (Jack Crumley with Santa Fe and Eugene Freeland with Southern Pacific) played key roles in the growth of ABOTA, and in the founding of the San Diego Chapter – the second chapter in California.
- Crumley had been in LA, and involved in the LA Chapter, but moved to San Diego and helped start up the San Diego Chapter. ABOTA Installation Meeting minutes dated May 2, 1962 list as ABOTA (i.e. LA) members in attendance: John LaFollett (the current President), George Hillsinger (past President), Mark Robinson (past President), Joseph Spray (past President), Fio Lopardo (executive committee member) and Crumley (no title). The LA team gave its blessing, and the second Chapter was under way. First officers to serve in San Diego: Jack Crumley (President), William Schall (Vice-President), Eugene Freeland (Secretary) and David Casey Sr. (Treasurer). The first official meeting was held September 14, 1962.
- The charter members of the San Diego Chapter, approved at the first meeting held September 14, 1962 at the University Club, were: Jack Crumley (President), John Barrett, David Casey, Sr. (Treasurer), Robert Curran, James Focht, Jr., Marshall Foreman, Jr., Eugene Freeland (Secretary), Harry Horton, Jr., Peter Hughes, Sterling Hutcheson, Leland Nielsen, David Randolph, William Schall (Vice-President) and J. Clifford Wallace. (Also present, as transferees from the LA Chapter, were Arvin Brown, Jr., and Fio Lopardo.) The first female member of the San Diego Chapter was Marilyn Huff, in 1990.
- The American Board of Trial Advocates membership consists of more than 7,500 trial lawyers representing equally the plaintiff and defense bars, as well as judges, spread among 90 Chapters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. San Diego ABOTA currently has more than 160 members.
- ABOTA is an invitation-only organization. Prospective members must have at least five years of active experience as trial lawyers, have tried at least 10 civil jury trials to conclusion and possess additional litigation experience, and exhibit the virtues of civility, integrity and professionalism.Through its membership and specialized committees, ABOTA responds to seemingly endless attacks on the civil jury trial system. ABOTA tracks legislation which impacts the right to civil trial by jury and violates resolutions adopted by ABOTA’s National Board of Directors. Members of ABOTA have taken positions on a variety of issues that impact the practice of law and the right to civil trials by jury. In 1986, the cumulative resolutions were distilled and listed. Since that time, ABOTA has continued to speak with a unified voice on key issues.