Meet a New Member: Zach Morrison

Meet a New Member!


New members add energy and excitement to the ATLA Family. New members learn to be better trial lawyers and gain invaluable insights through networking with veteran trial attorneys. We always say it’s like being part of the biggest law firm in the state, and it really is. Zach Morrison of the Law Office of Harris & Morrison recently joined ATLA and sat down to tell us a little more about himself. Thanks for being part of the family, Zach!

Name Zach Morrison, Law Office of Harris & Morrison 

Law School Graduation Date: May 2017

City of Residence: Blytheville, Arkansas

Primary area of practice: Personal Injury and Criminal Defense 

What is the last book you read? The Client by John Grisham

What are your favorite hobbies? Tailgating at Arkansas State football games, live music events, spending quality time with friends.

What made you choose to work in the Plaintiff’s bar? Giving a voice to those who normally would not be heard. 

Share an interesting story from law school. During my third and last year of law school, I worked as a student attorney for the Pulaski County Public Defender’s office and was assigned to Little Rock District Court. Within the first month, I had a client who was charged with a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance charge. I thought the search of his automobile was questionable, so I decided I was going to take up his cause. I spent three weeks of my limited free time researching and briefing the issue. The week leading up to the suppression hearing, I was not able to make contact with my client. I would get his voicemail every time I would try to call him. The night before the set hearing, I Googled his name, hoping to possibly find a landline number for him. Doubtful, I thought, but worth a shot. What did I find when I Googled his name? His obituary. He had been deceased for over a month and had been departed even before I began researching and briefing his suppression issue. Needless to say, the Court said based on the facts and law presented, that it was inclined to grant my motion to suppress had my client not departed us. The court did grant my motion to dismiss, but on different grounds – death of my client. 

Who is your favorite musician or band? I’m an old soul for 27 years old – love Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Beatles – Any classic rock, blues, and country. 

Why did you join ATLA? I joined ATLA to be a part of an association of like minded attorneys who stand up for the working class and everyday common people against corporations, insurance companies, and the like. 

What keeps you engaged in ATLA? The fact that I know that ATLA is made up of individuals who work hard to protect every citizen, and that a network of resources is there to assist the attorneys who have devoted their practice to that endeavor. 

What is the most important reason to join ATLA? The depth and breadth of the network of resources available to ATLA members is second to none. I cannot imagine a better organization for a young trial lawyer to join. 



Veterans Day 2017


We are thinking of our military veterans today, and feeling extremely grateful for their sacrifice and service. Arkansas is home to around 250,000 veterans who have served our country and helped protect our freedom. If you haven’t reached out to a veteran you know today – give them a call and tell them thank you! You could also attend a Veterans Day event in your area, or visit a VA hospital. There are endless ways to thank a veteran, and if you need more ideas check out this link.

One way to honor a veteran is to ask about his or her service. We recently talked with ATLA member Monte Sharits about his time of service, and he shared with us about his time as a Navy SEAL. Sharits enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1995, and after a couple years of training, he became a Navy SEAL in 1997. He was stationed at SEAL Team One in Coronado, CA. In 2002, he served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

In the years that followed, Sharits attended undergraduate school at night while he was a SEAL instructor. He left the Navy in 2007 as an E-6 to begin law school at the
University of Arkansas.

Sharits said, “Growing up, I had always wanted to be in the military in some capacity. I wanted to be a SEAL for a few reasons. First, I enlisted in the middle of a long period of peace, so I figured that if anyone was going to see combat, the SEALs would be among the first. Second, I loved the ocean and surfing, and figured I’d be comfortable in that environment. Last, the SEAL bases were places where I was excited to live (San Diego, Virginia Beach, and Hawaii), again, so I could live on the beach and surf.

It’s still a little embarrassing for me when people thank me for my service.  It’s appreciated, but really, it’s not at all necessary.  I was doing something I wanted to do more than anything else. When I think of Veterans Day now, I remember the people that I served with. Most of them have recently retired and are now spread across the country like we were before our service. It’s nearly impossible to stay in touch with everybody, but I think about them on Veterans Day and I’d bet they’re probably doing the same thing.”

To all of our military veterans, thank you. We are grateful for each and everyone of you, and each of your families.

Meet an ATLA Member: Paul Ford


Jonesboro attorney Paul Ford gives back to his community in so many ways including through his work with ATLA and also John 3:16 Ministries. He and his wife Annie have been married for 24 years and together have three children and six grandchildren. He’s an extremely talented attorney with a servant’s heart, and has helped countless Arkansans through their most challenging times. Read more about Paul below, and if you’d like to become more involved with ATLA, call 501-376-2852.

Law School Graduation Date: May 1987

City of Residence: Jonesboro, Ar

Primary area of practice: Personal Injury

What is the last book you read? No Time to Say Goodbye

What are your favorite hobbies? Watching Football

What made you choose to work in the Plaintiff’s bar? Following the example set by my father.

Share a funny story from trial. I had an expert witness of cross exam. He was a valuation expert. I had previously taken his deposition. He changed his testimony at trial. When I reminded him of his previous testimony, I said….Would you please look at Judge VanAusdall and tell him whether you just lied in your testimony today, or whether you were lying in your deposition. The witness looked at the Judge and said….I was lying today.

Who is your favorite musician or band? Hard choice. But, probably Tom Petty. Pink Floyd is a close second.

Why have you taken a leadership role within ATLA? I was following the example of my mentor, David Williams. I saw him give back so much, I had to do the same.

Why did you join ATLA? As a small firm or solo practitioner, the value of ATLA is unmatched.  We get the benefit of the experience of so many great lawyers.  It is like being a member of a statewide law firm and so many folks help everyone else be a better lawyer.

Meet an ATLA Member: Lee Curry

Lee. Curry
Lee Curry
ATLA is a family of advocates fighting to protect Arkansans’ constitutional rights and safety. A huge benefit of membership is the opportunity to network with trial attorneys from across the state, and to leverage their knowledge and experiences in your own practice. To that end, we’re kicking off a new blog series to help our members across the state get to know each other a little better! We’re starting with Lee Curry of Monticello. He’s taken an active role in the ATLA Membership Committee, and we appreciate his hard work! Read more about Lee below, and if you’d like to become more involved with ATLA, call 501-376-2852.
ATLA Member: Lee D. Curry
Law School Graduation Date: May 2014
City of Residence: Monticello, AR
Primary area of practice: General practice litigation
What is the last book you read? Devil in the Grove
What are your favorite hobbies?

Watching Razorback athletics, reading about current events and history, and coloring on my iPad (I started doing this a few months back and it is the ultimate stress reliever).
What made you choose to work in the Plaintiff’s bar?
The biggest factor that led me to the Plaintiff’s bar was the degree of autonomy that came with it. I get to work the cases I want to work, help the people I want to help, and become personally invested in the lives of my clients. Even though I am an associate, my partners don’t dictate how I do my work – they expect me to disagree with them, to offer up my opinions, and to find novel solutions to the legal issues presented by our client’s cases.

Who is your favorite musician or band?
Widespread Panic
Why have you taken a leadership role within ATLA?
As a young attorney, you have plenty of opportunities to dedicate your time and efforts to countless organizations. I chose ATLA because I see it as the vehicle through which I can best achieve positive change in the world. There’s no other organization I’ve found that stands for the principles I value. Particularly important to me has been watching this group of genuine individuals sacrifice so much of their own time, money and resources to protecting the rights of others, many of whom lack the ability to protect themselves.
Why did you join ATLA, and what keeps you engaged?
On the recommendation of my partners. They told me the first day of work that ATLA was the best resource for any attorney. I’m extremely grateful for that advice.
The one thing that keeps me engaged, day in and day out, is the camaraderie of my our members. Every time I see Joseph Gates, he gives me a big hug. Joe Denton and Justin Zachary will call me out of the blue to get my opinion on an issue in their case. Taylor Chaney and I will routinely call or text to pick each other’s brains over the legislative agenda. I’ve volunteered my time to help out Sarah Jewell and Victoria Leigh on issues in their cases, and they’ve gladly returned the favor. We can all spend months without seeing each other in person, and the moment we get back together, it’s like we never spent any time apart. We are brothers and sisters in arms, waking up every day to fight the good fight. And in a profession like ours, where we are constantly fighting an uphill battle, it’s motivating to know that these people will endure the storm with you, come Hell or high water. It’s folks like these who strengthen my resolve each day, and remind me that this is a cause worth fighting for.
What is the most important reason to join ATLA?
Because ATLA gives a voice to those of us who represent the voiceless. United we stand, and divided we fall.

Speaker Spotlight: Guerra, Zachary, Gillispie, and Curry


ATLA’s two day CLE is THIS WEEK. We still have tickets available so hurry to register – click here!  Featuring phenomenal speakers including Frank Guerra, Lee Curry, Josh Gillispie, Justin Zachary and more – this will be a phenomenal learning experience for any attorney interested in keeping up with 21st Century Litigation trends.

Read more about our speakers below:

Frank Guerra
CLE Topic: Opening Statements and Closing Arguments – How Far Can You Go?

Frank Guerra, IV. is a capital partner in Watts Guerra, LLP and has served as the managing partner of the San Antonio office since 2001. Frank received his B.A. from Texas A&M University in 1992 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas School of Law in 1996. While at the University of Texas, he served as Intern to the Honorable Justice John Cornyn, Supreme Court of Texas, in 1995, and Intern/Research Assistant to the late Charles Alan Wright. He was also an officer on the Board of Advocates and was a member of the ATLA Mock Trial Regional Champion, State Finalist, and National Quarter Finalist Teams in 1995 and 1996. He was subsequently inducted as a National Member of The Order of Barristers.

After graduating from law school, he joined the law firm of Allen, Stein, Powers, Durbin & Hunnicutt, where he practiced insurance defense and civil litigation law. He managed the Rio Grande Valley Office of Allen, Stein & Durbin from 1999 to 2001. Frank joined the San Antonio office of the predecessor firm of Watts Guerra in 2001. He also served on the Malpractice, Premises & Products Pattern Jury Charge Committee for the State Bar of Texas. He was co-counsel with Mikal Watts in Garza vs. Holiday Inn, Castro vs. Ford, Garcia vs. Ford, English vs. Bay, Ltd, Rincon vs. Shell, and Strange vs. Penhall, and Longview vs. Huff in which the jury rendered significant verdicts.

Frank is fluent in written and spoken Spanish.

Justin Zachary
CLE Topic: Investigating and Avoiding Potholes in Construction Cases

Justin C. Zachary is a partner at Denton & Zachary, PLLC, based out of Central Arkansas. Justin graduated from his hometown at the University of Memphis before attending law school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he met his wife Heather and received the Bowen public service award for accumulating over 300 hours of public service during law school.

Justin’s passion for public service has led him to represent individuals and families across the state of Arkansas. For almost 10 years, Justin has represented people in a variety of cases, including tractor trailer and truck collisions, dangerous roadway construction collisions, as well as complex tort and large class action matters against some of the biggest companies in the world. Justin’s talents as a lawyer have helped him to quickly develop a reputation as a very aggressive and effective advocate for his clients. He takes pride in applying an “attention to details” approach and being extensively involved in every aspect of his clients’ cases from beginning to end. Today, Justin is continually looking to develop and hone his skills as a lawyer and has spoken at seminars and schools on safety issues. He is fortunate enough to be married to the love his life, Little Rock lawyer, Heather Zachary. Justin and Heather have three children, Grace, Shepard and Cecelia and are active member at the Christ the King Catholic Church in Little Rock.

Josh Gillispie
CLE Topic: Bad Apples – Litigating Against Residential Treatment Facilities and Youth Homes on Behalf of Sexually Abused Children

Josh graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law in 2010. Since then, the majority of his practice has been devoted to representing Arkansans who have been injured by no fault of their own as a result of the negligence and misdeeds of others. Josh handles all types of personal injury cases, including car wrecks, truck wrecks, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and premises liability.
In 2011, Josh was awarded the Capitol Citation by the Arkansas Secretary of State for his service to the preservation of the Arkansas State Capitol Zoning District. This prestigious award was the result of Josh’s success in litigating against an attempt by developers to illegally construct buildings taller than three stories in the area immediately surrounding our state Capitol. In 2012, Josh was named to the list of “Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Little Rock” by Soiree Magazine.
Josh is a proud member of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. In 2015, Josh was named to the Legislative Committee of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. Josh is also a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and Pulaski County Bar Association. Josh serves on the Capitol Area Advisory Committee to the Capitol Zoning District Commission, a state agency.
Prior to law school, Josh taught college English and Literature. He holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Central Arkansas and a Bachelor Degree in English from Hendrix College, where he graduated in 2003. In his spare time, Josh enjoys spending time with family and friends and with his beloved dog, Annie. He also volunteers at the Pulaski County Humane Society.


Lee Curry
CLE Topic: Social Media Discovery & Admissibility

Lee D. Curry is an associate attorney with Gibson & Keith, PLLC, in Monticello, Arkansas. He joined the bar in 2014, and practices across various areas of the law, including personal injury litigation, commercial litigation, domestic relations, probate and estate administration disputes, and criminal defense. Lee is a member of AAJ, the Arkansas Bar Association’s House of Delegates, and President of the Southeast Arkansas Legal Institute, as well as an active member of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. Lee co-authored Behind the Screen: Truth, Lies and the Internet, an article on internet defamation which was published in the Fall 2015 issue of the Arkansas Lawyer.

Lee is an alumnus of the both the Walton College of Business and the School of Law at the University of Arkansas, and remains a proud Razorback fan. He is married to Lyndsey Erin Curry. Both natives of Sheridan, Lee and Lyndsey have laid down their roots in Monticello and anxiously await their daughter’s arrival this fall.

More information about Litigating in the 21st Century 

Thursday June 22, and Friday June 23, 2017
8:00am start – 4:15 adjournment each day

Holiday Inn Presidential, 600 I-30 Little Rock, AR
12 CLE Hours, including 1 Ethics hour
*Be sure join us for our Thursday night party at 7:00pm at Prost in downtown Little Rock.

Members register for $395, and ATLA Season Ticket Holders register for only $199!


On-site registration the day of the seminar will add $50 to your registration.
We have a small room block for $99 a night. Call 501.375.2100 to make your hotel room reservation.

Litigating in the 21st Century Speakers

ATLA’s two day CLE is THIS WEEK. We still have tickets available so hurry to register – click here!  Featuring national renown speakers including Frank Guerra, Ed Cappozi and more – this will be a phenomenal learning experience for any attorney interested in keeping up with 21st Century Litigation trends.

More information about Litigating in the 21st Century 
Thursday June 22, and Friday June 23, 2017
8:00am start – 4:15 adjournment each day
Holiday Inn Presidential, 600 I-30 
Little Rock, AR
12 CLE Hours, including 1 Ethics hour

*Be sure join us for our Thursday night party at 7:00pm at Prost in downtown Little Rock.
 Members register for $395, and ATLA Season Ticket Holders register for only $199!

On-site registration the day of the seminar will add $50 to your registration.
We have a small room block for $99 a night. Call 501.375.2100 to make your hotel room reservation.


Joe Fried, Paul Byrd, and Christian Morris to speak at ATLA’s Litigating in the 21st Century CLE

Fried, Byrd, Morris

ATLA’s biggest CLE of the summer is just a week and a half away – do you have your tickets to Litigating in the 21st Century yet? If not, you’d better hurry because space is limited and registrations are filling up quickly! The seminar will be Thursday, June 22 and Friday, June 23 at the Holiday Inn Presidential in Little Rock. We have an incredible line up of speakers including Joe Fried, one of the nations top trucking lawyers; Paul Byrd, who has extensive experience with successfully handling mass torts; and Christian Morris who is a national leader in premises liability cases. ATLA Season Ticket holders get a 50% discount on this CLE, too! For more information and to register click here.

Read more about our speakers below!

Joe Fried
CLE Topic: What Every PI Lawyer Needs to Know About Trucking

Joe Fried is one of only a few lawyers in America who limits his entire legal practice to handling truck crash cases. Based out of Atlanta, GA, Joe has handled truck crash cases in over 20 states around the country and has helped recover more than $400 million for his clients. He holds several record settlements and verdicts in truck crash cases.

When he is not actually handling cases, Joe is writing about and teaching other lawyers around the USA how to get the best results possible in commercial motor vehicle crash cases. He has authored books, book chapters, peer reviewed articles, and a Trial Guides DVD specific to handling truck crash cases. He has given over 200 presentations around the country specific to this field.

Joe is a nationally recognized leader in trucking litigation. He is currently the chair of the American Association of Justice Trucking Litigation Group, president of the National Trial Lawyers Trucking Division, and founder of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable and the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys.

Joe brings a diverse background to each case. He is a former judge and police officer, has real world training in accident investigation and reconstruction, physics, engineering, and human factors. At the same time, Joe is known for his unique ability to find and tell the compelling human story that underlies each of his cases.

Paul Byrd
CLE Topic: The Ins and Outs of Mass Torts Explained

Paul Byrd has been representing deserving injured victims for 25 years. After graduating from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1985, he clerked for the Honorable Tom F. Digby, and then went into private practice in 1988. Paul’s practice has focused on civil litigation with an emphasis on representing consumers in product liability actions. He has tried tire failures and vehicle safety litigation in many states including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

In November of 2000, he was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal due to his work in the case of Brownlee/Whitaker vs. Cooper Tire and Rubber Company. He appeared in a Dateline NBC documentary regarding the same case in January of 2001.

His work has been mentioned in USA TodayChicago Sun-Times, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, and the Arkansas Times.

Paul has represented rice farmers in agricultural litigation regarding genetically modified crop contamination that had global as well as state and local implications.

Paul was a past President of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. His message to his fellow members was “You went to law school to make a difference!”. He is currently a Board of Governor member of the American Association for Justice.

In 2010, Paul was the recipient of the Roxanne Wilson Award. The Roxanne Wilson Advocacy Award is given by the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association to those members whose love of the law, the legal profession and advancement of advocacy is reflective of  those same qualities displayed by the late Roxanne Wilson, for whom the award is named. The criteria for the award is that outstanding jurists and barristers may receive this award but the true prerequisite for nomination should be a strong love of the profession, and a demonstration of dedication to family, the community and ATLA. The recipient should be an activist in the advancement and improvement of the legal system and the legal profession and in the defense of those who cannot find justice for themselves.

In 2012, Paul was a co-recipient of the Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association.

He is the managing member of the Little Rock, Arkansas office of Paul Byrd Law Firm, PLLC. Paul has served as a Special Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court by request of the Governor of Arkansas. He has served as Special Judge in many Circuit Court Trials.

He has an “AV” rating in the Martindale-Hubble Legal Directory, has been recognized by the Mid-South Super Lawyers in 2011 and 2012, and is a life member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Christian Morris
CLE Topic: Locking Down Liability on Premises Cases

Christian practices personal injury in Las Vegas and California.  She is also licensed in New Jersey and has passed the New York Bar.  She is a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College. Christian serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association of Justice and for the Nevada Justice Association.  She has tried bench trials and jury trials in both State and Federal Court. Christian has tried numerous premises liability cases. She has tried a slip and fall on a cotton ball against a hospital, a slip on an unknown substance in a garage, numerous slips and falls in casinos, and a hotly contested trip and fall case against Costco which changed the law regarding the “open and obvious” defense in Nevada.  Christian is active in the American Cancer Society and the Three Square Food Bank in Nevada.  She is committed to preserving our ability to keep getting Justice for our clients, in even the toughest cases.   Prior to becoming a lawyer, Christian worked in politics in Washington, D.C.; working on Capitol Hill,  a Presidential re-election campaign, and eventually a lobbying firm.  Currently, she is active in fighting tort reform in Nevada.


Speaker Spotlight: Dion, Priebe, Williams


Attorneys come to ATLA CLE seminars because they know it’s where they will gain the most valuable insights and learn from some of the best trial attorneys in the nation. And our upcoming seminar, Litigating for the 21st Century, is our biggest and best of the year, and will be held June 22 – June 23. Packed with 12 excellent CLE hours in two days, you’ll learn all the latest to keep your trial skills current in an ever changing landscape. Below are a few of the esteemed speakers who have signed on to present at the seminar – read more about them below, then click here to register!

Jeff Dion, Esquire  CLE TOPIC: Representing Victims of Crime in Civil Lawsuits

Jeff Dion has championed crime victims’ rights for more than two decades. Jeff began advocating for victims in 1982, when his twenty-three year old sister, Paulette, was murdered by a serial killer. Only 14 years old himself, Jeff pressed   the police for information on his sister’s case and, after it was solved, decided to   pursue a career in law to help other crime victims.

In honor of his sister’s memory, Jeff lobbied the Virginia General Assembly, resulting in 13 victims’ rights bills being enacted into law. These statutes established a victim’s right to be present in the courtroom, the right to offer oral impact testimony at sentencing, the right to confer with the prosecutor, a civil cause of action for stalking, an expanded civil statute of limitations for victims, and an expanded legal definition of “victim.”

In 1998, Jeff joined the staff of the National Center for Victims of Crime, where he currently serves as the Director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association. In that capacity, he lectures throughout the country to foster greater communication and understanding among crime victims and trial attorneys. He trains victim advocates in the application of civil litigation and instructs fellow attorneys in crime victim issues and services. Having trained advocates and attorneys in 37 states, Jeff is a nationally recognized expert with strong ties to direct service providers and leaders in the field of victim services. In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Jeff worked with more than 1,500 victims and surviving family members to help them understand their rights, and he helped train more than 2,000 attorneys on the dynamics of victimization and understanding the special needs of survivors.

He previously served as a Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the Virginia Attorney General, a Law Clerk to the Judges of Virginia’s 17th Judicial Circuit, and a civil litigator with the firm of Hudgins, Carter & Coleman.

In 2002, he was appointed by Governor Mark Warner and in 2006 was re-appointed by Governor Tim Kaine to the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board, which distributes Victims of Crime Act and Violence Against Women Act grant funds to local programs throughout the Commonwealth. Jeff serves on the Victim Services Grant Review Committee, and is the Chairman of the Victim-Witness Issues Advisory Committee.

Jeff, who is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, serves on the Board of Directors of his local rape crisis center, Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy Service of Prince William County, Inc., which serves nearly 500 victims each year. He is a former board member and current advisory council member for the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children.

In 2005, Jeff was presented the Allies for Justice Award by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, and was honored by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services as one of the individuals who has had the greatest impact on crime victims’ rights in Virginia over the previous 10 years. In 2006, the Attorney General of the United States presented him with the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award. This award honors an outstanding individual whose leadership, vision, and innovation have led to significant changes in public policy and practice that benefit crime victims, and is one of the prestigious National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Awards, which are the highest honors in the field of crime victim services.

Jeff earned both his undergraduate and law degree at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Jeff Priebe, Esquire CLE TOPIC: Making Discovery Great Again

Jeff Priebe is currently a partner in the James, Carter & Priebe law firm located in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has a general litigation practice with emphasis on election law, personal injury litigation, and nursing home litigation. He has previously served as an Assistant Arkansas Attorney General and practiced law for many years with a national law firm that specialized in nursing home litigation. He has had the honor of being appointed by the Governor of the State Arkansas, Governor Mike Beebe, to serve as a Special Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court to hear last three appeals involving the West Memphis Three and represented four plaintiffs who successfully challenged the Arkansas Voter ID requirements and had the entire act held unconstitutional by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Jeff is currently licensed to practice law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and before the United States Supreme Court. In addition, he is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association, a Board Member of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association, the Pulaski County Bar Association, the American Association of Justice, and participates in various other legal organizations. He frequently speaks to group on nursing home litigation and election law.

Amanda Williams, Esquire CLE TOPIC: The Inside Scoop on Class Actions

Amanda Williams is a magna cum laude graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College (B.A. 2001) and a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. 2004). She was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 2004.  Amanda began as an associate at Gustafson Gluek in August 2005 and then became a member of the firm in January 2012.  Prior to joining Gustafson Gluek, Amanda served as the law clerk to the Honorable Judge Gordon W. Shumaker, Minnesota Court of Appeals (2004-2005).

Amanda has presented at multiple national CLE’s across the country and is an active member of the Minnesota Women Lawyers.  She is currently appointed to the Plaintiff Steering Committee for the In Re: American Medical Systems, Inc. Litigation, Consolidated File No. 27-CV-11-3933, in Minnesota State Court.


Litigating in the 21st Century – Speaker Spotlight!


Are you really ready to litigate in the 21st Century? Just like Bob Dylan said, “Times, they are a changin'” and to keep winning for your clients, you have to keep up with those changes! Join us at ATLA’s upcoming CLE, proudly presented by the New Lawyers Network, on June 22 – June 23 at Litigating in the 21st Century. Register online –  click here! Read about today’s featured speakers below…

Matthew Hass, Little Rock, AR – CLE Topic: Focusing Your Case for Today’s Audience

Matthew J. Hass, founder of The Focus Firm and CEO of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association, is a strategic communications expert who emphasizes focus group analysis. Through The Focus Firm, Hass utilizes focus groups to analyze juries and campaign messaging in his service as a consultant for political campaigns, marketing campaigns, and trial lawyers. Hass’ expertise in simplifying complex issues for mass audiences has defined his career, with hallmark successes in varied areas from ballot campaigns to legislative issues.

Hass earned his bachelors degree in communications from Henderson State University in 1999, where his studies focused on rhetorical theory, persuasion and debate. Hass’ communications background and his affinity for politics drew him to political campaign management. He honed his advocacy skills while successfully running the Smoke Free Arkansas campaign. He went on to represent the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association as the director of government affairs where he managed one of the state’s largest political action committees. He also utilized his communications expertise to represent the interests of injured Arkansans before the Arkansas General Assembly. Due to his legislative successes, ATLA membership elevated Matthew to chief executive officer in 2009, where he continued to research messaging and outcomes in areas ranging from jury analysis to ballot campaign strategy. In 2015, Matthew launched The Focus Firm where he researches effective messaging for juries, voters, and consumers.

He continues his work to protect individual rights on the national level, serving on the executive committee of the National Association of Trial Lawyers Executives. When he is not working or digesting the latest political news, Matthew can usually be found on his sailboat, a river, or hiking trail with his wife Tonya and their dog, Moxie.

J.D. Hays, Bentonville, AR – CLE Topic: Dealing With Bad Behavior in Depositions

J.D. Hays, Jr., Esquire, is the senior attorney in Taylor King & Associates’ Northwest Arkansas office.  He is committed to fighting for justice for all people, especially the vulnerable and oppressed.  J.D. spent the early years of his life in Ethiopia, where his parents worked to provide clean drinking water systems and hope to communities during a time of drought and famine.  In 2002, he graduated from Arkadelphia High School in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where he was active in church and various sporting events.  He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in 2007 with degrees in Philosophy and Psychology.  he went on to attend the University of Arkansas School of Law and earned his Juris doctorate in 2010.  He currently practices with Taylor King & Associates and has litigated in over half of the 75 counties in Arkansas.  He is a member of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association which named him the 2013 Outstanding New Member. He is also very active in the American Association for Justice.  He frequents the State Capitol when the legislature is in session, helping to ensure that Arkansans’ constitutional rights and protections are not trampled or infringed by so-called “tort reform”.  J.D. and his wife, Brittany, live in Bentonville, Arkansas with their two (huge) Bernese Mountain Dogs, Ace and Paisley.

Bob Edwards, Little Rock, ARCLE Topic: Give a Dollar, Give a Day, Give a Damn – Engaging in the Political Process

Bob Edwards, Esquire, grew up in south Lonoke County, in the small farming community of Tomberlin. After graduating from England Public High School, he attended Hendrix College in Conway where he received his B.A. in Biology in 1991. After spending some time in the political arena working for Senator Dale Bumpers, among others, Bob earned his JD from the Bowen School of Law in Little Rock in 1998. Upon graduation, Bob was an integral part of the successful team that helped elect Mark Pryor to the Attorney General’s Office. After the election, he went to work for General Pryor, eventually serving as the Chief of Staff in the Attorney General’s Office. Bob was with the law firm of Wilkes & McHugh, P.A. in Little Rock from 2003 to July 1, 2013, when he started his own firm. He is licensed to practice law in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee with his practice being focused primarily on nursing home and tractor-trailer litigation.  He is a past president of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association and is also a member of the Arkansas Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the American Association for Justice. He is also active in AAJ’s Nursing Home Litigation Group and Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. In addition to practicing law, Bob has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the England Public School District in England, Arkansas. He currently is a member of the Board of Alumni at the Bowen School of Law having recently served as its President. Bob is married to Tiffany Fitch of Hindsville. They have one daughter, Katharine Grace, and live in Little Rock where they attend Trinity Episcopal Church.

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