Check our our Convention speaker bios!
See you in 4 days. Get Ready.
Jake Watson. Ken Levinson. Chip Welch. David Sachar. Their careers are storied, their expertise is indispensable – and they’ll be at ATLA Convention next week! There’s still time to register, just visit www.arktla.org/convention2017. Read about today’s featured speakers below…
Jake Watson, Huntsville, AL – ATLA Convention Topic: Secrets to Presenting Your Most Powerful Mitigation Case for Life
Jake Watson represents people accused of crimes in state and federal court. Before becoming a lawyer, Mr. Watson was a newspaper reporter. While covering a capital murder trial he became interested in becoming a criminal defense lawyer. In addition to criminal defense, Mr. Watson represents people in domestic relations matters and personal injury cases. He graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law. In 2006, he attended Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College and later attended Mr. Spence’s Death Penalty College. Mr. Watson has served as faculty at Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College. He attended the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia and the Clarence Darrow Death Penalty College in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Watson has been honored by the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association for his work on capital cases.
Ken Levinson, Chicago, IL – ATLA Convention Topic: Using Focus Groups to Maximize Your Cases
Kenneth H. Levinson is the founding partner of Levinson and Stefani, a Chicago firm concentrating in representing families in wrongful death and serious injury matters. Ken co-authored the current edition of Litigating Major Automobile Injury and Death Cases, published by AAJ Press/Thomson-Reuters. He is a graduate of the prestigious Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College. Ken was named by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top attorneys in Illinois for 2010 – 2016 and made the list of the Super Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois in 2012 and 2016. He is currently the Chair of the Education Committee for AAJ’s Interstate Trucking Litigation Group, and the Chair-Elect of AAJ’s Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway and Premises Liability Section. Ken currently serves on the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Board of Managers and is Illinois’ State Delegate to AAJ. Ken is a Co-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Solo/Small Firm Committee. He is also an invited speaker and faculty member at various trial lawyer programs throughout the country.
David Sachar, Little Rock, AR – ATLA Convention Topic: Good Lessons from Bad Judges
David J. Sachar has been the Executive Director of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission since 2013. He was the Deputy Executive Director of the agency from 2007 to 2012. During the past ten years he has been responsible for supervising the investigation of judicial misconduct, investigative panel hearings and public judicial discipline hearings in Arkansas. Sachar graduated from Rose Bud High School in White County. He received his undergraduate degree in Social Science from Harding University in 1991 and his JD from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1994. Mr. Sachar is licensed to practice law in Arkansas and Tennessee. He is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association, is the president of the national board of directors of the Association of Judicial Discipline Counsel and is on the Advisory Committee for the Center for Judicial Ethics for the National Center for State Courts. In his spare time, David plays on a really good regional slow pitch softball team as a mediocre middle infielder.
Chip Welch, North Little Rock, AR – ATLA Convention Topic: Good Lessons from Bad Judges
Morgan “Chip” Welch was elected Circuid Judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit in Little Rock in 2012. His Circuit includes Pulaski and Perry Counties. Judge Welch serves on the Supreme Court Committee on Model Jury Instructions (Civil) and is a member of the state Judicial Council. He is a Past President of Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association (1991) and was a board member of AAJ for 16 years. Judge Welch served in the House of Delegates of the Arkansas Bar Association (1994 – 1996). He received the Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from ATLA in 1990; the Roxanne Wilson Advocacy Award in 1997, and was listed in “Best Lawyers n Arkansas,” Arkansas Times, 1998 – 2007 as well as being listed in “Mid-South Super Lawyers” 2007 – 2011 and “Best Lawyers in America” 2005 – 2011. He is a member of ABOTA and serves as the current president of the William Overton Inn of Court.
Chip is married to Cheryl Williams Welch. The Welches live in North Little Rock and have two grown children, three grandchildren, and “Jake”, the dog who administers the home.
Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with the Advocate blog over the past few weeks and have read about the incredible speakers we have lined up to help us all become better lawyers. We’ll continue to highlight the women and men who are coming to share their experiences and their knowledge with us over the next couple of days as we get ready for the big event: ATLA Convention 2017! The force is strong with today’s featured speakers. Steve Gursten will take us to new frontiers in damages; Todd Tracy will bring vehicle safety systems into focus; and James Crawford will give us an inside look at a snitch scandal! Register today at www.arktla.org/convention2017. Learn more about our speakers below:
Steve Gursten, Farmington Hills, MI – ATLA Convention Topic: New Frontiers in Damages: How to Increase Case Value and Show the Impact of Hidden Injuries on Your Client’s Life
Steve Gursten focuses his practice on serious auto and truck injury and wrongful death cases. Steve frequently lectures at legal seminars throughout the country on trucking litigation, maximizing damages, trial advocacy, and traumatic brain injury cases. He also speaks on maximizing settlements on auto negligence and truck cases. He is past President of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group, Co-Founder of the national Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable and has been named a “Leader in the Law” and “Lawyer of the Year” by Michigan’s largest legal newspaper for his verdicts and settlements and advocacy work in preventing wrecks.
To learn more about Gursten, please visit www.michiganautolaw.com.
Todd Tracy, Dallas, TX – ATLA Convention Topic: When Your Case is at a Recovery Dead End, Focus on the Vehicle’s Safety Systems, Not the Uninsured Driver
Todd Tracy is an attorney from Dallas, Texas who specializes in handling vehicle crashworthiness cases around the country. Todd has tried 136 crashworthiness cases and handled over 2,700 cases in 42 states including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Todd has testified before Congress on issues related to roof strength, more realistic real world crash testing, and making vehicles more compatible and less aggressive and on ways to provide equal protection to children and small adults. He has lectured in 35 states as well as in Canada. Todd routinely conducts rollover, drop, and pendulum testing as well as testing on rear structural inadequacies.
James Crawford, Orange, CA – ATLA Convention Topic: In RE Henry Rodriguez: An Inside Look into the Orange County Snitch Scandal
James Michael Crawford graduated from the University of Irvine in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Ecology. He went on to receive his Juris Doctor in 1993 at Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, CA, where he was in the top 20th percentile of his class. While studying law, Mr. Crawford received the American Jurisprudence Awards for Civil Procedure II and Corporations and was also an active member of Delta Theta Phi law fraternity. Mr. Crawford has been practicing Criminal Law since 1994 at both the Trial and Appellate levels. In 2006 Mr. Crawford graduated from the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College.
ATLA’s Annual Convention is April 27 – April 29!
We are extremely proud of our convention speakers, and with good reason. ATLA’s 2017 Annual Convention boasts the best of the best speakers like Maren Chaloupka, a master at trying unusual cases with challenging facts; Kristen Miller, who tackles a wide range of cases from medical malpractice to vaccine litigation; and Katie Hubbard, who specializes in representing women injured by the use of talcum powder products. Their trial skills and wisdom are second to none – come listen and learn! To register and to view the entire agenda click here or visit http://www.arktla.org/convention2017.
Learn more about these speakers below!
Maren Chaloupka, Scottsbluff, NE – ATLA CONVENTION TOPIC – “Innocent” Is Not Enough: Overcoming Barriers to Justice for the Wrongfully Convicted
Maren Chaloupka represents people seriously damaged, and who have lost loved ones, as the result of civil rights violations and governmental negligence, defective products, sexual assault, dangerous premises, intentional acts and professional negligence. Maren also defends persons charged with serious felonies. She handles civil and criminal appeals.
She began working for her beloved father, trial lawyer Robert Chaloupka, when she was 11 years old, and joined her father’s practice full-time in 1998. Maren was blessed by his mentoring, inspiration and friendship until his death in 2009. Bob’s practice and his life set the standard for courage, for not giving up, and for providing dignity and hope to persons broken by grief and despair.
Maren grew up in Scottsbluff and has lived there for most of her life, although her law practice now covers the State of Nebraska and beyond. After earning her law degree in 1995, she served as a judicial clerk to Chief Justice C. Thomas White of the Nebraska Supreme Court. She began practicing law after her clerkship ended in 1996. Since that time, Maren has tried sixty-three civil rights, criminal and personal injury cases to verdict since 1997 and has briefed and argued seventy-five appeals in the state and federal appellate courts. She holds an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been recognized as a SuperLawyer for the Midwest region of the United States.
Maren’s stock in trade has become unusual cases with challenging facts, to include novel and untested legal theories. She enjoys civil rights cases, representing “the least of our brothers” – persons wrongfully accused and convicted of crimes they did not commit, persons abused in custody, and families of mentally ill persons who die in jails, prisons and psychiatric facilities. Her criminal practice primarily focuses on the representation of persons falsely accused of sexual assault. In her civil practice, she represents people harmed by the thoughtless or intentional acts of others. This includes persons harmed by governmental torts who face sovereign immunity defenses. She has testified many times before the Nebraska legislature on issues of interest to her clients.
In 1999, Maren attended Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, a 31-day intensive trial school near Dubois, Wyoming. She was invited to join the faculty of Trial Lawyers College in 2000 and has taught at Trial Lawyers College and its related seminars since then. In 2014, she joined the Board of Directors of Trial Lawyers College. She presents an advanced trial skills training program for Trial Lawyers College every August near Dubois, Wyoming, and serves as the editor-in-chief of Trial Lawyers College’s quarterly journal, The Warrior.
With the support of her firm, she presents The Bob Chaloupka Kick Ass Trial Skills Seminar every November in Scottsbluff, in her father’s honor. Maren is also a volunteer pianist for Theatre West Summer Repertory, and she plays the piano for the Chuckwagon Mission Church. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Riverside Discovery Center. In her “spare” time, Maren administers amateur behavioral therapy for her oversize rescue dog and her murderous assassin of a cat.
Kristen B. Miller, Glen Rock, NJ – ATLA CONVENTION TOPIC – Half the Sky: Why Women Matter
Kristen B. Miller is a trial attorney at Britcher Leone, LLC. Ms. Miller focuses her legal practice in the areas of medical malpractice, products liability, nursing home, personal injury, wrongful death, and vaccine litigation. She is a member of the American Association for Justice, the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), the New Jersey Association for Justice (NJAJ) where she serves on the Board of Governors and is a co-chair of the Women’s Lawyer Trial Caucus, the Women Lawyers in Bergen where she co-chairs the Diversity Committee, and the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. Ms. Miller has been named to the National Trial Lawyers’ Top 40 under 40 and presently serves on its Executive Committee. Since 2013, Ms. Miller has been consistently selected as a New Jersey Super Lawyer Rising Star.
Katie Hubbard, Edwardsville, IL – ATLA CONVENTION TOPIC – Half the Sky: Why Women Matter
Katie Hubbard is a trial attorney pursuing justice for her clients and all people. She specializes in personal injury litigation, including car or trucking accidents, pharmaceutical drugs and medical device litigation, and workers’ compensation. Ms. Hubbard is currently representing women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer following the use of talcum powder products. She also represents individuals in other mass torts including Transvaginal Mesh, Stryker and Wright Hip Replacements, Proton Pump Inhibitors, and IVC Filters. Katie is an Attorney at Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., with offices in Madison County, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri.
Katie was recently re-elected to the American Association for Justice Board of Governors for the 2015-2017 term. In 2013, she was selected to the inaugural class of the American Association for Justice Leadership Academy. She is also a former representative to the Illinois Trial Lawyers’ Association Board of Managers.
She is currently on the Board for the United Way of Greater St. Louis and is the past Chair of the Tri-Cities Area Auxiliary Council. Katie travels to St. Marc, Haiti once a year (or more) as part of a mission to partner with Haitians in providing access to healthcare, economic development, and education through grass roots efforts in that community. She is also the President of Mission 1:11, a non-profit that organizes these efforts.
ATLA’s 2017 Annual Convention is just a few short weeks away. For the ATLA family, this is a wonderful time to cultivate friendships and grow as attorneys. Every year attendees come back ready to implement new learnings. And as the excitement around convention builds, so does the interest in featured speakers! Robot cars, new ways to prepare for trial and how to connect with the jury are hot topics that today’s featured speakers will broach. Read on to learn more about today’s featured speakers, Elise Sanguinetti, Betsy Greene, and Vicki Slater.
Elise Sanguinetti of Oakland, CA, is a founding partner at Arias Sanguinetti Stahle & Torrijos LLP with offices in Oakland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Montreal. Ms. Sanguinetti’s main focus of expertise is serious injury, wrongful death cases, civil appeals and legal malpractice. Elise graduated from the University of San Francisco, School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.). She was admitted into the California state bar in 1997. When not in the courtroom, she is a frequent speaker at seminars and writes articles that are featured in various legal publications. Ms. Sanguinetti is currently the Vice President of the American Association for Justice (AAJ).
ATLA CONVENTION TOPIC – The Future Is Here: Robot Cars
Betsy Greene of Bloomington, IN, was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1982; was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit and 6th Circuit, U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana. Ms. Greene has represented injured people for 28 years. Ms. Greene has been partners with Fred Schultz in the law firm of Greene & Schultz Trial Lawyers, in Bloomington, Indiana, since 2005. Ms. Greene has personally tried over one hundred jury trials in her career.
Ms. Greene is a past president of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association (2006-2007) and has served in the leadership of many other legal organizations, including the Indiana chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. She currently serves on the Board of Governors and various committees for the American Association for Justice. She was also appointed by the Monroe County Board of Judges to the Monroe County Public Defender Board.
Ms. Greene received her first certificate in Civil Trial Advocacy from the National Board of Trial Advocacy in 1995 and has been certified every 5 years since. She is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Ms. Greene has been named a “Super Lawyer” every year the ratings have by been published (and has three times been named as one of Indiana’s top 50 lawyers by the Super Lawyer magazine.). In April, 2015, Ms. Greene was named a “Distinguished Barrister” by the Indiana Lawyer newspaper.
In 2005, Ms. Greene graduated from Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College. Ms. Greene taught Trial Advocacy at the Indiana University School of Law for the spring, 2008 semester. Ms. Greene was President of the alumni board and served on the Board of Directors of the Trial Lawyers College, 2009 to 2011. In 2009, Ms. Greene joined the faculty of the Trial Lawyers College. In addition to teaching for TLC, she is a frequent speaker at American Association for Justice, the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum seminars.
ATLA CONVENTION TOPIC – Innovative Ways to Prepare for Trial
Vicki Slater of Madison, MS, received her J.D., cum laude, from Tulane University in 1992. She became a member of the Louisiana Bar in 1993 and a member of the Mississippi Bar in 1994. She is President and Owner of Vicki R. Slater, Attorney at Law, P.A. Ms. Slater’s practice is dedicated to representing individuals and small businesses that have been injured through acts of negligence, fraud and other wrongful conduct. She also served as a contract public defender with the Office of Capital Defense Counsel. Her practice is 100% devoted to obtaining justice for individuals and small businesses against corporate and government wrongs.
She is Current Chair of the American Association for Justice Women Trial Lawyers Caucus, Past President of Mississippi Association for Justice, Chair of the Council of State Trial Lawyer Presidents, and served on the 2013-2014 American Association for Justice Executive Committee. Vicki is a graduate of The White House Project’s Go Run program. She serves on the faculty of the Trial Lawyer’s College in Dubois, Wyoming where she has taught for twelve years. She is a member of the Mississippi Bar Foundation.
Ms. Slater received the following awards: 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Mississippi Association for Justice, 2014 Outstanding Mississippi Woman Lawyer Award presented by the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association, 2014 Distinguished Service Award presented by the American Association for Justice, 2013 Wiedemann & Wysocki Award presented by the American Association for Justice, 2013 Chicks We Love presented by the Jackson Free Press for outstanding community service, 2010 Mississippi Business Journal Leadership in Law, 2009 Mississippi Association for Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, 2009 Mississippi Association for Justice Woman Advocate of the Year and 2008 Mississippi Association for Justice Consumer Advocate of the Year.
Ms. Slater has mentored many attorneys through scholarships and sponsorships for legal education programs to assist them in furthering their training as lawyers. She is currently supporting women attorneys through her efforts on behalf of the American Association for Justice by supporting the establishment of women’s lawyer caucuses in the various state trial lawyer associations throughout the country. She is a founding member of the Mississippi Association for Justice Women’s Caucus.
In 2015, Ms. Slater ran for Governor of Mississippi.
She and her husband Scott have been married for 22 years, they have a blended family of six children and seven grandchildren. Scott and Vicki are members of Galloway United Methodist Church.
Ms. Slater is creating a women’s political network in Mississippi. She serves on the Hillary Clinton Finance Council, the Hillary Clinton Lawyers Council and represents the Hillary Clinton Campaign as a Mississippi surrogate.
ATLA CONVENTION TOPIC – Voir Dire: Connecting with the Jury
“There’s trial lawyer tough, and then there’s Randi McGinn tough!” – Lawdragon.com
We’re thrilled to have Randi McGinn at ATLA’s 2017 Annual Convention. Randi’s bio is spilt into two sections – the “interesting stuff” and the “boring stuff.” The boring stuff , though, is completely inspiring and impressive. And the interesting stuff? Well…just keep reading. Yeah, she redefines tough.
Hear Randi speak at convention on her topic, “Is It Possible to Hold Police Accountable: Lessons Learned from the First Prosecution in 50 Years of 2 NM Police Officers.” Register at www.arktla.org/convention2017! We even have scholarships available for young lawyers who are first time convention attendees – just email email@example.com to throw your hat into the ring.
Randi McGinn Bio
Interesting stuff: Randi McGinn is the author of “Changing Laws, Saving Lives: How to Take on Corporate Giants and Win,” available through Trial Guides at: http://www.trialguides.com/book/changing-laws-saving-lives/
She is the senior partner in a five woman, two man law firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is known for her creativity in the courtroom and use of demonstrative evidence to visualize opening, direct, cross-examination and closing argument. She has destroyed adverse witnesses by leaving a pretentious Beverly Hills doctor standing in front of the jury covered with post-its and clutching a grapefruit to his chest, by grilling a government snitch until he threw up and by exposing the fact that a world-renowned polygraph expert had been polygraphing his own sperm cells in the dead of night. In a particularly hard won police shooting case, the local SWAT cops once put her face on their Christmas piñata and took turns whacking it with a big stick.
She recently was appointed as a special prosecutor and tried the first murder prosecution in over 50 years of an Albuquerque police officer for an on-the-job shooting. She started her career by giving birth to daughter Heather, now age 36, the day before the three day bar examination.
Boring stuff: First woman president of the Inner Circle of Advocates (top 100 plaintiffs lawyers in the US), double listed in criminal and civil litigation in Best Lawyers in America; International Academy of Trial Lawyers fellow; past AAJ Governor; past president of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers’ Association; NACDL board member, NITA-NCDC-UNM instructor.