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.

Click here to register for the CLE and to view the entire agenda!


Arkansas State Representative Jimmy Gazaway Honored by 
Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association

Jimmy GazawayLITTLE ROCK, ARK. – The Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association honored Arkansas State Representative Jimmy Gazaway with the 2017 Consumer Advocate Award at its 54th Annual Convention in Eureka Springs on Friday, April 28, 2017. The award is given in recognition of outstanding legislative contributions to the administration of justice in Arkansas. Representative Gazaway was chosen for this award because of his dedication to preserve the jury system so that the constitutional rights of his constituents, and all Arkansans, remain intact.

As a freshman Republican representative, Gazaway spent his first term working toward legislation that would improve the health and safety of Arkansans without diminishing their ability to access the civil justice system.

“Representative Gazaway was indispensable in the fight against the devastating proposed constitutional amendment, SJR8,” said outgoing ATLA President Robin Smith. “He delivered an eloquent and impassioned speech on the House floor, working hard to convince his colleagues to improve the legislation and to protect Arkansans’ safety and constitutional rights. It took tremendous courage to make that speech. We know that Representative Gazaway will continue to protect individual rights and our state’s most vulnerable citizens while he serves the people of Arkansas.”

Representative Gazaway is a 2003 graduate of Arkansas State University. He went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law in 2006. Prior to his election to the House, Gazaway served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the 2nd Judicial District of Arkansas from 2008 – 2017. He is a member of the Greene County Bar Association, Arkansas Bar Association, Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce, Paragould Young Professionals, and is a graduate of Leadership Paragould Class XIX.

As a member of the 91st General Assembly, Gazaway serves on the House Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairperson of the Courts & Civil Law Subcommittee, on the House Rules Committee, and on the City, County, & Local Affairs Committee. Representative Gazaway represents District 57, which includes the city of Paragould, where he lives with his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Juilanna.

Hot Springs Circuit Judge Named Outstanding Trial Judge of the Year

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LITTLE ROCK, ARK – The Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association is pleased to announce that Hot Springs Circuit Judge John Homer Wright received the 2017 Outstanding Trial Judge of the Year Award. Judge Wright accepted the award at the ATLA Annual Convention on April 28th, 2017. The award is presented to a jurist who is dedicated to the preservation of the American Justice System, the right to trial by jury, and who is an outstanding jurist in his or her dedication to the preservation of individual rights, and free and fair access to the courts. Judge Wright recognizes the dignity of litigants and their advocates, and has a demonstrated reputation for protecting the rights of litigants.

“Judge Wright is widely known and respected as a fair and just trial judge,” said outgoing ATLA President Robin Smith. “Remarkably, a record nine attorneys nominated him for the Outstanding Trial Judge Award. His efforts to ensure a fair trial for every person who comes into his courtroom is paramount to upholding and protecting the civil justice system, and makes him deserving of this award.”

Judge Wright is an active member of the community, serving on the First Methodist Board of Stewards and the Garland County Library Board of Trustees. He is also a Past President chairman of the Christmas for Kids Foundation, and is the founder and presiding judge of the Garland County Drug Court.

Congratulations Josh Gillispie, ATLA’s 2017 Outstanding Member – Young Lawyer Division!

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Little Rock Attorney Josh Gillispie Named 2017 Outstanding Member – Young Lawyer Division

LITTLE ROCK, ARK – Little Rock Attorney Josh Gillispie of Green & Gillispie, Attorneys at Law was recognized as the 2017 Outstanding Member – New Lawyer Division by the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA). The award was presented at ATLA’s 54th Annual Convention on April 28th, 2017. Mr. Gillispie was chosen for the award because of his demonstrated level of professional excellence and dedication within ATLA.

“Josh has helped to develop our next generation of leaders which is an invaluable service,” said outgoing ATLA President Robin Smith. “His dedication to protecting the civil justice system drives his efforts to connect with law students and younger lawyers, encouraging them and engaging them in the effort protect the rights of their clients.”

Gillispie has been in practice with Green & Gillispie, Attorneys at Law, since 2010. He handles all types of personal injury cases and is passionate about advocating for crime victims injured due to lack of security measures on various premises. He is successfully cultivating a new generation of ATLA members by serving as the New Lawyers Network Law School Liaison for the Bowen School of Law ATLA Student Chapter, and through his leadership role in the ATLA New Lawyers Division. Under his guidance, the UALR Bowen School of Law ATLA Student Chapter won the Best New/Reactivated Student Organization, and also won another award in recognition of the Educational Advocacy Program. Remarkably, in the past year the Bowen Student Chapter of ATLA has grown to over 120 members, which is a direct result of Josh’s dedicated leadership.

Gillispie is an active member of the Arkansas Bar Association and the Pulaski County Bar Association, volunteers as a crime victim assistant, and also regularly aids the Pulaski County Humane Society.

Founded in 1963, The Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) is a statewide association of approx. 1,000 attorneys from all 75 counties that was established to protect the people of Arkansas’ constitutional right to a trial by jury. ATLA supports its mission through advocacy, communications, and continuing legal education.
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Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association Honors Rogers Attorney Frank Bailey

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LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – Rogers attorney Frank Bailey was recently honored with the 2017 Henry Woods Lifetime Achievement Award by the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. Bailey received the award at ATLA’s 54th Annual Convention in Eureka Springs on April 28. 2017. The award is given in recognition, memory and honor of the late United States District Judge Henry Woods and his many contributions, and a lifetime of dedicated service to the civil justice system, the legal profession and to ATLA. The award recognizes a lawyer who has devoted his or her career to helping injured victims and consumers, and has championed the causes of those who lack the money, education or the ability to protect their own rights.

Bailey is Senior Partner and founder of Bailey and Oliver Law Firm, and for 43 years has represented clients throughout Arkansas. His integrity and hard work led to his earning the Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year award in 2009, as well as several other community awards.

Bailey was asked on three separate occasions to serve as an Arkansas Supreme Court Special Justice, served as a counter-intelligence agent for the United States Army during the Vietnam War, and penned many articles for publication on various personal injury subjects. His distinguished career has been devoted to protecting the rights of injured and unfortunate Arkansans.

“Frank Bailey is an Arkansas treasure,” said outgoing ATLA President Robin Smith. “Greatly defined by his compassion and enormous heart, Frank has fully dedicated his life to serving the most grievously injured people and bereaved families. He gives without ceasing to his community through his mentorship and also through pro-bono work for people who need a hand up, and is exceptionally deserving of this award.”

Frank and his wife Pat live in Rogers with their dog Winston. In his free time, Frank enjoys playing classical piano, painting, reading and fly-fishing. He is known for his humble spirit, gentle soul, and incredible lawyering skills.


Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association Names Tre Kitchens 2017 Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year

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LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – The Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association recently named Tre Kitchens of the Brad Hendricks Law Firm in Little Rock the 2017 Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year. Kitchens received the award at the association’s 54th Annual Convention in Eureka Springs on April 28, 2017. The Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year award is highly esteemed and is presented to an attorney dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals and the civil justice system.

Kitchens attended Little Rock Central High School and graduated from Texas Christian University, and then UALR Bowen School of Law. His trial practice emphasizes commercial litigation, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and personal injury.

Kitchens exhibited exceptional trial work over the past year, and his trial strategies and instincts have delivered justice for his clients time and time again. Kitchens’ caseload encompasses an impressively broad scope of trial work, and he is highly regarded among his peers for the intensive care he takes with his clients.

“Tre Kitchens possesses enviable skill, stamina, and instinct – and that makes him a truly outstanding trial attorney,” said outgoing President Robin Smith. “The breadth of the types of cases he takes and his unyielding drive to exhaust every avenue to justice for his clients reveals his dedication to people who are injured and voiceless. He inspires the trust of people who are at their absolute lowest, and he is very deserving of the Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year award. ”

At the awards ceremony, Kitchens expressed his gratitude to the other trial lawyers in attendance and to his mentors, Brad Hendricks and Judge Chip Welch. Tre and his wife Alicia live in Little Rock and have three beautiful daughters. When he is not in trial, Tre enjoys spending time with his kids and going to the lake.

Founded in 1963, The Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) is a statewide association of approx. 1,000 attorneys from all 75 counties that was established to protect the people of Arkansas’s constitutional right to a trial by jury. ATLA supports its mission through advocacy, communications, and continuing legal education.
On the web at


Incoming Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association President Honored at ATLA Annual Convention

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LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – The Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association honored incoming President Joey McCutchen of Fort Smith with the 2017 Roxanne Wilson Advocacy Award at an awards ceremony held in Eureka Springs on Friday, April 28, 2017. McCutchen was chosen for the award based on his activism in the advancement and improvement of the legal system and the legal profession, for his defense of those who cannot find justice for themselves, and for his demonstration of dedication to family, the community, and to ATLA.

McCutchen was sworn in as the 2017 – 2018 President immediately after the awards ceremony.

McCutchen is the founder of McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm, where he represents people with catastrophic personal injuries and actively advocates to protect the civil justice system. McCutchen earned a J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard University. He was the recipient of the 2013 ATLA Citizen Merit Award, has been published in the ATLA Docket several times, and regularly chairs highly impactful Continuing Legal Education seminars featuring nationally renowned speakers.

“I’m honored to serve as president of ATLA, an organization that has led the fight to protect the rights and liberties of Arkansans for over 50 years,” said McCutchen. “Our kids and our grandkids deserve the same rights that we have treasured. When you know about liberty and think of our children, it’s clear that our responsibility is to fiercely protect their rights.”

McCutchen is actively involved in the Fort Smith community, spearheading several safety initiatives including Project Safety, Take 25, and the Second Annual Distracted Driving Safety Program. Because of his remarkable dedication to improving community safety, McCutchen inspired the “Good Works” column in the ATLA Docket, which highlights ATLA members and their community work.

Joey is a resolute defender of the 7th Amendment and is a passionate safety advocate,” said outgoing ATLA President Robin Smith. “He lives and breathes the US and Arkansas Constitutions and Bill of Rights, and defends them with vigor. His commitment to the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and to safety often leads him to the state capitol where his work to educate lawmakers on the importance of protecting the civil justice system has been invaluable to all Arkansans.”

McCutchen’s award ceremony speech emphasized his excitement to serve as president and his continued dedication to protecting the 7th Amendment. Additionally, McCutchen called on award ceremony attendees to continue their efforts to love, serve, and care for their neighbors to build stronger, safer communities. McCutchen dedicated his award to his late wife, Tara, who passed away in March and was a dedicated partner in protecting the 7th Amendment.