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!


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