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  • Message From The President

    The strength of the San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Association has always been the wisdom of the women and men that make up our membership.  The collective diversity of practice areas reflected within this organization ranges dramatically from personal injury to business litigation, from maritime to bad faith, from employee rights to civil rights.  We are represented by large firms, small firms and solos. The trial lawyers in this great organization, with their novel ideas and technological savvy, shape the litigation jurisprudence landscape.  The entire country looks to us as the cradle of new ideas.

     

    For 70 years the purpose of the SFTLA has been to educate and train trial lawyers by sharing ideas and learning from each other, achieve rulings and advance individual rights. Initiated by the incomparable Melvin Belli, who I used to sit and talk with as a bike messenger in the 1980s, the earliest meetings were held in homes to discuss judicial rulings and temperaments, frequently encountered defense attorneys and witnesses, trial tactics and the future of consumer advocacy.  They created an impressive roster of successful trial attorneys, the foundation of which we stand upon as one of the most respected plaintiff organizations in America protecting individual rights.

     

    Fast forward nearly three quarters of a century and we are still here.  Our primary goals have not changed, but we are much more modern and organized.   Today we have the benefit of The Trial Lawyer Magazine and The List-serve to communicate ideas among our members.  We also have dedicated committees like the Trial Oversight Committee (our liaison to the courts), Education Committee (presenting CLEs) and The Experts Committee (creating arsenals of information on defense experts), which have supplanted the living room talks of the 1950s.  But we have expanded and improved the organization to include Committees that reflect changes in our legal environment.  Some of those include the New Lawyer’s Committee (to guide and promote young lawyers), the Charlene Caldwell Scholarship (Mock Trial among the local law schools), Women’s Caucus (to develop and encourage membership of women) and the Diversity Committee (promoting diversity in our membership, as well as creating a fellowship for law students).  In addition, we have created Ad Hoc committees that focus on short term and immediate issues of the day in order to keep our finger on the pulse of the things that matter to this legal litigation community.  We have even added two big social events celebrating the achievements of our members and to show appreciation of our judiciary with the Trial Lawyer of the Year and Judge’s Dinner Galas. 

     

    As a longtime member of this legal community and working closely with the SFTLA over my career, I am an ardent supporter of the programs and efforts this organization makes to adapt to the legal, social and political challenges of our day.  I am thankful for the wealth of experience and knowledge that comes from my association with you.  As President, I will be committed to listening to the ideas of members and sponsors about the organization to ensure we continue to be relevant, competent and at the cutting edge of litigation.  Only then can we best serve our community.

     

    To that end, some of my primary goals of this year include updating our website to make it more modern and user friendly; adding new members, particularly of underrepresented legal disciplines, along with educational programing that is relevant to litigators across many disciplines; finding new ways to promote our sponsors; and, preserving the integrity of this great organization.  I wish all of you a safe and healthy 2020!

     

    President

    Markus Willoughby

     

    Upcoming SFTLA Events

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