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Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting Draws Eminent Speakers;
Explores Ground-Breaking Legal Issues

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» News Release Archive

Montgomery, Ala., July 10, 2007 - Legal luminaries like Los Angeles lawyer Thomas
Mesereau, who successfully defended signer Michael Jackson against charges of child molestation; state Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb; and, members of the state and federal judiciary, are among the major speakers at the Alabama State Bar's 2007 Annual Meeting in Point Clear, July 18-21.

Also featured at this premier gathering of the state's legal professionals are panel programs that will examine the work of judges in high-profile cases, the potential influences on their decision-making and the unpleasant ramifications caused by controversial decisions; a discussion of how the stresses and strains of practicing law contribute to the profession's "unhealthiness;" and a cutting-edge examination of the intellectual property debate surrounding licensing of collegiate trademarks.

The state bar's decision and policy-making body, its Board of Bar Commissioners, will meet on Saturday to debate and vote on a series of changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which regulate the daily business and ethical behavior of all 15,500 lawyers admitted to practice in Alabama.

Among program highlights:

Wednesday, July 18:
"Transitioning as a Renewal Process: A Guide for Firm Managers, Retiring Partners and Solos" 1-4 p.m.
This three-hour program reviews how retirement as a series of developmental steps over an extended period of time and not the end all of a career in law. Because this new stage of professional life starts for some people in their early to mid-50’s and lasts well into their mid-70's, the aging of the workforce is a phenomenon that law firms can no longer ignore.
Speaker: Stephen P. Gallagher, President, Leadershipcoach.us, Philadelphia, PA

2007 ANNUAL MEETING

Thursday, July 19:
Opening Plenary Session - 9-10 a.m.
"Law with a Punch - Media, Cameras, Gag Orders – Ethics in High-Profile Cases"
Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr. is a trial attorney and former amateur boxer best known for successfully defending Michael Jackson in a 2005 child molestation case. His celebrity criminal defense work is balanced by his personal and professional commitment to seek justice for the legally underserved victims of criminal prosecution. He donates his time, personal funds and criminal defense skills once a year to represent low-income, African-American criminal defendants facing the death penalty in Alabama and Mississippi. He is a founding partner of Mesereau & Yu LLP, a small general practice firm in Century City, California.

Second Plenary Session - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
"Judicial Review: Federal and State Judges Make Their Case"
A panel of federal and state judges will review significant developments in the courts such as an analysis of the revisions to the Model Code of Judicial Conduct which has been approved by the American Bar Association.

Moderator: Dean John Carroll, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
Panelists: Hon. Sharon L. Blackburn, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama
Hon. Mark E. Fuller, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama
Hon. Virginia S. Granade, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama
Hon. Emmett Ripley Cox, Senior Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Hon. J. Scott Vowell, Presiding Judge, 10th Judicial Circuit
Hon. Charles Graddick, Presiding Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit
Hon. Charles Price, Presiding Judge, 15th Judicial Circuit
Bench-Bar Luncheon – 12:30 - 2 p.m.

The bar will present its annual awards to honor outstanding members of the legal profession in Alabama and will recognize local bar associations throughout the state for advancing programs that benefit the community and enhance the profession's reputation. In addition, the Volunteer Lawyer Program (VLP) of the bar will confer the outstanding pro bono volunteer of the year award which spotlights the pro bono efforts of individual attorneys, law firms and law students in the state who have represented the poor and disadvantaged without compensation.
Guest Speaker: Prof. Charles W. Gamble, University of Alabama School of Law.

Friday, July 20:
Plenary Session - 9-10 a.m.
"How Lawyers Can Stay Healthy and Keep the Bottom Line in Shape"
The stress and strains of law practice can be costly but managing them through wellness programs can save law firms money in lower health-care costs, greater productivity and reduced absenteeism. Other studies show that wellness programs also lift morale and can improve decision-making. Jill Fonte, human performance coach, Human Performance Institute, Philadelphia., Pa., will show attendees how to sustain high performance in the practice of law by managing energy, not time.

Featured Workshop - 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
"Brand U: How Collegiate Institutions and Others Protect and License Their Trademarks"
This program will explain how the University of Alabama, Auburn University, and other colleges protect intellectual property trademarks such as, "Big Al" and "War Eagle" from counterfeiting in sports apparel, videogames, books. The collegiate product industry is estimated to be a $2.7 billion dollar retail industry according to most estimates.
Speaker: Bruce B. Siegel, Senior VP and General Counsel, The Collegiate Licensing Co., Atlanta, GA

Fifth Annual Maud McLure Kelly Award Luncheon - Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Camille Wright Cook, dean emeritus of the University of Alabama School of Law, will receive the award which is presented by the Women’s Section of the state bar. Maud McLure Kelly, the namesake of the award, was the first woman to be admitted to the practice of law in Alabama. In 1907, Kelly's performance on the entrance exam at the University of Alabama Law Department merited her admission to the school as a senior, the second woman ever to have been admitted. She graduated with highest honors in only one year and was said to have considered her acts of opening the door for women to the active, actual practice of law in Alabama as her most important contribution.

Saturday, July 21:
Grande Convocation
"State of the Judiciary" - 9:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
In her first major address since becoming Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Sue Bell Cobb will review advances made by the state’s judiciary to improve the administration of justice.

Samuel N. Crosby, a shareholder in the law firm of Stone, Granade & Crosby, P.C. will be installed as the 129th president of the Alabama State Bar for the bar year 2007-08. As President, Crosby will lead the 15,500 member organization. He is the second Baldwin County lawyer elected to serve as president; the first was Norborne C. Stone, Jr. of Bay Minette. Crosby's first act will be to select Shelby County lawyer, Alicia F. Bennett, as the first African-American woman to serve as vice-president in the organization’s history. Crosby received his undergraduate degree with academic distinction from the University of Virginia (1973) and earned his law degree from the University of Alabama (1978) where he was a member of the Bench and Bar Honor Society, Honor Court, and the Moot Court Board.

The Alabama State Bar is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility, competence and satisfaction of its members; improving the administration of justice and increasing public understanding and respect for the law.

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