Chandler & Moore Law co-chair State Bar’s Professional Liability Section CLE seminar
On March 2nd, Chandler & Moore Law’s partner Douglas Chandler co-chaired the Professional Liability Section of the State Bar of Georgia’s seminar “Not Your Typical CLE: What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate,” with the acknowledged support of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) of Georgia and its program director, Ms. Tangela King. Mr. Chandler, Betsy Hodges of Cohen Pollock Merlin & Small, PC, and Brian Smith of The Smith Law Practice spearheaded the seminar. Section Chairman Tom Curvin of the Atlanta office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, LLP, moderated the seminar’s activities.
For attending the seminar, participants were treated to a continental breakfast and lunch, and received 6 CLE hours including 1 ethics hour, 1 professionalism hour, and 2 trial practice hours. The morning kicked off with a question and answer session about malpractice insurance and coverage led by Kim Jackson of Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin, LLC. The focal point of the seminar was a condensed version of a legal malpractice mock trial. Section members participated as parties, witnesses, and counsel for the mock trial. Opening statements were given by Brian Smith, for the plaintiff, and Valerie Sanders of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan for the defense. Chandler & Moore Law partner Bret Moore played the defendant lawyer, and endured a grueling cross-examination by Crystal Filiberto of Hall Booth Smith, PC. Well-known professional liability case mediator Randy Mayer of Mayer & Harper, LLP, played the seasoned expert witness as his liability ladened expert opinions were directed by Roswell attorney Warren Hinds. Bob Wedge, Managing Partner for the Atlanta office of Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP, skillfully showed the ambiguity of Mayer’s expert opinions while thoroughly cross-examining Mayer. The trial was concluded with the energized and engaging closing argument of plaintiff’s counsel Linley Jones of the The Linley Jones Firm, PC, which interestingly drew an unheard of applause from the audience. The defense wrapped up its case with closing being delivered by the skill and persuasion of Elizabeth O’Neill of the Atlanta office of Hawkins, Parnell, Thackston, & Young, LLP.
At the conclusion of the mock trial, attendees split up into “jury groups” to deliberate. The afternoon session began with each “jury group” discussing its deliberations. “It was interesting to see how most of the juries as groups were quick to assign liability to the defendant lawyer and law firm,” Bret Moore said. The seminar concluded with a Professionalism Panel—A View From The Bench—moderated by Betsy Hodges. Members of the Panel included Honorable Herbert E. Phills, Chief Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals; Honorable Stephen A. Dillard, Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals; Honorable M. Gino Brogdon, Sr., Retired Judge, Superior Court, Atlanta Judicial Circuit; Ms. Jenny K. Mittelman, Office of General Counsel, State Bar of Georgia; Brian Smith, and Douglas Chandler. Betsy’s questions focused the Panel discussion on how the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct applied to the facts and circumstances of the mock trial.
ICLE reported that the seminar received a 4.5 grade on a scale of 0-5. Attendees summarized the seminar as “very engaging,” “very entertaining,” “much more interactive than your usual CLE,” an “above average seminar regarding malpractice and attorney responsibilities,” and “the ‘mock trial’ presentation made this the best CLE I have attended. Great work!” One attendee commented, in particular, that O’Neill’s performance during closing was nothing short of “great!”
If your practice involves matters of professional liability, you should join the State Bar’s Professional Liability Section. In addition to its annual seminar, the Section holds quarterly mixers and socials. Additional information can be found about the Section by clicking here.