Beasley Allen Law Firm hosted its 11th annual Legal Strategies Conference & Expo at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center Thursday, Nov. 16, and Friday, Nov. 17. Approximately, 1,500 Alabama lawyers in private practice attended the event and were treated to an inside look, start-to-finish, at a recent case Beasley Allen successfully litigated, which was a new approach to presenting cutting-edge trends and information in the profession.
The conference’s new approach included a special appearance by Colin Lacy, whose unique perspective as a client reinforced the important role of trial lawyers in the country’s civil justice system.
Lacy explained that the accident has been the worst thing that has ever happened to him, but the best thing, too. It helped him realize how short life can be and that it can change in the blink of an eye. He told attendees, “What you do makes a difference and has made a difference to me. My team [of attorneys] had my back and actually cared about me.”
Lacy’s spine was severed at the T-10 level when the Freightliner truck he was driving went out of control on Interstate 10 near Niceville, Florida, in 2011. The accident occurred because Empire Truck Sales, LLC, which had just serviced the truck, left a lateral control rod detached and caused a defect in the truck’s brake system. Lacy spent more than two months in the hospital following the accident and will spend the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair. A Mobile, Alabama, jury returned an $18.79 million verdict in Lacy’s favor following a trial in 2015.
“Lawyers can easily get wrapped up in day-to-day tasks, but at the end of the day, the heart of our job is getting justice for our clients,” said Beasley Allen Principal and Lead Products Liability attorney Greg Allen. “There is no better reminder than hearing directly from a client about the impact his legal team had on his case and his life after one of the worst tragedies a person can experience.”
Lacy first connected with Charlie Potts, an attorney with Briskman and Binion law firm in Mobile, Alabama. After attending the legal conference in previous years, Potts decided to partner with Beasley Allen to get justice for the young man. As an active member of the trial team, Potts’ commitment to helping jurors understand what happened to Lacy and how it would affect him the rest of his life was integral to the team’s success.
“I am proud to have worked with the team of Beasley Allen lawyers on Colin’s case,” Potts said. “This fine young man had his whole life ahead of him when one company’s neglectful actions tragically changed his life forever. It was an honor to help successfully achieve justice for such a deserving young man.”
Throughout the two-day event, the lineup of award-winning and accomplished speakers presented on topics of Product Liability, Business Litigation, Consumer Fraud, Medical Device and Drug Litigation as well as Legal Ethics. Attorney speakers walked attendees through Lacy’s case, sharing key tips on the different aspects of preparing a case for trial.
“It’s important for lawyers to stay up-to-date on evolving trends and technology that can help us advocate more successfully for our clients,” said Beasley Allen Principal Gibson Vance. “Beasley Allen is pleased to provide a venue and resources for our colleagues throughout the state. And, while it’s risky to introduce change after more than a decade of hosting this type of event, the feedback about the new approach was overall positive and encouraging.”
Beasley Allen Principal & Founder Jere Beasley also discussed the important role lawyers play in improving society. Additional special guest speakers included Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall; Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO Dr. David Bronner; Alabama Association for Justice President Frank Woodson; Co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center Morris Dees; the Alabama State Bar’s Executive Director Phillip McCallum, Alabama State Bar President Augusta S. Dowd, and ASB General Counsel Doug McElvy; best-selling author and international technology expert Jabez LeBret; and Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program Director Robert Thornhill.
Attendees visited with more than 20 of the nation’s top legal service providers along with this year’s platinum sponsors, Jackson Thornton Valuation and Litigation Consulting Group and Freedom Reporting, Inc. Other sponsors included Baker Realtime Reporting, Berny Office Solutions, Forge Consulting, Garreston Resolution Group, Martindale-Hubbell and Verscend. Representatives from other legal and community groups, including the Alabama State Bar and the Alabama Association for Justice, were also on hand to share information with conference participants about how their organizations assist Alabama lawyers.
“We have been pleased to welcome the Beasley Allen Legal Conference in Montgomery for more than a decade.” said Dawn Hathcock, Vice President, Destination & Brand Development for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. “The conference provides lawyers from all over the state an opportunity to see everything Montgomery has to offer as a destination, and we hope that translates into return visits for vacations, events or additional meetings. In addition, hosting nearly 2,000 attendees at the state’s largest legal conference provides a huge economic impact in the River Region estimated to be roughly a million dollars.”