By John Givens
I am humbled and honored to serve as The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 President for 2021. This year, like every year before it, will present unique and unpredictable challenges for each and every one of us, as men, women, and advocates for our clients and causes. This year’s challenges will include being in the midst of a still-raging global pandemic and a seemingly unprecedented, divided nation.
While I am as optimistic as I have ever been that we, as trial lawyers, will continue to do good for society and well by our clients, these new and evolving challenges will unquestionably change how the vast majority of us have practiced law to this point. In a world where cold, hard facts and baseless conspiracy theories are treated equally, but socially conscious protesters and violent insurrectionists are not, it is more important than ever that we stand together, cooperate, and collaborate to effectively represent the interests of our clients and more effectively engage in the practice of law.
The network of like-minded, motivated advocates for justice provided by the Top 40 Under 40 and the larger NTL organization, as well as other trial bars/organizations, is ideally constructed to help us, its members, organize clear and effective attacks on the enemies of our clients. Helping you sculpt your case to fit the deeply entrenched confirmation biases of your jurors, especially given the current widespread aversion to common sense and logic, is precisely what this organization exists to do. The Trial Lawyers Summit, through its programming and the relationships you will build there, will provide you with novel and proven techniques to address these challenges, giving you and your clients the best possible opportunity to secure justice in the face of unpredictable predispositions.
It is axiomatic, but it bears repeating at every opportunity – Trials are the backbone of our civil justice system. Putting on evidence and getting judgements for your clients is the only true sword that individuals have in the fight to hold power to account in this country, that reckoning does not happen outside of a courtroom. The civil defense bar, already well aware that time, delay, and obstruction are some of the best arrows in their quiver, is now armed with unprecedented new excuses to delay; some unquestionably legitimate, others dubious to be sure.
It is more important now than ever to take the effective techniques being used successfully by your brothers and sisters of our bar to be implemented in your own jurisdictions. Similarly, the technology and infrastructure vendors that support this organization can help you overcome the very real pitfalls of practicing law during a pandemic in tangible and meaningful ways. Some delay will not be avoidable but our clients, bar, and, in fact, civil society depend on your ability to press for justice at all costs, even in the presence of a deadly national pandemic. Please, use what NTL has to offer to help you pursue justice.
While I am certainly grateful for the opportunity to serve as this year’s Top 40 Under 40 President, I am selfishly more grateful for the opportunity to meet and form lasting relationships with more of you, the members of this organization. I cannot tell you just how much I am looking forward to, with any luck, meeting many more of you face to face in the year to come.