The Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL) was founded in Los Angeles in 1973 to develop a better forum for the discussion of business trials. The ABTL is unique in providing a forum in which litigators and judges meet together to address issues important to business trial lawyers. Judicial participation in ABTL programs and events is very strong, in part because the ABTL includes all business litigators, including both plaintiff-focused and defense-focused lawyers.
The Orange County Chapter (ABTL-OC) was founded in 1998 and consists of about 700 members. The ABTL-OC provides top quality legal education programs, combined with social hours where old and new colleagues can meet with each other and with judges over a glass of chardonnay or a pint of ale. The ABTL-OC typically holds its dinner programs in February, April, June, September, and November. At its most recent program on April 13, 2016, national talk radio star Hugh Hewitt regaled us with stories and theories about the 2016 presidential election. At the June 1 dinner program, we heard a team of lawyers from the Orrick firm discuss their pro bono defense of an octogenarian, peace activist nun who was convicted on espionage charges. At that same June program, the ABTL-OC held its annual Robert E. Palmer Wine Tasting Dinner to benefit the Public Law Center.
In addition to its educational dinner programs, the ABTL is known across the state for its unmatched Annual Seminars. In even years (including 2016), the seminar is held in Hawaii; in odd years, it is held somewhere on the mainland. This year’s seminar will take place October 5–9 at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on the island of Maui. The seminars usually draw approximately 400 individuals, most of whom are lawyers and judges from up and down the state.
ABTL-OC also is dedicated to mentoring and fostering relations with its “Young Lawyer Division” (YLD), which is defined as those practicing ten years or fewer, and organizes events throughout the year for those in the YLD. The brown-bag lunch series invites ABTL YLD members to interact with distinguished members of our local bench in an informal setting. Similarly, throughout the year, the YLD organizes “nuts and bolts” programs for our young lawyer members, happy hours, and a year-end judicial mixer. There is no cost to attend these events.
Finally, ABTL-OC is devoted to giving back to the Orange County community. Each year, ABTL-OC participates in building at least one house (often two) for Habitat for Humanity right here in Orange County. And at our November dinner program, the ABTL-OC hosts its holiday gift-giving opportunity, where attendees at the program participate by donating money to select children’s charities or by donating stuffed animals to the Orange County Superior Court’s adoption program, that offers a new stuffed animal to children on the day of their adoption.
Every Orange County litigator is encouraged to join ABTL-OC. The cost is only $90/year and only $75/person if all of a firm’s litigators join. For more information, visit our website at www.ABTL.org, or contact Linda Sampson at 714.516.8106.