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6 Litig. Docket 1 (2000-2001)

handle is hein.journals/litigadoc6 and id is 1 raw text is: A PUBLICATION OF THE SECTION OF LITIGATION * AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION e FALL 2000 * VOLUME 6 NUMBER 1
New chair puts focus on membership

t's probably a good thing to
have a Section chair who
likes being a lawyer and likes
being around other lawyers.
That would be Ron Cohen,
the new top dog for Litigation.
Not that there's anything wrong with that
top dog image, but it could be apt in this
case. Though Cohen characterizes his prac-
tice in Phoenix as specializing in very com-
plex commercial litigation, he has done
some pro bono work from time to time.
In one of those cases, he represented an
inmate on death row who had been convict-
ed of murder, a very high-profile case in
Arizona. On dog-scent evidence, we were
able to get a new trial for him. Wonder if
that approach might work in commercial lit-
Beyond his practice area, what are
Cohen's particulars? He calls his hometown
Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated from the
University of Minnesota Law School in 1972.
But it wasn't until 1990 that he took his
connection with the Section beyond reading

its publications. That's when he was involved
in some cases with Section then-Vice Chair
Louise LaMothe, Santa Barbara, Calif. She
asked him to chair a Section Annual Meeting
in his adopted town of Phoenix. I was so
insufficiently grounded in the Section that I
asked her to explain what a Section Annual
Meeting was. So here we are, 10 years later,
and Cohen's the new chair.
So what does he want to do?
Shortly after I was elected vice chair,
we began an effort called 'Shaping Agenda
2000.' We've had a collection of about 40 dif-
ferent members of the Section leadership
working on various Section initiatives. We've
got the support of the Council to sunset
nine task forces; we'll only have four left.
We'll have 11 one-year special projects
focusing on membership benefits and the
use of Section talent to reach out to our
members and to the public at large.
As for specifics, here are two examples of
that reaching out:
0 Continuing efforts of previous chairs,
such as Greg Joseph, New York City, in pro-

King George III at the defense table.

viding guidelines to litigators in the rules
arena. One of these efforts is a special one-
year project on guidelines for settlement
ethics, Cohen says. Right now, such guide-
lines simply do not exist.
0 And then there's the Rule of Law
Project. Again, Cohen: 'We hope to have a
manual that will be available to Third World
countries and emerging democracies, where
they can have a ready guide to rules of civil
procedure and evidence - and, in the
generic, the rule of law.
As should be the case for any Section
chair, Cohen is concerned about member-
ship. We talk a lot about new members, but
it seems to me that retention has to be the
centerpiece of our focus.
He talks of continuing an idea of his pre-
decessor, Tommy Wells, Birmingham, Ala.
We're going to have three major trial-tech-
nique teleconferences during our year. It
will cost our members just $15 to get CLE
credit for each of these programs. We're
going to take Section money to support this
reach-out effort.
Speaking of reaching out, that brings us
back to where we started. Cohen says one of
his central themes will be to foster a
renewed sense of pride in lawyering. Some
of us get so deeply involved in administra-
tion and marketing, in organization and
leadership, that it's nice to have a renewed
sense of joy just in the fundamentals of
advocacy. It's fun to prepare and try cases.
So, yes. He really does like the law. And
lawyers. Doggone right. iml
how could you?
You gotta give that Litigation Section
credit for coming up with imaginative trials
they wish they might have seen in an earlier
life. A couple years back, it was a case
against the folks who built the Titanic. This
July, a special opportunity presented itself.
The ABA split its Annual Meeting into two
locations, New York City and London.
In the London part, the Section decided
it was time to put a couple of Georges on
trial, George Washington and King George
III. No, the patriot was not named after the
Two separate trials were conducted.
When it came to the king, he got a hung jury
on one count and lost on two others. As for
the leader of the revolutionaries, the jury
'voted 4-2 to acquit him of treason; the
upstart left after the trial and returned to
•Mt. Vernon.  I

Litigation Section Chair Ron Cohen

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