According to the February 25, 2014 Report from the National Association of Women Lawyers, its annual survey reveals little change in the  compensation, leadership roles, rainmaking, and equity partnership of women at the nation’s largest 200 firms. See National Association of Women Lawyers 2014 Eighth Annual National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms (February 2014).  In addition, recent NALP research found that while overall representation of minorities among associates at large firms has more than recovered since sliding in 2010, the representation of African-Americans/Blacks specifically has in contrast declined every year since 2010 — from 4.36% of associates in 2010 to 4.10% in 2013.  See Perspectives on Diversity, NALP Bulletin, June 2014.  Some additional statistics related to African Americans reported in the ABA Journal recently are as follows:

  • Only 3 percent of lawyers in large law firms are African American, and only 1.9 percent of partners are African American;
  • Although the percentage of all minorities increased slightly last year, at 223 reporting law firms the number of African American lawyers fell;
  • Out of 77 Am Law 100 firms that reported minority numbers for equity partnerships, 31 either had no African American equity partners or just one. 
Statistics on the slow progress of women and minorities at law firms highlights the importance of continued diversity efforts, such as the DRI Diversity Seminar and Expo.  

During the upcoming DRI Diversity for Success Seminar, attendees will learn about new diversity initiatives created by a bar association, law firm, and corporation. Attendees will also learn about the training and exposure needed to develop clients. During the Expo, attendees will use the tips they have learned during interviews with corporations, seeking to diversify their outside counsel.

The 2014 DRI Diversity for Success Seminar and Expo will be held June 12-13, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Click here for additional information on the Diversity for Success Seminar. DRI members may still register to attend on-site with payment by check or credit card.

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Categories: Diversity | DRI Brand | DRI Committees

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DRI Online Communities

Posted on May 22, 2014 02:28 by Admin

On May 21, DRI rolled out the new committee online communities.  The new communities will enhance DRI’s web presence and will allow committee members to connect with each other and share information more easily.  Each community will have a discussion list, which will replace the current list serve, as well as a document library, blog, and calendar.  Committees will also be able to post announcements about their seminars and publications, and promote open positions and volunteer opportunities.  All posts are sent to members as a daily digest from the communities, unless a member changes his or her settings to real-time delivery.   The communities are designed to be the hub for all committee activity. 

There are six substantive law committees serving as the pilot group: Commercial Litigation, Employment and Labor Law, Product Liability, Women in the Law, Workers’ Compensation, and Young Lawyers.  Additional committee communities will go live over the course of the year.

Members can access the communities through the DRI website,  (there is a new link in the top blue navigation bar).  Committee members are automatically members of the respective community and are being notified via email. Members should call (312) 695-6221 if they are having trouble logging in to the site.

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Thank You

Posted on December 31, 2013 03:43 by Admin

To the bloggers and readers of DRI Today:

DRI would like to use this opportunity to thank you for your commitment, once again, to the DRI Today blog. Throughout the course of the year this blog has received multiple entries as well as several new bloggers, representing nearly every substantive law committee and practice area, and for that, we say THANK YOU. 

Your efforts have provided quality content and food for thought for your fellow DRI members and throughout the legal community. We would also like to thank our officers, board of directors and committee leaders, as well as their companies and firms, for their hard work throughout this past year. We appreciate your support and engagement within the DRI community. We look forward to working with all of you in 2014. 

Please continue to submit your entries to the DRI Today blog, as well as our sister blog, DRI Happenings. Look for new blog content beginning on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year. 

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Categories: DRI Brand

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DRI and The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals announced today that they are joining forces to provide you with access to the biographies and calendars of NADN members across more than 45 states.

All DRI members will now have immediate access to NADN's live database of more than 800 top-rated, litigator approved neutrals via This new DRI Neutral Database allows defense counsel to search by state, type of civil dispute, ADR practice expertise and other criteria important to defense counsel. Given NADN's rigorous due diligence interview procedures, DRI members are assured that the neutrals resulting from any searches are considered amongst the top ADR practitioners, as rated by both defense and plaintiff's attorneys in any given state.'s live calendar functionality will also prove useful to DRI members who may wish to confirm which of the top local mediators or arbitrators is available on a preferred date.

"DRI is excited about partnering with the NADN to make the Academy's database of neutrals available to our entire membership," said John R. Kouris, DRI Executive Director. "In addition to serving as a tremendous resource, the database will provide DRI members with great value."

"We're delighted to partner with DRI in providing defense firms with access to detailed biographies of the nation's top mediators and arbitrators," said Darren Lee, Executive Director of NADN. "Since 2008, we've sought the feedback of defense and plaintiff attorneys in many states in order to identify those neutrals that litigators trust to mediate or arbitrate their own cases. This project has allowed us to compile a terrifically useful roster of proven ADR practitioners - from solo practice mediators, to panelists with respected ADR organizations. We look forward to working with DRI in the years to come, providing its members with a reliable roster of the most experienced ADR attorneys."

The DRI neutral database is for members only - another great benefit of DRI membership.  For more information on this benefit and other resources DRI offers to help grow your practice, visit or call our Customer Service Department at 312.795.1101.

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People often ask me why they should join DRI. After all, there are lots of organizations out there for lawyers.  Joining a legal association costs money and can take away from billable time. 

So then, why DRI? 

Bang for the buck. 

That’s right. Bang for the buck. There is no other group that will give you back as much as you put in.   If you are looking for a way to expand your referral network, enjoy the highest quality continuing legal education, and make friends that will last a lifetime, there is no other place to go. 

But don’t just take it from me. After all, I’ll admit it. I’m biased. I love DRI and the Women in the Law Committee (WITL).  It’s been the most personally and professionally rewarding organization I’ve ever been involved with in my fifteen years of practice.  Instead, let me share with you what several dozen other women had to say about the WITL Committee.

In June of 2012, nearly three dozen women gathered together in Chicago for a WITL Committee Leadership meeting.  During the meeting, I asked the women in the room to tell me why they joined DRI’s and the Women in the Law Committee.  I wanted to know if the same things that drew me to this dynamic group were the things that others recognized as well. 

The result was overwhelming. As I stood at the blackboard and wrote down the words and phrases that the women in the room called out, I realized that we had something very special - - something that so many other women would want to be a part of. 

So, what did the women in the room say about WITL?  Here are some of the things they said:
-Skills development
-Business referrals 
-Genuine friendships
-Lots of opportunities
-Women helping women
-Professional growth and development
-Leadership training
-Cross-generational access to other women lawyers
-Means to help younger women lawyers
-Positive impact on community
-Mentoring inside and outside of DRI
-Opportunity to meet in-house women
-Inspiration and “re-charging”
While these items are from all women, they can all be said of all DRI committees.  If these things appeal to you, then consider joining DRI and one of our 29 substantive law committees (including Women in the Law).  After all, when’s the last time you did something so beneficial to your legal career that was also “fun”!

Lana A. Olson
Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC
400 20th Street North
Birmingham, AL, 35203 
(205) 581-1514

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A Word from DRI's Membership Committee

Posted on January 31, 2013 01:58 by Jennifer Muse

Welcome!  I have been a member of DRI since 2007.  A partner at a former law firm suggested that I join DRI to develop my practice.  At the first conference I attended (Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute), he introduced me to friends he had made over the years and encouraged me to get involved.  Little did I know six years later, I would be a DRI success story and that DRI would ask me and my new friend, Steve Crislip (a member since 1982), to help get the word out about the benefits of a DRI membership through a Membership Blog.  

On a bi-weekly basis (every other Thursday), DRI and its Membership Committee will use the DRI Blog to provide you with information about the benefits of a DRI membership.  We will provide answers to some of the most often asked questions and help you navigate the waters so that you can get what you want out of your DRI membership.  We will provide you with useful information about the various substantive law committees (i.e., upcoming seminars, the structure of the committee and ideas for how to get involved).  We will highlight some of the best features of a DRI Membership including DRI On-Line, DRI Today, For the Defense, In-House Defense Quarterly, the DRI Member Directory and DRI’s Expert Witness Database.  We will provide you with instructions and ideas on how to update your DRI profile in the DRI Member Directory to make it work for you.  We will also use the blog to shine a spotlight on some of the members who have helped make DRI the organization it is today and let them tell you their success stories and how DRI has helped them in their careers.  

We don’t want the blog to just be about what DRI has to offer.  We want (need) to hear from you.  Ask us your questions.  Let us know how DRI can improve your membership experience so that we can make DRI work for you.    

With that said, DRI and the Membership Committee would like to officially welcome you to its Membership Blog.  We look forwarding to sharing our knowledge and hearing from you!

Jennifer Muse
Anderson McPharlin & Conners LLP
Los Angeles, CA 
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The Approach to Diversity

Posted on October 18, 2012 02:24 by Alison Y. Ashe-Card

“Is dicing the workforce into pre-set categories going to encourage working together,” ponders author Liz Ryan.  In a recent Harvard Business Review article, she describes a recent diversity conference with which she was involved where concurrent sessions were held focusing on women, Baby Boomers, the GLBTQ population, Asians, African-Americans, and the physically challenged.  Ryan suggests, "We are not going to get better at confronting the differences that hamper our ability to work together by separating our people into broad-brush groups... Instead, we're going to get better at celebrating the family backgrounds, religious traditions, and ethnic heritage that our people bring with them to work. We can do that by talking about it — all the time — and by teaching people to talk about the 'sticky human stuff' in general."  She advocates that barriers will be broken down when we actively engage in conversations about our differences.

DRI has demonstrated that it is on the path to becoming a thought leader on the issue of diversity within our profession.  A core centerpiece of DRI’s diversity efforts is the Diversity for Success Seminar and Corporate Expo which will be held on May 30, 2013 in Chicago.  Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but how they perceive others. Those perceptions affect their interactions.  The Diversity for Success Seminar provides a forum for attendees to have courageous, thought-provoking discussions about our differences and the role it plays in our firms, businesses and in the legal profession. 



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To my DRI Brothers and Sisters – this year’s DRI Annual Meeting will be spectacular with Block Buster Speakers, exciting CLE programming, 8+ panel counsel meetings  and a Thursday night social event at the Super Dome. The City of New Orleans is as vibrant as ever and the locals are waiting for us all with open arms. Join us for what will be for sure the best ever Annual Meeting we have ever had.

See you in a couple of weeks

Carlos Rincon –

Board Member, former Trucking Law Chair, Texan in dire need for some Cajun food



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On June 14, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM”).  This document solicits comments on standardized options that CMS is considering implementing to enable “beneficiaries and their representatives” to “meet their obligations to protect Medicare’s interest” with respect to future medicals in liability settlements (including self-insurance). Comments will be accepted for sixty (60) days from the date that the ANPRM is published in the Federal Register.

If you have a few moments, would you please read this DRI Medicare Secondary Payer (“MSP”) Task Force Advisory and respond to the address noted below with some comments?  We think it is worth your time.  We are working to influence and secure additional clarity from CMS about how any new obligation will impact resolution of liability claims (single event and mass tort) in the years to come.  Moreover, defendants and claimants are all “equally yoked” in efforts to ensure any new obligation is clearly defined and fact-specific as well as scalable and cost/time efficient to administer.


In the memo, CMS acknowledges that parties in the liability settlement context have been seeking definitive guidance on the issue of future medicals expenses in liability settlements.  CMS further acknowledges that while such guidance and a corresponding process has been available in workers’ compensation context, no such guidance or process has been established for meeting MSP obligations with respect to future medicals in the liability settlement context to date.  As such, the CMS memo specifically requests comment on “whether and how Medicare should implement such a similar process in liability insurance situations as well as comment on … proposed options” outlined in the memo.

The Proposed Options

CMS states that its interests should be considered in every settlement where the claimant, “reasonably anticipates receiving, or should have reasonably anticipated receiving Medicare covered…services after the date of “settlement…”.  To accomplish this purpose, CMS proposes options  ranging from absolute exemptions on one end of the spectrum (i.e., CMS defined a set of circumstances in which no further action would be necessary / no “set aside” required) to alternatives on the other end of the spectrum that involve a) the beneficiary paying for all future injury-related care out of his/her settlement proceeds until they are exhausted or b) submitting a proposed Medicare Set Aside arrangement (similar to the current process in workers’ compensation).With regard to the latter options, it is important to note that CMS acknowledges that perhaps thresholds could be established (i.e., a dollar amount below which no action is necessary even if one of the other exemptions do not apply).

Further, CMS appears to be considering a process whereby the beneficiary could pay the entire MSA amount “up front” as opposed to having to administer a set aside arrangement into the future.In addition, one can read the memo to suggest that CMS recognizes that efficiency will be gained by creating certain injury classifications for purposes of pre-screening cases as eligible for the various options (e.g., if claim involves injury classification with Injury Severity Score (“ISS”) below x, then no further action required).

Medicare has also recognized the importance of including procurement cost offsets in their calculations.

A link to the full CMS memo can be found at:

What to Expect from the DRI MSP Task Force?

Without doubt, the options and related process that areultimately implemented must have scale and efficiency.Toward that end, the DRI MSP Task Force will be preparing commentary to submit to CMS and would be pleased to hear from you as we prepare our memo.  Our hope is to help assert a collective voice for clarity, efficiency and practicality. Please contact John Cattie, Vice Chair of the DRI MSP Task Force, at (704) 559-4300 or to provide those comments and express your concerns.  If emailing, please put “DRI MSP Task Force: Future Medicals and Liability Claims” in the subject line.

The DRI MSP Task Force will be monitoring all guidance from CMS to continue to update our guidance and advice to DRI members.  All DRI members should begin to consider how such proposed rules may affect their clients.  The DRI MSP Task Force will continue to provide educational outlets (such as the DRI MSP Task Force website at: as well as our next MSP Task Force webcast on LMSAs [date to be announced]).  

As we read between the lines of the CMS memorandum, we are very pleased to see that CMS recognizes that a) there should not be a default rule under which an MSA is required in every liability settlement; b) screening should be done on a fact-specific, case-by-case basis; and c) such screening must be highly-scalable and time/cost effective.

We appreciate your feedback as we prepare our comments to CMS.  Further, we will continue to keep you up to date as additional information becomes available. All comments and feedback should be submitted to John Cattie at with the subject line “DRI MSP Task Force: Future Medicals and Liability Claims.”

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Categories: DRI Brand | Insurance Law | Medicare

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May 1 is Law Day

Posted on May 1, 2012 04:35 by Matthew Cairns

I often find it curious that Law Day falls on May 1st.  Growing up, May 1st was always the day the news carried pictures of over the top parades in Red Square in Moscow where the USSR would display its missiles, goose stepping soldiers and mummified Politburo.  In hindsight, that seems quite antithetical to what I now celebrate on May 1st – the rule of law that sets our country apart from all others.  Being a lawyer should be and most often is a noble profession.  Incrementally, lawyers and judges shape the rules of conduct for society.  We protect the rights of individuals who are victims of crime.  We hold the government’s feet to the fire when it seeks to deprive a person of liberty.  We work to ensure that injured persons are fairly compensated when they prove their case to a jury of their peers.  We provide the vehicles for businesses to form, grow, prosper and provide jobs.  We protect assets at death so that heirs can enjoy the fruits of their loved ones’ hard work.  So on May 1, 2012, remember the great things lawyers and judges do for society and all of us, and not the punch lines of inane lawyer jokes. 

Matt is a partner with Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell in Concord, New Hampshire.  He is the DRI Immediate Past President.  He also sits on the Board of Directors for the NFJE and LCJ.

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