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Message by Elizabeth Jesukiewicz Frey

Elizabeth Jesukiewicz Frey (Jack Olender & Associates, P.C., Washington, DC) received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is a member of MTLA’s President’s Club as a Founder, and serves on the Executive and Legislative Committees. She previously served as Chair of the Membership Services, Education and Program and New Lawyer Committees. Ms. Frey is also a member of ATLA, The American Association of Nurse Attorneys, the Maryland State Bar Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and the Trial Lawyer Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC. Her practice concentrates in medical malpractice and personal injury.

As you are likely now aware, the Associ-

ation of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) has embarked on an unprecedented public education and communications campaign last year to educate the public on the im- portance of the civil justice system and the lawyers who work in it. On July 19, 2006, during ATLA’s membership meeting at the Seattle convention, ATLA’s members voted overwhelmingly to change the name of the association to the American Association for Justice (AAJ). The goal of ATLA’s communication

campaign is to tell the public the true story about who we are and what we are fighting for. The decision by ATLA mem- bers to change the name was just one step in that larger effort. We fight to ensure that every person has access to justice and can get a fair shake - even when up against the most powerful interests. Those who supported the change did so in the belief that the name of the organization should reflect what we do—seek justice. They believed that emphasizing our mis- sion and not ourselves, is the key to our future. In the courtroom, we work hard to

frame our case for the jury. We help the jury understand why our client deserves justice. The court of public opinion works the same way. ATLA believed a name change was the logical next step in a larger effort to change the way we communicate our role in protecting and strengthening the civil justice system.

MTLA has provided its members with

three opportunities to hear the research and ask questions about ATLA’s name change.

• On May 17, 2006, MTLA offered, for no fee, the Edward M. Ricci program on “How Juries & the Public Perceive Trial Lawyers. How Can we Change It?”

• On May 19, 2006, ATLA President Ken Suggs addressed our membership at the president’s dinner and spoke about the basis and status of ATLA’s name change.

• June 28, 2006, ATLA President Ken Suggs and CEO Jon Haber conducted a conference call and web presentation on the name change for all MTLA members.

MTLA is considering a correspond-

ing name change similar to ATLA’s. A taskforce is being formed to examine and study this issue and to report their find- ings and recommendations to the board of governors. MTLA’s primary goal this year will

be to improve our internal and external communications. We began this process by hiring a director of communications, Judith LaVoie, and an assistant director of communications, Kristin Piasecki. Secondly, we restructured our committees

so that those dealing with communica- tions fall under one committee and work together to apply a consistent commu- nications effort that is focused. Third, on June 30th

, we reinstated our monthly

e-newsletter, the Blast, which consists of (a) Appellate Court Alert by Irwin E. Weiss; (b) MTLA News; (c) National Le- gal News; (d) Useful Links; and (e) a list of the sponsors who support us and provide products and services which enhance our practice. On October 12th

and 13th

, the lead-

ership of MTLA will go through a professionally-guided long range planning retreat to determine its mission and goals. This will be the first long range planning retreat in four years. To aid us in preparing for the event and for MTLA to be the as- sociation you need, please respond to our questionnaire, which was mailed to you on September 1st

. We want your input

on ways to better communicate with and serve you. I am grateful to have this opportunity

Pre Settlement Funding • Law Firm Financial Products

John Friedson President

P.O. Box 1339 • Rockville, Maryland 20849 (301) 984-0600 Fax: (301) 984-0719 Email: 4 Trial Reporter Summer 2006

to give back to MTLA for all it has given to me. Through MTLA, I have made lifelong friends and valuable contacts and join hundreds of members who pool their knowledge and resources to help each other to become more successful every day. I am particularly grateful for the op- portunity to work with immediate Past President Alison Kohler, a true friend and an outstanding leader whose accomplish- ments were exceptional. Alison has left a legacy upon which this year’s leadership can build. I am also grateful for the op- portunity to work with the lawyers who regularly volunteer their precious time, talent and resources as valued members of our board of governors, sections, and committees (see MTLA leadership on page 45). I look forward to working with you in

the upcoming year, and I am honored to be able to serve you.

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