September 01, 2018 Opening Statement

Where the Litigators Are

The vast majority of U.S. litigation is handled by solo and small-firm practitioners, many of them located in smaller markets.

Palmer Gene Vance II

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For many years, this journal published its “Statement of Editorial Policy” on the back cover of each issue. The statement began with these words: “Litigation is a journal for lawyers who try cases and judges who decide them. Whatever their fields . . . and whatever the forum, trial lawyers have common problems and interests.” These words not only sum up the purpose of the periodical you are now reading but also crystallize the purpose of the Section of Litigation.

The Section of Litigation is the one national organization of trial lawyers that brings together the entirety of the trial bar. We are composed of plaintiffs’ and defense lawyers, prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys, judges, family law litigators, arbitrators and specialists in arbitration, experienced litigators and young lawyers new to the profession, litigators in AmLaw 100 firms, as well as solo and small-firm lawyers. Our members practice on the coasts and in the cities and in the smaller towns throughout the country. In no other organization can you find this breadth of the litigation practice.

None of my 45 predecessors as chair of the Section of Litigation maintained a practice in a place as small as Lexington, Kentucky. At 315,000 people, Lexington is not an especially small place; but it qualifies in relation to the other cities on the list. I am keenly aware that this distinction provides an opportunity for the Section to reach out to our members in smaller cities and towns, as well as to solo and small-firm litigators. This will be a priority in 2018–2019.

This is not to say that we will diminish our service to litigators in larger firms and locations. Rather, we will continue that mission while also emphasizing how we can assist litigators in other settings.

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