Sunday, September 22, 2013

Student Organizations: American Association for Justice

The American Association for Justice at the Appalachian School of Law

This student organization falls under the umbrella of the national organization as an affiliated Student Chapter. The national organization recognizes, with awards and scholarships, those skillful students, lawyers, and consumer advocates who support the fight for justice. It also publishes the magazine, Trial, which examines complex legal questions arising in litigation practice.
The National AAJ Mission 
"The Mission of the American Association for Justice is to promote a fair and effective justice system—and to support the work of attorneys in their efforts to ensure that any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests."

History of National Organization 

I remember when this powerful organization had a much different name:   The Association of Trial Lawyers of America.  I joined the group in the 1990's even though my practice did not focus on traditional plaintiffs' personal injury work.  I found its point of view compelling, especially on the issue of mandatory arbitration clauses and the right to a jury trial.

The website for the national organization explains: 
On August 16, 1946, a group of nine plaintiffs’ attorneys involved in workers’ compensation litigation met in a hotel room at the Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Their goal was to put together a plan for a national organization to combat new threats facing trial lawyers across the country. It was at this meeting where it was enthusiastically agreed upon to create a new association by the name, the National Association of Claimants' Compensation Attorneys (NACCA). Their devotion to securing strong representation for victims of industrial accidents soon attracted admiralty, railroad, and personal injury lawyers. It wasn't long before the group included attorneys engaged in almost all facets of trial advocacy. 
Reflecting its growth and expanded commitments, NACCA changed its name 3 times before 1973, when it emerged as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA). In 1977, ATLA's headquarters moved from Boston to Washington, D.C. 
In 2006, ATLA members voted to adopt a new name: the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Today, AAJ is a broad-based, international coalition of attorneys, law professors, paralegals, and law students. 
As the world's largest trial bar, AAJ promotes justice and fairness for injured persons, safeguards victims' rights—particularly the right to trial by jury—and strengthens the civil justice system through education and disclosure of information critical to public health and safety. With members worldwide, and a network of U.S. and Canadian affiliates involved in diverse areas of trial advocacy, AAJ provides lawyers with the information and professional assistance needed to serve clients successfully and protect the democratic values inherent in the civil justice system.

Mission Statement of ASL Chapter 
of the AAJ

The ASL AAJ Constitution provides:

"The Student Chapter has been established to encourage law students to learn about trial advocacy skills and what it is like to be a trial lawyer. The Chapter provides a way for students to become actively involved in preserving the civil justice system and right to trial by jury."

Students in good standing who adhere to the objectives of the Student Chapter and to the mission of AAJ may become members.

Visiting Professor Tom Scott serves as the faculty advisor.

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