Weekend with the Stars Faculty

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Weekend with the Stars Faculty 

Program Information



AAJ Members: $695
Nonmembers: $795

You can attend your first AAJ Education Seminar at 50% off, if you are an AAJ member & have been admitted to the bar for five years or less. (Does not apply if you have previously attended an AAJ Education seminar or college).  

AAJ Paralegal Affiliates may attend this seminar and receive 50% off the registration fee if they are employed by and attending with an AAJ plaintiff attorney at the same firm.

CLE Credits: 12.25, including 1 hour of ethics

Cancellation Policy
All cancellations for our programs must be submitted in writing.

For more information or assistance, please call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, ext. 8612.

On-Demand CLE

You can purchase this seminar to watch through online streaming and downloading or on hard copy discs. Share with your office and build your firm's resource library. Recordings may be accepted for MCLE credit in your state. Visit AAJ's online audio and video provider Playback Now »


For additional assistance
Please call 800.241.7785

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Carl Bettinger, M.D., J.D. litigates personal injury, medical negligence, and nursing home neglect claims.  Author of Twelve Heroes, One Voice: Guiding Jurors to Courageous Verdicts (Trial Guides 2011), he practices with the firm of Shapiro Bettinger Chase, LLP in Albuquerque, New Mexico and focuses on bringing trials alive, utilizing a variety of nonconventional approaches, including those from improvisational acting, storytelling, and psychodrama.  In a recent trial, he sang part of his closing.  Before attending University of New Mexico Law School, Dr. Bettinger went to medical school at Boston University School of Medicine and then completed an internal medicine residency at the University of New Mexico.  In addition to his practice, he serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he teaches trial practice.  In his spare time he goes fishing.


Soren E. Gisleson concentrates his practice in personal injury, civil rights, multidistrict, and disaster insurance litigation including case involving Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as industrial life insurance, HMO, tobacco, and pharmaceutical class actions. Mr. Gisleson handles criminal pro bono cases.  He clerked for the Honorable Carl J. Barbier, District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  He is a member of Louisiana State Bar Association, AAJ’s Leaders Forum, American Bar Association, and Louisiana Association for Justice.  Mr. Gisleson is a partner of Herman, Herman & Katz L.L.C. in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Russ M. Herman is a senior partner of Herman, Herman & Katz, L.L.P. in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He has authored over 200 articles, papers, and books in various aspects of civil trial practice including Courtroom Persuasion:  Art, Drama & Science, published by AAJ Press/West Thomson, and is a principal faculty member of the Professional Education Group.  Mr. Herman is a past president of AAJ, the Civil Justice Foundation, and the Roscoe Pound Foundation.  He is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum, a Diplomate of AAJ’s National College of Trial Advocacy (NCA), a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, and was selected for AAJ’s Leonard M. Ring Champion of Justice Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.  Mr. Herman was Liaison and Lead Counsel for In re Propulsid: MDL 1355, and In re Vioxx: MDL 1657.

Michael Jaffe is a partner of Pazer, Epstein & Jaffe P.C. in New York City.  He is president, serves on the Board of Directors, and is past chair of the automobile and no fault litigation committee for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Jaffe received his J.D. from Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and his B.A. from Washington University.



Thomas R. Kline concentrates his practice in catastrophic injury and was named a “key player” by The Wall Street Journal in litigation over Vioxx.  He is a member of the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee directing the federal Vioxx MDL proceedings.  Mr. Kline is the immediate past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates, has been honored for eight consecutive years as a top Pennsylvania attorney by Super Lawyers, and selected among the top “Leading Lawyers in America” by LawDragonBest Lawyers selected Mr. Kline as Philadelphia Personal Injury Litigator of the Year for 2009 and Philadelphia Medical Negligence Lawyer of the Year for 2010.  He is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell, is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association.  Kline & Spector, P.C. has offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and New York City.

Mark R. Kosieradzki concentrates his practice in products liability, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, amputation, nursing home abuse, and burn litigation.  Mr. Kosieradzki is certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Minnesota Bar Association as a Civil Trial Specialist, was elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates, and is a past president of the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association.  He has served on AAJ’s Board of Governors, is past chair of AAJ’s Nursing Homes Litigation Group, is a member of AAJ’s NCA Board of Trustees, an AAJ Leaders Forum member, and a Diplomate of AAJ’s NCA.  The Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm, LLC is in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

James B. Lees, Jr. is a former cochair of AAJ’s NCA Board of Trustees, a Diplomate of AAJ’s NCA, and is a frequent lecturer and teacher of trial tactics throughout the United States.  A former Deputy District Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Lees has tried more than 200 cases to jury verdict.  Mr. Lees owns and operates Hunt & Lees, L.C. located in Charleston, West Virginia, concentrating in trial litigation.

Linda A. Lipsen was named Chief Executive Officer of AAJ in April 2010.  She joined the organization in 1993 to direct AAJ’s Public Affairs department.  Since that time, Ms. Lipsen has led the trial lawyers’ highly regarded Washington lobby team and successfully fought back efforts that would limit access to America’s courts and make it impossible for the victims of negligence or willful wrongdoing to be fairly compensated for harm.  She has directed countless legislative campaigns on behalf of a host of issues including patient, worker, and investor protections.  Ms. Lipsen has received the Senator Paul Wellstone Award from U.S. Action and the Marie Lambert Award and is regularly recognized by leading Capitol Hill publications such as Roll Call and The Hill as one of Washington’s most effective lobbyists.  Following the tragedy of September 11th, she led the fight for enactment of The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund.  Following enactment of the Fund, Ms. Lipsen’s leadership helped ATLA establish the nation’s largest-ever pro-bono legal representation program.

Patrick Malone learned how to ask questions and get answers as an award-winning investigative medical journalist.  He graduated from Yale Law School and for the last three decades has represented plaintiffs in medical negligence, products liability, and other complex personal injury matters, from offices in downtown Washington, DC.  He coauthored the original Rules of the Road book, now in its second edition, and frequently teaches the Rules technique at continuing legal education courses around the country.  Mr. Malone is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum.  He has been recognized by the LawDragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, the Best Lawyers in America, and Washington, DC Super Lawyers.

Thomas W. Malone concentrates his practice in catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death.  He has been recognized by Best Lawyer and Super Lawyers, has an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been named to the LawDragon 500.  He is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum, International Society of Barristers, Southern Trial Lawyers Association, and Georgia Trial Lawyers Association.  Malone Law is located in Atlanta, Georgia.



Randi McGinn represents both seriously injured people and those who have suffered unfair criminal accusations.  She is a member of AAJ’s Board of Governors and AAJ’s Leaders Forum.  She is past president of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association, and a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.  Ms. McGinn is an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico Law School, and lectures around the country on trial skills and use of creative demonstrative exhibits.  She is a senior partner with the firm McGinn, Carpenter, Montoya & Love, PA in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mary Alice McLarty concentrates her practice in hazing, premises liability, trucking collision, construction site collision, and severe injury litigation.  She is president of AAJ, recipient of AAJ’s 2009 Distinguished Service, the 2002 Marie Lambert Award, and a five time recipient of the Wiedemann Wysocki Citation of Excellence.  Ms. McLarty is a frequent author and lecturer at continuing legal education programs nationwide.  She  is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell, a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).  Ms. McLarty is partner at the firm McLarty | Pope, L.L.P. in Dallas, Texas.

Phillip H. Miller, course advisor, has an exclusively personal injury practice.  Mr. Miller has tried 46 jury trials to verdict and handled a wide range of cases including trucking litigation, nursing home claims, pharmaceutical torts, and day care center child abuse.  In addition to his law practice, Mr. Miller has extensive experience working as a trial consultant on a wide variety of cases.  He is a former member of AAJ’s NCA Board of Trustees, a Diplomate of AAJ’s NCA, and is with the firm of Phillip Miller & Associates in Nashville, Tennessee.


Howard L. Nations specializes in pharmaceutical litigation, catastrophic injury, and wrongful death cases.  He is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as both a personal injury trial lawyer and a civil trial lawyer, and is nationally board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a civil trial lawyer.  Mr. Nations is a former chair of AAJ’s NCA, a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum, Trustee of the American Jury Foundation, and past president of the Belli Society, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Southern Trial Lawyers Association.  Mr. Nations served on AAJ’s Executive Committee as vice president, secretary, and treasurer.  He is a Diplomate of AAJ’s NCA and has spoken on legal issues in all 50 states and internationally.  The Law Offices of Howard L. Nations, P.C. is in Houston, Texas.

Jackalyn A. Olinger concentrates her practice in asbestos litigation as an associate with the law firm of Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd, LLC in Saint Louis, Missouri.  She is a member of several legal organizations and serves on the Executive Boards for the Mound City Bar Association, as chair for AAJ’s New Lawyers Division, and as vice chair for AAJ’s Minority Caucus.  Ms. Olinger is on the Junior Board of Directors for the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition and serves as cochair of their silent auction, Old Bags.


Mike Papantonio is a senior partner and shareholder of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A in Pensacola, Florida.  Mr. Papantonio concentrates his practice in pharmaceutical drug litigation, asbestos, breast implants, factory farming, securities fraud, Florida tobacco litigation, and other mass tort cases.  He is a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Leading American Attorney.

Daryl D. Parks is founder of Parks & Crump LLC in Tallahassee, Florida, where he concentrates his practice in personal injury, wrongful death, medical negligence, nursing home neglect, and pharmaceutical litigation.  He is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum and Minority Caucus, Tallahassee Barrister’s Association, and serves on the Student Education and Admissions to the Bar Committee for the Florida Bar Association.  Mr. Parks is the chairman of the board for the Leon County Sickle Cell Foundation and serves on the board for the Tallahassee Urban League. 

R. Rex Parris has represented individuals and families involving serious personal injury, wrongful death, legal negligence, and consumer class action cases.  He serves on the Board of Directors for the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers’ College, is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum, founded the Lancaster Child Abuse Task Force, the Antelope Valley War on Gangs, and the Valley Volunteers Program, and is a past chairman for the Antelope Valley Hospital Community Benefits Advisory Council.  Mr. Parris is an adjunct professor of advanced trial practice at Pepperdine University School of Law.  R. Rex Parris Law Firm is located in Lancaster, California.

John F. Romano, course advisor, concentrates his practice in automobile and truck collisions, slip and fall and premises liability, products liability, business, and insurance litigation.  Mr. Romano is the past president of the Florida Justice Association, the Melvin M. Belli Society, and the Southern Trial Lawyers Association.  He is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum and AAJ’s Press Advisory Board.  The Romano Law Group is located in Lake Worth, Florida.

Tad Thomas concentrates his practice in civil litigation including, motor vehicle and trucking collisions, medical negligence, accounting and auditing negligence, products liability, class actions, and other serious personal injury matters.  Mr. Thomas was given the honor of being invited to assist Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and led the Civil and Environmental Division of the Attorney General’s office.  He was then promoted to one of two Assistant Deputy Attorneys General.  Mr. Thomas serves on AAJ’s NCA Board of Trustees, Minority Caucus, and Press Advisory Board.  He is a member of the Louisville Bar Association, Kentucky Justice Association, and Southern Trial Lawyers Association.  Thomas Law Offices is in Louisville, Kentucky.

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