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By Robert C. Sullivan, Kansas City, MO
It seems like it was just last month that I was elected Chair of the Railroad Law Section. Time really flies when you are having the kind of fun we are all having battling day in and day out with the railroads, right? The year has gone by quickly and, I hope, smoothly for members of the Railroad Section. I want to congratulate Rick Shapiro for an excellent job this year as editor of the section newsletter. I knew when Rick volunteered for the job last year that we could expect interesting content and a quarterly newsletter that would be on time and engaging. Rick lived up to those expectations and then some.
This year, a lot of effort has been directed toward the education program that will be presented at the AAJ 2012 Annual Convention in Chicago this July. Over the last several years, all of the seminar presentations I have given have focused on what I call non-traditional legal education, for lack of a better term. When I use the term non-traditional, I am referring to topics outside the normal “legal” topics, but still of vital importance to trial lawyers. Communication, visual presentation, psychology, and marketing are just a few. Let’s face it: updates on the law and preemption briefs are not the most exciting topics. And do we really need a half day of speeches on subjects that can be learned largely from written materials and clarified in a short question and answer session? This year, we have attempted to break the mold somewhat and integrate some of this non-traditional material into the education program in Chicago and it’s shaping up to be a great seminar. I hope to see all the Railroad Law Section members there in July.
As for next year, the Section is in great hands. Steve Groves will be the new Chair. If it is about FELA, Steve knows it. New Section members will not be disappointed in the benefits membership will bring with Steve at the helm. New to the executive committee this year will be Kansas City’s own Tom Jones. Besides a singing ability that rivals his famous namesake, Tom brings a wealth of crossing litigation experience to the committee. It’s hard to find a crossing lawyer more experienced and successful than Tom, so Section members litigating crossing cases will likewise be well served.
Of course none of the benefits of membership in the Section would be possible without the efforts of the great staff at AAJ. These folks truly care about organization and Section members. Thank you AAJ and thanks to all of the section members who have helped make this year a good one for the Section.