Alan Blumenfeld and Katherine James are cofounders of ACT of Communication in Culver City, California whose workshops have trained more than 30,000 lawyers and whose work as part of trial teams has taken more than 1,000 cases to trial. Alan is a working professional actor who recently appeared on The New Girl, in Seth Rogen’s upcoming film The Interview, Parenthood, and Arrested Development. He is a resident artist at A Noise Within in Pasadena, California and a company member at the Theatericum Botanicum in Topanga, California. For the past thirty years, he has been regarded as one of the leading trial consultants in the United States, specializing in live communication skills. He has taught for several continuing legal education colleges, including for the American Association for Justice for twenty-eight years and for private law firms and bar associations. He and his partner and wife, Katherine, are members of the American Society of Trial Consultants. Katherine specializes in live communication skills and coaches witnesses and their lawyers to reach, persuade, and activate jurors. She has taught for AAJ and many private bar associations and law firms. She has also appeared in television and film and is an active theatre artists who performs and directs as well as a playwright.
Jaine E. Fraser, Ph.D. is an expert on trial psychology and jury selection with more than 15 years experience. Her psychology research and practice has focused on group dynamics and group opinion formation. Ms. Fraser’s work includes jury selection, witness preparation, pretrial strategy, questionnaire development, shadow juries, focus groups, and voir dire preparation. The Trial Psychology Institute is in Dallas, Texas.
Richard A. Jenson, M.S. has been consulting with attorneys for over 25 years and conducting research for lawyers throughout the United States in case preparation and jury selection. His cases have been featured on news broadcasts such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, and Dateline. Mr. Jenson frequently speaks before bar associations and legal groups, and has given presentations on juror bias and jury selection to the American Bar Association (ABA), AAJ, and various state legal associations. He is a past chair of the Professional Visibility Committee of the American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC), and is a member of the American Psychology and Law Association and the ASTC. Mr. Jenson is the president of Jenson Research & Communications in Austin, Texas.
Artemis H. Malekpour is a partner in the consulting firm Malekpour & Ball, where she specializes in focus groups, case strategy, and jury selection. Ms. Malekpour came to trial consulting as a lawyer with a background in psychology and psychiatric research. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in mental health issues from UNC’s School of Public Health. Before earning her J.D. with honors at Duke Law School, Ms. Malekpour worked in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina Hospitals with children and adolescents coping with psychiatric disorders. She coauthored the chapter “Public and Private Sector Involvement in Managed Mental Health Care” in Managed Care & Public Health, is featured in Trial Guides’ How to do Your Own Focus Groups DVD and has written updates for David Ball on Damages 3. A member of the North Carolina State Bar, Ms. Malekpour has consulted on a wide variety of high profile, large and small cases, advising plaintiffs’ civil and criminal defense attorneys across the country on how to deal with their case weaknesses, maximize their strengths, develop Rules and Reptilian strategies and apply the techniques from Damages. Malekpour & Ball is the nation’s only trial consulting firm qualified to help attorneys with Reptilian methods and strategy.
Mark S. Mandell, keynote speaker, is a senior partner in the law firm of Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair, Ltd. He is certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Civil Trial Specialist. Mr. Mandell is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and served as chair of the Federal Board of Bar Examiners for the United States District Court, District of Rhode Island. He serves on the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s Ethics Advisory Panel and is a past president of the Rhode Island Trial Lawyers Association and the Rhode Island Bar Association. Mr. Mandell is also a past president of the American Association for Justice, the Roscoe Pound Institute, and the National Crime Victims Bar Association. He is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum and Professional Negligence Section. He has cochaired the Board of Trustees of the National College of Advocacy (NCA), is a Diplomate of the NCA, and cochaired several NCA trial advocacy colleges. Mr. Mandell is listed in the “Best Lawyers in America,” has authored over 20 articles on trial law, and lectures internationally to the medical and legal communities. Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair, Ltd. is based in Providence, Rhode Island.
T. Thomas Metier is the senior managing member of Metier Law Firm, LLC, where he concentrates his practice in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, trucking collision, and motor vehicle collision litigation. He is a director of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, a faculty member of the Trial Lawyers College, a member of the American Association for Justice’s President’s Club and Leaders Forum, the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, and the Larimer County Bar Association. Mr. Metier was named a SuperLawyer in 2005 and is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He is board-certified as a civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and speaks on trial advocacy skills at legal seminars nationwide. Metier Law Firm, LLC is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, with offices in Boulder and Greeley, Colorado, and Casper, Cheyenne, and Gillette, Wyoming.
Christopher J. O’Brien concentrates his practice in automobile negligence, sexual assault, food poisoning, and wrongful death litigation. He is past president of the Western Affiliate of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA), is a member of the NCA Board of Trustees, and is a Diplomate of AAJ’s National College of Advocacy (NCA). Mr. O’Brien is a frequent speaker for AAJ and NYSTLA CLE programs and is codirector of Trial Advocacy at SUNY Buffalo Law School. He is the founder of The O’Brien Firm, PC.
Eric G. Oliver has concentrated in nonverbal, verbal, and implicit communication skills for over 27 years—23 working with attorneys. Besides teaching effective communication skills to attorneys and their firms, he spends most of his time helping trial attorneys prepare and present more receiver-friendly cases in court and for settlement presentations and discussions. He helps lawyers build a presentation plan for each case—adaptable to any venue—integrating the verbal, visual, and personal parts of the trial based on jurors needs and expectations uncovered in focus groups and voir dire. Mr. Oliver is author of Persuasive Communication: Twenty-five Years of Teaching Lawyers, Facts Can’t Speak for Themselves: Reveal the Stories that Give Facts their Meaning, and coauthor of Courtroom Power: Communication Strategies for Trial Lawyers. He is the founder of the consulting firm MetaSystems, Ltd., located in Canton, Michigan.
Jerome F. O’Neill, course advisor, concentrates his practice in litigation on behalf of injured persons and their survivors, commercial litigation, and white collar criminal defense. He is cochair of AAJ’s NCA Board of Trustees, a member of AAJ’s Exchange Advisory Committee, and cochair of AAJ’s Jury Bias Litigation Group. He is a past president of the Vermont Trial Lawyers Association, is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and is the chair of the Vermont Supreme Court Evidence Rules Committee. He is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum and AAJ’s Products Liability Section. Gravel & Shea is located in Burlington, Vermont.
Amy E. Pardieck is the founder of Perceptual Litigation LLC, a trial consulting firm in Bloomington, Indiana. She has been assisting attorneys in presenting compelling legal stories for over 15 years. Ms. Pardieck focuses on legal consulting and communication training, with an emphasis on focus groups and mock trials, voir dire and jury selection, witness preparation, and case strategy development. In addition to consulting on individual cases nationwide, Ms. Pardieck speaks at state and local bar associations, law schools, and professional organizations around the world. Ms. Pardick has an academic background in psychology and has worked as a psychotherapist, giving her insight into the complexities of stimulus and response and the need to connect with jurors on a deeper level.
Paul J. Scoptur has been a trial lawyer representing plaintiffs exclusively since his graduation from Marquette University Law School in 1978. He is a trustee and past cochair of the National College of Advocacy (NCA) Board of Trustees and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School, where he has taught litigation and trial skills. He has been named one of the “Best Lawyers in America” continuously since 2002 and is one of Wisconsin’s top 50 “Super Lawyers.” Mr. Scoptur is a Diplomate of the NCA and was one of the first lawyers to complete the Advanced Studies in Trial Advocacy (ASTA) curriculum offered by the NCA. He is a member of the American Society of Trial Consultants. He has a broad practice both as a trial lawyer and as a trial consultant and uses strategic case planning and focus groups extensively, both in his cases and in assisting other lawyers in preparing the discovery and trial of their cases across the country and in Canada. He is coauthor of Advanced Depositions Skills (Trial Guides) and has produced a DVD of the same title. In over 20 years of coaching basketball, he never got a technical foul. He wishes he could still dunk a basketball. Learn more about Mr. Scoptur at www.plaintiffslaw.com and www.paulscoptur.com.
The Honorable Marcus Z. Shar serves as an Associate Judge on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City (appointed August of 2008). Prior to that, he was a partner in the law firm of Shar, Rosen & Warshaw, LLC, representing patients and their families in medical malpractice cases throughout the United States. He was consistently listed in The Best Lawyers in America, is a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, and was one of the first two lawyers in the country to be named a Diplomat of the National College of Advocacy (NCA). Judge Shar was a founding member of The National Cooperative Association of Medical Malpractice Attorneys; was a past co-chair of the American Association for Justice’s Curriculum Development Committee; and was a former member of the NCA Board of Trustees and the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association’s Board of Governors. He is an adjunct professor at University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and was an adjunct associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The author of numerous articles on trial techniques and three books on medical-legal issues, Judge Shar lectures to lawyers, judges, medical and lay groups around the country.
Vicki R. Slater, course advisor, is the president and owner of Vicki R. Slater, Attorney at Law, P.A., where her practice is dedicated to representing individuals and small businesses that have been injured through acts of negligence, fraud, or other wrongful conduct. Ms. Slater served as a contract public defender with the Office of Capital Defense Counsel and is a member of the Louisiana and Mississippi Bars. She currently serves as immediate past president of the Mississippi Association for Justice, chair of the Council of State Trial Lawyer Presidents, First Vice Chair of the American Association for Justice’s Women Trial Lawyers Caucus, and is a member of AAJ’s Leaders Forum and The White House Project’s Go Run program. She serves on the faculty of the Trial Lawyer’s College in Dubois, Wyoming, and on the Board of the National College of Advocacy, and has served on various committees of the Mississippi State Bar Association. Ms. Slater was awarded the Wiedemann & Wysocki Award in 2013 by the American Association for Justice, the 2010 Mississippi Business Journal Leadership in Law Award, the Mississippi Association for Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award and Woman Advocate for Justice of the Year Award, both in 2009, and the Mississippi Association for Justice Consumer Advocate of the Year Award in 2008. Ms. Slater has mentored many women attorneys through scholarship donations to support their training as trial lawyers. She also supports women attorneys by establishing and supporting women trial lawyers caucuses in state trial lawyer associations and is a founding member of the Mississippi Association for Justice Women’s Caucus. Vicki R. Slater, Attorney at Law, P.A., is located in Madison, Mississippi.
Carl L. Solomon concentrates his practice in products liability, personal injury, civil, and medical negligence litigation. He is a member of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association, the South Carolina Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. He serves on AAJ’s NCA Board of Trustees and is past chair of AAJ’s Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway, and Premises Liability Section. He is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell and listed in Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. The Solomon Law Group is located in Columbia, South Carolina.
Kenneth M. Suggs is a principal in the law firm of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC, where he concentrates his practice in medical malpractice, product liability, and business litigation. A former president of the American Association for Justice, Mr. Suggs was recognized as Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year in 2012, is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America for more than ten years. He also received AAJ’s Harry Philo Award and President’s Award and was the recipient of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association Founders Award in 2007, and the American Bar Association’s Torts and Insurance Practice Section’s Pursuit of Justice Award in 2008. In 2006, he was recognized as the “Advocate of the Year” by the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center. Mr. Suggs is a Fellow of the National College of Advocacy and the American College of Trial Lawyers, served as the president of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association, and currently serves on its Board of Governors and Legislative Committee. He also served as a member of the US District Court Advisory Committee and was a codraftsman of the South Carolina Rules of Evidence, later adopted by the South Carolina Supreme Court. Before attending law school at the University of South Carolina School of Law, he served in the United States Navy, including two years in the Vietnam War, where he received a Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Medal, and Meritorious Unit Citation, among other honors. He is the author of numerous articles and has been published in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and South Carolina Lawyer, and is the coauthor of the South Carolina Appellate Practice Handbook, Evaluating and Settling Personal Injury Claims in South Carolina, and The Law of Automobile Insurance in South Carolina. Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC, is located in Columbia, South Carolina.