President's Message | The American Association For Justice

President's Message

Elise R. Sanguinetti

Use Your Voice

August 2018

It is an honor to be your president. As I received the presidential gavel from Kathleen Nastri in Denver in July, I had a thousand thoughts racing through my mind, but that one thought really stood out. Above all, it is an incredible honor to be president of the American Association for Justice and I am unbelievably grateful for the support and the belief each of you has bestowed on me.

I have been a member of this association for almost 20 years. And in that time, I have served on two dozen committees, councils, caucuses, and task forces. Through each one, I learned more and more about AAJ and its members. I learned that, even though we come from different places and have different backgrounds, we have a lot in common.

We all chose a profession that can be challenging and frustrating, requiring long hours and hard work. And we all want to be the best at it. That is one reason I feel fortunate to have AAJ and the education and resources it provides.

AAJ Education and the National College of Advocacy provide several opportunities every year to help both new and experienced lawyers strengthen their pretrial skills. The Trial Advocacy College offers a combination of lectures and workshops to give attendees practical, proven techniques to take depositions and create an effective discovery plan. The Advanced Depositions College goes further to provide in-depth demonstrations of pretrial skills such as witness preparation.

As both an attendee and longtime faculty, I can attest to the benefits of these colleges and all of AAJ’s educational programs. They allow us to learn from one another and do our jobs better. Because what we do as trial lawyers—protecting those who need it most—is important.

I am proud to be part of an association that understands that importance and supports the same mission. AAJ fights every day to ensure the rights of consumers, patients, workers, and victims are protected from attacks to the civil justice system. That underlying fight guides everything we do.

I have several goals I wish to accomplish during my presidency, but one that requires immediate attention. The upcoming midterm elections will have a significant impact on trial lawyers and our ability to protect the rights of our clients. It is crucial that we elect pro-civil-justice candidates this November and I am challenging all AAJ members, myself included, to help make that happen.

Talk to your colleagues about the challenges facing trial lawyers’ ability to seek justice for our clients. Participate in AAJ advocacy activities like our annual lobby days. Support pro-civil-justice candidates financially if you are able. Spend your Election Day protecting the rights of others to vote. And, of course, use your voice and vote! Because advocating for your clients doesn’t end in the courtroom.

I look forward to working with each of you this year to strengthen AAJ’s education and advocacy, and ensure AAJ continues to be an excellent resource for all trial lawyers. I am here because of the incredible support of my husband Matt, my entire family, my partners, attorneys and staff, all of my friends, and trial lawyer colleagues. Thank you for your support and for reminding me that this job is worth the hard work.

Watch the video below to hear Elise speak on AAJ's priorities, the importance of the civil justice system, and why trial lawyers are so dedicated to their professions.

Elise Sanguinetti is a founder of Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos in Oakland, Calif. She has chaired the National College of Advocacy Board of Trustees, Membership Task Force, National Finance Council, Membership Oversight Committee, Public Affairs Committee, and New Lawyers Division. She has also served on the Diversity Committee, AAJ PAC Board of Trustees, Exchange Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Leaders Forum Seventh Amendment Task Force. Additionally, she served as president of the Consumer Attorneys of California. Ms. Sanguinetti earned her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in 1993 and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1997.