• Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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The Southeastern Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (SEABOTA) was formed in 2004 to unite the members of local American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) chapters in the ten states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Western North Carolina, and Virginia.

The general purposes of ABOTA are to foster improvement in the ethical and technical standards of practice in the field of advocacy to the end that individual litigants may receive more effective representation, and that the general public may benefit from a more efficient administration of justice, consistent with time-tested and traditional principles of litigation.

2017 FLABOTA Meeting

FLABOTA Meeting Notes

July 28-30, 2017

Orlando, FL

This is my report to SEABOTA as representative to the FLABOTA annual conference in Orlando.

  1. Chuck Baumberger, 2016 National President from Miami, attended representing National ABOTA. He discussed the membership issue whether to reduce the 10-jury civil trial requirement for new members. The National Executive Committee are considering whether felony criminal trials can constitute 5 of the 10-jury trial that are required to get into the organization.  Right now, there is no support for the change.
  1. Richard Middleton, Foundation President, discussed raising money for the ABOTA Foundation. The Foundation has been successful this year having the Teachers Law School that the Foundation funds. He was trying to think of alternative ways to raise money for the Foundation. SEABOTA does not have a Foundation. I want to discuss whether we need one at Cashiers and, if so, how we would fund it?
  1. The President of FLABOTA, Jeff Goodis, discussed the merits of having an annual meeting for each regional ABOTA organization in one place. For example, the California ABOTA always has their annual meeting in Hawaii.  This idea was shot down in short order.
  1. We should consider having a SEABOTA past president’s brunch before the annual meeting. This may promote new ideas for the organization and maintain the institutional memory.
  1. SEABOTA might want to adopt some of FLABOTA’s ideas for enhancing our presence on Social Media. We could defend judges against unfair attacks with the use of Twitter accounts that foster immediate responses. We could call it an instant response team.
  1. Representatives from CALABOTA, TEXABOTA, and SEABOTA were at this meeting. That was outstanding. We need representatives sent to CAL-ABOTA, TEX-ABOTA and FLABOTA.  It enhances our bonds and standing. It is a great way to share ideas.
  1. At our annual meeting, we should request press each state chapter to report how they are doing in membership drives.
  1. FLABOTA was searching for new fundraising ideas. Fortunately, SEABOTA is in superb financial condition so we can bypass that.  Our treasury is over 5 times as large as FLABOTA.  This is a product of our recent dues increase and good stewardship.
  1. The meeting was structured well.  It commenced with brief reports from the officers.
  1. Chuck encouraged everyone to attend the final ABOTA board meeting in Nashville at the Omni Hotel on October 5-8.
  1. Josh Whitman discussed the chapter revitalization effort. There has to be outreach into inclusivity for more women and people of color.  In my opinion, ABOTA is too white, too male, and too old. Outreach into inclusivity would ameliorate that problem.
  1. The new president, William Clayton, will have his meeting at Boca Raton.  The Executive Director, Margie, will be offering more details soon.  This reminds me how lucky we are to an Executive Director.  It makes a huge difference.
  1. FLABOTA is devoting more of its treasury to fight legislative efforts in Florida to put term limits on appellate judges.  It has the urgency of a judicial retention fight like the one fought in Tennessee in 2014.  We should discuss whether this is needed for SEABOTA.
  1. The joint FLABOTA and SEABOTA meeting in Cashiers, NC is set for October 19-22.  All are encouraged to attend.  It is beautiful and mountainous unlike any other place. It is a prime opportunity for our organizations to fraternize and learn from each other.

Clint Kelly

SEABOTA President