On September 7, 2012, Atlanta’s
John Marshall Law School held its 10th annual Bobby Lee Cook Symposium. Wow! What a symposium!
I was honored to be asked to speak alongside such notable, talented lawyers.
Dean Lynn made the comment that the students in the room would never again
have the opportunity to put so many outstanding lawyers in one room and
get the lawyers to advise them on what to do. I don’t know about
the students, but I learned an immense amount by listening to the great
advice from all of the lawyers on the stage.
Fifteen lawyers spoke. The Dean had invited all of the lawyers who had
spoken at the symposium over the years to come back. About half were able
to come, which is a tribute both to John Marshall Law School and Bobby Lee Cook.
Speaking of Mr. Cook, he was present and spoke to the students. His daughter,
the Honorable Kristine Connally Cook of the Superior Court in the Lookout
Mountain Circuit also spoke on the topic of what trial judges really think
of appellate judges.
The symposium was held in the new Alan Blackburn Justice Center, and Judge
Blackburn himself was on hand for the symposium.
A host of distinguished lawyers and judges from all over Georgia spoke
at the seminar. The speakers ranged from judges, to criminal lawyers,
to attorneys who handle wrongful death lawsuits, as I do. The breadth
of experience these lawyers had was amazing.
Jimmy Berry from Marietta, Georgia spoke on humanizing clients for a jury.
The Hon. James Bodiford, a judge in the Superior Court of Cobb County,
talked about the techniques of successful trial lawyers. Ed Marger of
Jasper, Georgia, who always gives a funny and interesting talk, spoke
about the changes in the legal profession over the years he has been in
practice. Ed Garland talked about the tightrope a criminal lawyer must
walk in order to forcefully advocate for his client, and yet not be accused
by the prosecutor of obstructing justice. Derric Crowther of Atlanta spoke
on settling cases. Peggy Brockington, also of Atlanta, talked about how
lawyers can deal with opposing counsel who are hostile towards them.
Dean Lynn also had invited his former mentor, attorney Price Nimmo of Nashville,
Tennessee. Price gave a very interesting talk about how to select clients.
Tommy Malone of Atlanta talked about avoiding professional burnout –
something I think he clearly has avoided! The Honorable Duncan Wheale,
retired from the Superior Court in Augusta, spoke about how to persuade
judges. Jay Cook of Athens was asked to talk about representing severely
Atlantan Pete Law spoke on managing a case through discovery and trial.
Jerry Froelich spoke on connecting with the jurors. Regina Molden talked
about simplifying cases for the jury.
I spoke to the students about how lawyers can ethically market themselves
and their law firms.
Dean Lynn has done such an amazing job at John Marshall Law School, and
this seminar was a perfect example of the way he has drawn the legal community
into the school. Hats off to the Dean and to John Marshall Law School
for hosting such an incredible symposium.