Archive | Printer-Friendly | Send to a Friend | | Advertise February 3 2011
GTLA President Michael J. WarshauerAs I write my first "In the Know" piece for 2011, the Georgia Legislature has been in session for only about 6 days. So far, there have been no efforts to socialize the justice system, or introduce tort reform legislation as those who abhor personal responsibility and embrace big government call it. I hope this is because our conservative leaders recognize that tort reform limits personal responsibility, imposes government regulation in place of a jury of citizens, and is contrary to the Constitution which they so vocally support. But while Georgia has been relatively quiet, that is not the case in our nation's capitol. In Washington, there is a very well-financed and orchestrated effort to impose fee caps, damages caps, and other limitations designed to limit American's rights to access to the Courts, and at the same time make personal responsibility a meaningless concept for hospitals, insurers, and others who make billions of dollars carelessly providing medical care. While GTLA is our clients' advocate in Georgia, the American Association of Justice fights our battles in Washington. Sadly, only about 650 of us are members. All of us need to be. Let me make this clear - if tort reform passes in Washington, whether it relates to malpractice, products liability or even car wrecks, all of our work in Georgia will have been for nothing. Federal law will preempt everything. The battle to help giant health care companies, insurers and careless doctors is being led by 11th District Georgia Congressman Dr. Phil Gingrey. We can't just sit this battle out as Congressman Gingrey hypocritically talks about State's rights and the Constitution when it suits his corporate interests, but throws both State's rights and the 7th Amendment aside when it doesn't. Join AAJ,, today and send Congressman Gingrey a note,, letting him know that his hypocracy is unacceptable and that Georgia and all Americans deserve better.

The 2011 legislative session is upon us and neither man nor beast is entirely safe! Get involved now to do your part to enhance the Civil Justice System. In addition to our usual efforts to remain vigilant in our monitoring of the legislation being filed at the Capitol, we are continuing our efforts to build, nurture, enhance and expand our legislative outreach. There are 236 members of the Georgia General Assembly. Forty-five of them are in their very first year of legislative service. That means there are a lot of new legislators to reach out to. And, after spending much of the 2010 summer and fall assessing the strengths and weaknesses of our Legislative Key Contacts program, we have a number of veteran legislators to whom we must redouble our efforts to reach out to them and make sure they have a trial lawyer to whom they can turn for assistance of all kinds and from whom they will accept information and advice on issues relating to the Civil Justice System. We need your help. We need you to tell us which legislators you have a meaningful relationship with. In short, we need to know if you have a relationship with a legislator or legislators that can one day be put to use to preserve or enhance the Civil Justice System in Georgia. That is the kind of information that you can provide us through our Capitol Impact program. If you are willing to participate in our Legislative Outreach program, contact Wendi Clifton at (404) 791-6137 or at and she can get you plugged in.

Another way you can be involved in GTLA’s legislative efforts is to participate in our new "Lawyer of the Day" program. Through this program, you come to the Capitol, meet with our Staff for a morning briefing and then meet with legislators outside of the House and Senate. These conversations can vary from simple "getting to know you" chats; to visits with your local legislators with whom you need to build working relationships; to more in-depth discussions of issues your Legislative Staff has asked you to engage in. And, you can attend committee meetings where the issues of the day are being debated. As our President Michael Warshauer says, this program is about "normalizing" our relationships with legislators simply by being at the Capitol where they are. If you are interested in getting involved in the Lawyer of the Day program, contact Micah Gravley at (404) 759-5876 or at or just sign up through the GTLA event calendar on the website.

We look forward to seeing you under the Gold Dome either as a part of your Local TLA’s Day at the Capitol or as a part of our Lawyer of the Day Program. As always, if you have any question about anything we are doing in the legislative arena, please call Bill Clark at (404) 759-5042. We are here for you, we are proud to represent you and we are proud to represent GTLA.


GTLA's new Lawyer of the Day program has gotten off to a tremendous start. In this first week of its inception, GTLA members met with a variety of legislators in the General Assembly, had an opportunity to take photos Governor Nathan Deal and entertained members of both chambers over dinner and at the Cobb TLA Annual Legislative Reception. 

We  have received a great deal positive feedback and enthusiasm from legislators regarding our Lawyer of the Day program. The program provides a great opportunity for our members to meet and greet with their legislator at the Capitol during the legislative process. It also provides a hands-on perspective and a detailed look at what your GTLA Lobbying Team tackles on a daily basis to ward off attacks on the Civil Justice System. Please take a moment and sign up to be a "Lawyer of the Day" during the 2011 legislative session. It's easy and well worth it for your clients.  Simply go to the GTLA events calendar at

In addition to our LOD efforts, we are continuing to build upon the strong foundation and infrastructure of our Grassroots TLA network across Georgia. With the growth we have experienced, now is the time to schedule lunch meetings, receptions, and other TLA-oriented events for the coming year. I am looking forward to speaking with each of our TLA chairs to assist with a 2011 meeting agenda.  Please feel free to call Micah Gravley with any questions and or ideas you may have for your region.

GTLA members Lloyd Bell and David Sawyer pose with Governor Nathan Deal and GTLA Grassroots Director Micah Gravley while volunteering at the Capitol for our newest initiative, Lawyer of the Day.

Left to right, Micah Gravley, Llyod Bell, Governor Nathan Deal and David Sawyer.


Civil Justice PAC, Inc. of GTLA hosted a successful Legislative and PAC Champions Reception at the home of Darren and Sandi Penn to kick off 2011’s Legislative Session. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to express our gratitude to PAC Champion-level contributors and legislators who are true "Champions of Justice" for us under the Gold Dome. The reception was well attended by a bi-partisan group of more than 20 Senators and Representatives. Thank you to Darren and Sandi for hosting this event, and thank you to our sponsor, Collision Specialists, Inc. (

Left to right, Tom Pope, Buck Rogers and Jodie Kidd

Upcoming PAC events in 2011 include: 

PAC Reception at GTLA’s Auto Torts Seminar
PAC Contributor Summer Appreciation Party
Legislative Breakfasts in conjunction with various CLE’s, and more...

For information on how you can be involved, please contact:
Dawn Lasusky Painter
Executive Director, Civil Justice PAC, Inc. of GTLA


THANK-YOU to our newest GTLA Champion members!

Josh Branch, Gary O. Bruce, James E. Butler, III, Dwight T. Feemster, David J. Llewellyn, Randolph A. Mayer, Jeremy S. McKenzie, Scott A. Pryor, Laura Cunard Reis, Daniel B. Snipes & Nelson O. Tyrone, III


George Bacon, Shatoree Bates, K. Jason Bice, Jonathan R. Brockman, Julie Williams Cain, Lisa Caucci, Kelly A. Christian, Jontavia L. Cobb, Scott Jackson Harrison, William F. Heitmann, III, Holly B. Hughes, Mark P. Jones, Todd Larsen, Amanda E. Lavery, Wayne H. Lazarus, Michael A. Mills, Evyan Mischke, Betty Morgan, John T. Mroczko, William K. Otto, Ranse M. Partin, Romero T. Pearson, Kristen M. Pitts, Nathan P. Powell, Jonathan Schopp, Christina M. Scott, Jason Shepherd, Jerry L. Sims, W. Calvin Smith, II, Cooper F. Spence, Diane M. Sternlieb, Ryals Stone, Joel A. Thrift, Jeffrey Todd & Kevin S. Toole

Join us for the New Lawyer's Division Happy Hour!
February 17th from 5:30 - 7:00 PM
Ormsby's Tavern!  Click HERE to RSVP.

Feb 17 New Lawyers Division Meeting & Happy Hour * Ormsby's Tavern
Feb 25 Essential Torts Workshop * Mercer Law School
Mar 23 Tort Cases: Start to Finish * State Bar Con Center
May 5-6 Annual Convention & President's Gala * Loews Hotel Midtown
June 22 Annual Paralegal & Legal Assistant Workshop * State Bar Con Center
July 28-30    Auto Torts Workshop * Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort
Oct 7 Annual Fall Workshop & Gathering * The Mansion on Forsyth Park
Nov 9 Trial Practice Manual & Update * State Bar Con Center

Visit the GTLA website at for more details and to register!

Collision Specialists, Inc.
Regional Medical Group
Naylor, LLC

Founded in 1956, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) is dedicated to strengthening and upholding Georgia’s civil justice system and protecting the rights of Georgia citizens and consumers.

GTLA works in the legislative, political and media arenas to ensure that Georgians know and understand the importance of their rights to justice and to make certain that these rights, which are at the very core of what it means to be American, are safeguarded and protected.

Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
101 Marietta Street, NW
Suite 3350, Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone (404) 522-8487 | Fax (404) 522-3705

We would appreciate your comments or suggestions. Your email will be kept private and confidential.