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Ringler Associates

Last Call!

Don't miss your chance to to learn first-hand from the masters of deposition techniques as they discuss in-depth, cutting-edge approaches to perfecting depositions and witness preparation skills. This workshop will offer 3.5 CLE Credit Hours and is hosted by GTLA's New Lawyers Division. Check out the all-star lineup of speakers HERE! Additional details are as follows: 

#depositions: From Good to Great to Winning!
Wednesday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Downtown - Oceanic Ballroom
275 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313

Spots are going fast, so be sure to REGISTER TODAY or contact Brittany Gurley at  

The 2014 General Election and the 2015 Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly are just around the corner, and you're invited to join GTLA's top-notch legislative and political team for an afternoon of advocacy training, can't-miss speakers and unparalleled insight from some of our state's best political, legislative and media minds. 

The 2014 Political & Legislative Summit will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at the State Bar of Georgia. This is a MEMBERS-ONLY event. REGISTER HERE

Program Agenda:

11:30 a.m.   Check In & Lunch 

Noon            2014 Legislative Recap & 2015 Legislative Preview
                      Bill Clark, GTLA Political Director

12:30 p.m.   Civil Justice PAC: Where Your Contributions are Going 
                      Caroline McLean, Civil Justice PAC Executive Director

1 p.m.          Working with the Media in the 21st Century: A Panel Discussion 
                     Kathleen Baydala Joyner, Daily Report
                     Lori Geary, WSB-TV
                     Aaron Gould-Sheinin, Atlanta Journal-Constitution  
                     Randy Travis, Fox5 I-Team 

2 p.m.          A Word from our Legislators: A Legislative Panel Discussion and Q&A 
                     Representative Rich Golick (R - Smyrna)
                     Representative Stacey Evans (D - Smyrna)
                     Senator Charlie Bethel (R - Dalton)
                     Senator Lester Jackson (D - Savannah)

3 p.m.          Breakout Sessions: 4 Hot Topics for 2015 (4 Sessions of 15 min. each)
                     Moderated by: GTLA Team Members Bill Clark, Jim Collins, Jamie Lord
                     and Wendi Clifton

4 p.m.          2014 Elections: What the Numbers are Telling Us
                     Mark Rountree, Landmark Communications 
                     Chris Huttman, 20/20 Insight, LLC

5:30- 7:30 p.m.   Civil Justice PAC Reception – SkyLounge at the Glenn Hotel 
Note: This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in the Columbia County News-Times on Wednesday, Sept. 10 and was submitted by GTLA Members Sam Nicholson and Harry Revell.

Dear editor,

In the ongoing debate over skyrocketing healthcare costs in Georgia, proponents of medical malpractice reform continue to point to the practice of so-called "defensive medicine" as the culprit behind the increase in costs across the healthcare system ("Georgia can lead in savings with plan to eliminate medical malpractice" – Sept. 3). Doctors, they contend, regularly perform expensive and unnecessary medical tests in order to avoid malpractice suits related to their treatment – or lack thereof.

In and of itself, however, their argument is fundamentally flawed. The fact of the matter is that the practice of so-called defensive medicine is fabricated by deep-pocketed special interests that perpetuate the myth in hopes of financial gain and the advancement of a dangerous legislative agenda. And while defensive medicine is the talking point du jour of those whose sole interest is to shield healthcare providers from accountability, the facts continue to belie their assertions.

Proponents of these radical reforms continue to point to anonymous doctor "surveys" as the basis for their argument, which supposedly confirm that nearly every healthcare provider in our state practices so-called defensive medicine and costs our citizens billions of dollars each year. Observers note, however, that these "surveys" are deceptively masqueraded to carry the weight of a scientifically conducted 

Unbiased and credible organizations have taken a markedly different stance on the issue. In fact, according to the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), these "surveys" provide no sufficient evidence that supports the existence of defensive medicine and border on being valueless. The GAO writes, "The overall prevalence and costs of [defensive medicine] have never been reliably measured."

In addition, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) weighed in on the alleged use of defensive medicine in American hospitals, and found evidence of the practice to be "weak or inconclusive" and "at best ambiguous." They concluded, "On the basis of existing studies and its own research, CBO believes that savings from reducing defensive medicine would be very small."

Researchers at Dartmouth College also echo these conclusions, saying, "The fact that we see very little evidence of widespread physician exodus or dramatic increases in the use of defensive medicine...places the more dire predictions of malpractice alarmists in doubt."

Furthermore, if a healthcare provider were to order and conduct unnecessary tests and procedures on their patients, then they would be illegally committing insurance fraud, Medicaid fraud and Medicare fraud. And, how is it possible that healthcare providers are doing billions of dollars’ worth of unnecessary medical tests and treatments in today’s penny-pinching managed care world where it is difficult for a doctor to get authority to perform even the most medically necessary tests and treatments? This accusation is offensive to the thousands of responsible, hard-working and competent doctors all across Georgia who practice medicine to help their patients – not to illegally bilk insurance companies out of excessive payments.

And though they would like you to believe that nearly one in every four healthcare dollars is spent on so-called defensive medicine, we find it impossible to believe that Georgia doctors are spending 25 percent of each day running 
unnecessary – and fraudulent – tests.

The truth of the matter is that doctors call for procedures and order tests to ensure the health and wellbeing of their patients. They also may desire additional confirmation of a diagnosis before ordering a costly, potentially dangerous treatment. Or, perhaps they simply want to satisfy their patients’ desire for more certainty. All of these are legitimate reasons for ordering tests, even if they turn out to be negative. If indeed our state’s healthcare providers are practicing "defensive medicine" at all, it is akin to defensive driving – a good practice done to protect people, act responsibly and save lives.

Would you demand anything less for your family?

Sam G. Nicholson and Harry D. Revell, Attorneys,

The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association is pleased to announce that selections have been made for the 2014-2015 Leadership Education & Advanced Direction (LEAD) Program. First launched in 2013 to identify those with leadership potential from among the Association's younger lawyers, the LEAD Program trains and equips those members to serve in future leadership roles in GTLA, at their firms, and in their legal and local communities. In order to qualify, applicants must have less than 10 years of practice experience or be 35 years of age or younger.

After an application, review and selection process that is summer-long, 17 attorneys were chosen to participate in the 2014-2015 GTLA LEAD Program. They are as follows:
Andrew S. "Drew" Ashby
The Cooper Firm, Marietta

Michael J. "M.J." Blakely, Jr.
Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, Atlanta

Joshua A. "Josh" Carroll
Buzzell, Graham & Welsh, Macon

Christopher S. "Sutton" Connelly
Cook & Connelly, Summerville

Dustin E. Davies
Hasty Pope, Gainesville

Catherine Gibson McCauley
The Gibson Law Firm, Tucker

Yvonne S. Godfrey
Harris Penn Lowry, Atlanta

Robert M. "Rob" Hammers, Jr.
Law Offices of Jason T. Schneider, Atlanta

Michelle Izquierdo King
Woodward Stern, Atlanta

James R. "Jimmy" Miller
Langdale Vallotton, Valdosta

John C. "Buddy" Morrison, III
Butler Wooten Cheeley & Peak, Columbus

Pamela M. "Ela" Orenstein
Morgan & Morgan, Atlanta

Dallas J. Roper
Sell & Melton, Macon

Zachary H. "Zach" Thomas
Bergen & Bergen, Savannah

Michael B. "Blake" Tillery
Smith & Tillery, Vidalia

Darren M. Tobin
Butler Tobin, Atlanta

William F. "Trey" Underwood, III
Law Offices of William F. Underwood, III, Albany
"When looking at this year’s remarkable LEAD Program class, it is easy to see why I am so optimistic about the future of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association," remarked GTLA President Linley Jones. "These individuals represent some of the best and brightest attorneys in Georgia and they have already exhibited an abundance of leadership potential both in and out of the courtroom. I have no doubt that their participation in the LEAD Program will make them even better trial lawyers and future leaders of GTLA. Congratulations to each of them on this wonderful accomplishment."

LEAD Program Co-Chairs Ryals Stone and Jennifer Coalson also offered congratulations to the new class. "As we transition from the inaugural LEAD Program class and strive to build upon the tremendous momentum from year one, we both are thrilled with the truly-impressive qualifications of this year’s applicants," they said. "These 17 attorneys represent a wide array of legal practice areas, hometowns, backgrounds and demographics, and we are confident that they accurately reflect the diverse composition of the 2,000 members in our Association. We look forward to working alongside them over the next eight months."

The 2014-2015 LEAD Program consists of six sessions, and will begin on Nov. 21-23 in Athens. The program concludes with graduation at the GTLA Annual Convention & Gala in Atlanta on April 30 – May 1, 2015.

When Linley Jones was elected President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association in April, she made a commitment to visit GTLA members in every corner of the state in order to find out how our Association can better serve the needs of each of our 2,000 members. And, in keeping with that commitment, Linley has racked up the miles on her car. Already this year, she has visited GTLA members from Brunswick to Valdosta, Covington to Cordele and many places in between. 

If you'd like to schedule Linley to speak to your local TLA, Bar Association or other group of current and prospective GTLA members, please reach out to GTLA Grassroots Director Micah Gravley at

GTLA President Linley Jones and
Clayton County Chief Magistrate Judge Wanda L. Dallas.

GTLA President Linley Jones with
South Georgia TLA Co-Chairmen Jed Douglas & Pope Langdale.

GTLA President Linley Jones, GTLA Staff & Wiregrass TLA Members.

The 2014 General Elections are now less than two months away, and the Civil Justice PAC is hard at work identifying and supporting candidates who exhibit a true understanding of the enormous value of the civil justice system and the right to trial by jury. By election day, the PAC will have contributed more than $550,000 to pro-Civil Justice candidates across the state and on both sides of the aisle. We need your help to cross the finish line, though!

If you haven't already given to the PAC, it's not too late to join us in our efforts and ensure that we are able to meet our goals. Click HERE to make a contribution online, or contact Civil Justice PAC Executive Director Caroline McLean at or 770-314-4257. 
GTLA member M. Brandon Smith was recently elected as Chairman of the New Lawyers Division for the American Association for Justice, As only the second Georgia attorney to ever hold this position, Brandon would like to encourage other GTLA members to take advantage of this opportunity to get involved in AAJ’s New Lawyers Division. 

With more than 4,200 active members, the AAJ NLD works to promote justice all over the country via networking events, phone drives, charitable programs, stellar education seminars and fundraising events for pro-civil justice candidates. Thus, it is a great compliment to those already in the GTLA NLD. 

For more information, please contact Brandon Smith at his office of Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC via phone: 404-419-9500 or via email: to learn how you can get more involved.
Kimberly  W. Aiken, Shonda Ball, Timothy Blair, Roodgine Bray, Denice E. Brue- Clopton, Taylor Butenschon, LeRoya R. Chester Jennings, William M. Cheves, Whitney Chupp, Andrew  J. Conn, Denise  M. Cooper, Jennifer Cornelius, Claude C.  Davis, II, Michael Day, Jeffrey W. DeLoach, Judith Delus, Emanuel David Dressie, Belinda E. Edwards, Kevin Edward Epps, Enrique Fernandez, Susan Fitzgerald, Melody Allen Glouton, Kerri-Ann Griggs, Sheronn Harris, Shonda Hicks, Yolanda Johnson, Rebecca W. McLaws, Sarah Metz, Cesar Orantes, Julia PettyJohn, Scott Pfahl, Charlotte J. Redo, Kelsie Royal, Anthony Stastny, Minerva Steele, Adam  Thornton, Nicholas Utley, Robert P. Varner, Tegra N. Watkins, Shoran R. Williams, Shevonn Willis, Norman Staples Wood.
Fast Funds, Inc.
Regional Medical Group
Insurance Specialists, Inc

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.