American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”) Announces New Alabama Inductees; Statewide Event Honors Judicial Circuit Court Judge Robert H. Smith of Mobile

The American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”) is pleased to announce the following attorneys were inducted into membership at the Alabama Chapter’s Annual Meeting on November 16:

  • Alan Alexander of the Helmsing Leach law firm; Mobile, AL
  • Will Axon of the Starnes, Davis, Florie law firm; Birmingham
  • Bob Cooper of the Stockham, Cooper and Potts law firm; Birmingham
  • Kendall Dunson of the Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles law firm; Montgomery
  • Jeff Rickard of the Marsh, Rickard & Bryan law firm; Birmingham
  • Gaynor St. John of the St. John & St. John law firm; Cullman
  • Allen Sydnor of the Huie, Fernambucq & Stewart law firm; Birmingham
  • Michael Upchurch of the Frazer, Greene, Upchurch and Baker law firm; Mobile

Membership into the American Board of Trial Advocates is by invitation only, following a rigorous nomination and voting process. There are approximately 7,300 members of ABOTA in the United States; only 122 attorneys in Alabama are members.

For the third consecutive year, ABOTA’s annual event honored one of the state’s most respected judges. This year’s banquet recognized the Hon. Robert H. Smith of Mobile, who serves the 13th Judicial Circuit. Prior to his appointment to the bench in 2006, Judge Smith was in private practice for 37 years. His practice, focused primarily on Admiralty and Maritime Suits, included a wide range of trial experience including appellate courts. Since assuming the bench, Judge Smith has distinguished himself as one of the finest judges in the Alabama court system.

ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ABOTA works to uphold the jury system for educating the American public about the history and value of the right to a trial by jury. To be considered for admission into the Alabama Chapter, one must have tried to conclusion a minimum of 10 civil jury trials, be nominated by an existing member whose practice typically is on the opposing side of the nominee, and be approved by 75 percent of those members voting on membership. Criteria evaluated includes exceptional jury trial skills, civility, professionalism and integrity.

Mike Ermert of the Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton law firm in Birmingham, is President and George Knox, Jr., of the Lanier Ford law firm in Huntsville, is President- Elect of the Alabama Chapter of ABOTA.

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