In a sign that business is returning to normal, more than 300 plaintiff and defense attorneys and retired judges will attend an in-person conference in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico this weekend that will be hosted by Beverly Hills lawyer Gary A. Dordick.
“I’ve been practicing now for about 34 years, and I had some great mentors and teachers help me better represent my clients, and I think all of us have an obligation to give back, to share what we’ve learned through hard lessons to help other lawyers be more effective,” Dordick said.
The sold out three-day trial college starts Thursday and is one of largest in-person legal events to be held in the era of the pandemic. Mexico has loosened some restrictions on gatherings, which allowed the event to go forward, Dordick said in a phone interview Tuesday.
“Everybody’s doing better, and Cabo San Lucas is open, but they still have COVID restrictions so we will have social distancing and masks required in the indoor rooms, and it’s limited to 50% capacity. This year, we sold out at 360 attendees, but hopefully next year, we’ll be able to have twice as many,” Dordick said.
The conference will feature lectures on a range of topics and practice areas from employee disputes to police misconduct as well as hands-on workshops where attendees will be videotaped giving opening or closing arguments with instructors providing feedback.
In addition to offering legal education, the event raises money for cancer research. Several prominent lawyers said they were eager to get together and to support a good cause. Christopher B. Dolan of Dolan Law Firm PC.; Ricardo Echeverria of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP; and Brian S. Kabateck of Kabateck LLP all have speaking roles.
Echeverria will lecture on how to give closing arguments and rebuttals, cross examinations and conduct insurance bad faith trials.
“I hope that every attendee, no matter what their level of experience is, can pick up some very practical pointers to apply in their everyday trial practice to improve their craft in front of a jury,” Echeverria said in an email. “In addition, I want to reinforce to attendees the importance of civility, not just in trial, but in the practice of law generally.”
Kabateck will lecture on giving opening statements, trying bad faith cases and on the use of focus groups.
“I want people to understand this is an important thing Gary is doing at his time and expense and is part of what all of us should be doing: giving back especially to younger lawyers in the community,” he said in an email Tuesday.
Dolan will lecture on jury selection, jury instructions, verdict forms and creating an appellate record. He will also participate in a Q&A program with Echeverria and Kabateck.
“Knowing Gary, it will be first class and a great time,” Dolan said. “Nobody knows how to educate and luxuriate better than my pal Gary.”
All proceeds from the event will be donated to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass., the hospital Dordick credits with saving his life after his cancer diagnosis. So far, the program has raised more than $100,000, according to Dordick, who added that he is hopeful more money will be raised this weekend. Donations can be made directly to the cancer institute through The Dordick Trial College Fundraising page on danafarber.jimmyfund.org.
“I want to do all I can to give back,” Dordick said. “I want to do all I can to help them have money to be able to continue doing research and saving lives.”