The SAAPIL Review
South African Lawyer Group Welcomes ATLA Aid
By Tom Henderson,
Chief Executive Officer ATLA
Since the end of apartheid, forming a biracial organisation has been difficult in South Africa.
Yet such a group of 30-40 personal injury lawyers has developed to network and exchange information. In January, several members of ATLA and I went to South Africa to present two seminars and urge attendees to join the new South African Association of Personal Injury Attorneys.
ATLA also provided start-up costs for the organisation, presenting it with a check to cover staffing and other resources for the first year. Representatives of ATLA on the trip included Richard Bieder of Bridgeport, Conn; Martin Blake of San Francisco; Peter Cashman of Sydney, Australia; former President Richard Hailey of Indianapolis; host Malcolm Lyons of Houghton, South Africa; John Pickering of Hartshead Sheffield, England; Ian Walker of London and Simon Walton of Baltimore.
The seminars, held January 27 in Johannesburg and Jan 29 in Cape Town attracted about 250 South African lawyers. Among the topics were developing successful cases, proof of damages, remedies where wrongs affect the public, contemporary issues in auto cases and securing access to justice for consumers. The meetings also introduced members of the new organisation to other organisations ATLA helped start, including the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers Association (APLA) and the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL).
APIL was formed 11 years ago after ATLA representatives met with four lawyers in Great Britain. The group of barristers and solicitors with similar interests now has over 5000 members. APLA is a non-profit national association of lawyers and other professionals devoted to protecting the rights of the injured and preventing injuries through safer products and workplaces. Since its inception, ATLA lawyers have attended and spoken at conventions held by the group which has now over 3000 members.
PEOPIL, founded in 1996 brings together lawyers from across Europe to discuss and debate with their counterparts – there are over 300 members in 30 countries, I spoke at this conference in Munich in May. Lawyers groups in Holland, Hong Kong, Nigeria and several countries in South America have also asked ATLA for advice and assistance. Our goal is to have a connection with plaintiff lawyers all over the world to make sure we can communicate with them through the Internet. Excerpt From The Association of Trial Lawyers of America Newsletter.