GTLA Members Help Preserve Our Civil Justice System

    

BY MIKE PRIETO

As I write this, I am reflecting on my year thus far as President of this exemplary association. I am reminded

of how many truly incredible people came before me, and I am encouraged by the profound talent currently

rising in the ranks. As plaintiff’s attorneys, we come from a myriad of backgrounds and ideological

perspectives, but the one issue where we can always find common ground is in our persistent pursuit of

justice for our clients and the preservation of our civil justice system.

Last month, I traveled to Washington D.C. with members of your GTLA staff and Executive Committee to speak

with our Georgia Congressional delegation on issues pertinent to our association and to your practices. Our friends

at the American Association for Justice helped coordinate our trip and their legislative team spent time prepping us

for our meetings on Capitol Hill.

Georgia is fortunate to have representation that understand and appreciate the needs of not only their

constituents but of all our state’s citizens. Over the course of our two days on Capitol Hill, we met with legislators

and staff from 15 of Georgia’s 16-member delegation, all of whom took time out of their hectic schedules to hear

from ordinary citizens about the issues facing Georgians and the Civil Justice System. In a time when partisanship

is at its pinnacle, it is refreshing to witness ideologically diverse individuals address a bipartisan issue in a

collaborative manner.

Much like we enjoyed the spirit of bipartisanship during the meetings with our federal representation, the

members of the Georgia General Assembly exhibit the same pragmatic approach to governing. Thanks to Bill

Clark and his legislative team, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association is well-represented and well-respected by

our legislators under the Gold Dome. Each year, the 40-day session presents our lobbying team with a slew of

legislation aimed at diluting your clients’ rights and access to justice, and in January, they will return to our

State Capitol to protect Georgia’s Civil Justice System from those intending to undermine it.

While we may have one of the best legislative teams fighting for you during the Legislative Session, we can

only be successful with your help! Establishing a relationship with your local state representatives and

senators allows them to receive feedback directly from their constituent while also giving you a voice in the

legislative process. These months leading up to the January start present the perfect opportunity for you to

reach out to your local representation, and one of the easiest ways to engage is to offer to be a resource for

them in their legislative duties. Georgia operates as a citizen legislature, meaning that the vast majority of our

legislators have no formal legal background. Their votes are driven by the interests of their district and by the

information that they are provided, and what better way to ensure that they have the most accurate

information on legislation directly pertaining to Georgia’s judicial system than providing them with the answers

to their questions?

If you do not know who represents your State House and Senate districts, you can easily access them at

www.openstates.org by entering your address. This is the first step toward building a meaningful relationship

with your representation that will undoubtedly benefit you, and our entire association, just as it is beneficial for

them with your aide. Our association is only as persuasive as the individuals with whom we have established

relationships, and the words of a constituent, or a friend, will go much farther when it comes time for their

vote.   

While we may have one of the best

legislative teams fighting

for you during the Legislative Session, we

can only be successful with your help!

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