NASSAU, Bahamas (Jan. 21, 2006) ‹ John V. Phelps was sworn is as National President of the American Board of Trial Advocates at the association’s national board of directors meeting.
Phelps, of the Jonesboro, Ark., law firm of Womack, Landis, Phelps, McNeill and McDaniel, has been a member of ABOTA’s national board of directors since 1995. He has served as President of the Arkansas Chapter and is the second National President from Arkansas in ABOTA’s nearly 50-year history.
The Hon. David N. Laser of Division 9, 2nd Judicial Circuit in Jonesboro, Ark., swore in Phelps. Judge Laser is a longtime ABOTA member and former President of the Arkansas Chapter.
The American Board of Trial Advocates is a 6,000 member organization of the nation’s leading plaintiff and defense trial lawyers and is dedicated to preserving the 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution which guarantees American citizens a right to trial by jury in civil cases.
Phelps remarked, “The service of American citizens as jurors reflects a genuine commitment to civic virtue and to fundamental fairness in the administration of justice. The jury system works well for America and in the words of Professor John Nockleby of Loyola Law School, helps to ‘legitimate both the process and the outcome of legal judgment.’
To have been selected by the parties and their attorneys as qualified to sit on a jury is a high compliment and should be listed on one’s resume since it proves that the juror has met the stringent requirements to be selected as an objective decision maker.”
Phelps has served as national secretary of ABOTA, is a member of its executive committee, and serves as a trustee of the Foundation of ABOTA. He has been active in several ABOTA programs, including professional education, youth education, diversity of membership, membership eligibility criteria and civil justice. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; a faculty member for the National Trial Academy sponsored by the American Bar Association; named one of the Best Lawyers in America; chairperson of the Board of Visitors of the Cecil H. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis, Tenn.; and named Special Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1988.
The other national officers sworn in were: President-elect Lewis R. Sifford of the Dallas law firm Sifford, Anderson & Co.; Vice President William C.
Callaham of the Sacramento, Calif., law firm Dreyer, Babich, Buccola & Callaham; Treasurer Harry T. Widmann of the Metairie, La., law firm Harry T.
Widmann and Associates; and Secretary J. Lewis Cromer of the Columbia, S.C., firm Cromer & Mabry.
Founded in 1958, the America Board of Trial Advocates has a membership spread among 90 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. ABOTA publishes Voir Dire magazine, which features in-depth articles on current and historical issues related to the 7th Amendment.
The Foundation of ABOTA is an affiliated charitable entity, the mission of which is to support the purposes of ABOTA through education and research. It is a founding patron of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has created an interactive classroom lesson plan explaining the 7th Amendment and its importance to the future of participatory democracy in America. For more information about ABOTA, go to www.abota.org.