As plaintiff lawyers gather in Chicago for their annual convention, there will be a lot more of them than usual. Attendance numbers for the American Association of Justice convention are up significantly, the highest in five years.
This comes on the heels of AAJ’s winter meeting in Miami in 2011 which set a record for the best-attended winter meeting ever.
Why so much growth? CEO Linda Lipsen says the numbers partly reflect AAJ’s progress on a host of issues.
“The civil justice system is constantly under attack from corporate lobbyists,” says Lipsen. “Our members get it that we are constantly fighting back to make sure no one is standing in the way of justice for their clients.”
Despite the downturn in the economy that has bludgeoned many other membership groups, AAJ’s membership renewal rate has risen dramatically in the last five years. More law firms have also joined AAJ’s highest level of participation, Leaders Forum.
On the political front, more lawyers are also giving more money. Contributions from members to AAJ’s Political Action Committee in 2011 were the highest ever. The AAJ PAC ranks among the top ten PACs in the country.
Lipsen says lawyers recognize that AAJ is not just an organization fighting battles on their behalf in the nation’s capitol, it’s also a great way to network and learn from other members. AAJ’s Education programs reached more than 3000 trial lawyers since last fall.
“I’m so confident about where we are and what lies ahead for AAJ,” Lipsen says. “We are the strongest, most effective voice for the civil justice system in America and that’s the right side to be on.”
AAJ traces its roots to 1943 and was called the Association of Trial Lawyers of America until it adopted a new name in 2006. It is the largest organization of trial lawyers in the world.