Southern Trial Lawyers Association
P.O. Box 1207
Crawfordville, FL 32326-1207
Tele/Fax: (850) 926-4599
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The essential mission of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association is as simple as it is straightforward: To promote fellowship, learning, and networking among trial lawyers throughout the 13 southern states. We do not engage in political activity or fundraising of any kind, leaving those worthwhile activities to the state trial lawyer associations and to AAJ.
Membership in the Southern Trial Lawyers Association is by nomination made by a member in good standing with STLA, with approval by other Board members from the nominee's state.
The Association has sponsored an annual conference every year since 1987. Our annual convention is distinguished by the special warmth and friendliness that is so much a part of southern tradition generally, and the hallmark of relations among southern trial lawyers in particular. In addition, we provide pound for pound, and dollar for dollar, the highest quality continuing legal education experience available anywhere in America, and all 13 southern member states have consistently approved the program for CLE credit. The annual conference takes place in New Orleans the weekend preceding Mardi Gras.
Reserve funds generated from the annual conference are used to support a wide range of philanthropic causes, including most recently the Brain Injury Foundation, the Houston Area Women's Abuse Shelter, the Kolwyck Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Tennessee, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and PATH-A Woman's Way Home in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Southern Trial Lawyer's Association established the coveted War Horse Award which is given annually at the conference.
Southern Trial Lawyers was founded by a group of about a dozen or so lawyers. Larry Smith had a big party in New Orleans and allowed people to ride on his float and go to his krewe’s event. He had also developed a terrific seminar at this time, which was sponsored by the Louisiana Bar Association. As the organization was being formed, Larry Smith came up with the idea of calling it “Southern Trial Lawyers Association” which would be somewhat like the Western Trial Lawyers Association. He spoke to Frank Branson from Houston Texas about the organization and thus the two of them officially became the two “co-founders”. The organization was formed with Lawrence “Larry” J. Smith as the first president in 1988. We had a party, we had an organization and we had a seminar, which has developed into one of the best in the country.
Larry Smith was speaking at a seminar in West Palm Beach and John Romano approached him and said we should do some things or take certain steps to make this organization “very special.” John suggested that Southern Trial Lawyers should give a special award to the most special of lawyers. Lawyers who were not only great courtroom advocates, but who gave of their time, effort, energy and money to organizations such as ATLA and their state trial lawyers associations and lawyers who were “true characters of their time. Larry agreed and said this should be a special recognition. John came up with the “War Horse Award” and the criteria for selecting the recipients. Thus the birth of the Southern Trial Lawyers prestigious WarHorse Award. This award is given annually to a lawyer or lawyers at a black tie dinner and awards ceremony at the annual Mardi Gras Conference in New Orleans and is one of the highlights of the conference.
Criteria for a War Horse nominee:
- The recipient must be a lawyer who has practiced actively for 30 years or more.
- The lawyer must be recognized as a top courtroom advocate.
- The lawyer must truly and genuinely be a leader or had been a leader in the trial bar.
- The recipient must have contributed significantly to the teaching of trial advocacy through seminars and educational programs.
- The recipient must be considered one of the true characters of his/her time.
Esteemed WarHorse Honorees:
|Jere Locke Beasley, AL||Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, GA||Robert Parks, FL|
|Sidney S. McMath, AR||Al J. Cone, FL||Roscoe B. Hogan, AL|
|Stanley E. Preiser, WV||Joe E. Tonahill, TX||George E. Allen, Jr., VA|
|Hon. Ross Anderson, SC||Franklin Jones, TX||Raymond H. Kierr, LA|
|Ward Wagner, Jr., FL||John B. Wilson, TX||J.D. Lee, TN|
|Betty A Thompson, VA||Hon. Walter Niblock, AR||Samuel Gainsburg, LA|
|William E Johnson, KY||Bob Gibbins, TX|
|Allen Bailey, NC||Charles Blanchard, NC||Frank Haddar, KY|
|Sen. Howell Heflin, Wash., DC||Joseph Jamail, TX||Hon Thomas Miller, WV|
|Bill Colson, FL||Betty Love, Al||Sidney Gilereath, TN|
|Tony Cunningham, FL||Francis Hare, Al||Pat Maloney, Sr. ,TX|
|Peter Perlman, KY||Jerry Mc Kernan, LA||Tommy Malone, GA|
|Hon. Henry Woods, AR||Morris Dees, AL||William L. Throp, NC|
|Vincent Glorioso, LA||Philip Hirschkop, VA||Bill Wagner, FL|
|Hon William Wilson, AR||Frank L. Branson, TX||J Kendall Few, SC|
|Murray Sams Jr., FL||Lawrence J. Smith, LA||Fred Gray, AL|
|Michael Maher, FL||Nick C. Nichols, TX||Gary Gober, TN|
|John F. Romano, FL||Hon. Matthew Perry, SC||Gary Pillersdorf, NY|
|Christian D. Searcy, FL||John W Walker, AR||Gordon Bonnyman, TN|
|Jack Zimmerman, TX||R.Ben Hogan III, AL||Robert T. Hall, VA|
|Hon. George T. Smith, GA||J. Lewis Cromer, SC||Howard Nations, TX|
|Hon. George Leighton, IL||O. Fayrell Furr, Jr., SC||Broadus Spivey, TX|
|Wayne Hogan, FL||Jere Locke Beasley, AL||Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, GA|
|Robert Parks, FL||Richard Shapiro, FL||J. Marvin "Bo" Mullis Jr., SC|