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ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section addresses Disaster Preparedness & Response with year-long program series

Chicago, IL (June 17, 2011) – The American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, in partnership with Thomson Reuters, announced the launch of a year-long (2011-2012) series of programs dedicated to Disaster Preparedness and Response. Responding to the global catastrophic events of the past decade—the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the 2011 Japan earthquake and nuclear meltdown, and cyberterrorism—the series will confront the issues of preparedness, risk management, recovery, liability, insurance, claims and litigation.

The Initiative on Disaster Preparedness and Response will officially launch with a series of teleconferences in September. The first teleconference program entitled, The Call: Aviation Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response, will take place on September 6, 2011, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. The teleconference series will air from the offices of the Harris Beach Law Firm, which was forced to relocate from Tower 2 of the World Trade Center after the September 11th attack, and will be simulcast online by West LegalEdcenter, part of Thomson Reuters.

On September 8, 2011, a teleconference will air and feature speakers including: Kenneth Feinberg, Special Master of the U.S. government’s initial September 11 Victim Compensation Fund and currently serving as the Administrator of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund; newly appointed Special Master Sheila Birnbaum of the revitalized September 11 Compensation Fund for first responders and clean-up workers of the WTC Disaster Site; and Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, Senior Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and presiding Judge over the WTC Disaster Site and related litigation.

The teleconference series will discuss lessons learned from September 11, 2001 and where the legal system is 10 years later in the administration of justice caused by mass disasters. Approximately 10 teleconferences, sponsored by the various TIPS committees, will be presented from September 6, 2011 through September 19, 2011 from 12:00pm-1:30pm EST. Please watch for more information regarding the dates, titles and program descriptions for each of the September teleconferences.

The Initiative on Disaster Preparedness and Response will also include a series of podcasts and four live programs in Seattle, New Orleans, Charleston, and Chicago, featuring legislative, judicial and business leaders to address disaster readiness and response. “These programs feature some of the country’s leading experts in terrorism and natural disaster planning and response. The caliber of the speakers and the timeliness of the discussion are unprecedented,” observed Williams Kastner member and TIPS Incoming Section Chair, Randy J. Aliment.

The Seattle program will take place in October and will be entitled, “Homeland Security – 10 Years Later. How Innovation and Technology Have Changed the Approach to Homeland Security Since the 9-11 Attack.” Speakers include: Governor Christine Gregoire; Jose Gaitan; John McKay, former United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington; and Jenny Durkan, United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington. The panel will address border and port security, collaborative governmental disaster response, and security aboard the Washington ferry system.

Additional information, as well as a link to the full program agendas for the entire initiative, will be posted online at www.americanbar.org/tips.

The ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section unites plaintiff, defense, insurance, and corporate counsel to advance the civil justice system. TIPS is a national source of expertise in tort, trial and insurance practice and brings lawyers together to share information and speak out on issues of importance. The section has about 25,000 members and 32 general committees that focus on substantive and procedural matters in areas across the broad spectrum of civil law and practice.