The Section on Civil Litigation shall take as its province to further the development of the law and procedures related to civil litigation; to stimulate and extend the study of these fields of the law; to cooperate in obtaining uniformity with respect to both legislation and administration in all matters concerning the law and procedures related to civil litigation; and to simplify and improve the application of justice in these fields of law.
PBA Bylaws, Article VI, Section 627
Jennifer Coatsworth, Chair
Hello and welcome to the Civil Litigation Section. If you are already a member, welcome, and if you are not, we’d love to have you join us. Our members practice in all areas of civil litigation from employment to personal injury to commercial and business litigation and more. Through the section, we come together to exchange ideas about substantive law and civil procedure. The section is also committed to improving civil practice in the state and federal courts across the commonwealth. We accomplish this by actively authoring recommendations and reports for the PBA governing bodies and taking positions on recommendations of other sections and committees that are applicable to civil litigators. Ultimately, these positions are advocated through PBA staff and lobbyists to the legislature and Supreme Court committees to protect our members’ interests.
The section also boasts a robust communication structure. We have a quarterly newsletter that provides news about the section and a recap of recent events. However, it also provides case notes and articles about updates to substantive and procedural laws so that our members can stay current in recent trends and changes applicable to our practice. We also have a listserv where our members can communicate, seeking recommendations for experts or advice on specific local procedures in a particular court or information about a particular area of substantive law with which they are not familiar. We are a community that is here to help each other and provide guidance utilizing these tools.
We also build community and network within the section through our innovative, informative and fun programming. We have an annual retreat where we have the opportunity to get to know each other and our families by spending a weekend at a high-end resort, taking advantage of the local surroundings, while earning nearly all the yearly required CLE credits in creative and educational seminars. We host annual regional dinners throughout the commonwealth, which feature keynote addresses by highly sought-after judges, legislators and leaders of the legal community.
Additionally, we seek to grow our membership by making a concerted effort to attract younger members of the profession. Several years ago, we developed the Civil Litigation Section Mini Trial Camps, which provide practical trial advocacy skills at a more basic level and are geared toward younger lawyers. We have rotated this program throughout the commonwealth, using active experienced section members from the region as our distinguished panelists.
If you are interested in volunteering, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. We are always looking for new volunteers and ideas. If you are not a member, please consider joining our section.
Jennifer S. Coatsworth, Section Chair, 2019-2020