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Alumni at the Helm of Worldwide Counsel

James M. Campbell ’83

James M. Campbell ’83

Joseph Ryan, Jr. ’78
Joseph Ryan, Jr. ’78

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by Rebecca Barns

James M. Campbell ’83 and Joseph W. Ryan, Jr. ’78 were recently elected to lead the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), a prestigious worldwide, legal organization. With headquarters in Chicago, Ill., the IADC serves nearly 2,500 corporate and insurance defense attorneys from 33 countries. Membership is by invitation only, following a thorough review process.

            “For someone who never wanted to be anything other than a trial lawyer, the opportunity, challenge, honor, and responsibility of serving as the president of the IADC is both daunting and exhilarating,” says Campbell, president of Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy in Boston, Mass.

            Established in 1920 by a group of general counsels, the IADC has evolved into a dynamic organization that offers opportunities through which members can sharpen their skills and professionalism, as well as strengthen camaraderie among their peers.

            The annual Trial Academy is one example of the IADC programs. The seven-day course, held at the Stanford Law School, is designed to hone the advocacy trial skills of less-experienced attorneys. Sessions are taught by leading defense trial lawyers who demonstrate different ways to solve courtroom challenges. Students practice making opening and closing statements and leading direct and cross examination of mock witnesses and medical experts. Faculty review the videotaped sessions and offer constructive comments to students.

            Campbell and Ryan first collaborated at the IADC Trial Academy in 2005 as director and director-elect, and discovered that they work very well together. “We share a great deal,” says Ryan, an attorney with Porter Wright Morris & Arthur in Columbus, Ohio. “We’re both Irish Catholics, went to Jesuit colleges, love to try lawsuits, and have magnificent wives who buoy us up when we need it.”

            The Law School instilled in both men the ability to listen with an open mind. Ryan, recently chosen as president-elect of IADC, attributes that quality, in part, to the approach of Bob Scott, Charlie Whitebread, Emerson Spies, and other Law professors.

            UVA is well-represented in the IADC, notes Campbell, including past president Will Cleveland ’75, Chris D’Angelo ’78, and Kevin Brill, Fred Paliani, and Pat Conlon, all from the class of 1983. With Campbell and Ryan at the helm, IADC is in good hands.