Baylor Law Alumnus Sworn In as President of American Board of Trial AdvocatesFeb. 4, 2010
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DALLAS - Houston lawyer and Baylor Law School alumnus Craig Lewis was sworn in as National President of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) at the organization's National Board of Directors meeting at the MiraMonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, Calif., on Jan. 23. Lewis was elected by the general membership of more than 6,400 members, comprised of a balance of plaintiff and defense lawyers, as well as judges. In its 52-year history, Lewis is the fifth National ABOTA President to hail from the Lone Star State.
As a longtime member of ABOTA's National Board of Directors, Lewis helped re-organize the ABOTA Foundation and served as its first president. One of the primary efforts he spearheaded was a partnership with Scholastic InSchool Solutions that placed the interactive classroom resource, "Justice by the People," on the Internet. "Justice by the People" is an award-winning teaching curriculum that is now available to more than 50 million students and teachers nationwide. He has also served for several years on ABOTA's Executive Committee and as a Trustee for the ABOTA Foundation.
ABOTA is an invitation-only association. Its members have tried at least 10 civil jury trials to conclusion, as well as possess additional litigation experience and exhibit the principles of courtroom civility, integrity and professionalism.
Lewis said that the public perception of the profession today is dramatically different than when many of his colleagues decided to become lawyers.
"I am proud to be an attorney and believe all of us are troubled that our positive accomplishments continue to be forgotten, misrepresented or ignored," Lewis said. "ABOTA has had success in bringing diverse groups together and effectively communicating the benefits that attorneys provide, both inside and outside the courtroom."
He added that ABOTA works to make a difference in changing the public's negative perception. This public engagement, he added, is consistent with ABOTA's sponsorship of the Journalist Law School held each year at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Wendell Mortimer Jr. swore in Mr. Lewis. The other national officers sworn in were: President-elect Harry T. Widmann of the Metairie, La., firm of Harry T. Widmann and Associates; Treasurer Mark P. Robinson Jr. of the Newport Beach, Calif., firm of Robinson, Calcagnie and Robinson; Robert N. Stone of the Los Angeles law firm of Stone, Dolginer & Wenzeland; and Secretary F. Dulin Kelly of the Henderson, Tenn., firm of Kelly, Kelly and Allman.
Born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, May 24, 1947, Lewis was admitted to bar in 1973 in Texas and U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas, U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit. He earned his B.A. magna cum laude in 1969 and his J.D. cum laude from Baylor University in 1973. He served as Editor in Chief of the Baylor Law Review from 1972-1973.
Lewis' other accomplishments include:
President of the ABOTA Foundation (2004 and 2005)
President of TEX-ABOTA (2005)
President of Houston Chapter of ABOTA (1998)
Masters-in-Trial Award, ABOTA Foundation 2005
Member of the Executive Committee of ABOTA National (1996, 2001, 2006-present)
Member of the Board of Directors of ABOTA since 1990
Trustee of the ABOTA Foundation (2002-2005)
ABOTA Foundation Legacy Life Fellow
Participant in numerous ABOTA Masters in Trial programs
Co-Chair, Technology Committee (2002)
Co-Chair, Long Range Planning Committee (2000)
Chair, Constitution and By-Laws Committee (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001)
Member, Long Range Executive Planning Committee (2001)
Member, Evaluation and Strategic Planning Committee (1996)
Member, Membership Committee and Judicial Selection Committee (1995)
Member, Judicial Committee (1994)
Member, Civil Justice Committee and Court Congestion Committee (1992, 1993)
President, Baylor Law Alumni Association (1997-98)
Sustaining Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
Member, Houston Bar Foundation
Member, State Bar of Texas Administration of Justice Committee (1981-84)
Member, Houston Bar Association Judicial Evaluation and Preference Poll Committee (1990-91)
Chairman, Houston Bar Association Public Education Committee (1974-76)
Houston Junior Bar Association Service Recognition Award (1975-76)
The American Board of Trial Advocates, founded in 1958, is an organization dedicated to defending the American civil justice system. With a membership of 6,400 experienced attorneys representing both plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases, ABOTA is uniquely qualified to speak for the value of the constitutionally-mandated jury system as the protector of the rights of persons and property. ABOTA publishes Voir Dire magazine, which features in-depth articles on current and historical issues related to constitutional rights, in particular the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury. ABOTA and the ABOTA Foundation's national headquarters are in Dallas.