Defense Counsel Journal

President's Page - Volume 91, Number 1

Volume 91, No. 1

March 04, 2024

Smith_Michele_2012_sized Michele Y. Smith

Michele Y. Smith

Michele Y. Smith is IADC President, 2023-2024.


The “I” in IADC stands proudly for “International.” Not only is the word a formal piece of the organization’s name, but it is also an important statement about who we are. It underlined our substantive meetings completed recently in London, Vienna, and the Midyear Meeting held in the culturally diverse city of Miami. Each city is rich in heritage, strong in culture, and teeming with opportunity for members from around the world to form professional and personal bonds. Yet, the “I” in IADC means more…

The “I” also stands for Important. 

The meetings mentioned above showcased vitally important topics from numerous creative and meaningful perspectives. In London, the IADC partnered with the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and heard from panels discussing the European and United States perspectives on mass torts and current emerging risks, including the New Product Liability Directive being negotiated by the European Parliament which will create major implications in the defense of products manufacturers in global litigation and arbitration.  

Vienna presented an opportunity to hear an update from Ukrainian member, Maria Orlyk, who provided moving insight into the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia and the challenges one faces when trying to run a law firm amid such chaos and upheaval. The attendees were also riveted by an enlightening discussion of AI and its current and coming impact upon our profession. 

In Miami, the CLE programming touched upon critical matters ranging from lawyer well-being to addressing compensatory inequity through reimagined rainmaking, from learning what makes today’s juries tick to the effective use of visuals in trials and arbitrations. Outside of the CLE, Foundation Forum speaker Arthur Brooks gave an inspiring talk on loving the difficult ones from his book, “Love Your Enemies,” and Christine Barker empowered us with her moving, historical account of the AIDS crisis of the early 1980s, and the personal impact it had on her family and friends – all told vividly in her compelling memoir, “Third Girl from the Left.”

The “I” stands for Incredible.  

All these events afforded members the opportunity to maximize the advantages of what the IADC offers. The IADC connects people who have business and who share business; but more importantly, the organization connects people who are incredible people with whom we form lasting friendships and relationships. Each meeting was well-attended by IADC members and prospective members who had the opportunity to get to know each other…in Miami alone that amounted to more than 450 members, spouses, and guests enjoying the colorful and energetic poolside beats of the Fiesta Caliente en Vivo (Live Hot Party), conversing with new friends in a packed speed-networking event, and dancing the night away in celebration of the vibrant street art of Miami at the White Linen Nights Closing Party. 

The “I” stands for Impressive. 

In Miami, I reported on the progress the IADC membership has made toward our Wildly “I”mportant Goals (WIGs) to increase members’ satisfaction with engagement and business development opportunities.   Since we last reported on WIGs progress in July, the IADC has:

  • held 4 Regional meetings and 5 IADConnects events (with more scheduled of each);
  • published 20 Committee Newsletters and DCJ articles;
  • held 127 Substantive Committee calls, including 12 joint meetings;
  • made 296 member introductions;
  •  “dropped” 13 IADC Speaks podcast episodes (which have generated 630+ downloads);
  • increased its email open rate by 6% with the content refresh; AND
  • increased reported referrals given/received to $13.8 million in the last year.

This DCJ is yet another “I” (Impressive) jewel in the IADC crown. The articles contained herein cover PFAs (“forever chemicals”), the crime fraud exemption to the attorney-client privilege, written discussions on the tactic of having third parties present during independent medical examinations, and thoughtful, historical insight from a study of the Nuremburg trials – where the rule of law triumphed resoundingly over a dark and tyrannical reign of terror. 

I am thankful I am part of the “I” in IADC. Thank you for making it the personally and professionally rewarding organization it is! I encourage you to continue making the IADC all that it is by bringing your “I” to it – use the many avenues of engagement to share your talents. Join us at one of the many upcoming virtual or in-person events, including the IADConnects meetings taking place across the country, a Regional Meeting, the Corporate Counsel College and Corporate Counsel Training Academy, the Professional Liability Roundtable, and, of course, our Annual Meeting celebration this July in the beautiful, “I”nternational city of Vancouver. You will not be disappointed!

Michele Y. Smith
IADC President, 2023-2024