[COLUMBIA, S.C. January 28, 2015] – Collins & Lacy, P.C. announces co-founder Joel Collins has been named President of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Collins officially took the oath of office at the national board meeting in Naples, FL on January 24, 2015.
ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees the right to jury trials. ABOTA’s primary goal is to educate the American public about the history and value of the right to trial by jury and is dedicated to elevating the standards of integrity, honor, and courtesy in the legal profession.
Collins served as the national association’s Vice President in 2013, became President-Elect in 2014, and when his one-year term as President is over, he will remain on the National Executive Committee in the capacity of Past-President in 2016. He has the distinction of being only the second person to have served as both the President of the ABOTA Foundation Trustees and national president in the organization’s 57 year history. One of Collins’ goals as president is to lead a delegation of ABOTA members to Runnymede, England for the celebration of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta on June 15, 2015.
Jack Griffeth, a Collins & Lacy shareholder and fellow ABOTA member, attended the inauguration. “Joel’s acceptance speech was inspiring as he recounted that in the world’s greatest democracy ABOTA stands for the rule of law and civility among the legal profession to preserve our civil liberties, especially the sanctity of jury trials,” Griffeth said. “While a fierce advocate for his clients, he treats everyone, lawyers and clients alike, with dignity. He is admired by his peers, loved by his colleagues, and respected by all.”
“After 47 years of practicing law, I am honored to be able to give back to my profession and to all the parties served by ABOTA, such as students, young attorneys and members of the Bar and the judiciary,” said Collins. “ABOTA is an organization like no other.”
Joel Collins has devoted his law practice to professional liability, white-collar criminal defense, and complex civil litigation. He is an adjunct professor at the South Carolina Honors College, teaching a course on the United States Constitution, and he is a member of the International Society of Barristers, the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court, and the Rotary Club of Lake Murray-Irmo. In 2009, Collins was the recipient of the ABOTA Foundation Masters in Trial Award.
“Joel has dedicated his life to being a preeminent advocate,” said Scott Wallinger, chair of the firm’s management committee. “Joel’s dedication to and knack for studying the art of advocacy, and putting it to use in the courtroom for clients, is one of my favorite things about him. I know of no one better to promote the importance of trial by jury and no one I would rather have represent me in a courtroom. “