Collins & Lacy, P.C. co-founder Joel Collins and his wife Rhonda traveled to London, England for the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) International Trip on July 20 through July 26, 2014. Joel is the President Elect of ABOTA and has been representing the organization in England for the planning of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.
On Tuesday evening, July 22, Joel and Rhonda dined with Sir Robert Worcester, Chair of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee. They dined at the famous Reform Club in London, one of England’s most exclusive clubs. Its past members are a virtual “who’s who” of English royal society, political leaders (including Winston Churchill), leading professionals, and prominent military heroes.
The group toured the Highclere Castle on Wednesday, which is the location of the popular ETV series Downton Abbey. Then, that evening, the ABOTA members held a dinner party in the famous and iconic dining facility of Middle Temple, one of the four Inns of Court. The featured speaker of the evening was Sir Robert Worcester. While Joel was introducing Sir Worcester, Alice Pearson, personal assistant to the Rev. Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple, took a photograph depicting the dining hall, which was built in 1570. It is a very impressive, regal room with great historical significance. Just outside the dining hall is a plaque containing the names of the Middle Templars who signed the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, the majority of whom were from South Carolina.
On Friday, July 25, the ABOTA group attended a private reception at the House of Lords. Then, on Saturday, July 26, Joel and Rhonda went to the Great Foster’s Hotel in Egham, England and spent the day with Runnymede Mayor Derek Cotty where they discussed plans for the 800th Anniversary celebration as well as plans for the erection in Runnymede of a statute of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This statute is scheduled to be unveiled the day before the Magna Carta Anniversary Celebration on June 15, 2015. The statute, the only one of Queen Elizabeth authorized to be erected in England during her lifetime, depicts the Queen in full garter robes standing on a substantial pedestal which in turn will be atop a plinth.
While in England, Joel had the opportunity to have a substantial conversation with Hugh Meares, a noted Magna Carta expert. Based on insightful information received from Mr. Meares and others, Joel has re-written his paper about Magna Carta. This paper will be spotlighted on the Collins & Lacy website as soon as it is in final form.