May 24, 2017
The International Legal Foundation is seeking two experienced criminal defense lawyers with expertise in impact and strategic litigation to train lawyers in its Strategic Litigation Unit in ILF-Afghanistan’s Kabul office for one month in fall/winter 2017.
Qualifications: 5+ years of experience providing criminal defense legal aid; experience drafting appeals and/or as a law clerk; experience in pre-trial and impact litigation. Note that there are no language requirements for this position.
May 24, 2017
The Alabama State Bar on Saturday swore in Montgomery attorney J. Cole Portis of the Beasley Allen Law Firm as the 141st president of the 17,900-member organization.
“I am blessed to have the opportunity to lead our state bar, which has been entrusted with the obligation to serve our profession, seek improvements in our judicial system and serve the public,” said Alabama State Bar President J. Cole Portis of the Beasley Allen Law Firm (Montgomery). “We are committed to a new era of engagement with lawyers to ensure that they have resources available to help them in their practice. We are also committed to standing alongside our courts to ensure that the rule of law is enforced and dedicated to serving the public through pro bono work, charitable stewardship and involvement in everyday affairs that impact the communities where we practice law.”
Portis has served on multiple committees and task forces within the Alabama State Bar including the Finance and Audit Committee, Client Security Fund Committee and various others. He has also served on the Alabama State Bar Board of Bar Commissioners for the 15th judicial circuit since 2007.
Portis received his J.D. from The University of Alabama School of Law in 1990 and joined the Beasley Allen Law Firm in 1991, where he is now a principal. Portis represents people and families who are injured or killed by defective products. In addition to handling litigation matters at Beasley Allen, he manages the firm’s product liability/personal injury section.
He is a board member of the Alabama Law Foundation where he is also a fellow and a member of the Atticus Finch Society. He supports the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation through its Pioneers of Justice Society and is a Montgomery County Bar Association volunteer lawyer. He is past president of the Alabama State Bar Young Lawyers’ Section, the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Montgomery County Trial Lawyers Association.
Portis was recognized as a finalist for Public Justice’s 2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year, was a top rated lawyer in Springfield, MO lawyer in Springfield, MO and he is also an AV-rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
Above all, Portis is a husband and a father to nine children. He is married to Joy and they have four daughters and five sons. He and Joy are strong advocates for adoption. They have adopted six of their nine children. The couple also serves as foster parents, having fostered 18 children in the last four years. Cole and his wife are the founders of Love 100 Ministry, which assists Alabama families with adoption costs.
He has been an active member of Morningview Baptist Church for more than 40 years and previously served as lay elder and as chair of the deacons. In addition, he teaches a Sunday school class as a way to invest in the lives of young adults.
Cole is past president of the Jimmy Hitchcock Memorial Award, a prestigious award honoring Christian student athletes in Montgomery. He serves on the Board of Directors of Trinity Presbyterian School and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and is a YMCA basketball coach.
During the ceremony, Augusta S. Dowd of White Arnold & Dowd, PC, (Birmingham) was installed as the bar’s president-elect. Dowd will serve one year in this role before assuming the presidency in July 2017.
May 24, 2017
Alabama State Bar President J. Cole Portis of the Beasley Allen Law Firm (Montgomery) announced today the death of long-time Alabama State Bar General Counsel J. Anthony ‘Tony’ McLain. McLain passed away on Sunday, January 1, 2017. He was a member of the bar’s staff for more than 28 years and was named as general counsel in 1995.
“Tony McLain was an encourager. He possessed wisdom and he was a servant leader. These three traits are vital when one holds the position of general counsel for the Alabama State Bar,” said Portis. “I think his most important trait, though, was his ability as the prosecutor to show compassion even when discipline was being leveled against an attorney. In his role as general counsel, I am certain that Tony wasn’t beloved by every lawyer, but Tony, who was universally respected, became one of the icons in our bar.”
May 24, 2017
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama State Bar on Friday inducted five new members into the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame.
“The attorneys inducted into the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame today spent their lives dedicated to improving the lives of others and the legal profession,” said Alabama State Bar President J. Cole Portis of the Beasley Allen Law Firm (Montgomery). “It’s a privilege to participate in the Hall of Fame program and to honor these outstanding lawyers for their commitment and service to our state, local communities and our nation. This program and its purpose are at the heart of the bar’s motto: Lawyers Render Service.”
The five lawyers inducted into the 2016 Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame include:
William B. Bankhead (1874-1940) – Member of one of Alabama’s most prominent political families and arguably the state’s most important political figure during the first half of the 20th century; practiced law in Jasper and served two years in the Alabama Legislature prior to his election to Congress in 1916; served 24 years in the House of Representatives until his death; a Roosevelt loyalist who took an active role in helping pass New Deal legislation; elected House majority leader in 1935 and speaker of the House in 1936, a position he held until his death; father of early star of stage and screen, Tallulah Bankhead.
Lister Hill (1894-1984) – Considered Alabama’s premier lawmaker of the 20th century; practiced law in his hometown of Montgomery following his return from World War I; served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1923-1938) and U.S. Senate (1938-1968); was an active New Dealer in his early career; sponsored 80 pieces of major legislation during his 45 years in Congress including the Hill-Burton Act (1941), the Library Services Act (1956) and the Defense Education Act (1958); leading proponent for federal funding of medical research as well as major advocate for spreading medical knowledge worldwide by helping create the National Institute of International Medical Research (1959).
John Thomas King (1923-2007) – Received his undergraduate and law degrees from The University of Alabama; served the U.S. Army in the Pacific theater during World War II, achieving the rank of major; practiced law in Birmingham and served a term in the Alabama Senate where he sponsored major legislation that included the New Judicial Article; a progressive whose two mayoral campaigns during the racial turmoil of the early ’60s would help serve as a catalyst to change Birmingham’s repressive commission form of government to the more representative mayor-council form of government.
Russell McElroy (1901-1994) – Practiced law briefly before appointment at age 25 as Birmingham circuit judge; served continuously as circuit judge for 50 years (1927-1977) until his retirement from the bench and recognition as the Most Durable Judge by the Guinness Book of World Records for his long tenure; authored The Law of Evidence in Alabama, the most widely used and regularly cited legal treatise in Alabama practice; taught law school and served on the board of numerous community organizations.
George Washington Stone (1811-1894) – Practiced law for 32 years in Talladega County, Lowndes County and Montgomery with a reputation as a lawyer “who observed the most upright and correct rules of conduct;” served as a circuit judge in Montgomery before becoming an associate justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (1856-1865, 1874-1884) and later chief justice (1884-1894); responsible for helping shape post-Civil War common law of the state by writing a total of 2,449 opinions as a member of the Alabama Supreme Court.
The Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 2004, and has since inducted 55 Alabama lawyers including this year’s inductees. Inductees must have a distinguished career in law and each inductee must be deceased at least two years at the time of their selection. In addition, at least one of the inductees must be deceased a minimum of 100 years.
The newly unveiled plaques honoring each inductee are up for display in the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame located on the lower level of the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building.
May 24, 2017
At the start of every year, the Alabama Law Foundation selects Alabama Bar members who have shown outstanding dedication to their profession and their community by inviting them to become “Fellows.” The Fellows banquet, scheduled for Saturday, January 28, 2017 at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama, is held in their honor. Plans include a cocktail hour at 5:45 followed by dinner at 7:00. During the event, those Fellows elevated to “Life Fellows” status are also recognized.
The Fellows program was established in 1995 to honor Alabama Bar members for outstanding service and commitment. Since no more than 1% of bar members are invited into fellowship, the selection committee chooses new members from an exceptional group of lawyers. President Board of Trustees of the Alabama Law Foundation Joe Fawal explains, “The Fellows of the Alabama Law Foundation are selected from the ranks of the Alabama State Bar and represent our brightest and best. The fact that they are selected is in and of itself an honor. But the contribution that they make in defense of the poor in civil matters in Alabama is a much greater honor.” Fellows are given the opportunity, as leaders in the legal community, to provide financial and personal support for the Alabama Law Foundation, the charitable arm of the Alabama State Bar.
May 24, 2017
MONTGOMERY: The Foundation for Moral Law, a Montgomery-based legal foundation dedicated to the defense of religious liberty and a strict interpretation of the Constitution as intended by its Framers, leaped to the defense of President Trump’s May 4 Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.
The President’s Order provides that “All executive departments and agencies shall, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech.” The Order specifically directs the Department of the Treasury to ensure that religious persons and organizations shall not suffer delays or denials in their applications for tax-exempt status, a matter of concern under the Obama Administration.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has filed a lawsuit in a Wisconsin federal court challenging the Order as an unconstitutional establishment of religion because it favors religious over non-religious organizations.
However, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Foundation for Moral Law Senior Counsel John Eidsmoe contended that the Order does not show preference for religious persons and organizations. Rather, he said, “Churches and religious organizations have been targeted for discriminatory enforcement of this restriction and the purpose of the Executive Order is to end that discrimination.” Eidsmoe therefore offered the Foundation’s services pro bono to the Attorney General in the defense of this Order.
Foundation President Kayla Moore added, “The Freedom From Religion Foundation repeatedly tries to bully local governments to remove any mention of God from the public arena. The Foundation for Moral Law has stood up to the Freedom From Religion Foundation in the past, and we will continue to do so.”
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