It is my great honor and privilege to serve as your 65th President of the ADC along with our esteemed, well-qualified, and dedicated officers and board of directors.  I am extremely thankful to our immediate past president, Nolan Armstrong, for his friendship and leadership.  I am also extraordinarily appreciative of our outgoing board of directors, many of whom served the ADC faithfully for several years.

For me, the ADC has a legacy of exceeding excellence and the esteemed members of the ADC is what distinguishes our association from all the others.  It is the home of renowned Past Presidents and the who’s who of defense counsel.  My priority is to preserve the legacy of the ADC with the help of the hardworking and diligent executive committee and board of directors as well as the ADC’s members.  As your President, I am committed to working with the board on education, diversity, communication, and I look forward to taking on the mantel of leading these amazing and talented professionals as we work shoulder-to-shoulder to advance the ADC’s mission to support and promote its members.    

As I look forward to the upcoming year, this is my message to you, our membership: STAY ENGAGED! Together, let’s continue building on the future of the ADC by getting the word out on the benefits of membership.  Share with the legal community how the ADC helps to network across multiple practice areas, which yields so many benefits like building your book of business and making lifetime friends along the way.  Consider becoming more involved in the ADC by joining one of the multiple committees, contributing content to our magazine, website or social media platforms, helping plan a panel or social event, or participating as a speaker in our substantive programming.  The ADC thrives when YOU are engaged – without YOU, there is no ADC!

The ADC Board of Directors has already begun working hard to bring our members an engaging year.  Our goal is to have our members exchange ideas, gain insights into trends our clients are facing, and interface with their colleagues.  To make this happen, the ADC’s listserv will continue to be up and running for our colleagues to have “real time” discussions regarding experts, mediators, judges, the latest trends, the status of trials in the various jurisdictions, unique legal issues, and a whole array of other legal topics.  Also, we will host several in-person seminars and conferences to foster discussion and collaboration on litigation trends, trial strategies, and expert issues.  These get-togethers will be led by speakers of our membership regarding their experiences, strategies, and outcomes.  The collaboration and cooperation in our organization can only give our membership exponential benefits.  If you are interested in leading a discussion or would like to pose a topic of interest for discussion, please reach out to me or our leadership. 

To further our year of engagement, we are full steam ahead on several new and exciting initiatives and events this year, and here are some already in the works:

  • Top Golf.  We are thrilled to introduce this new event to our membership.  The inaugural event is scheduled for May 9, 2024 in Roseville, CA.  As you may already know, Top Golf is a fantastic event for all members and their families to enjoy, even if you’ve never picked up a golf club or haven’t in years!
  • Affiliate Memberships.  The ADC has officially launched an Affiliate Membership for which mediators, arbitrators and other neutrals are now eligible!  Affiliate Members will have access of the core ADC benefits, including most importantly, the outstanding MCLE programs which ADC offers throughout the year, including free attendance at our webinars during the first year of membership.  In addition, Affiliate Members will receive the same access and discounts for presentations and events as regular members, including the Judicial Seminar in Sacramento, Summer Session in Tahoe, Annual Golf Tournament, and the Annual Meeting, which is always the highlight of the ADC annual calendar.
  • Highlight our current leaders so our members know who to reach out to with questions or concerns. You will find an increased level of this — primarily by giving our involved members some additional ways to highlight their involvement in different ADC activities and committees.
  • Engage with other defense bar organizations. Having our leadership meet with leadership from the other organizations, including our long-standing relationship with the Association of Defense Counsel of Southern California (ASCDC), is geared toward opening to door to discussions as to how we can create better synergy between our organizations, and ultimately, develop the collaboration and camaraderie between our organizations.
  • Spotlight on Law Firms and Individual Members to expand our reach for continued engagement by our members. We have already launched our Defense Success announcements to everyone on our listserv.  The ability for our members to share their victories, both in and outside of court, is an invaluable benefit to our members.  We are also launching profiles to highlight the many excellent work and accomplishments of our member law firms and individual members.  I am optimistic our multi-pronged approach and focus on member firms and individual members will only help to broadcast our stellar membership and bring aboard many more.  I also hope to roll out surveys so we can directly hear from our members what you all would like to see.  Contact us to find out how you or your firm can be in the spotlight. 

Of course, we will continue to offer programming and events we all look forward to each year, including:

  • Weekly Webinars.  Our weekly CLE webinars exploded in popularity during the pandemic and I’m happy to announce they will continue this year.  These webinars consist of many engaging and compelling speakers on a range of interesting topics.  These speakers are brought to us through our very own members interested in presenting hot-topics as well from the support of some generous sponsors!   Contact us to find out how you can join the webinar series of outstanding speakers.    
  • Dos and Don’ts In Local Courtrooms and Judicial Reception.  The ADC’s very first in-person seminar of the year is on March 7, 2024 at the Sutter Club in Sacramento, CA.  Judges from the County of Sacramento, County of San Joaquin, and County of Placer will be there to present on the State of the Sacramento County Superior Courts, and provide a Dos and Don’ts all practitioners will be interested to learn from. Be sure to join us!
  • Basic Training Program.  This ever-popular program will prepare our new lawyers the fundamental skills necessary to effectively defend our clients.  The new lawyers will learn how to take and defend our clients at deposition and in court, how to evaluate experts, decipher insurance policies, what to expect at mediations, prepare effective written discovery, just to name a few.  All taught by stellar and experienced ADC members!
  • Summer Session in Beautiful Lake Tahoe.  Be sure to attend this annual must attend event in beautiful Everline Resort & Spa in Lake Tahoe during the weekend of August 1 through 4, 2024.  Soak up summertime fun with a getaway to the mountains, all while you earn CLE credits and connect with your colleagues.  This is also a fantastic way to spend time with your family and friends, hiking through the trails, swimming in the pools or at the lake, and enjoy camaraderie with your fellow ADC colleagues.
  • Construction Defect Seminar.  Construction defect claims are typically complex from causation, legal and insurance coverage perspectives, which makes them particularly difficult to assess, investigate and settle. Come learn about cutting edge issues from top construction lawyers, mediators, judges, and industry professionals. 
  • Toxic Torts Seminar.  Always a blockbuster hit among our members.  Held in San Francisco, the seminar covers the on-going evolution of the toxic torts practice post-pandemic, the deconstruction of experts, recent legislative developments, and the latest appellate decisions affecting this area of the law.
  • Annual Meeting – Save the Date for December 5-6, 2024.  This is the ADC’s premier event of the year.  Held annually at the historic and picturesque Westin St. Francis on San Francisco’s Union Square, it promises to meet all your education needs and expectations.   

PLEASE RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP. We have an amazing year planned and we want YOU to be a part of it!  As Mike Belote always preaches, the membership is the lifeblood of the ADC.  None of this would be possible without all of you, the membership.  You are the reason we do what we do, and we could not support our members without your trust in the ADC leadership, the California Defense Counsel, your collaboration, your belief in our mission, and your optimism about the future of our proud organization.

Thank you for your continued support of and involvement with the ADC.  You are key to the success of our activities and plans for 2024. I encourage you to stay engaged, working together to advance the educational programs and activities that are the heartbeat of this organization.  If you know of colleagues who share in your interest in the work the ADC is doing for you, we encourage you invite them to become a member.

As we increase our engagement with our extraordinary community of professionals, I want to hear from you. If you have any ideas for ways to move this organization forward or feedback to improve upon our processes, please email me at [email protected]Cheers to a fantastic 2024!

Edward Tugade

Edward Tugade
2024 ADC President