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Sleepless in Seattle: Discussing the latest legal developments at the American Association for Justice’s 2022 Annual Convention

According to a recent ranking from Forbes magazine, Seattle is the second coolest city in America. It has unbeatable entertainment, recreation, food and drink, and jaw-dropping scenery. But Seattle outdid itself earlier this month when it played host to the American Association for Justice’s 2022 Annual Convention at the Seattle Convention Center and Sheraton Seattle, WA.

The AAJ Convention 2022, with its exceptional organisation and expansive venues, allowed for some of the most prominent lawyers from across the US and Europe (and beyond) to join forces and discuss the latest legal trends and developments in their own jurisdictions, attend education programmes and specialist Section and Litigation Group meetings, and to connect with fellow claimant (plaintiff) lawyers to expand our respective networks at caucus events and beyond.

Building legal relationships

After being faced with the risk of lost luggage arising from the chaos at Heathrow, one would be forgiven for thinking that we’d become ‘Sleepless in Seattle’. Our days were jam-packed: our aim was to educate ourselves upon specialist topics from a different perspective, create new working relationships with experts in their legal fields, and cultivate existing relationships with the talented and knowledgeable lawyers with whom we were already well-acquainted.

Between us, as well as serving on the AAJ’s Board of Governors, gearing up to serve on the Aviation Executive Board, and as members of various AAJ committees, we managed to find the time to volunteer and network with the Women Trial Lawyers’ Caucus (‘WTLC’) and to promote the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (‘PEOPIL’) to the AAJ (the aim of which is to improve and promote judicial co-operation and mutual knowledge of legal and judicial systems of European jurisdictions in the field of personal injury law). We also attended copious specialist Section Group and Litigation meetings, on top of engaging with the AAJ’s extensive educational programme.

Through the inimitably creative AAJ Convention App, we were both able to plan our own bespoke (and quite distinct) conference schedules, which had been arranged to take place within one central location. Even more impressive and included within the App, the fantastic AAJ team had arranged an extensive calendar of supplementary social events, with the networking opportunities presented at these events being second-to-none.

Expanding networks and forging connections

We truly relished every opportunity to expand our networks and develop hopefully life-long connections across the pond. And the best part? - the networking was relaxed, comfortable and enormously enjoyable. Alongside the formal programme we were able to meet like-minded lawyers for lunch, brunch, dinner, coffee, and even a group cycling tour coupled with a re-capturing of the Beatles’ famous Edgewater hotel photograph.

We, of course, talked about our work, the law and legal practice at Irwin Mitchell and beyond; but what’s more, we shared stories about ourselves and our lives. Our existing and new-found connections were incredibly entertaining and genuine in their conversations; personalities with so much more to offer than their already remarkable work and legal practices.

And throughout all of this, what was particularly gratifying was being able to join forces as two female lawyers from within the same firm. Such collaborations can sometimes be quite the rare commodity in the wider legal world. But, collectively, we were able to support each other, to have fun, and overall, to create more impact in what we strived to do whilst attending the AAJ 2022 Annual Convention in Seattle.

So, a huge thank you from both of us to the wonderful city of Seattle, and to all involved in arranging and presenting at the AAJ’s Annual Convention in Seattle this summer. 

But thank you especially to our friends and colleagues, old and new, who were so generous in sharing their time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas, and overall good humour with us over the last week. It was a privilege and a pleasure to spend our week learning and networking with you.

Until next time.

Jennifer Lund's AAJ roles are on the Aviation Executive Board, International Relations Committee, Exchange Advisory Committee and the Oversight Committee.

Cheryl Palmer-Hughes is Board of Governors, UK Membership representative.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in international litigation and helping people injured abroad at our dedicated international serious injury section.