Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Have We Learned from the BP Disaster? Why It's Important.

TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response Initiative is very timely in today’s world. It seems like weekly, if not daily, there are stories relevant to this TIPS Initiative. For example, the TIPS mid-year meeting in New Orleans on February 3, 2012, will be focusing on Disasters caused by Negligent Acts, particularly focusing on the BP oil spill. In the linked NY Times article (click on the title to access the article) the author states how world consumers will become more dependent on North and South America to satisfy their growing thirst for crude oil. Certainly, if this prediction is true, lessons learned from the BP oil spill will be very important in light of this prediction of future oil drilling in North America, so future disasters may be avoided. According to a report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency, the United States, despite the slowdown in oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster last year and declining production in Alaska, will produce an additional 500,000 barrels a day largely from expanded drilling in oil shale fields in North Dakota and Texas.

Worst Case Scenario Natural Disasters Becoming More Common

Scientists are still debating the causes of global warming (see this recent New York Times article), but there is no question that we will see more natural disasters as a result.  "Tornadoes, flooding, drought, and wildfires ravaged many parts of the country during the period, and each of these extremes broke long-standing records and have been compared to the 'worst such cases' in history" according to a report just released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center.  The need for awareness and preparedness must be ratcheted up to deal with this reality.  The TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response initiative addresses these concerns. Natural disasters will be the focus of the TIPS Spring Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina on May 17, 2012.  There will be podcasts on natural disasters on the TIPS website and on the WestLegalCenter in March and April 2012. 

Avoiding a Cyber Catastrophe

Advisen has just issued a Special Report on the Anatomy of a Data Breach Disaster:  Avoiding Cyber Catastrophes, sponsored by Chartis.  This report, which is linked to this post (click on the post title to go to the report), fits in very nicely with the live programs scheduled for the TIPS Fall Meeting in Seattle on October 13th.  The Fall meeting, chaired by Randy Aliment, will include an outstanding panel on cyber threats including Professor Jeffrey F. Addicott, Center for Terrorism Law St. Mary's University; and Juval Aviv, Chairman, President & CEO, Interfor Inc., a panel of prosecutors and government officials (hopefully the Governor of Washington) on border and transportation security, and an insurance panel discussing cyber liability insurance and claims.  TIPS will also be posting a podcast interview with Tracey Vispoli, Senior Vice President at Chubb, which will discuss cyber disasters and cyber liability policies.  This podcast will be aired in early October before the Fall meeting as a preview of what's to come.  The podcast will also be on WestLegalCenter.  Information about signing up for the various Disaster Preparedness and Response initiative will be posted soon here, on the TIPS Disaster Initiative home page, and on the WestLegalCenter.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Law Student Writing Competition

One of the most exciting parts of the TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response initiative is the Law Student Writing Competition.  Led by Professor Joan Schaffner of George Washington University Law School, the essay competition will coincide with the four TIPS meetings during the 2011-12 year.  Two law schools in each meeting city will hold a writing competition and submit selected essays to TIPS to determine the winning essay at each meeting.  The winners will be announced at a reception to follow the Disaster Preparedness and Response Program, a cash award, a certificate, and publication of their essay.  Up to 25 law students from each school will be able to attend the TIPS meeting and participate in the programs on Disaster Preparedness and Response.  For more information and essay contest rules please contact Professor Schaffner at  A full description and rules are on the Pages section of this Blog's main page (lower right hand corner) and hyperlinked to the title of this post.

The meeting dates, law schools, subject matter, and essay submission deadlines are as follows:

Fall - Seattle, Washington, October 13, 2011, essay submission deadline September 23, 2011, subject, Disasters Caused by Cyber Terrorism, University of Washington School of Law, Seattle University School of Law

Mid-Year - New Orleans, Louisiana, February 3, 2012, essay submission deadline January 6, 2012, subject, Disasters Caused by Negligent Acts, Tulane University School of Law, Loyola University, New Orleans, College of Law

Spring - Charleston, South Carolina, May 17, 2012, essay submission deadline April 20, 2012, subject, Disasters Caused by Nature, Charleston School of Law, University of South Carolina, School of Law

Annual - Chicago, Illinois, August 2, 2012, essay submission deadline July 1, 2012, subject Disasters Caused by Foreign and Domestic Terrorism, University of Chicago Law School, John Marshall

Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome from Task Force Chair Kathleen Strickland

Thank you Randy. As Chair of this Task Force, under your leadership, I would like to welcome everyone to this Blog and to participate in all programs we are presenting during this year long Initiative. We will be starting our Initiative with a series of 10 programs in September commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th. These programs, 90 minutes in length, will be presented by each of 10 different General Committees of TIPS, and will begin on September 6, 2011 and continue through September 19, 2011. We hope you will all be able to participate in all or some of them. These programs are presented in partnership with West LegalEdcenter, part of ThomsonReuters.  Links to all of the programs in this series will be coming soon.  For the remaining portion of the year, preceding the 4 TIPS Meetings (Fall, Midyear, Spring and Annual) there will be two podcasts previewing the subjects of the specific panels at each meeting on the theme of Disaster Preparedness and Response. In the meantime, we hope you will share with us on this site your comments and ideas. Thank you for reading.

Welcome from TIPS Chair-elect Randy Aliment

During my term as Chair of the American Bar Association's Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), we will work with Thomson Reuters on a Disaster Preparedness and Response initiative that will include several CLE productions, programs and meetings in coordination with several other ABA Sections and Special Committees and law schools in Washington, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Illinois. To implement this initiative, I appointed a Task Force chaired by Kathleen Strickland. Our principle mission is to communicate awareness so that effective disaster planning may be achieved from lessons learned during past disasters and to emphasize the current state of preparedness. We have planned 10 teleconferences/webinars in September 2011 to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on America. We will also present 10 podcasts throughout the year including 2 general theme podcasts and 2 podcasts before each of our programs in Seattle, New Orleans, Charleston and Chicago. The podcasts will discuss specific topics of Disaster Preparedness and Response, which will be featured at these meetings.

This Blog covers our initiative and is dedicated to those who have lost their lives to disasters. We hope you will choose to include your thoughts and comments on this important subject.

Randy J. Aliment
Williams Kastner PLLC
Chair-elect, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section