Christine D. Spagnoli for AAJ Parliamentarian 2019
It’s official. I have notified Linda Lipsen and the AAJ Executive Committee that I intend to run for Parliamentarian. See my official announcement here. I have spoken to many of you over the past several months to share my interest in running for this important office and to discuss our shared goals for the future of AAJ. As you consider my candidacy, I want you to know a bit more about me and my qualifications for this position.
By way of background, I graduated from UCLA in 1978 and before going to law school I worked as a field representative in a California State Assemblyman’s district office. It was during those years helping constituents solve a myriad of problems that I decided to go to law school.
I became a trial lawyer in 1986 after graduating from the evening division of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. While working full time and going to school at night, I landed at a plaintiff’s trial law firm then known as Greene, O’Reilly, Agnew and Broillet. There I found my true calling. Among my mentors at the firm were some of the greatest trial lawyers in the state and country, and they instilled in me the understanding that being a trial lawyer meant protecting people not just in the courtroom but also in the halls of government. I quickly became immersed in the political battles of the time, including legislative battles in Sacramento and Washington D.C. and political initiative wars here in California.
To fight anti-consumer efforts to cap damage awards and limit contingency fees, I walked the halls of the state capitol and went on PAC drives from my earliest days as a lawyer, and I always understood that to be a trial lawyer required a commitment to the trial bar. I followed in the footsteps of many great trial lawyers who were or had been a part of our firm, including four who served as President of the California Trial Lawyers (now Consumer Attorneys of California) and six who had served as President of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association (now the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles). I quickly became a member of the board of LATLA and worked my way up the chairs to serve as President of CAALA in 2002. (It was during my time on the board that we decided to change our name.) I simultaneously served on the board of CTLA (which also changed its name during the time I was on the board) and became its President in 2009.
Leading By Experience
My primary focus in my legal work has been product liability lawsuits, particularly against auto and tire manufacturers.In that arena I was fortunate to find colleagues who focused on those types of cases as part of the Attorneys Information Exchange Group (AIEG), and once again joined that board and served as its President for two years in 2011 – 2013. One of my proudest personal accomplishments was to be a part of the team in 2009 that fought to resurrect the rights of owners of GM and Chrysler vehicles after those companies both filed for bankruptcy and had restructuring plans approved that wiped out all past and future product liability and warranty claims on all 100 million GM and Chrysler vehicles that were on the road. Through a coordinated effort between AAJ and AIEG leaders as well as a coalition of consumer organizations, we were successful in protecting American consumers by having both the New GM and New Chrysler agree to revise their already approved sale agreements to accept liability for future claims.
I have been an active member of AAJ for more than 30 years. Over that time, I have served the organization in many different capacities, including from my earliest days as a state delegate, member of the PAC Board of Trustees and Membership Oversight Committee and Chair of the Product Liability Section, to more recently serving on the Board and as a member on the National Finance Council as well as on the Committee on the Judiciary. My firm has been a member of Leaders Forum (Benefactor Level) since 2003 and we have fulfilled significant Evergreen Fund commitments in 2017 and 2018. Check out my AAJ activities here.
In 2017, I was honored to receive the Harry J. Philo Award recognizing my work in protecting consumers from unsafe products. I also was proud to receive the AAJ New Lawyers Division F. Scott Baldwin Most Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer Award in 2002. In 2012 I became the first woman to receive the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. In 2017 Consumer Watchdog honored me with their Lifetime Legal Achievement Award. See the tribute video played at the dinner here. I was honored to have Julie Braman Kane travel to Los Angeles to present me with the Award. See the video of Julie’s Introduction here.
As I said in my acceptance speech at the Consumer Watchdog dinner, I am not done fighting for consumers. See my acceptance speech here.
I am at a point in my life and career where I have the time and resources to commit to the leadership ladder of AAJ. I believe I have the track record and leadership skills that will make me a valuable member of that team. I look forward to speaking with you soon, and I hope I can earn your support. You can view a summary of my leadership and trial experience here.
I hope I can earn your support, along with the AAJ members who have already endorsed my candidacy.
American Association for Justice Honors & Awards
- Harry M. Philo Award (2017)
- Evergreen Recognition Award (2016, 2017, 2018)
- Distinguished Service Award (2010)
- Wiedemann & Wysocki Award (2011)
- New Lawyers Division F. Scott Baldwin Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer Award 2001
Other Honors & Awards
- Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles Hall of Fame (2018)
- American Association for Justice Harry Philo Award (2017)
- Consumer Attorneys of California Robert E. Cartwright Award (2014)
- Loyola Law School Champion of Justice (2013)
- Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles Trial Lawyer of the Year (2012)
- Consumer Attorneys of California Marvin E. Lewis Award (2010)
- Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles Ted Horn Memorial Award “For the Slefless Gift of her Talents” (2005)
- Best Lawyers in America, 2010 – Present
- Top 30 Plaintiffs’ Attorneys in California, Daily Journal (2016 – 2018)
- Ranked as One of the Top 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California, Los Angeles Daily Journal (2016, 2018)
- Most Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer of 2001, F. Scott Baldwin Award, American Association for Justice, New Lawyers Division, 2001
- Loyola Law School 2001 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award
- Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyer, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2007 – 2019
- Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyer, Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2007 – 2019
- California Super Lawyers Peer-Nominated Listings, Top 50 Women Southern California Lawyers (2004 – 2018)
- California Super Lawyers Peer-Nominated Listings, Top 100 Southern California Lawyers (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 – 2013, 2015 – 2018)
- Southern California Super Lawyers (Personal Injury, Product Liability) (2004 – 2018)
American Association for Justice Leadership Activities
- AAJ PAC Board of Trustees – Trustee (8/1/2008 – 7/31/2010)
- Affiliated Trial Lawyers Associations – First Vice President (11/1/1999 – 10/31/2000)
- Affiliated Trial Lawyers Associations – Immediate Past President (11/1/2002 10/31/2003)
- Affiliated Trial Lawyers Associations – Immediate Past President (12/1/2009 11/30/2010)
- Affiliated Trial Lawyers Associations – President (11/1/2001 10/31/2002)
- Affiliated Trial Lawyers Associations – President (12/1/2008 11/30/2009)
- Affiliated Trial Lawyers Associations – President-Elect (11/1/2000 10/31/2001)
- Affiliated Trial Lawyers Associations – President-Elect (12/1/2007 11/30/2008)
- Audit Committee – Member (5/1/2010 7/31/2011)
- Bar Liaison Committee – Member (8/1/1998 7/31/1999)
- Board of Governors – Board Member (3/22/2016 7/31/2020)
- Committee on the Judiciary – Member (8/1/2015 7/31/2019)
- Communications, Computers & Law Office Technology Committee – Co-chair (8/1/1998 – 7/31/1999)
- Coord. Comm on State Relations – Member (8/1/1998 – 7/31/2000)
- Election Committee – Member (8/1/1998 – 7/31/2005)
- Justice List Committee – Member (8/1/2001 – 7/31/2004)
- Membership Oversight Committee – Member (8/1/2005 – 7/31/2008)
- National Finance Council – Member (8/1/2008 – 7/31/2014)
- National Finance Council – Member (8/1/2016 – 7/31/2019)
- Products Liability Section Officers – Chair (8/1/2003 – 7/31/2004)
- Products Liability Section Officers – Chair-Elect (8/1/2002 – 7/31/2003)
- Products Liability Section Officers – First Vice Chair (8/1/2001 – 7/31/2002)
- Products Liability Section Officers – Immediate Past Chair (8/1/2004 – 7/31/2005)
- Products Liability Section Officers – Member (8/1/1998 – 7/31/1999)
- Products Liability Section Officers – Newsletter Editor (8/1/2001 – 7/31/2002)
- Products Liability Section Officers – Second Vice Chair (8/1/2000 – 7/31/2001)
- Products Liability Section Officers – Secretary/Treasurer (8/1/1999 – 7/31/2000)
- Publications Committee – Member (8/1/1998 – 7/31/2001)
- State Affairs Liaison Comm. – Member (8/1/2000 – 7/31/2001)
- State Delegates – Secretary (8/1/1997 – 7/31/1998)
- State Delegates State – Delegate (8/1/1996 – 7/31/2006)
- Women Trial Lawyers Caucus – Member (2001 – Present)
Professional Associations & Memberships
- American Association for Justice, (AAJ) Board Member
- PAC Eagle
- Attorneys Information Exchange Group President 2011 -2013
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
- California Jury Instructions Civil Subcommittee (CACI) (1997 – present)
- Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), (2002 President)
- Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) (2009 President)
- Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
- International Academy of Trial Lawyers Board of Directors
- International Society of Barristers
- Loyola Law School of Los Angeles Board of Overseers
- Orange County Trial Lawyers Association
- Public Justice
- Rand Institute for Civil Justice Board of Overseers
- Roscoe Pound Civil Justice Institute Fellow
- U.S. District Court Central Distric of California
- U.S. District Court Northern District of California
- Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California, 1986 J.D. Cum Laude and Editor of the Law Review
- University of California, Los Angeles, California, 1978 B.A.
- 1978 – 1984 Field Representative to Assemblyman Mike Roos, California Assembly District 46
- 1984 – present Greene, Broillet & Wheeler (and its predecessors Greene, O’Reilly, Agnew & Broillet; Greene, O’Reilly, Broillet, Paul, Simon, McMillan & Rosenberg; Greene, Broillet, Taylor, Wheeler & Panish; Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler)
Simply complete the form to endorse Chris and Join Our Team! Please note in the “comments” section if you previously or currently hold a leadership position with AAJ, or another lawyer organization. Also feel free to send Chris a note of encouragement which may be added to a comments section later. Thank you.
Election Information for AAJ Parliamentarian
Monday, July 29, 5:15p.m. PT, Membership Business and Elections Meeting.
When Can I Vote for the Contested Office of AAJ Parliamentarian?
Voting will be conducted by electronic ballot, which will open Monday, July 29, at approximately 6 p.m. PT (following the candidate speeches) and continue until 12 p.m. PT, Tuesday, July 30. We encourage everyone to attend the Membership Business and Elections Meeting, but it is not required to vote.
Where Do I Vote?
You will be able to vote from any internet connected device including smartphones and iPads. There will be a voting station with iPads and assistance on-site Monday, July 29, 6-7:30 p.m. PT and on Tuesday, July 30, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. PT
How Do I Vote?
Eligible voters who have checked in at convention before 2 p.m. PT on Monday, July 29, will receive a personal election code and pin on Monday, July 29, starting at approximately 4 p.m. PT. These codes will be sent to the email address provided when registering for the convention. To help ensure you receive your election code and pin, please add AAJElections@election-america.com to your safe senders list.
- For members who check in between 2 p.m. PT on Monday, July 29, and 9 a.m. PT on Tuesday, July 30, AAJ will send out personal election code and pin to the email address you provided on a rolling basis.
- Provisional ballots will be provided to those who check in after 9 a.m. PT on Tuesday, July 30.
Who is Eligible to Vote?
- You must be a voting member of AAJ, which is limited to these member categories: Regular, Life, Sustaining, President’s Club, Honorary Life; or retired members who were formerly Regular, Life, Sustaining, or President’s Club members.
- You must be a voting member of AAJ in good standing for at least 30 days prior to the start of the Annual Convention (June 27, 2019).
- You must be paid registrant for the full convention ( “total package” or “education programs only”).
- You must personally check in at the Annual Convention, receive an AAJ convention badge onsite, and agree that no other person will be allowed to cast your vote.
When Are the Results Announced?
The results of the election will be announced during the Membership and Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, July 30, 12-2 p.m. PT.