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The year was 1957. The jury system was under fierce attack by the press, legislators, judges and scholars. California's Governor, Edmund "Pat" Brown, even suggested a commission to be established to hear workers' compensation, liability and other civil cases. It was this dark cloud, that could have proved to be the demise for the civil jury system, that was the genesis for the birth of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

A handful of young lawyers, including the late Mark Robinson Sr. from Orange County, began the organization ABOTA. This was a revolutionary idea and one that has proved the test of time. The same forces are at work today as they were back in the 1950's and there are still those who would like to dismantle the civil jury system. The vigilance of ABOTA helps to forestall subtle yet pervasive attacks.

Thomas Jefferson was of the opinion that the right to trial by a jury of fellow citizens was a more important safeguard of personal liberty than even the right to vote. With a jury, the rights and duties of each one of us will be decided by our fellow citizens, not by some bureaucrat or governmental functionary.

Today, more than ever, we seek attorneys who display skill, civility, and integrity, to help younger attorneys achieve a higher level of trial advocacy and to education the general public about the vital importance of the Seventh Amendment. The preservation of the civil jury trial ("Justice by the People") is the primary purpose of the Orange County Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

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