Washington Chapter
American Board of Trial Advocates

History of ABOTA

History of National ABOTA

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 hear workers' compensation, liability and other civil cases. It was this dark cloud - the potential death sentence for the civil jury system that provided the seeds for the birth of the American Board of Trial Advocates. A handful of young lawyers began an organization (ABOTA) that was "revolutionary", according to most of their elders. The same forces are at work today as they were in the late 50's - those people want to dismantle the civil jury system-and the attacks are far less subtle. The preservation of the civil jury trial, "Justice by the People," is the primary purpose of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We seek attorneys who display skill, civility and integrity, to help younger attorneys achieve a higher level of trial advocacy and to educate the public about the vital importance of the Seventh Amendment. 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 the right to vote. With a jury, the rights and duties of each of us will be decided by our fellow citizens, not by some bureaucrat or governmental functionary. ABOTA agrees with Jefferson and is a leader in the fight to preserve and protect your right to a jury trial. ABOTA is dedicated to “Justice by the People.”