New IADC president, Venable partner says to seek to help shape future for defense attorneys

By Angela Underwood | Aug 7, 2018

CHICAGO - The newly appointed president of the Chicago-based International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) said he is excited about the opportunity to add his voice and vision to shape the future of the defense bar and legal profession.

“My plans are to focus on the things that make the IADC great and unique among professional organizations,” said Craig Thompson, a partner at Venable LLP, in an interview with the Cook County Record. Thompson was installed as the association’s new leader for the 2018-2019 term in Lisbon, Portugal.

Thompson said he will focus, in part, on enabling potential business development growth for all members by promoting personal engagement to ensure that all members feel connected, respected and professionally enhanced.

In addition, Thompson said the belief that a ‘whole’ attorney is a successful one is important to him, noting“part of that wholeness is a strong connection to home.”

Craig Thompson   Venable LLP

Thompson, who has two decades of experience with federal and state-level civil cases, was the chairman of Venable’s diversity committee for five years and a faculty member for the IADC’s Annual Trial Academy. Additionally, the new IADC president has lectured and taught at various law schools.

Thompson said adding significant value to clients at rates that make sense from a business perspective, and developing opportunities for enhancing relationships with colleagues and potential clients are some of the key issues facing the members of the IADC.

He said the IADC will "continue to provide high quality and cutting edge" continuing legal education opportunities, and will "build platforms for business development that are unrivaled, strengthen our world-renowned Trial Academy to train the next generation of lawyers and focus on areas of growth with regard to domestic and international arbitration."

Thompson said he would also like to provide opportunities for younger lawyers to develop the skills necessary to litigate and try cases in an environment where fewer cases are being tried, while leveling the playing field with regard to rules of procedure and tenets of professionalism and civility. 

“Our goal is to make the IADC the standard bearer for visionary and value-added professional organizations,” he said.

With a diverse legal landscape, the IADC will continue to take on issues related to diversity and inclusion, according to Thompson, who said he hopes to also enhance the organization's litigation and business environment.

“The IADC is uniquely positioned to tackle this challenge,” Thompson said. “An important and significant percentage of our membership is made up of corporate and in-house attorneys, insurance professionals and executives.”

He said members already serve in leadership positions on various boards and committees.

“We will ‘fix’ the litigation environment faced by businesses by collaborating with the leaders of these businesses and developing strategies that will work,” Thompson said.

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