A Message from the Dean

A Message from the Dean

Dean’s Message 2023 by Virginia L. Landry

August, 2023 -- Thank you for the Honor and the Privilege of Becoming Your Dean of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD). This is now “A Moment of Change” and I urge all of you to adopt my motto for the year: “Be Extraordinary!” To my dear friend, Dean Emeritus Andrew Mishlove, your service to the College has been Extraordinary, you’ve provided us with new tools for our warfare in the defense of those accused of driving under the influence during the past year of seminars by NCDD, and your personal integrity and professionalism are admired. Thanks for being such a great leader and I hope to continue to follow your leadership example with Extraordinary “Lessons from the Legends” throughout this coming year.

We are a teaching College, dedicated whole-heartedly to our Mission Statement “Justice Through Knowledge.” Giving voice to those without the power to do so, and helping our members become the very best attorney possible. With 1500 members across the nation, our Board is committed to your continued success through a series of in person seminars and webinars to give you educational excellence, inspiration, opportunity and suggestions to being the most Extraordinary You!

The vision of NCDD remains a tradition of excellence in education, founded by the Extraordinary talents of those men who realized that the government started a national effort in the early 1980’s to increase penalties related to drunk and impaired driving. Our founders knew that the accused needed the most essential criminal defense lawyer, one who knew not only the court rules and persuasive techniques, had the heart and soul to assist those in need, but also be the person dedicated to study and truly master the scientific evidence and dissect the erosion of the Fourth Amendment by junk science.

In 1983, the ABA sponsored a national seminar, led by Don Nichols, Larry Taylor and Reese Joe, along with recognized experts on blood and breath analysis. By 1986, seminars were conducted across the United States, but it wasn’t until 1994 that an Extraordinary group of attorneys met in Chicago and founded NCDD. We owe an immense amount of gratitude to James Farragher Campbell (San Francisco, CA), Doug Cowan (Seattle, WA), William Head (Atlanta, GA), John Henry Hingson (Portland, OR), Reese Joye (Charleston, SC), Phil Price (Huntsville, AL), John Tarantino (Providence, RI), Lawrence Taylor (Los Angeles, CA), Gary Trichter (Houston, TX) and Flem Whited (Daytona Beach, FL). The purpose of NCDD was about improving the education and skill set for the attorneys, as well as for open communication and collegiality among the growing national group of Extraordinary DUI defenders!

As we are an educational organization, it is with great admiration that I recognize the Legends whom are past Deans, now called Fellows: George Bianchi, Paul Burglin, Victor Carmody, Doug Cowan, Edward Fiandach, James Farragher Campbell, Peter Gerstenzang, Mike Hawkins, Les Hulnick, Bill Kirk, Steve Jones, Reese Joye (RIP), Tommy Kirk, Troy McKinney, Andrew Mishlove (Dean Emeritus), Doug Murphy, Jim Nesci, Steven Oberman, Jess Paul, Victor Pellegrino (RIP), Phil Price, Barry Simons, Lenny Stamm, George Stein, Larry Taylor, Gary Trichter and Flem Whited. Without your Extraordinary efforts we would not be the premier DUI educational organization in the nation!

This past summer session, under Dean Emeritus Andrew Mishlove, the NCDD embraced a shift in the teaching methods, a “Moment of Change”, adding psychodrama to our understanding of how effective those techniques are in getting a jury to find Not Guilty. Founding members in attendance this year in Chicago were recognized for their contributions spanning many decades: Alan Bernstein, William O’Neil and Michael Rajic. Fellows Troy McKinney and Don Ramsell were also in attendance and recognized for their Extraordinary visions in promoting Diversity, not only on the board but for our members. I aim to do the same over the coming year as your Dean and ask that each of you attend a seminar with a friend whom you invite to join us. Justice, not only through knowledge, but through devoted and enthusiastic members.

Critical to our mission to remain as the leading national organization for DUI defense, NCDD, established a Board Certification in DUI Defense Law process approved by the American Bar Association. Attorneys with the certification are representative of the highest level of education, experience and knowledge in their field and are Extraordinary in their talents and contributions to NCDD. The program would not be nearly as successful as it currently is without the tireless efforts of our Fellows: Steve Oberman and Jess Paul. Thank you for your decades of service and Extraordinary efforts!

I realize that I have learned, and unapologetically stolen, from our past leaders who are truly Legends in what they do: Tommy Kirk on Storytelling, Troy McKinney on all things related to blood testing, Victor Carmody on Demonstrative Evidence and Props, and definitely Steve Oberman who encouraged me to sit for the Board Certification Exam. I’ve read his book so many times that the glue on the binding is worn through. My success is a direct by-product of your Extraordinary willingness to share, teach and encourage my learning process! Thank you!

Between the uncertainty of the pandemic from 2020 and shockingly watching George Floyd’s last breath, we are reminded of the importance of our mission, Justice Through Knowledge. We were taught, under the direction of Fellows Paul Burglin and Bill Kirk, during their years of dedicated Dean service, that we can not only survive, but thrive in crisis times. We pivoted away from in person seminars and started a webinar series. Treasurer and Regent Joseph St. Louis will continue to provide quality short programs for those who cannot attend our main seminars in person. This brings home what we do every day. We give a voice to people without one. That great responsibility shows us great rewards. You are no longer ordinary, this week you’ve started your path to welcome “A Moment of Change” and to become your own version of EXTRAORDINARY!

Rebirth starts with a dedication to build momentum and face a “Moment of Change.” Don Ramsell, during Winter Session 2022, gave the NCDD an Extraordinary opportunity because it was the very first time in NCDD history that one half of our speakers were women: Michelle Behan, Sylvia Goldman, Lynn Gorelick (Regent), Amanda Riek, Lisa Saltzman and myself. Thank you Don, and congratulations to you ladies who hit it out of the park with your presentations and continue to be leaders. So NOW it has come for my “Moment of Change:” 52 weeks to help further build opportunities for growth of the organization and to put on the most exciting seminars. I am searching out for many of you who would like to help carry the torch in years to come too! I am humbled by the possibilities and honored with a healthy dose of what needs to change to help you become the most Extraordinary In All You Say and Do!

The platform for the coming year is to ensure that every person attending one of our seminars receives an Extraordinary learning experience, peppered with camaraderie, fun, lots of social gatherings and lively conversations over food and/or adult beverages.

I promise you:

  1. 52 weeks of Thought Challenges, to be called Magic Mondays which will be posted on the Listserv
  2. 4 main seminars in person:

      *Las Vegas, Nevada: September 20-23, 2023 at Planet Hollywood (with NACDL), Winners Find a Way to Victory;

      *Atlanta, Georgia: Winter Session January 18-19, 2024 at Lowes, Take My Breath Away!

      *New Orleans, Louisiana, March 21 and 22, 2024 at Royal Sonesta, Mastering Scientific Evidence

      *Location and exact dates to be confirmed, Summer Session 2024 (hoping to get back to Harvard Law School and they assign us dates)

  3. Specialty Seminars in person:

      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: August 17-19, 2023, Standardized Field Sobriety Tests;

      Nashville, Tennessee: October 12-13, 2023, ARIDE

      Arlington, Texas: Serious Science, June (5 days), DRUGS

  4. Webinars Thru the End of the Year:

      August 31, Collateral Consequences

      September 28, Autonomous Cars

      November 16, Alcohol and Drug Testing Devices

      December 7, Ethics

Organizations are most effective when there is massive participation by the members, encouragement, accountability and direction by its leadership, and opportunities for new involvement. Some people are born leaders, others learn how to best lead. There are many ways to become more involved and I encourage you to take on the potential to shine. Be Extraordinary, not just for your clients and families, but for those friends you have met through NCDD. Participate on the listserve, write a blog, become a speaker, take the darn Board Certification Exam! Just do it…

I could not imagine getting to this place in my career without locking arms with men and women who have encouraged and mentored me. We ALL get better, when we all work TOGETHER, to make sure no voice is left behind. I am unable to do so without the support of my family, friends and employees. I would be remiss if I did not mention with great admiration that our fellows and current board members are here to serve you. We are here at your direction and want you to have the support from experienced attorneys to become the best, most Extraordinary Person You are Destined to Become! With special thanks, I introduce our Dean Emeritus again, Andrew Mishlove, our Assistant Dean, Mimi Coffey; the Secretary, Bruce Edge; the Treasurer, Joseph St. Louis; the Compliance Officer, Bell Island and our other board members: John Hunsucker, David Katz, Kimberly Benjamin, Lynn Gorelick, Ken Smith and Sara Compher-Rice. We all are here to help you!

Please give yourself permission to carve out some quiet time as a mode of rejuvenation and reflection. Take the chaos from court and come out on a chariot of fire, ready for the battle. Take your vacations, raise your rates! It is NOT enough to phone it in. Be Extraordinary in all you say and do!

Call someone to talk through your case with you. Haven’t we all excelled when we have a second chair or a trusted confidant? I know I have. If you would like to participate in our new mentorship program, contact myself or our Executive Director, Rhea Kirk. Hunter Shepherd is our Administrative Executive and ready to help you with any questions, large or small. Don’t be isolated. Be kind to your family, get help when you need it. Shine like you’ve never shined before: at home and at work! Learn how to prioritize so you can devote time to the life you want to live. Learn how to truly listen when someone is talking with you. Learn how to become Extraordinary! It will help you with clients, it will help you with referrals, and it will help you at home!

When we support and encourage each other, we build each other up. When we stay focused on learning new techniques for our motions and trial work, we will have unique opportunities.

Have YOUR Moment of Change and become profoundly EXTRAORDINARY! YOU INSPIRE ME!

With gratitude, your Dean and President, Virginia L. Landry


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