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Lana Olson’s Appointment as DRI President Covered in Several Outlets

November 14, 2022

Since October, a number of outlets covered Lightfoot, Franklin & White partner Lana Olson’s appointment as DRI president. With her appointment, Olson became the fifth woman — and first female attorney from Alabama — to oversee the leading organization of civil defense attorneys and in-house counsel.

With more than 16,000 members, DRI is the largest international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of businesses and individuals in civil litigation. The group’s decision to name Olson, a longtime DRI member and active leader, president for the 2022-23 term resulted in coverage from legal publications and law schools, including:

Attorney at Law Magazine reported that Olson plans to continue reshaping DRI into an organization that arms today’s defense lawyers and in-house counsel with the tools they need to grow successful careers. Her planned initiatives include expanding on-demand CLE offerings, networking events and leadership training opportunities for members.

The Birmingham Business Journal further noted that Olson plans to implement new leadership training opportunities for the group's membership.

“As president of DRI, I plan to continue transforming the organization for the benefit of all members,” Olson said. “Our initiatives will help DRI stay in tune and touch with members, providing them what they need as they face emerging challenges in their practices and professional lives.”

Olson credited Cumberland Law School and its trial advocacy program for establishing the foundation for her success and giving her the confidence to pursue litigation. In her interview with her alma mater, she encouraged young lawyers to leverage every opportunity they can to lead and grow.

“Developing leadership skills and professional connections takes time, so start now,” Olson said. “Do solid work and don’t be reluctant to take your share of the credit for wins of any sort.”

Olson most recently served as first vice president of DRI from 2020-21, following her first year on the organization's presidential track as second vice president from 2019-20. She has broadened DRI’s membership and influence on the legal industry, revolutionizing the organization’s charitable and lawyer self-care initiatives. She helped establish the Women in the Law Committee, which has grown into one of DRI’s most respected and influential groups. Olson also expanded DRI’s philanthropic arm, DRI Cares, to create new community service opportunities for members.

Olson focuses her legal practice on complex, high-stakes litigation in various areas, including environmental and toxic torts, product liability, business disputes and catastrophic injury. In addition to her regular litigation practice, Olson served as the assistant general counsel for a leading heavy truck component distributor for seven years. Benchmark Litigation named Olson a “Litigation Star” and one of its “Top 250 Women in Litigation” six years in a row (2017-22). She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© and is a Mid-South Super Lawyer.

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