2016 Symposium Recap

The Cumberland Law Review hosted it’s 2016 Symposium, “Alcohol in Alabama,” at a venue other than Cumberland’s campus for the first time in recent memory this year.  Cahaba Brewing Company proved a wonderful setting in which to host the Symposium and was more than fitting for the topic.  Please see below for a summary of the event by Law Review Junior editor, Lindsey Catlett.

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Pictured: Brad T. Bishop & Brett M. Bloomston giving the first of the symposium presentations at Cahaba Brewing.

Cumberland Law Review Hosts 2016 Symposium

Author: Lindsey Catlett

On November 17, 2016, Cumberland Law Review hosted an educational symposium at Cahaba Brewery Company in Birmingham, Alabama. The symposium was entitled, “Alcohol in Alabama.” After attorneys, law students, and professionals involved in Alabama’s alcohol industry arrived, they were treated to lunch before the start of the program. The Cumberland Law Review hosted several distinguished speakers as part of the symposium. These individuals shared about their experiences working with Alabama laws related to alcohol production, sale, and consumption.

Judge T. Brad Bishop, a professor at Cumberland School of Law, and Brett M. Bloomston, a criminal defense attorney at The Bloomston Firm, began the afternoon’s discussion. Judge Bishop and Bloomston discussed Alabama drunk driving law. Bloomston’s experience with criminal defense and Judge Bishop’s research as the author of Drunk Drivers: The Law in Alabama, provided the speakers with an extensive wealth of knowledge to share with the symposium audience.

A discussion of Alcohol Regulatory Law followed the presentation by Spina and Judge Bishop. Melinda E. Sellers of Burr Forman, LLP and David A. Carn, General Counsel at Back Forty Beer Company led this segment of the symposium. Sellers, a partner at Burr Forman, has developed a practice focusing in part on Alcohol Regulatory Law. She has spoken at the Craft Brewers Conference multiple times, providing brewery owners and managers with insights regarding alcohol regulatory law. Carn joined the craft beer community after a career at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz. As the current general counsel for Back Forty Beer Company, Carn, like Sellers, was able to provide the audience with first-hand anecdotes and advice regarding compliance with Alabama’s alcohol regulatory laws.

The symposium concluded with a discussion of dram shop liability which was led by Justin I. Hale, of White, Arnold, & Dowd, PC; LaBella S. Alvis, of Christian & Small, LLP; and Mr. R. Jordan Wood, of Christian & Small, LLP. Hale’s practice, representing a diverse clientele of Fortune 500 companies, equipped him with acumen and knowledge which was beneficial to those in the audience hoping to learn more about the practical application of Alabama’s Dram Shop Act. Wood’s presentation was especially beneficial to those in the audience, as he brought insights not only from his career representing clients on this matter, but also from his experience as a certified ABC Board Vendor Trainer. In addition to Wood’s unique perspective, Alvis has been in the middle of managing alcohol-related issue for most of her legal career. Alvis is involved in the representation of vendors through each step of the process: from strategizing to minimize the risk of any illegal sales, to her record of never having lost a dram shop case at trial.

As the afternoon’s event drew to a close, Cumberland Law Review’s Editor in Chief, Kyle Weaver took the stage to thank all those who helped make the Cumberland Law Review’s 2016 symposium such a success. Weaver expressed gratitude to Cumberland School of Law, Lynda Reynolds, Anna Akers, Riley Murphy, each of the speakers, Cumberland Law Review members, and everyone who took time out of their afternoon to attend the symposium. Weaver was especially pleased with the positive response to the symposium venue, Cahaba Brewing Company, as this was the first time in recent memory that the event has been held off of Cumberland’s campus. Weaver looks forward to Cumberland Law Review’s continued tradition of hosting educational events regarding cutting edge legal issues that are of relevance to attorneys, students, and business leaders in the Birmingham community.

About the Cumberland Law Review: The Cumberland Law Review published its first issue in 1970. It is circulated in all fifty states and abroad. Subscribers include members of the practicing bar and government, academicians and law libraries. In addition, the Cumberland Law Review appears in electronic databases, including Westlaw and Lexis. As a testament to its quality, the Law Review has enjoyed citations by the Alabama Supreme Court, all twelve of the U.S. Court of Appeals’ Circuit Courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States. The Cumberland Law Review is currently preparing Volume 47, which will include a symposia of articles commissioned by the Review on Harper Lee’s works: To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman.


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