MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Attorneys rarely get a hand. Public opinion polls often have lawyers down there near the bottom with us journalists on the credibility scale.
"Most people don't care for attorneys unless they need one," said Jere Beasley.
One of Alabama's most prominent trial lawyers, Beasley makes no apologies for sponsoring a continuing education expo for attorneys from all over the state. The majority are trial lawyers, the rest specializing in other areas.
In all 1,200 attorneys are at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa in downtown Montgomery. Add in their spouses, you're talking around 1,600, leading Mayor Todd Strange to declare this is the largest concentration of people at one event since he's been in office.
It's hard to argue with the economic benefit.
"We started 3 years ago with 450 people," said Beasley.
Jere Beasley will be the first to concede the average person could care less that they are meeting this weekend, but might be interested in knowing radio sports commentator Paul Finebaum was the luncheon keynote speaker.
"People either love him or hate him. He's a drawing card," said Beasley.
Finebaum added a little 'non-legal' flavor to the conference, talking about sports one week before the Iron Bowl.
"Out of 1,200 lawyers, I swore I saw 2 or 3 honest ones," Finebaum said wryly.
The veteran broadcaster admitted standing in the spotlight is a lot different than hiding behind the mic.
"When you're speaking in a place this big, you're staring at 20 or 30 waiters and you realize the person in the back probably can't see you or hear you. It's like trying to act like you know what you're doing and dying a thousand deaths," said Finebaum.
Lawyers and Finebaum, guilty of learning something new and having a little fun at the Renaissance.
Tonight's main speaker is Alabama Congressman Artur Davis. U.S. Senator Richard Shelby speaks in the morning at 10.
The expo wraps up Saturday afternoon.