We have a solid foundation and have consistently earned high honors. Our attorneys are leaders among Alabama lawyers, offering the high quality of legal services expected from the larger firms and the client attention that distinguishes the best boutiques. Both our business and trial attorneys are proactive advisors who understand our clients’ needs and ensure their objectives are met and that potential problems are avoided.


The Primerus Defense Institute (PDI) is a collaborative endeavor engaging Primerus defense attorneys and corporate defense representatives for the purpose of lowering business litigation costs and reducing exposure to liability. Participating corporate clients are leaders in their respective industries. Participating defense lawyers meet the high standards of excellence required of membership in the International Society of Primerus Law Firms.

The PDI provides continuing legal education in the areas of liability avoidance and litigation management. Corporate defense counsel and their clients participate in an annual convocation to explore, discuss and share best practices in reducing risk, handling claims and defending lawsuits.

The Primerus Defense Institute is a valuable resource for corporations seeking outside counsel in distant jurisdictions. That’s because the PDI alliance is a coast-to-coast network of over 600 of America’s finest independent defense lawyers with expertise in nearly every aspect of corporate defense litigation. The Primerus Defense Institute makes it easy to find highly skilled, seasoned litigation counsel across the country.

Duncan Manley received the Primerus Outstanding Service Award at the 2005 Primerus National Conference. Duncan served as Chair of both the Primerus Defense Institute and the Defense Litigation Practice Group and is currently serving as Chairman Emeritus.


1. Integrity

Integrity is one of the top qualities sought by corporations when choosing legal counsel. Litigation is a sensitive matter; clients need to be able to trust their lawyers completely.

2. Excellent Work Product

Excellent work product means all client work is of a consistent, high quality. Records, as well as communication with clients, are detailed and clear. It means phone calls are returned, deadlines met and promises kept. Primerus ensures the quality of members’ work product in two ways. First, we choose members with expertise in certain areas of law, such as product liability, employment, or transportation law. Secondly, Primerus conducts strict pre-screening of member reputations by checking with clients, judges and other lawyers within their communities.

3. Reasonable Fees

Primerus members recognize that clients are under pressure to control outside counsel costs. All Primerus firms are committed to charging fees that are reasonable based on what is customary in their geographic location and on the individual attorney’s knowledge and experience.

4. Continuing Education

Primerus attorneys are required to complete an average of 30 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) each year. This is more than twice the typical state bar CLE requirement.

5. Civility

Primerus members hold the courtroom to be a place of honor. Primerus attorneys pledge courtesy and civility, in accordance with the profession’s noblest traditions. Primerus members show respect to their clients and are responsive to their needs.

6. Community Service

Primerus members believe law, in its purest sense, is community service. The law, fundamentally, exists to hold communities together. Primerus members pledge themselves to a high standard of community service.

Leadership Council on Legal Diversity

Christian & Small is the first Alabama-based firm to join the prestigious Leadership Council for Legal Diversity (LCLD). Formed in 2009 to advance diversity in the legal profession, the LCLD is an organization of corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners dedicated to a truly diverse profession.

Deborah Alley Smith attended the LCLD First Annual Membership Meeting in October, 2010, and Mike Vercher and Jon Macklem are both LCLD Fellows alumni. The council’s Fellows Program is intended to help diversify the legal profession by producing attorneys with strong leadership and networking skills who enjoy relationships with industry leaders — and who are committed to fostering diversity within their individual institutions. The program has several components, including three in-person conferences throughout the year. Fellows will work together in small groups on a specific project throughout the year that will address an actual legal problem within an organization.

Claims & Litigation Management Alliance

The Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (formerly known as the Council on Litigation Management) is a nonpartisan alliance of corporations, insurance companies, law firms and service providers committed to furthering the highest standards of litigation management. We are an inclusive and collaborative organization seeking to further the practice of Litigation Management through educational programs, fostering communication and collaboration, and providing resources to the defense industry.

The mission is to further the practice of litigation management through:

  • Dedication – Dedicated to the principles and practices of litigation management.
  • Inclusion – Include all individuals and companies who participate in litigation and the management thereof. Encompass, promote and advocate diversity throughout the Council, our membership and member companies and firms.
  • Collaboration – Convergence of resources to develop uniform litigation management principles, increase awareness and further ethical standards.
  • Education – Provide extensive, affordable training and educational opportunities to create a better awareness and expertise of litigation and the management thereof.
  • Communication – Foster communication between all parties – risk managers, claims managers and adjusters, general counsel, insurance company executives, attorneys, brokers and service providers.
  • Identification – Identify, train and certify attorneys and law firms.

For more information about The Claims & Litigation Management Alliance, please visit: