Tampa attorney Gwynne Alice Young has been elected president-elect designate of The Florida Bar, defeating fellow Board of Governors member Walter G. “Skip” Campbell in a close runoff.
Young received 10,985 votes to Campbell’s 10,234 in results announced on April 25. That’s almost 3,000 more votes than were cast in the original round of balloting in March when Campbell and Young made the runoff by finishing ahead of Jake Schickel of Jacksonville. Interestingly, Young’s margin in both rounds of balloting was nearly the same – 716 in March and 759 in the runoff to become Bar president in 2012.
Also decided in the runoff balloting was a Board of Governors race in the Fourth Circuit. Michael G. Tanner defeated Reginald Luster 890 to 425.
“I’m very grateful to all of the people who supported me and voted for me and I thank them,” Young said of the results. “I’m thrilled to have won; it was a hard fought race. I had a very worthy adversary who ran a good campaign. I really look forward to the challenge of being president-elect and then president of The Florida Bar.”
She noted it is a difficult time for the Bar.
“I think that The Florida Bar is a very well-run organization. The Bar does a lot of good things,” Young said. “I think the Bar is facing a lot of challenges as is obvious from all the things happening on the legislative front and the impact of the economy on lawyers and the legal profession.
“The Bar needs strong leadership and I have believed from the outset I could provide that leadership and that’s why I wanted to run.”
As for the enhanced turnout, Young said, “I think that both Skip and I campaigned very hard in the runoff election and I think many people were spurred on by the low turnout [in the first round]. There was a lot of emphasis on members of the Bar being heard, which I think contributed to people voting in the runoff.”
Campbell was philosophical about the results.
“It’s not going to change my life at all; it probably makes my life less expensive,” he said.
Quoting Teddy Roosevelt, he said, “‘The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’
“I remember from a long time ago that’s a fine phrase, and I know victory and I know defeat,” he added.
Noting particularly the legislative challenges facing the Bar, Campbell said, “I called Gwynne and I told her I’d be willing to help her in any way I can. She’s going to have a hard time; it’s going to be a tough presidency. I’m sure Gwynne is going to do her best.”
Young will be sworn in as president-elect at the June Annual Convention when current President-elect Scott Hawkins is sworn in as president. In June 2012, Young will begin her term as Bar president.
Young is a business litigator with Carlton Fields in Tampa, handling real estate, insurance, and other business and commercial disputes.
She is a former prosecutor who received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her law degree from the University of Florida. She has served as a trustee, president of the alumni association, and on the athletics advisory board at Duke, and at UF she was executive editor of Florida Law Review and served as trustee of the UF Law Center Association, Inc.
She received The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 13th Circuit in 2003, and was named the Young Lawyers Section “Most Productive Young Lawyer” in 1983-84.
Active in the Hillsborough County Bar Association, Young was president in 2001-02, is a former chair of the Second Appellate District Nominating Commission, and served on the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission.