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December 1, 2013
Committee preference forms available December 1

Florida Bar-authorized house counsel are eligible to serve

By Mark D. Killian
Managing Editor

The annual committee preference forms for Bar members seeking appointments for the term of President-elect Greg Coleman are available on The Florida Bar’s website December 1 at floridabar.org.

If you do not have access to a computer, call 850- 561-5600, ext. 5757, to request a form to be mailed or faxed.

Greg ColemanAs president-elect, Coleman will make 500 or so committee appointments, and he wants to make sure he has a diverse bunch of lawyers from which to choose.

To further that goal, the Bar has determined that authorized house counsel — corporate counsel licensed in other states but who work for Florida companies and are registered with the Bar — can serve on Bar committees.

Board of Governors member Bill Schifino said historically, authorized house counsel have not served on Bar committees, but when the matter was looked into deeper, it was found that there is no written prohibition against authorized house counsel serving.

“What we have decided is that we want to send the news out that while they are not licensed lawyers in Florida, they are members of our Bar and they are encouraged to submit their names for appointment,” Schifino said.

Bar President Eugene Pettis asked Schifino to look into the issue because “it’s important that we bring in people from the business culture who can discuss things from a business standpoint.”

To apply for a committee, members must fill out the online committee preference form and submit it online, eliminating the need to mail or fax the completed form. The preference form should only take a minute or two to complete and submit.

“Service on a Florida Bar committee is a wonderful experience,” Coleman said. “Not only will you be responsible for enhancing our profession and ultimately our citizens, but you will be working in areas that are fascinating, challenging, and extremely important.”

In making committee appointments in spring 2014, Coleman said several factors will be considered, including:

* Prior service to the Bar and voluntary bar organizations;

* The need to infuse new members into a particular committee; and

* Diversity, which includes, but is not limited to, gender, ethnicity, geography, practice area, and firm size.

If you are currently serving on a standing committee, check The Florida Bar’s website to determine when your term on the committee expires. If your term expires in 2014, you must complete and submit your committee preference form to be considered for reappointment.

If you are not currently serving on a standing committee and wish to be considered, complete the form and return it prior to January 15.

If you are serving on a substantive law committee and wish to continue to do so, you must complete and return the committee preference form by January 15 to be considered for reappointment.

[Revised: 01-31-2014]