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January 1, 2014
Board agrees to expand Leadership Academy
Applications for the second Leadership class are due January 15

As the Bar accepts applications for its second class, the Board of Governors has approved expanding the size of the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy.

The board at its recent Ft. Lauderdale meeting agreed with the recommendation of the Program Evaluation Committee to expand the number of participants from 60 to 75 and also give sections more say in the selection of some academy members.

“We have a lot of energetic individuals. These folks are getting involved in our Bar and our communities, and we’re thrilled to have a little more room next year,” said PEC Chair Ray Abadin.

Renee Thompson Board member and Leadership Academy Chair Renee Thompson reminded the board that applications for the second class are on the Bar’s website on the Leadership Academy page and are due by January 15.

“Please encourage qualified individuals to qualify for the academy for the second class,” she said. “We’re looking for the best and the brightest for our Bar.”

In a letter to the board, Thompson explained why the Academy is seeking to expand.

“[I]t is our proposal that the Academy be allowed to expand the amount of fellow seats for the 2014-15 Bar year to 75 seats. This addition of 15 seats would allow us to designate 10 seats for Bar sections and divisions who are sponsors of the Academy at the $10,000 level,” she wrote.

The Academy also will have a slightly changed meeting schedule. This year it is divided into a northern and southern district, with three joint meetings and three separate district meetings. Thompson said the new schedule will add one joint meeting, to be part of the Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference, and reduce the regional meetings to two.

Thompson told the board that this year’s Academy members are now reaching the part of the program that seeks to link them with Bar-related activities that interest them, and she invited board members to suggest organizations or activities the Academy members can work with.

Added Bar President Eugene Pettis: “It’s going to be really important when we go into the second phase where we connect these people. We need to tie these young people to opportunities.”

The next Academy meeting is in conjunction with the board’s January 31 meeting in Tallahassee. The Academy, a project initiated by Pettis, seeks to train a diverse group of lawyers for future leadership positions in the legal profession and their communities.

[Revised: 11-27-2014]