The Florida Bar


March 1, 2013
Emilie Rietow,
The Florida Bar

The Florida Bar will accept applications from Florida lawyers for the inaugural class of its Leadership Academy from March 1 through April 1. The new year-long program will train up to 40 “fellows” for future leadership roles within the legal profession.

Incoming Florida Bar President Eugene K. Pettis seeks to leave a legacy of leaders for The Florida Bar and Florida.

Approved by The Florida Bar Board of Governors in January, the program’s goal is to reach out to lawyers from across the diverse state of Florida and help give them the skills and resources to become leaders not only in the legal profession but in their communities.

“I believe the demand will be great and the experience will be priceless,” Pettis said about The Florida Bar's newly minted Leadership Academy. A Fort Lauderdale litigator, Pettis will become The Florida Bar's first African American president when he is sworn in at the bar's Annual Convention in Boca Raton in June.

Applicants will be chosen in May for the program that will include six one-day meetings at locations throughout the state beginning at the Bar’s Annual Convention, June 26-29. The curriculum will focus on developing skills and networking opportunities within the legal profession and having the fellows create projects to put their new skills to use.

Through the academy, fellows will have an opportunity to network with both past and present Bar leaders, including presidents and Board of Governors members. Midway through the program, fellows will indicate two preferences for Bar sections, divisions or committees in which they would like to become involved following graduation, which will take place at the Bar convention in 2014.

The six meetings that form the framework for the academy will each begin at noon on a Friday and run until noon Saturday with various speakers and topics, such as learning to work with different workplace personalities; balancing personal, volunteer and work life; motivating others and delegating; conducting effective meetings; effective leadership styles; and public speaking.

Diversity is also an important component of the program and fellows will be chosen with the goal of creating a Leadership Academy class that reflects the different regions and populations of the state.

“As I set out to determine what the focus of my administration was going to be, I thought an area we could really advance was developing strong leadership across the Bar," said Pettis. "The focus is not to groom leaders necessarily for the Board of Governors or to run for president, but to groom leadership throughout all areas of our profession, including the local levels, to create ambassadors for the legal profession as a whole.”

Currently, eight state bars throughout the United States have similar leadership programs.

Beginning March 1, applications will be available at Completed applications must be emailed to Arnell Bryant-Willis at by 5 p.m. on April. 1.

With more than 95,000 members, The Florida Bar is the charged by the Supreme Court of Florida with the regulation of the practice of law in Florida as well as promoting the administration of justice.

Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

[Revised: 03-01-2013]