GREG COLEMAN is sworn in as president-elect with the help of his wife, Monica, and son, Cody.
Coleman to head up technology efforts as president-elect
By Jan Pudlow
When Greg Coleman graduated from high school in Palm Beach County, he knew just what he wanted to be: a charter boat captain.
“Fortunately, his parents insisted upon a college education,” said Mark Luttier, who introduced his good friend and law partner as The Florida Bar’s president-elect, at the Annual Convention’s General Assembly on June 28.
So Coleman packed his bags and headed up to DeLand to attend Stetson University, where he got a traffic ticket that would turn out to be a life-changer.
As Luttier tells the story, Coleman “marched down to the court to defend himself, to explain that the traffic officer was wrong.”
There was a trial in session, so Coleman took the opportunity to watch the courtroom action.
“This was his first exposure to the practice of law,” Luttier said. “While he was at Stetson, he would go to the courtroom from time to time to watch trials.”
After graduating from college, Coleman returned to Jupiter and worked in the family business, a restaurant then known as Harpoon Louie’s.
“But after a year and a half, he hadn’t lost his desire to practice law. So he returned to Stetson, this time to the law school in St. Petersburg,” Luttier said.
During the summer, he said, Coleman had “the opportunity to work free of charge, as he has pointed out, for the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County, who was then State Attorney David Bludworth.”
Once Coleman had that law degree, he hounded Bludworth to hire him as an assistant state attorney, where he tried many cases before many well-known circuit judges, like Carl Harper.
In 1991, Coleman took his trial skills to the civil side and joined Walton, Lantaff, where he met his good friend and former Bar President Jay White.
Five years later, Coleman joined Burman, Critton, Luttier and Coleman in West Palm Beach, where he is a partner practicing commercial litigation, professional malpractice defense, personal injury, wrongful death, and employment litigation.
“In a small firm, you have the opportunity to observe your associates and partners,” Luttier said. “It quickly became clear that those traits his parents [Bill and Delores Coleman] instilled in him — hard work, honesty, and integrity — were traits that he continued to adhere to.
“He worked hard. It was clear he had the respect of his fellow lawyers and judges. But the one thing that stood out for him was that Greg spent a tremendous amount of time in Bar activities. And we would kid him about that regularly. Usually, we would kid him about the time he would submit an expense reimbursement. I never could figure out why The Florida Bar Board of Governors needed to be in New York City. He assured me that that was absolutely necessary.”
Coleman, whose year as president begins in June 2014, is known as a technology buff.
“When I refer to my computer as a machine, he tells me that my terminology is wrong,” Luttier said, to laughter.
“We are in a time of change. We have e-service. We have e-filing. We have e-discovery. We have e-everything.”
During the profession’s current transformation to paperless filings, 50-year-old Coleman is ready to advance technology’s innovations to make the practice of law more efficient.
When no one challenged his candidacy for Bar president in December 2012, Coleman stressed one of his goals “will be to enhance communication within and outside the Bar, to use technology and teach technology to lawyers so that it will help their practice, and, conversely, maybe help them in their lives.”
Coleman, a former chair of the Communications Committee, will head up the technology subcommittee of a new group appointed by Bar President Eugene Pettis called Commission 2016. For the next three years, the group will conduct a comprehensive study of the future practice of law.
Dedicated to Bar work, Coleman was president of the Young Lawyers Division and has been a member of the Board of Governors for six years, representing the 15th Judicial Circuit,
He has served on the Budget, Communications, Executive, Legislation, Strategic Planning, Client Security Fund Procedures, Annual Meeting, Disciplinary Review, and Program Evaluation committees.
“The way I sum up his Bar activities is that over four years, three separate Bar presidents have awarded Greg the President’s Award of Merit,” Luttier said. “And I think that speaks for itself.
“Above all else, Greg is a family man. He and his wife, Monica, have been married for 14 years, and they have a wonderful 6-year-old son, Cody.”