Outlining his goals as president, Eugene Pettis assured Chief Justice Ricky Polston the Bar will continue its efforts to maintain a fair and impartial judiciary strengthened by predictable and adequate funding.
“We must continue to build alliances with our legislators and the governor’s office to create a permanent solution to funding our judicial system so that funding is not an annual threat to the integrity of our democracy,” Pettis said.
Applause broke out when Pettis said: “We must also ensure that there is transparency and independence in the selection of the JNCs [judicial nominating commissions] and in the appointment of our judiciary. It is important that people of honor and good character can serve this state and its citizens without a political litmus test.”
Other goals for Pettis’ year include:
* Strengthening the Bar’s Benchmarks civics education program, developed and coordinated through the Constitutional Judiciary Committee, that offers attorneys structured presentations to educate the public on the founding principles of our democracy. “This cannot be just a crisis-time activity, but must be an ongoing effort.”
* Launching his cornerstone project, the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy (see page 1). He asked fellows of the new academy to stand and proclaimed: “This is the face of our Florida Bar, and they are our future.”
* Appointing the new Commission 2016, which, over the next three years, will perform a comprehensive study of the future practice of law. President-elect Greg Coleman will chair the technology subcommittee; Board of Governors member Ray Abadin will study the future of legal education; BoG member Lanse Scriven will chair the Bar admissions subcommittee; and former BoG member Adele Stone will lead the review of the delivery of pro bono/legal services. BoG member Jay Cohen will serve as the commission’s administrator.