Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy
Training Today. Leading Tomorrow.
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The Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy is a multi-session training program designed to assist a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers in becoming better leaders within our profession, in their chosen path, while enhancing their leadership skills. Each year a select group of participants are selected from applications submitted to the Bar to become Academy Fellows.
During their one year term, Academy Fellows follow a curriculum tailored to enhance their professional development, knowledge base and experience, including attending Bar events and special educational programs. Academy Fellows are given the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the Bar and their role in the legal profession, while enhancing their personal leadership skills. The Academy's Mission is to identify, nurture and inspire effective leadership within the Bar and the legal community.
On This Page:
Mission and Goals
Becoming a Fellow
2014-2015 Academy Fellows
2014-2015 Academy Meetings
News & Photos
The application window for the Class II of the Academy has ended. Applications for the Class III Academy will be available Dec. 2014.
Mission and Goals of the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy
The mission of the Academy is to enhance the skills of a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers selected from across the state that will enable them to become effective leaders throughout the Bar, our profession and the greater community.
The Goals of the Academy include:
- To enhance leadership skills of a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers;
- To identify, nurture and inspire effective leadership within the Bar and the legal community;
- To enhance the diversity of leaders within the Bar;
- To raise the level of awareness and engagement among lawyers regarding issues facing the legal profession through the study of ethical, professional and public service issues.
Becoming A Fellow:
Who Should Apply?
Applications to become a Fellow of the Academy are open to all bar members who are in good standing. Applicants with some history of leadership or involvement within the Bar, their community, offices, and/or the legal profession are encouraged to apply.
Voluntary and specialty bar associations, Bar sections and divisions, members of the judiciary, law firms, and bar members are also encouraged to nominate Fellows to the Academy.
Why Should I Apply?
As a Fellow you will be part of a select group of leaders who are provided the opportunity to:
1. Develop and enhance leadership skills important to your future in the legal profession.
2. Network , interact, collaborate, and build relationships with state and national bar leaders.
3. Get an insider's look at important role the Bar plays within our legal system, while exploring your role in the legal profession.
What Should I Know Before I Apply?
Attendance and Commitment Policy: Participation in the Academy as a Fellow requires a commitment of time and resources. Meetings typically will be held on Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon at various locations. Attendance at meetings is mandatory and Fellows may be dropped from the program for non attendance. Fellows who complete the program will graduate and receive CLE for their participation.
The Academy will encompass two branches, the Northern Branch encompassing the 1st, 2nd and 5th DCA areas, and the Southern Branch encompassing the 3rd and 4th DCA areas. Each branch will meet approximately every other month for a total of six meetings, plus graduation. These meetings include three meetings of both branches at the Bar's Annual Convention in June, the September fall meeting, and the January Tallahassee meeting of the Board of Governors, in addition to three Branch meetings. At the conclusion of the program, Fellows will participate in graduation at the Bar's Annual Convention.
While there is no tuition fee to attend the Academy, Fellows will be responsible for their travel expenses and accommodations while at meetings. Full and partial scholarships are available for those with financial need.
When Should I Apply?
Applications for the 2015-2016 class will be available in Dec. 2014.
Why Should My Employer Support My Application?
Fellows need to obtain the approval of their employers to participate in the Academy given the commitment required. With the invaluable leadership skills Fellows will learn from state and national bar leaders, employers can be assured that the business development possibilities and state wide networking opportunities are limitless for Fellows.
Full and partial scholarships for travel and accommodations are offered to Fellows on the basis of financial need. To be considered for scholarship from the Bar, applicants should fill out the Financial Need Statement on the application. Selection of Fellows is determined without consideration of financial need or scholarship interest.
Additionally, some sections and divisions, and other associations will offer scholarship opportunities to their members to participate in the Academy. Inquiry regarding those scholarship opportunities should be directed to those entities. Academy Fellows
Photos of the Fellows
Class of 2013-14
Annual Convention, Kissimmee (June 27-28)
Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference, Bonita Springs (July 11-12)
General Meeting, Tampa (Oct. 16-17)
Board of Governors Meeting, Tallahassee (Jan. 29-30)
Miami (Nov. 14-15)
West Palm Beach (March 13-14)
Jacksonville (Nov. 14-15)
Orlando (March 13-14)
The Leadership Academy Committee is charged with overseeing the activities of the Academy, the Fellows and their activities. Review the Leadership Academy Committee page for the 2013-2014 members.
Renee E. Thompson, Chair
Michael J. Faehner, Co-Chair - North Branch
Juliet Murphy Roulhac, Co-Chair - South Branch
News & Photos
Florida Bar News Articles:
- Feb. 15, 2013 - Bar Academy Aims to Develop Young Leaders and Inspire Lawyer Unity
- Mar. 1, 2013 - Bar Leadership Academy Applications Available
- March 1, 2013 - News Release: Florida Bar Now Accepting Applications for New Leadership Academy
- March 15, 2013 - Deadline for Leadership Academy Applications is Quickly Approaching
- June 1, 2013 - Bar Names 59 Leadership Academy Fellows
- July 1, 2013 - Leadership Academy Named for Smith
- July 2, 2013 - The Young Lawyers Division Supports The Leadership Academy with $50,000
- July 11, 2013 - Three TBA Attorneys selected as Fellows to The Florida Bar Leadership Academy
- July 15, 2013 - Bar Leadership Academy is Underway
- October 15, 2013 - The Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy met in Tampa
- November 1, 2013 - Applications for Second Bar Leadership Academy will be Available in December
- January 1, 2014 - Board Agrees to Expand Leadership Academy
- March 15, 2014 - Leadership Academy formally dedicated as the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy
Questions regarding the Academy or becoming an Academy Partner should be directed to