President's Video Message JULY 2012 - Alternative Text
Hello. I'm Gwynne Young, president of The Florida Bar. In July, we begin a new bar year and face new and continuing challenges. I can assure you, we have dedicated staff, board members, committee and section chairs, and volunteers who have the talent to meet our goals and to make a difference.
I'd like to introduce you to the other bar leaders I will work closely with this year: president-elect Gene Pettis of Ft. Lauderdale; Young Lawyers Division President Paige Greenlee of Tampa; and YLD president-elect Melanie Griffin of Orlando.
The Bar's #1 priority will continue to be ensuring adequate and necessary funding for the court system, both the judiciary and the clerks of court. The Bar is supporting the clerks of court in their efforts to restore $30 million cut from this year’s budget.
We will work with the Florida Bar Foundation to find solutions to the legal services funding crisis. Because falling interest rates have devastated the Interest on Trust Accounts program, the Foundation has had an 88 percent drop in income and our Florida legal aid organizations and the clients they need to help are suffering. I encourage all Bar members to help in two ways:
Participate in the ONE program by taking on one pro bono case through your local legal aid. The ONE program asks that the legal profession's promise to ensure justice for all is fulfilled by taking on just one case. If every lawyer would do this now, we would be well on our way.
Donate to the Foundation. You can add a contribution for children's legal service to your Florida Bar fee statement or easily make an online donation to provide legal assistance to the poor on the foundation's website.
We will continue to promote diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the profession and the justice system, a new objective in the Bar's strategic plan.
Through a new program, The Path to Unity, we will actively reach out to encourage women, minorities and other diverse groups to apply for appointments.
In closing, I ask for your involvement in The Vote's in YOUR COURT public education program. It is critical that we help voters learn about the merit selection and retention system and make informed decisions in the November general election when three Supreme Court justices and 15 DCA judges will be on the ballot. Information and resources are available on the Bar's website.
Thank you for the time you’ve taken to listen to this message and for your commitment to the legal profession.