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Text of January 2014 President's Message

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President’s Video
January 2014

Hello. I am Eugene Pettis, President of The Florida Bar.

As we forge ahead into the new year, the legal profession continues to face unprecedented challenges in the way we provide legal services and manage our practices.

In 2014, we face such challenges as increased competition, an acceleration of the use of technology, and society’s growing demands for faster legal services at lower costs. It is not a question of whether these changes will occur, but rather how we will shape these trends in our best interests.

The Vision 2016 Commission is advancing their work to actively address four primary areas undergoing rapid transformation: Technology, Legal Education, Bar Admissions and Delivery of Legal Services and Pro Bono.

Through these efforts, we are looking to the future to ready our profession to meet the needs of our members and of clients through new efficiencies that will preserve our core principles.

I encourage each member to follow the progress of Vision 2016 in The Florida Bar News and on the Bar’s website where you can also give your input through comments and ideas to the four work groups.

We are also faced with an ever-growing need to maintain integrity, credibility and professionalism in this environment. The use of marketing and advertisements creates added stress to these goals.

In a crowded legal field, many lawyers feel pressured to brand their services and increase marketing efforts including the increasing use of new media. In the eyes of many lawyers and the general public, this trend has become excessive.

Every member of our profession should take note of this trend and be concerned about long-term consequences of any practice that does not uphold our profession in a positive light.

The Florida Bar has been a national leader in developing rules governing legal advertising. We have tried to balance the growing interest in the use of advertising with the critical need to maintain the character and ethical obligations that lawyers owe to the public. The Bar will continue to assist you with navigating the advertising rules and upholding ethical practices.

The new year also brings Florida’s legislative process into greater focus.

During the upcoming legislative session, The Florida Bar will again work to uphold our legal system and our courts as essential to the functioning of our democracy. I encourage you to follow the legislative session via the Bar’s website where details on the issues and weekly updates will be posted.

On behalf of the leadership of The Florida Bar, I wish you a safe and happy new year. I hope among your resolutions will be to get more engaged in our profession. We must be the architects of our future.

Thank you.

[Revised: 01-30-2014]