By Megan E. Davis
The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division recently elected Michael Fox Orr president of the division for 2014.
“I only hope to work hard,” he said after his selection. “My father always taught me that half of life is showing up. I hope to be present as much as humanly possible when everyone needs me.”
Orr ran unopposed and was elected by fellow YLD Board of Governors members. He will begin serving as president-elect in July, under the leadership of President Melanie Griffin, and is set to take the reins as president in July 2014.
Orr said much of the focus during his year as president will be determined during long-range planning efforts this year and next.
“Likewise, I will look to coordinate my efforts with those pursuits of Greg Coleman, who will be serving as president of The Florida Bar in 2014,” he said. “All in all, I want those I serve to be proud of my effort.”
Orr has served on the division’s board of governors for seven years.
“He looks at this board, all of its members, all of the young lawyers in the state, and he is inspired and finds a way to make it better,” said fellow board member Edward R. McCarthy. “He’s done it time and time again on this board.”
In 2010, the board named him Most Productive Board Member.
“Mike has demonstrated himself as a hardworking leader and team player who got things done,” said board member Sorraya M. Solages.
Several years ago, Orr left a large firm to start his own practice, Dawson Orr, with partner and mentor Carl Dawson. The firm’s focus is civil litigation.
“We have been blessed with good facts and smart juries, but equally important, I was blessed with an unbelievable mentor,” Orr said of the endeavor. “Our firm has grown with the addition of tremendous talent over the past three-plus years.”
In addition to numerous professional affiliations, Orr has been an active member and leader in various volunteer efforts.
“Fundamentally, I believe that lawyers have a duty to provide civic leadership,” he said. “Service to nonprofits is one way I fulfill my duty.”
He serves on the board of governors of the Jacksonville-based Clara White Mission.
Founded by a former slave, the organization “has fed the homeless, provided educational job training, and otherwise provided for the advancement of the community as a whole” for more than 100 years, Orr said.
Orr is also an active volunteer with Special Olympics, which he called “an organization very close to my heart.”
Orr and his wife, Eileen, have a son, Michael Fox Orr II, born hours before Orr was named president-elect.
“US Legal showed up to the hospital, recorded my speech at a hospital board room, and couriered it to Daytona Beach for playback at the [YLD board] meeting the next morning,” he said. “What a great memory!”