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March 7, 2017

Book your room at Boardwalk Inn/Walt Disney World Resort

The Florida Bar Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference 2017 is set for Boardwalk Inn/Walt Disney World Resort on July 14-15. Rooms are expected to fill quickly as this is a peak time for Orlando area attractions. Resort reservations for the conference can be booked by calling the Disney Group Reservations Phone Team (407) 939-4686 or by using our group’s online booking website:

All guest rooms are queen doubles and are available at $209 plus applicable sales and resort taxes, currently 12.5 percent. An additional person (18 years and older) can occupy the same room for $25/night. If requested, suites are offered at 20 percent off the prevailing rate in effect at the time of our meeting, based on availability.

Subject to availability of resort and group rate rooms, run-of-house hotel rooms may be reserved at the group room rates starting July 9 up to the night of July 20 (checking out on July 21) for attendees wishing to extend their stays.

The reservation cut-off date is Thursday, June 22.

Job applicants sought for Florida Bar ED

Bar seal
    The Florida Bar is seeking applications for the position of executive director to succeed current Executive Director Jack Harkness, who announced his upcoming retirement after 37 years.

    The executive director, based in Tallahassee, implements the policies, programs and objectives set by the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court.

    A J.D. degree is required; membership in The Florida Bar is preferred. As the chief executive officer of The Florida Bar with direct charge of all operations, the executive director manages a large staff (the Bar has more than 325 employees) as well as supervises large budgets and has responsibility for financial matters. Management experience is important and an MBA degree is helpful.

     Review the complete job description. PDF document opens in new window 

    Indications of interest, inquiries and nominations should be directed by email to: Barbara Mendel Mayden, Young Mayden, LLC,

    The Florida Bar is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Voluntary Bar leaders invited to Justice Perry retirement event

Justice Perry photo
    Judicial communities around the state are joining together to celebrate the career and accomplishments of Justice James E.C. Perry at a retirement event in his honor on Thursday evening, April 13, in Orlando. The Florida Supreme Court Historical Society is proud to host the retirement event honoring Justice Perry, with Kamilah Perry as the event’s chair. Additional co-hosting organizations include the Orange County Bar, Seminole County Bar and other local and statewide Bar groups. The event will be held at Church Street Station's Ballroom. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for hors d’oeuvres and bar, dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by brief lighthearted comments and insightful observations of Justice Perry’s career by colleagues from over the years. Entertainment is also planned to add to the evening’s enjoyment. Reserve your seats for this dinner early, as a sell-out is expected.
    • Early tickets to the Celebration Dinner on before Tuesday, April, 4:   $75 each
    • Standard tickets to the Celebration Dinner on after Wednesday April, 5:   $95
    • On-site tickets (if available) to the Celebration Dinner on after Tuesday, April 11:  $115
    • Event & Table Sponsorship opportunities are available now.

    Register for the event at:
Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year nominations sought

    Foreclosure. Bankruptcy. Credit and loan problems. Debt collection. Attorneys practicing in these areas of law are the ones consumers turn to when they need help in matters close to home. In June, one attorney who is passionate and dedicated in representing consumers will receive The Florida Bar Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year Award. Deadline for nominations is Friday, April 7. Nomination forms can be submitted by email. Details: (850) 561-5669 or email


Laissez les bons temps rouler

    Nearly 350 people attended the Orange County Bar Association's biennial charity fundraiser on Feb. 25. The evening’s Mardi Gras themed event, featured Cajun specialties, New Orleans-style beverages, and specialty acts, including a stilt walker, palm reader, character artist, photo booth, and a boat tour of Lake Maitland. The black-tie event, a benefit for the OCBA Foundation, was held at the Winter Park Racquet Club. Gala co-chairs were Amber Davis and Karen Persis.
Judges, lawyers and students embrace diversity

Man and woman at table
    The Florida Muslim Bar Association was one of many voluntary bar associations to host an exhibit at the 13th Annual Koyzak Mentoring Picnic. This event gives VBAs the opportunity to share information about their organization and answer questions of potential new members, while taking part in a great day celebrating mentoring as a powerful tool to improve diversity in the legal profession. This year's event was well attended by many judges, established lawyers and law students from every school in Florida.

Immigration lawyers offer advice in Miami

Men and women on the phone
    American Immigration Lawyers Association South Florida attorneys volunteered their time on Feb. 22 at a "Know Your Rights" phone bank at Univision 23 Miami.
Bars discuss political involvement in South Florida

lady speaking in microphone and man looking on
    Asian Pacific American Bar Association members and friends attended a great panel discussion on getting involved in local politics at the T.J. Reddick Bar, Caribbean Bar, Haitian Lawyers Association and Broward County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section's Annual Diversity Luncheon!

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One of the largest CLEs in the Southeast

crowd fo people at conference

Summit on marijuana is a sell-out

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    The Broward County Bar Association hosted the Medical Marijuana Legalization Summit 2017 "Budding Issues in Marijuana: Navigating the Marijuana Legal Landscape" in Florida on Feb. 10. The sold out full day conference educated more than 300 registrants about where Florida is on medical marijuana as it relates to Amendment 2, business, ethics, employment, land use, intellectual property and cyber security.
Free legal advice in Orlando

    Attorneys from the Central Florida Gay and Lesbian Law Association were on hand to provide free advice on legal issues on Feb. 25. The combined effort with the LBGT Center of Orlando offered information on discrimination, debt, employment, housing, and transgender issues.
Intensive two-day DNA legal training in Orlando

one woman and two men standing by sign
    Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers hosted a DNA Bootcamp on Feb. 24-25 in Orlando. The two-day event explored fundamentals of DNA testing (including biological basics, testing procedures and how to read a lab file) and basic statistics (focusing on the various methods used to estimate the significance of a DNA "match" and the use of Probabilistic Genotyping Software). The second day focused on issues in DNA analysis (transfer and contamination) and litigating DNA cases (including an overview of past and present DNA challenges and trial strategies). Attendees received 11 CLEs approved with 2.5 for technology.
Practicing Law on the Front Lines panel co-hosted by CABA

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    The Cuban American Bar Association and the American Bar Association hosted "An Evening with Military Lawyers" on Feb. 2. The panel focused on the complexities of providing legal counsel across a wide spectrum of legal issues, including operational, criminal and civil law in time of war. Those who attended left the event with ideas on advancing the rule of law in novel and historic ways. A reception followed for more time to dialogue with panel members.

Mommy-and-Me cookie decorating in Orlando
woman and children at table
    Off with the lawyer hats and on with the baking hats! Central Florida Association of Women Lawyer's Table-for-Eight Cookie Decorating Party on Feb. 9 was quite the stir. Hostesses Denise Kim Beamer and Kristen Kelly Johnson stepped up and went all out for a Mommy-and-Me Valentine party, complete with sugar and spice and a lots of pink fingers!
T48 sushi making party!

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Band benefit hosted by Collier County Bar Foundation

band members playing instruments
    Last month we shared a story about Palmetto Ridge High School Band's march in the Inaugural Parade and how local businesses helped finance their trip. On Feb. 25, the Collier County Bar Foundation hosted its Annual BBQ, and presented a $5,000 check to assist the band with travel costs. Following a brief performance by the band, the F5 Band performed a variety of music, from jazz and classic rock to contemporary tunes.

A social for the judiciary in Coral Gables

two women and one man
    Judge Monica Gordo, Heidi Roth and Jose Ortiz pose for a quick photo at the Coral Gables Bar Association's Judicial Reception. The event was heled on Feb. 9 at Becker & Poliakoff's Coral Gables office.
An Evening celebrating Pro Bono service in Miami

two women and two men
    The Dade County Bar Association hosted "We Can Dream Judicial Celebration" on March 2. This event featured distinguished members of the bench and bar along with a showcase of Pro Bono opportunities of Put Something Back, a joint effort of the Cuban American Bar Association Pro Bono Project and Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.

Dominican American Bar gathers

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    The Dominican American Bar Association held its first social of the year at the Miami Lakes Ale House on Feb. 17. The Happy Hour and general meeting was capped off with a group photo.
Gloria Fletcher remembered with charity golf tourney
Man and woman standing
    The Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association hosted "The Gloria" Charity Golf Tournament on March 3. All net proceeds supported the Guardian ad Litem Program of the Eighth Circuit through the Guardian Foundation Inc. The tournament is played in memory of Gloria Fletcher, whowas a highly respected attorney and advocate for abused and neglected children.

Student support for Bar exam prep

men and women standing holding certificates
    The F. Malcolm Cunningham Bar Association held its Holland Scholarship Luncheon on Feb. 3 in West Palm Beach. Several law students were awarded scholarships to assist them with study preparation for the Florida Bar examination. In addition, Judge Moses Baker received the 2017 Legacy Award. This luncheon celebrates the civil rights legacy of William M. Holland, while also recognizing the academic achievements of African-American law students.
Judge Marra speaks in Broward

On man in center with four women
    The Honorable Kenneth A. Marra, U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of Florida, was guest speaker for the Federal Bar Association - Broward County Chapter luncheon. Nearly 90 attendees enjoyed hearing about Judge Marra's experience on the bench, including some of the interesting cases he has seen.

State and federal African American judges recognized

men and women standing and seated

    In recognition of Black History Month, the George Edgecomb Bar Association and the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association hosted a reception honoring the state and federal African American judges of the Tampa Bay area. The event brought to light the accomplishments of Tampa Bay's African American judges, many of whom broke barriers and made history themselves.

Diversity & Inclusion focus in Manatee County

wto men and three women standing
    On Feb. 9, the Manatee County Bar Association Diversity Committee held its first annual Diversity & Inclusion Symposium. Approximately 85 attendees gathered at this event for a “Implicit Bias” panel discussion and question and answer forum. Also in attendance were students from local colleges and staff of area law firms and agencies. The speakers were: Lori Dorman, Chairman of the Diversity Committee; The Hon. Charles Williams, Chief Judge 12th Judicial Circuit; The Hon. Claudia Isom, 13th Judicial Circuit, The Hon. Karimu Hill-Harvey (Ret.); and Alan Perez, Mallard Law Firm. The event was made possible through a Florida Bar Voluntary Bar Association Diversity Leadership Grant.  The grant program supports initiatives and programs which encourage diversity, diversity training and dialogue among lawyers in Florida through financial support of conferences, seminars, summits and symposia planned and hosted by local and specialty bar associations.
Bowl 4 Books a Success

bowling team with award

    The Caribbean Bar Association teamed up with the Haitian Lawyers Association for the 4th Annual Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association's Bowl 4 Books event in Davie on Feb. 25. The event was co-sponsored by the Miami Dade Trial Lawyers Association and the Miami Beach Bar Association.

Co-hosting candidates in Orlando

two men and three women standing
    Federal Bar Association-Orlando Chapter and Orange County Bar Association co-hosted a conversation with candidates for President-elect of the Florida Bar, Lanse Scriven and Michelle Suskauer.
Services expanded for Florida Justice Association

two men taking into  microphones
    The Florida Justice Association went to the airwaves on Feb. 3 with a new service to keep members updated on association happenings. The group debuted FJA Radio podcast, to deliver relevant and timely information and insight on the practice of trial law in Florida.

    Listen here for the first episode.

    Visit to listen to the FJA Radio podcast.

Haitian Lawyers Association leaders volunteer time

three women seated at red table
    On the set of Teleskopi at Island TV with Lody Jean, the new president of the Haïtian Lawyers Association and Gepsie Metellus, executive director at Haitian Neighborhood Center "Sant La," discussed the latest immigration news. The show aired on Feb. 23. Jean and Louis Senat also volunteered their time for Broward Lawyers Care Advice and Counsel Hotline on Feb. 7.

woman on phone and man at desk
Hillsborough Bar Association hosts diversity meet and greet

three women and one man at exhibit table
    A great turnout was reported for the Hillsborough County Bar Association's annual Diversity Networking Social. More than 30 organizations, including the South Asian Bar Association and local law firms, participated and took time out of their Saturday to meet with law students from around the state to talk about local legal opportunities and give career advice.

Reaching out to law students in Orlando

three women and one man at exhibit table
    The fifth annual Central Florida Mentoring Picnic attracted law firms, voluntary bar associations and many others. Here, members of the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida strike a pose at their table as they welcome students on the campus of the FAMU College of Law.
Heat was on in Jacksonville for the Charity-Chili Cook-Off

chili cook off logo
    Chili, charity and community came together on Feb. 18 for the 2017 Charity-Chili Cook-Off sponsored by the Jacksonville Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. The venue was the Riverside Arts Market. The judges recognized the spiciest, meatiest, most original, best fixins' and best paired cornbread, The crowd also got to choose their favorite and best overall. All proceeds benefitted the Anthony J. Stinson Association for Change, a local charity working to support the community through its youngest members by offering tutoring, donations, mentorship and civic guidance for Jacksonville's youth.

Taste two good for JABBA chili

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    The winning team! Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association won two categories at the Jacksonville Bar Association YLS Chili Cook Off! The team was chosen both most original AND best overall! Florida Immigration Law Firm sponsored the JAABA winning team!
Path to the Judiciary

five women standing by American flag
    The Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association hosted a member luncheon on Feb. 9 featuring the Hon. Karen K. Cole; the Hon. Michelle Kalil; the Hon. Virginia B. Norton, and the Hon. Kelly E. Eckley who spoke on their path to the judiciary. JWLA women were inspired to learn more about the journeys of these empowering women.
Corporate Counsel Summit in Coral Gables

four people seated on stage

    Panelists share thoughts on the topic of Alternative Fee Arrangements at the Miami Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyer's first annual Corporate Counsel Summit. The event was held at Coral Gables Country Club on Feb. 24. Other panel discussions on a wide variety of topics were held throughout the day.
Practicing with professionalism on Miami Beach

four people standing
    The Miami Beach Bar Association CLE luncheon featuring Judge Peter Lopez was very well attended by many including Judge Bronwyn Miller and President Peter Valori.
Elder law panel in Miami Lakes

panel of six people seated at table
    Volunteers from the Miami Lakes Bar Association spent up their Saturday morning, Feb. 25, to discuss issues important with seniors in the area. Credit fraud, land issues, estate planning, foreclosure, probate, bankruptcy and family law were among the concerns of the elderly. The legal forum for seniors was provided free of charge as a service of the MLBA Elderly Affairs Committee.
GALA ushers in new officers in Miami-Dade

group of men and women standing
    The Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association celebrated diversity in style on Feb. 11 at the Annual Presidential GALA at Jungle Island. The event also provided time for the installation of officers.
Italian history lesson in Tampa

group of men and women
    The Tampa Chapter for the National Italian American Bar Association took a trip through history at The Italian Club! Joe Caltagirone provided a fascinating look back at the Italian Americans and The Club. The fellowship was complemented by great food!

Families come out for movie night in West Palm Beach

Man with two girls and balloons

    Members and children of the Palm Beach County Bar Association enjoyed dinner and movie night at the Lake Pavilion in West Palm Beach. The evening included a photo booth, face painting, gifts for all the children, catered dinner, dessert and popcorn followed by the movie "Trolls." A good time was had by all!
Makeover space for nursing moms

three women painting
    Palm Beach County FAWL got started on the new nursing room for the Palm Beach County Main Courthouse in February. The big reveal is coming ... stay tuned for the finished product!
Pig Roast in West Palm

group of men and women by pool
    The Palm Beach County Hispanic Bar Association and the Guild of Catholic Lawyers of the Diocese of Palm Beach held their annual Pig Roast on Feb. 11. The venue was the Cuban American Club in West Palm Beach. The pig roasting boxes accompanied by beautiful winter weather made for a great day of food and fellowship with members of both VBAs.

Brain game in Pasco raises stock in kids

four women seated
    In Pursuit of Trivia! Women Lawyers of Pasco helped to raise money for Take Stock in Children Pasco County and had lots of fun doing it. Although they didn't win, all report a great time with colleagues of the Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce, the event host.
YouTube "Work Life Balance" series offers tips from Pinellas women

legsl scales of justice
    Striving to balance life and work are a everyday thing. Through a grant from The Florida Bar YLD, the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers has taken the conversation to a new level. The group gathered women from the legal profession and other businesses to discuss important topics, which were released in Febrary via the PFAWL YouTube channel. Tune in here for helpful tips on this important topic.

Chocolate and champagne for judicial assistants in Sarasota County

three women standing outdoors
    Sarasota FAWL honored judicial assistants of the 12th Judicial Circuit on Feb. 9 with a Chocolate and Champagne Reception. Local judges and judicial assistants gathered with SFAWL members for an evening of gratitude and fun.
Tallahassee women lawyers continue T48 success

group of women seated and standing
    High demand and limited space is always a challenge for Tallahassee Women Lawyers Table for 8. It was the same for the Feb. 23 session with host Administrative Law Judge Jessica Varn at Bella Bella. All attendees enjoyed great conversation and great food.
Legal Initiative with public school in Tallahassee

woman with students in a court room
    The Tallahassee Bar Association held its Second Annual Leon County Public Schools Legal Initiative on Feb. 24. This project, which is chaired by TBA member Jami A Coleman, was born from a voluntary bar association diversity grant from The Florida Bar. Students from James S. Rickards High School and Florida High attended, and partner Florida State University College of Law provided great swag bags and T-shirts! Here are the students starting their day in a mock trial at the Florida Supreme Court.
Scholarship luncheon a success

three men and one woman standing
    The Tallahassee Barristers Association held its Scholarship Luncheon on Feb. 17 at the Capital City Country Club. Janeia Daniels Ingram, Florida State College of Law assistant dean of student affairs, was the keynote speaker. Pictured here are Barristers officers Haben Abraha, Matt Williams, Brandi Joyce Thomas and Immediate Past President GC Murray.
Family law form help in Tampa

mane and women seated at desk
    A new joint pro bono project is underway between the Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program and the members of the Tampa Bay Hispanic Bar Association. Volunteer attorneys provide pro bono assistance to Spanish-speaking pro se family law litigants with completion of court-approved family law forms packets. This provides self-represented family law litigants with the opportunity to obtain information and assistance in their native language while also providing assistance with access to the courts to resolve their family law matters.
Past presidents honored in West Pasco

mena and women seated at table
    West Pasco Bar Association used its February membership luncheon to honor past presidents. Past President, Al Torrence, 1985-86, shared his thoughts about the WPBA, the practice of law in Pasco and the future of the profession.

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[Revised: 03-08-2017]