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November 15, 2013
‘Get Involved’

Bar committee preference forms available December 1

By Mark D. Killian
Managing Editor

President-elect Greg Coleman says, “There is room for everybody somewhere” within The Florida Bar and encourages all Florida lawyers to get involved.

Greg Coleman As president-elect, Coleman will make the next 500 or so appointments to Bar committees, and he wants to make sure he has a diverse group of lawyers from which to choose.

To encourage participation, Coleman is doubling down on President Eugene Pettis’ “Get Involved” campaign from a year ago that succeeded in increasing the number of applicants seeking appointment to the Bar’s 70 standing committees and getting involved in other Bar service opportunities

“Get involved in a section; get involved in a division; get involved in a committee; or get involved in a local grievance committee,” Coleman said. “Do something to get out there and get engaged and involved. It is hugely rewarding — as all of us who do it know — and it also has a professional benefit.”

The annual committee preference forms for Bar members seeking appointments for Coleman’s presidential term will be available on The Florida Bar’s website December 1.

As he travels the country, Coleman said it has become “abundantly clear” that The Florida Bar is the finest in the nation.

“I attribute the success of this Bar to the strength and hard work of our committees and sections,” Coleman said. “I would encourage you to join this group of hardworking men and women who volunteer their time to make our legal system better.”

To apply for a committee, members must fill out the online committee preference form and submit it online, eliminating the need to mail or fax the completed form. The preference form should only take a minute or two to complete and submit.

“Service on a Florida Bar committee is a wonderful experience,” Coleman said. “Not only will you be responsible for enhancing our profession and ultimately our citizens, but you will be working in areas that are fascinating, challenging, and extremely important.”

In making committee appointments in spring 2014, Coleman said several factors will be considered, including:

* Prior service to the Bar and voluntary bar organizations;

* The need to infuse new members to a particular committee; and

* Diversity, which includes but is not limited to gender, ethnicity, geography, practice area, and firm size.

Coleman said he will also consider prior committee participation and contributions, as evaluated by the various committee chairs.

Coleman is encouraged that he will have a diverse pool to choose from, not only because of the success of the last year’s “Get Involved” campaign, but also because of the shift he has seen in the profession over the past 10 or so years.

“When I was president of the Palm Beach County Bar, I met with every voluntary bar in the county trying to engage them in the work with the Palm Beach County Bar and, ultimately, get further engaged in The Florida Bar. The response was, ‘Thanks, but our voluntary bars were formed to promote issues that are specific to the needs of our members.’ I’ve seen a complete change in that attitude.”

Now, Coleman said, it’s common to see three or four voluntary bars jointly sponsor programs similar to a diversity symposium he attended recently at the Cooley law school.

“They all came together to put on a wonderful project,” he said. “That accomplishes a number of things — the ability to meet and circulate with people not in your particular voluntary group, and it brings a lot more people to the table.”

Cooperative projects result in people who never before would have reached out to The Florida Bar to do so, he said, “because they talk to people and realize this is a great thing.”
For those who have applied in the past and have not received appointments, Coleman encourages them to try again.

“If you have applied two or three times for the same committee and you have not received an appointment for some reason, we will take that into account,” said Coleman, adding, however, that there are some committees that are historically difficult to get on.

“But there is room for everybody somewhere. Apply for committees you might not otherwise be attracted to and you’ll be surprised how fulfilling a lot of the work of those committees are.”

If you are currently serving on a standing committee, check The Florida Bar’s website to determine when your term on the committee expires. If your term expires in 2014, you must complete and submit your committee preference form to be considered for reappointment.

If you are not currently serving on a standing committee and wish to be considered, complete the form and return it prior to January 15.

If you are serving on a substantive law committee and wish to continue to do so, you must complete and return the committee preference form by January 15 to be considered for reappointment.

[Revised: 03-08-2014]