The Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy is a multi-session training program designed to assist a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers in becoming better leaders within our profession, in their chosen path, while enhancing their leadership skills. Each year a select group of participants are selected from applications submitted to The Florida Bar to become Academy Fellows.
During their one-year term, Academy Fellows follow a curriculum tailored to enhance their professional development, knowledge base and experience, including attending The Florida Bar events and special educational programs. Academy Fellows are given the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the Bar and their role in the legal profession, while enhancing their personal leadership skills. The Academy’s Mission is to identify, nurture and inspire effective leadership within the Bar and the legal community.
The 2019-2020 Leadership Academy Application will be available in December 2019.
The mission of the Academy is to enhance the skills of a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers selected from across the state that will enable them to become effective leaders throughout the Bar, our profession and the greater community.
The Goals of the Academy include:
· To enhance leadership skills of a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers;
· To identify, nurture and inspire effective leadership within The Florida Bar and the legal community;
· To enhance the diversity of leaders within The Florida Bar;
· To raise the level of awareness and engagement among lawyers regarding issues facing the legal profession through the study of ethical, professional and public service issues
Who Should Apply?
Applications to become a Fellow of the Academy are open to all Florida Bar members who are in good standing. Applicants with some history of leadership or involvement within The Florida Bar, their community, offices, and/or the legal profession are encouraged to apply.
Voluntary and specialty bar associations, Florida Bar sections and divisions, members of the judiciary, law firms, and bar members are also encouraged to nominate Fellows to the Academy.
Why Should I Apply?
As a Fellow you will be part of a select group of leaders who are provided the opportunity to:
1. Develop and enhance leadership skills important to your future in the legal profession.
2. Network, interact, collaborate, and build relationships with state and national bar leaders.
3. Get an insider’s look at important role the Bar plays within our legal system, while exploring your role in the legal profession.
What Should I Know Before I Apply?
Attendance and Commitment Policy: Participation in the Academy as a Fellow requires a commitment of time and resources. Meetings typically will be held on Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon at various locations. Attendance at meetings is mandatory and Fellows may be dropped from the program for non-attendance. Fellows who complete the program will graduate and may receive CLE credit for their participation. The Academy meets approximately every other month for a total of six meetings, plus graduation. Meetings are held during The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention in June, The Florida Bar Fall meeting in October, and the January meeting of the Board of Governors in Tallahassee. The three other meetings are held at various locations around the state. At the conclusion of the program, Fellows will participate in graduation at The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention.
Upon becoming a Fellow, you agree that after graduation you will become involved with and undertake Florida Bar committee, section or division service, local or voluntary bar service, other community leadership activity, and/or act as a mentor to a member of the incoming class.
Cost: A tuition fee of $500 is due upon acceptance into the Academy. Fellows will be responsible for their travel expenses and accommodations while at meetings. A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available for those with financial need.
When Should I Apply?
The 2018-2019 Leadership Academy Application is available. Applications must be submitted by January 16, 2018 by 5:30pm
Why Should My Employer Support My Application?
Fellows need to obtain the approval of their employers to participate in the Academy given the commitment required. With the invaluable leadership skills Fellows will learn from state and national bar leaders, employers can be assured that the business development possibilities and statewide networking opportunities are limitless for Fellows.
Scholarships for travel and accommodations are offered to Fellows on the basis of financial need. To be considered for a scholarship from The Florida Bar, applicants should fill out the Scholarship Assistance Application and Certification within the application. Selection of Fellows is determined without consideration of financial need or scholarship interest.
Additionally, some sections and divisions, and other associations will offer scholarship opportunities to their members to participate in the Academy. Inquiry regarding those scholarship opportunities should be directed to those entities.
|Brice Aikens, Orlando
Samuel Bryant, Deerfield Beach
Kelsey Burke, West Palm Beach
Arielle Demby-Berger, Fort Lauderdale
Israel Encinosa, Miami
Wendy Fisher, Palm Bay
Rachel Forman, Miami
Steven Gaddy, Miami
Giselle Girones, Jacksonville
Barbara Goiran, New Port Richey
William Hall, Tallahassee
Kim Hamill, Tampa
De’Anne Jackson, Miami
Suzanna Johnson, Tampa
David Scott Knight, Tampa
|Lyudmila Kogan, Miami
Dazi Lenoir, Orlando
Melissa Madsen, Miami
Carla Newman, Macclenny
Brittany O’Neil, Daytona Beach
Guna Ose, Viera
Tara Price, Tallahassee
Nicole Ramos-Barreau, Fort Lauderdale
Jennifer Salter, Gainesville
Jill Simon, Orlando
Divinne Smith, Winter Springs
Kafi Swanson, Orlando
Jeremy Thompson, Miami
Sasha Watson, Orlando
Joshua Wright, Jacksonville
June 23, 2017: Session I, Kickoff Academy Meeting, Boca Raton (Florida Bar Annual Convention, Boca Raton Resort & Club)
Aug. 18-19, 2017: Session II, Orlando (Meeting site TBA)
Oct. 12 -13, 2017: Session III, Tampa (The Florida Bar Fall Meeting, Tampa Airport Marriott)
Jan. 25 -26, 2018: Session IV, Tallahassee (Florida Bar Board of Governors, DoubleTree Hilton and The Florida Bar)
March 16-17, 2018: Session V, Orlando (Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel)
May 18-19, 2018: Session VI, Orlando (Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel)
June 15, 2018: Graduation, Orlando (Annual Florida Bar Convention, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek)
As a part of the curriculum, the Leadership Academy Fellows are tasked with completing a project every year that relates to the legal profession or community that allows the Fellows to build skills and assist in helping improve the legal profession for Florida attorneys and citizens. Projects are available to the public upon completion at the end of each program year.
Mental Health Toolkit (PowerPoint)
Kevin Anthony McNeill, Chair
Melanie Shoemaker Griffin, Vice Chair
Stefano Di Portigliatti, Vice Chair
Florida Bar News Articles:
- 07/01/15 – Leadership Academy welcomes third class
- 01/01/15 – Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy accepting applications
- 03/15/14 – Leadership Academy formally dedicated as the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy
- 01/01/14 – Board Agrees to Expand Leadership Academy
- 11/01/13 – Applications for Second Bar Leadership Academy will be Available in December
- 10/15/13 – The Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy met in Tampa
- 07/15/13 – Bar Leadership Academy is Underway
- 07/01/13 – Leadership Academy Named for Smith
- 06/01/13 – Bar Names 59 Leadership Academy Fellows
- 03/15/13 – Deadline for Leadership Academy Applications is Quickly Approaching
- 03/01/13 – Bar Leadership Academy Applications Available
- 02/15/13 – Bar Academy Aims to Develop Young Leaders and Inspire Lawyer Unity
Questions regarding the Academy or becoming an Academy Partner should be directed to