The Florida Bar

February 2019 Meeting Summary

Report from BOG

The Florida Bar Board of Governors met on February 9, 2019, in Tallahassee. The major actions of the board and reports received included:

After introducing the new members of the Florida Supreme Court, Justices Barbara Lagoa, Robert Luck and Carlos Muniz, Chief Justice Charles Canady listed the court’s legislative priorities for 2019. The court is supporting raising the civil jurisdiction for county courts from $15,000 to $25,000, and small claims from $5,000 to $8,000, among other recommendations provided in a study by the Workgroup on County Court Jurisdiction. In addition, Justice Canady said that the courts are prioritizing a $10 million pay increase for recruitment and retention of court workers, targeted at those areas of the state where other governmental agencies are paying more in comparable positions. Read more in The Florida Bar News.

The Board was shown a demonstration of the Bar’s newly enhanced, Lawyer Referral Service website. Designed for easier navigation, the service can quickly connect consumers with participating lawyers representing 120 practice areas. For those users in counties with a local bar association lawyer referral service, the user is immediately directed to the local program. The new platform is also easier for attorneys to use, providing members the ability to update their profiles, receive referrals directly to their inbox and features an enhanced reporting and payment system. Visit The Lawyer Referral Service website to join as a participating lawyer or learn more. See the full article in the Florida Bar News.

The “#StigmafreeYLD” health and wellness campaign was highlighted for the Board by Young Lawyers Division President Christian George. The first video of the campaign shown to the Board featured Broward County attorney Hillary Cassel describing her mental health challenges during her legal career. The campaign will feature similar videos by other Florida Bar members as well as many other elements focused on reducing the stigma related to talking about mental health. Take a look at  the front page story in the Florida Bar News for more information.

The Florida Supreme Court is seeking comments from Bar members on a proposed procedural rule on granting parental leave continuances to lawyers expecting or adopting children. Read more about the proposed changes in this Florida Bar News article. An official notice with the revised rule and comment will be published in the March edition of the Bar News.

The 2019 Florida Legislature convenes on March 5. Visit our website for updates on legislation of interest to the legal profession, the session schedule, links to contact legislators and other information sources, as well as the policies on Florida Bar advocacy and all approved legislative positions.

The annual Pro Bono Awards Ceremony was held on the day before the Board meeting at the Florida Supreme Court. Twenty-two circuit recipients were honored along with a Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division member and all of the recipients of the Chief Justice’s annual pro bono awards: the Tobias Simon Award, awards for Distinguished Judicial Service and Distinguished Federal Judicial Service, a Law Firm Commendation and a Voluntary Bar Association. Watch the ceremony on the Florida Channel or visit Florida Bar News for full coverage.


The Board will be considering nominees for appointment to the:

  • Judicial Nominating Commissions (JNCs): One lawyer for each JNC for four-year terms (three names nominated for each seat).
  • Statewide JNC for Judges of Compensation Claims for the First, Third and Fifth District Courts of Appeal: Three lawyers for four-year terms.
  • Florida Patient’s Compensation Fund Board of Governors: One lawyer for a four-year term.


Applications are open for the following May appointments:

  • ABA House of Delegates : Two lawyers for two-year terms. Application deadline 4/5/19.
  • Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. Board of Dir.: Three lawyers and two nonlawyers for three-year terms. Application deadline 4/5/19.
  • Florida Board of Bar Examiners: Two lawyers for five-year terms and one nonlawyer for a three-year term. Application deadline 3/22/19.

Applications can be found on The Florida Bar website.


A short video message from Florida Bar President Michelle Suskauer features the enhanced Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service website, the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Awards ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court, and the latest LegalFuel CLE Speaker Series video, “Enhanced Results Through Effective Communication.”

President's Message Video

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