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Michael J. Higer, President of The Florida Bar, 2017-2018
Born in Miami Beach, Florida, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982 from the University of Florida and his Juris Doctorate degree with honors in 1985 from the University of Miami School of Law where he served as the Executive Editor of the Law Review. Now, as a Partner of Berger Singerman’s Dispute Resolution Team, and an experienced litigator and trial lawyer who has devoted his practice to commercial litigation and civil trial work, he is A/V rated by Martindale Hubbell®, the highest available rating. The Best Lawyers in America®, Florida Trend magazine’s Florida Legal Elite™ and Florida Super Lawyers have all repeatedly recognized him in his practice areas. Notably, he is the only lawyer in the State of Florida recognized by the prestigious Chambers’ legal guide for his representation of policyholders in insurance disputes. And, he is widely regarded as one of the architects of the business courts established in Florida.
November 2017 Message from President Higer
Review the full text of the video message.
September 15, 2017
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes. We have endured them before and will do so again. There are significant challenges ahead as we rebuild and recover, but together we will meet these challenges. The Florida Bar is focused on assisting our members and Floridians in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s devastation and gathered many helpful resources at www.floridabar.org/hurricaneinfo. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. Here are ways the Bar can assist you — our members — in recovery as well as ways you can volunteer to assist Floridians, and please check the Bar’s website frequently for updates. Help for Florida Lawyers
- The Practice Resource Institute (PRI) provides a webpage with disaster planning and business continuity resources for Bar members and a FloridaBarNews.TV video also provides resource information. PRI advisors will assist members by phone during regular business hours by calling 1-866-730-2020 and the live chat feature at pri.floridabar.org is active. In addition, members may email for assistance: [email protected].
- The Florida Bar is setting up a system to connect Florida lawyers who have been adversely affected by the storm with other lawyers who are able to assist them with needs including temporary housing, office space, and cleanup services. Please watch for another email from me with a link to a form to request or provide assistance and check “Lawyer Resources” section for updates. If you have an urgent need, please email [email protected] and we will do anything we can to assist you until this system is operational.
- Fastcase legal research is already available free of charge to Florida Bar members and for recovery relief assistance, Fastcase is making its full research service available through the end of Sept. 30, 2017. If you have any questions or need support, call Fastcase at 1-866-77-FASTCASE (1-866-773-2782) or email [email protected].
- It may help you to take advantage of the more than a dozen Florida Bar Member Benefit providers that offer free trials, demos or initial services including practice resources, legal forms and legal research.
- If you have been impacted by Hurricane Irma and have not yet paid 2017-2018 annual fees and late fees as a Florida Bar Member, Authorized House Counsel (AHC) or Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP), the deadline to pay has been extended from Sept. 30 to Oct. 30, 2017. If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please call the Membership Records Department at 1-800-342-8060.
- If you have been impacted by Hurricane Irma, and your Florida Bar Member, AHC or FRP Continuing Legal Education Reporting Cycle ends on Sept. 30, an extension is being granted until Oct. 30, 2017. Questions about CLE reporting can be emailed to [email protected].
- The Florida Supreme Court is posting announcements about state court closures, re-openings and tolling orders following Hurricane Irma on an emergency information webpage — please check this page if you have business pending in the state courts. The webpage also provides links to local courthouses to access the latest local information.
- The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, working in conjunction with the ABA Young Lawyers Section and FEMA, set up a Disaster Relief Hotline 1-866-550-2929 and an online request for assistance form, and all Florida Bar members eligible to practice may volunteer to provide basic civil legal services for people who cannot otherwise afford legal representation in non-fee generating cases. Volunteers return calls placed to the YLD’s hotline or requests for assistance via the online form. To volunteer, complete this form and review the FEMA Disaster Assistance Manual for Legal Services Advocates posted here. The types of legal questions most frequently asked will involve landlord/tenant and other housing problems, consumer protection matters, and home repair contracts.
- Florida Free Legal Answers now has a Hurricane Irma category and a temporary increase of the qualifying cap is in effect so all Floridians can pose questions relating to Hurricane Irma. To volunteer for Florida Free Legal Answers, a virtual civil legal advice clinic, please register here. If you are already a volunteer, please subscribe to the Hurricane Irma category to receive email alerts when questions are posted.
- The Florida Bar Foundation created a webpage with resources and volunteer opportunities for legal aid and pro bono attorneys, as well as information to help Floridians seeking civil legal aid. The Foundation has also created the Florida Hurricane Legal Aid Fund for donations to go directly to civil legal assistance for Floridians affected by Hurricane Irma and any subsequent hurricanes making landfall in Florida.
- Florida Pro Bono Matters is another way to assist Floridians via an interactive website funded by The Florida Bar Foundation — both in hurricane recovery and year-round. Lawyers can view descriptions of available pro bono opportunities and indicate an interest in any of them, and then will be contacted by the posting organization with more information.
Now is the time for each of us to help each other, help our colleagues, help our neighbors, and help our communities. Together, we will make a difference and we will recover stronger than ever. Michael J. Higer, President The Florida Bar
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