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Michelle R. Suskauer is the president of The Florida Bar for 2018-19. She is the sixth woman to serve as Bar president and is the first former public defender to hold the office.
Suskauer is a partner with Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A., in West Palm Beach, where she heads the criminal defense practice. She practices in state and federal courts. She has been a member of The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors since 2010 and has chaired the Board Disciplinary Review Committee, Board Strategic Planning Committee, the Board Communications Committee and the 2013 Annual Convention Committee and she has served on the Executive Committee for the past four years. She has served as president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers-Palm Beach County Chapter, and she is currently president of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.
Suskauer earned a B.S. from Boston University in 1988 and her J.D. from American University in 1991. She began her legal career at the Office of the 15th Circuit Public Defender in West Palm Beach. In 1997, she joined her husband, Scott Suskauer, at Suskauer Law Firm, P.A.
Suskauer is a nationally recognized legal analyst. She has earned numerous awards, including being named in Florida Trend’s 500 Most Influential Business Leaders in 2018; ‘Fastcase 50’ Honoree 2018; 2017 Woman of the Year from the South Palm Beach County Women Lawyers Association; the Daily Business Review 2017 Top 10 Women in Law; the Serving Justice Award from the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County; the Justice Barbara Pariente Award from FAWL, Palm Beach County; Leader in the Law from FAWL, Palm Beach County; Woman of Grace Award, 2016; Women in Power Award, National Conference of Jewish Women; and the Character Counts Award from the School District, Palm Beach County.
October 9, 2018
Dear Florida Bar Member:
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes. We have endured them before, and we’ll do so again with Hurricane Michael, working together for our respective communities and members through available resources created by The Florida Bar. Keep in mind that Tallahassee is in the direct path of Hurricane Michael, and The Florida Bar headquarters will be closed through Thursday, October 11, unless circumstances change.
All court closure notices and tolling orders will be posted on the Florida Supreme Court’s website. The Florida Bar has a link on its homepage to the Supreme Court site. The Florida Bar homepage will continue to share updates and provide additional resources as they become available.
As lawyers, we have a strong sense of duty to help, and can be an incredibly valuable resource to those in need. Although attorneys are strongly cautioned against engaging in the solicitation of hurricane victims (which is prohibited by Rule 4-7.18), the Florida Free Legal Answers program offers a relatively easy way to lend your expertise. It is easy to do, takes only a couple of minutes and can mean so much to those in need.
In addition, you can also sign up here to volunteer to answer the questions of disaster survivors on a pro bono basis through the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Disaster Relief Hotline 1-866-550-2929. This hotline will be activated after the storm for low-income citizens in need of storm-related legal aid, such as landlord/tenant disputes, housing problems, consumer protection matters and home repair contracts.
To be a volunteer, you simply have to complete the form and have a basic understanding of common problems experienced by disaster victims. Visit the YLD’s FEMA page for more information.
Go to LegalFuel.com for information and resources on disaster planning and business continuity, including how to create effective plans and even a checklist for next steps after a disaster, such as the assessment process, communication protocol and more. You will also find links to FEMA and other disaster recovery services.
For a full list of member benefits and other important information as Hurricane Michael approaches, go to The Florida Bar’s Hurricane Information page or the FloridaBar.org homepage for the latest updates.
For those of our members in the path of the storm, we urge you to continue to monitor its approach and take all necessary safety precautions. The Florida Bar will continue to stay in touch and share information with you as we learn it, including from the Florida Supreme Court and the Governor’s office.
Michelle R. Suskauer, President
The Florida Bar
Sept. 2018 Video Message
July 2018 Video Message
August 2018 Video Message
Suskauer at Annual Convention
As your Florida Bar president, I am excited to update you on what The Florida Bar will be working on this year. We will focus on helping solo or small firms become more productive and profitable. More than three-fourths of Bar members practicing in Florida are part of firms with 10 or fewer attorneys.
We will continue to advocate for the legal profession and the judicial system during the 2019 legislative session and lead the Bar in seeking common-sense criminal justice reform that focuses on rehabilitation, rather than punishment. The Bar will hold a Criminal Justice Summit in October.
Finally, we will continue to promote the improvement of lawyer mental health and wellness, while also destigmatizing seeking help when needed. The Bar will also implement the recommendations of the Special Committee on Gender Bias/Diversity.
Thank you for your commitment and dedication to the legal profession and the people of Florida.
Michelle R. Suskauer, President
The Florida Bar