The Florida Bar

FULL TEXT SideBar April 2019

April 2019

The SideBar provides monthly highlights of the incredible work of
Florida’s voluntary bars.

All Aboard for the Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference

Ahoy Mates! Online registration for the 2019 Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference set for July 12-13 is now available. This year it’s a full day and a half with the opportunity to gain 12.5 CLE credits! We are expecting a huge crowd for the non-stop opportunities for great networking, quality workshops and mentorship from experienced bar…

A Florida lawyers photo fitness finish!

Tallahassee Women Lawyer Associations’ Stacy Biggart was among 7,600 runners at the Boston Marathon on April 15!  The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest consecutively run marathon, with this year marking the 123rd outing for the world-renowned event. Participants competing raised more than $36 million for various charities and non-profit programs.

Enter the Healthy Hour Challenge by June 1

In support of mental health and wellness of Florida lawyers, the Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee is encouraging voluntary bar leaders to host “get fit events” and share the successes. Whatever your bar is doing to boost adrenaline or just have fun along the way, let us know and you could be recognized at the Voluntary Bar…

Veterans benefit from Scavenger Hunt

On April 4, members of the Manatee County Bar Association Scavenger Hunt Committee presented nearly $2,000 that they raised from their Second Annual Scavenger Hunt to Alfred James, director of the Veterans Treatment Court. That day, the VTC also had four participants graduate from the program.  The Scavenger Hunt featured several that spent the evening…

Honoring the Superheroes in Palm Beach County

Celebrating judicial assistants and courtroom deputies was the order of the day on April 12 at the Judicial Personnel Appreciation Lunch in West Palm Beach, was hosted by the Palm Beach Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. A photo booth with fun props instantly helped to further bring attention to the superheroes who…

In the fight to end Cancer

Members of the Miami Lakes Bar Association were among the 5,000 people in attendance at the 5th Annual Cars for the Cure Show on April 5. The event held on Main Street brought together the Miami Lakes community in the fight to end cancer.  Proceeds support local cancer research at the University of Miami Sylvester Center.

A day of Bench & Bar

Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association President-elect Brendalyn Edwards, right, Florida Bar Board of Governors member Renee Thompson, Florida Bar President Michelle Suskauer, and Caribbean Bar Association President Charise Morgan-Joseph, left, were among hundreds who attended the Dade County Bar Association Bench and Bar on April 5 in Miami.

Puerto Rican Influence in Tallahassee

The 20th Anniversary Celebration of Puerto Rico Day was held in Tallahassee in late March. Hundreds of participants and organizations, including the Puerto Rican Bar Association, committed to this effort with the goal of keeping the Puerto Rican community’s issues alive and present during the legislative session. Here, Marie Masson, president of the PRBA is…

Judicial Reception Highlights Diversity of Central Florida

An exceptional networking opportunity was held on April  18 with the Central Florida judiciary and the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida. The reception held at Quantum Leap Winery in Orlando honored the judiciary and highlighted the diversity of the legal community and its leaders.

Young Lawyers Putt for Diabetes

The Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar Association hosted a Charity Putt-Putt tournament this past January and helped raise $4,000 for the non-profit organization Dancing for Diabetes! Miniature golf holes were scattered among downtown Orlando bars to add even more fun to the outing. Amazing work or should we say play – doing great things for the…


Nearly 20 members of the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, made a trip to Blountstown on April 5 to operate a legal aid clinic for the many residents still struggling with a variety of legal problems following Hurricane Michael. Staffers from Legal Services of North Florida set up for the event and handled intake,…

Pay your annual Florida Bar Fees Online!

Did you know … Florida Bar members and paralegals can now pay their 2019-20 Florida Bar fees online by signing into the MyFloridaBar Member Portal at and clicking the “Pay My Fees” button on your profile page? That’s right! Paying your Bar fees is easier than ever! This electronic fee statement is the easiest way to…

Gala supports two charities

The Gay & Lesbian Lawyers Network hosted its 8th Annual Gala on April 13 at The Flagship in Fort Lauderdale. The total $13,487.74 raised from this year’s gala was divided between two very worthy nonprofit organizations: Latinos Salud, a local safe haven offering free testing and other non-medical HIV/AIDS support services for gay Latinos, transgender persons, and…

Law in the Mall in Fort Myers

Seventeen Lee County Bar Association attorneys donated their time on April 27 to provide free legal advice to patrons of the Edison Mall in Fort Myers.  The Law in the Mall event provided help to those in need as a community outreach initiative.

Chief Justice is Speaker in South Broward

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady was the keynote speaker at the South Broward County Bar President’s Installation Dinner. The event was held on March 15 at the Signature Grand in Davie. Chief Justice Canady took time before the event to mix and mingle with members in the sold-out crowd.

Joint Bar Event for Feeding Northeast Florida

On April 6, members of the legal community came together for Jacksonville Legal CommUNITY Day at Feeding Northeast Florida. Lawyers gave back by inspecting and sorting 5,369 pounds of food for donation, representing 4,474 meals for families in need. Feeding Northeast Florida works to ensure that children and families and seniors and veterans have the…

Funding quest on target in Highlands County

Raising $100,000 in seven years for a scholarship fund is no small feat, but for Highlands County Bar Association more than half the amount has been secured at the half-way point of the challenge. The group’s board of directors met recently with a representative of the South Florida State College to discuss the Janette Seamans Branham…

Women lawyers featured in Jacksonville Magazine

The Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association was featured in the “Best Lawyers” issue of Jacksonville Magazine in an article entitled “Raising the Bar.” Read the article at

Court has first Haitian American Judge

Members of the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association were on hand for the investiture of Circuit 11 County Court Judge Lody Jean on April 12 in Miami. Judge Jean is the first Haitian American Woman appointed to the court.

A Special Day for Judicial Assistants

Judicial Assistants in Martin County were honored with an Appreciation Luncheon on April 18.  Judges, attorneys, and staffers also attended the event to show their gratitude for the judicial assistants.

Justice Lawson at St. Pete Bar event

St. Pete Bar Members enjoyed a thought-provoking presentation by Florida Supreme Court Justice Alan Lawson at the April 5 Membership Luncheon. Justice Lawson shared his belief that a shift in perspective can provide a better (and longer) life  and secure a better future for the next generation of Americans.

Law Week in Sarasota County

Sarasota County fifth graders presented “Beauty and the Beast” during Law Week activities on April 29. Member volunteers from The Sarasota County Bar Association gave their time to support these students and potential future attorneys.

Almost 500 run for Probono

The Hillsborough County Bar Association held its 16th Annual Pig Roast/Food Festival and 5K Pro Bono River Run on April 13, with a record-breaking crowd of almost 500 attendees. The run was held along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa, followed by the Pig Roast at Stetson Law Tampa Campus. The goal of the race continues…


The Collier County Bar Association welcomed a special guest to its recent Law Week Luncheon: President James Madison, portrayed by professional historical interpreter Bryan Austin of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Board of Governors member Laird Lile of Naples arranged for the nation’s fourth president to attend the luncheon and provide remarks on the Law Week…

Mix and Mingle with the Judges in Miami

On April 17, the Miami Beach Bar Association hosted its Sixteenth Annual Judicial Happy Hour. The mix and mingle time with the judges and some of South Florida’s top lawyers was held at Meat Market Miami. 

Scholarships and Awards in Tampa

The George Edgecomb Bar Association held its 36th Annual Scholarship Banquet on April 22 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown Hotel. Keynote speaker was American poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator Nikki Giovani. Several deserving students were awarded with scholarships to help their educational and professional endeavors. The banquet was presented by The Moffitt Cancer Center and #TheRobertSaundersFoundation….

Diversity Conference in Gainesville

“Leadership Roundtable: The Eighth Judicial Circuit’s Diversity Conference – The Business Of Inclusion – How Inclusivity Affects Your Bottom Line” was held on April 12 in Gainesville. The workshop was hosted by Nikki Lewis Simon (Greenberg Traurig) with participating panelists Dr. James T. McClave (Info Tech, Inc.), Tara Blythe (Info Tech), Dr. Jamie McClave Baldwin…

Kids and Teens Benefit from Jamboree

Miami Dade Florida Association for Women Lawyers hosted its 5th Annual Jamboree to support foster care for children and teens on April 7.  They were joined this year by Dade Legal Aid, Voices for Children, and Educate Tomorrow at Tropical Park in Miami. These groups provided representatives to answer questions on how to get involved in…

Joint mixer on the First Coast

The St. Johns Association for Women Lawyers and the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association shared social time on April 24 with a mixer. The After 5 event in Ponte Vedra was well attended.

Women lawyers support Sexual Assault Awareness Month

On April 3, Jacksonville city leaders and victim advocates came together to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sarah Mannion, Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association president-elect and board president of the Women’s Center of Jacksonville, joined Mayor Lenny Curry and State Attorney Melissa Nelson for the reading of a proclamation to increase awareness and prevention of this…

Take Your Child To Work Day in Hillsborough County

The Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers’ Take Your Child To Work Day was a ton of fun! Several judges provided a courthouse tour and mock trial. Several other judges and court personnel in the Second DCA inspired children to build bright futures one decision at a time.

APABA South Florida in the house

Leaders of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association South Florida Chapter participated in the Dade County Bar Association’s Bench & Bar on April 5 in Miami. The group joined attorneys and judges for a day full of top-notch speakers and learning about new developments in the law!

A special guest in South Palm Beach

State Florida Association for Women Lawyers President Jennifer Shoaf Richardson, seated, was the guest speaker at the April luncheon of the South Palm Beach FAWL. Richardson shared the accomplishments of the state organization over the past year, as well as information on what’s still in store.

Women Warriors Throw Axes!

The Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers is well-known for doing extraordinary events. So why should the April networking outing be any different? With fun and a healthy dose of competition thrown in, CFAWL members tried their hand at axe throwing at one of Orlando’s newest entertainment venues. And all who attended the AXE-perience at Epic…

Bar President in Tallahassee

While in the capital city on April 4, Florida Bar President Michelle Suskauer met with representatives of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. FACDL is the only statewide organization in Florida dedicated solely to the criminal defense attorney. More than 25 chapters are in place statewide. 

Legal community turns out big for Justice Lewis celebration

Florida’s legal community, including past, present and a future president of The Florida Bar,  came together on April 18 in Coral Gables to celebrate the distinguished career of former Justice R. Fred Lewis after his recent retirement from the Florida Supreme Court. Hosted by the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society featured food and fellowship, followed by brief…

Brewery tour in Pensacola

Members of the Florida Justice Association gathered at Perfect Plain Brewing Co. in the heart of downtown Pensacola on April 17 for a Spring Series Happy Hour. The group enjoyed networking with other attorneys while sampling the locally inspired craft beers.

Meet the new U.S. Magistrate

The Federal Bar Association – Broward County Chapter featured the newest U.S. Magistrate Judge, Jacqueline Becerra, as the guest speaker at the group’s April 17 monthly luncheon. Pictured is U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick M. Hunt, Chapter President Phil Rothschild, U.S. Magistrate Judge Becerra, and Shari Lefton (law clerk to Judge Hunt).

Dade County Bar Rocks the Bench & Bar!

For the first time, the Dade County Bar Association hosted its signature Bench and Bar with the Young Lawyers’ Judicial Reception. Continuing its quest to serve the legal community of Miami, the event featured keynote speaker Angel Sanchez who shared his amazing journey from gang member to a prisoner, to law school student. More than…

Honoring the Judiciary in Sixth Circuit

The Clearwater Bar Association Young Lawyers Division hosted the 2019 Judicial Reception on April 17 in Dunedin. The evening gave lawyers in the Sixth Circuit the opportunity to thank judges and judicial assistants for work and services they provide.

A gourmet evening in Plantation

The B’nai B’rith Justice Unit No. 5207 annual gourmet evening with Chef Rey at Apron’s Kitchen was held on April 3 in Plantation. Pairing wine with four gourmet food courses and dessert was the menu for the evening with cooking demonstrations, explanations of cooking techniques and key ingredients. Members enjoyed an evening under the Tuscan…

Serving working moms in Polk County

April 2  was a ribbon-cutting day for the Polk Association for Women Lawyers. The group celebrated the opening of the Bartow Courthouse Lactation room to officially declare a private space for breastfeeding moms. The newly dedicated lactation room in the 10th Judicial Circuit will serve attorneys and jurors.

Paralegals celebrated in Palm Beach County

The Palm Beach County Bar Association hosted a Paralegal and Attorney Spring Meet and Greet on April 17. More than two-thirds of all attorneys use the services of paralegals, and the number continues to rise. PBCBA hosted the networking opportunity along with The Virtual Paralegal, LLC, at E.R. Bradley’s Saloon.

Spring pig roast with Hispanic Bar

  Palm Beach County Hispanic Bar Association hosted its 6th Annual Pig Roast on April 27. Partner-host of the event was chef Manuel Farach and the Guild of Catholic Lawyers of the Diocese of Palm Beach. It was a wonderful family outdoor event at Carlin Park in Jupiter.

Hosting Judges and Judicial Assistants in Palm Beach County

The Palm Beach County Bar Association hosted its annual Judicial Reception on April 24. The event is held each year in recognition of local, state and federal judges and their judicial assistants.

Latina Leaders Summit in Tampa

The Tampa Hispanic Bar Association hosted it’s Second Annual Latina Leaders Summit at the Tampa Club on April 5. Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the Summit featured five panelists including U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez; U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington; Illeana Giordano; Jenay Lurato and Carla Lowry.

North Tampa Attorneys in Community Expo

The Carrollwood Area Business Association Taste of Carrollwood attracted attorneys from the North Tampa Bar Association. The community expo at Raymond James Stadium featured tasteful food for sharing from 100-plus local businesses and restaurants.

Administrative Professionals and Rising Stars honored

The Broward Women Lawyers Association honored special women at its 2019 Administrative Professionals’ Day Celebration and Rising Star Scholarship Presentation. All of the administrative professionals received a gift bag and raffle prize at the April 24 event held at The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.


Benchmarks: Raising the Bar on Civics Education offers attorneys presentations they can use when they are invited to speak to adult civic and community groups. Increasing public awareness of how the government and courts work is a critical mission for The Florida Bar. An informed public is the best defense of the rule of law and a…