The Florida Bar

Reporters’ Workshop Archive

2022 Reporters Workshop

The 2022 Reporters’ Workshop was held Sept. 18-20 in Tallahassee.

Reporters' Workshop Agenda

Sunday, Sept. 18

5:00-6:00 p.m.


Meet & Greet, Harry’s, 301 S. Bronough St.

Monday, Sept. 19

7:15-8:00 a.m.


DoubleTree Hotel, Jacobs on the Plaza (Reporters to use breakfast vouchers)

Meet in hotel lobby at 8:00 a.m.

8:15-8:30 a.m. Security Check-in and Group Photo outside Florida Supreme Court (have driver’s license ready)
8:30-8:45 a.m. Assemble in Florida Supreme Court Rotunda
8:45-9:45 a.m.

Introduction to the Florida Supreme Court and Courthouse Tour

  • Justice Jorge Labarga, Florida Supreme Court
  • Emilie Rietow, Supreme Court Education & Information Administrator
9:45-10:00 a.m. Break
10:00-11:00 a.m.

Reporters’ Roundtable: Covering Elections Issues in the Courts

  • Susan MacManus, professor emeritus, USF
  • Mark Earley, Leon County Supervisor of Elections
  • Paul Lux, Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections
  • Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida
11:00-11:15 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m.

FSU College of Law Welcome and Tour

Welcome from Nancy Benavides, associate dean for Academic Programs and Student Advancement

Noon-1:00 p.m.

Lunch with Justice Jamie Grosshans

Florida Supreme Court Justice Jamie Grosshans discusses the new Florida Supreme Court Fellows Program, History of the Florida Constitution, History of Women on the Bench, Changing Jurisdictions in Florida Courts, and her experience as a justice.

1:15-2:15 p.m.

Libel & Privacy

  • Ed Birk, Marks Gray P.A.
  • Giselle Girones, Shullman Fugate, P.A.
  • Minch Minchin, Shullman Fugate, P.A.
  • Linda Norbut, Thomas & LoCicero
2:15-2:30 p.m. Break
2:30-3:30 p.m.

Judicial and Attorney Discipline

The Florida Bar and Judicial Qualifications Commission procedures

  • Jennifer Krell Davis, communications director, The Florida Bar
  • Elizabeth Tarbert, director, Lawyer Regulation, The Florida Bar
  • Blan Teagle, executive director, Judicial Qualifications Commission
  • Alex Williams, general counsel, Judicial Qualifications Commission

Session materialsDiscipline System PowerPoint; Discipline Statistics

3:30-4:30 p.m.

Problem-Solving Courts

  • County Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson, member of Steering Committee on Problem-Solving Courts
  • County Judge Augustus D. Aikens, Jr., Second Judicial Circuit
  • Jennifer Grandal, chief, Office of Problem-Solving Courts
  • Melissa Holsman, TC Palm
  • Kelly Steele, Court Programs manager, Ninth Judicial Circuit, member of Steering Committee on Problem-Solving Courts

Session materialsAdult Drug Court Summary 2022Tips for reporting on problem-solving courtsDrug courts scramble to keep participants on the path to graduation; Aspiring rapper, ‘Pierre the Truth’ uses voice to laud life’s turnaround in Mental Health CourtOSCA 20-21 Annual ReportAbout Problem Solving Courts

4:30 p.m. Afternoon Intermission
6:00 p.m.

Reception and Dinner with the Supreme Court Justices

The Florida Historic Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St.

7:15 p.m.

Dinner Program

  • Introductions, Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson
  • Welcome, Florida Bar President Gary Lesser
  • Judicial Spotlight, Justice Charles T. Canady, Florida Supreme Court
  • Closing, Mary Nguyen-Nodelman, vice chair, Media & Communications Law Committee

Tuesday, Sept. 20

8:00 a.m.


Supreme Court Judicial Meeting Room, Florida Supreme Court

8:30-9:45 a.m.

Hot Topics in Court Public Records

What to do when courts documents are filed under seal, discuss current events in federal court, administrative records vs. judicial records, and the Supreme Court’s opinion, SC20-1765, amending Rule 2.420.

  • Moderator: Pat Gleason, special counsel for Open Government
  • Carol LoCicero, Thomas & LoCicero
  • Eunice Sigler, 11th Judicial Circuit PIO

Session materials2022 Open Government OverviewHot Topics in Court Public Records

 9:45-10:00 a.m. Break
 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Case Study

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, et al, Vs. Sarasota Herald-Tribune Company & Melissa Perez-Carrillo, Respondents

  • William Hatfield, editor, Tallahassee Democrat
  • Paul Hawkes,  partner, Continental Strategies
  • Jim Lake, Thomas & LoCicero
  • Melissa Perez-Carrillo, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Session materialsVerified Motion for Emergency Injunction and Petition for Declaratory Judgment

 11:30-11:45 a.m. Break
 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Lunch & Court Public Information Officer Roundtable

  • Julio Semino, director, Community Relations, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orlando
  • Eunice Sigler, director, Office of Government Liaison & Public Relations, 11th Judicial Circuit, Miami
  • Tracy Skeen, public information officer, 10th Judicial Circuit, Bartow

Session materialCourt PIO Roundtable

12:45 p.m.-1:00 Break
 1:00-2:30 p.m.

 First Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Justice John Couriel, Florida Supreme Court
  • Judge Robert Luck, U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • Courtney Brewer, Bishop & Mills
  • Moderator: David Karp, Carlton Fields
  • Lyrissa Lidsky, Raymond & Miriam Ehrlich Chair in U.S. Constitutional Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Session materials2022 First Amendment SeminarTen Things Everyone Should Know About the Supreme Court in 2022NetChoice LLC v Paxton

 2:30-3:30 p.m.

View From the Bench

  • Justice John Couriel, Florida Supreme Court
  • Justice Jorge Labarga, Florida Supreme Court

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Shullman Fugate logo
Shullman Fugate is a Florida law firm, with a focus on the areas of content, intellectual property, and commercial litigation. The firm's attorneys have represented clients ranging from individual bloggers to International media organizations and businesses ranging in size from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Attorneys Deanna Shullman and Rachel Fugate have nearly forty years' combined legal experience in complex media and business matters and a reputation for common-sense counsel and practical problem-solving. With offices in Tampa, West Palm Beach, and Jacksonville, Shullman Fugate advises clients throughout Florida regarding content-gathering and publication, and advocates for content providers in claims relating to defamation, privacy and publication issues. The firm also litigates complex commercial and intellectual property matters including copyright and trademark disputes.
Logo of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society
Incorporated in 1977, the Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with more than 800 members throughout Florida and elsewhere. It is committed to making sure people understand the importance of a strong, independent judiciary in our governmental balance of power. Likewise, it works to save and maintain for future generations the records of the people and events that have shaped the evolution of Florida's court system from the early 1800s, through the 20th Century, and beyond. Society programs and activities include publications, oral history programs, historical archives, Supreme Court tours and exhibits, as well as an annual Society reception and dinner. Members are dedicated to educating citizens about the courts' vital role in our government and to preserving our state's judicial history. Many Society members are lawyers and judges, who work daily within the justice system. Others are educators, business people, public officials and other private citizens.
Cohen Law Group sponsor logo slate
Effective legal representation requires experience and dedication to protect the rights of those who have entrusted us with their legal options and rights. Cohen Law Group has successfully represented many Florida residents throughout the years in various legal matters.
Thomas & LoCicero law firm logo
Thomas & LoCicero is a Florida-based law firm built on a commitment to free speech, a free press, and the success of its clients. Thomas & LoCicero doesn't try to be all things to all people. Instead with the focus and client-based attention of a boutique firm, the firm litigates business disputes, protects intellectual property, and provides advice and expertise on data privacy and security. Every day, in court and out, the firm strives to give voice to its clients stories.
With solid roots in Jacksonville, Marks Gray is one of Northeast Florida’s leading business law firms. Their team of client-focused attorneys endeavor to work with clients during every step of the process to not only meet, but exceed expectations. Marks Gray is committed to excellence by handling each matter with unparalleled customer service, efficiency, and professionalism. Marks Gray is known for its ability to serve a diverse set of clients with a unique set of business needs. Marks Gray is able to add value to a client's business by serving as a key partner while helping them navigate the myriad opportunities and varied challenges inherent in today’s ever-changing business landscape.

Workshop Speakers

Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson, Leon County

Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson

Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson has served as judge in the Leon County Court system since 2008. In addition to her other assigned duties, Judge Ashenafi Richardson has served as Felony Drug Court judge for over nine years and is a member of the Office of State Courts Administrator’s Steering Committee on Problem Solving Courts. She served as chair of the Education and Outreach subcommittee of the Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Management Council, an advisory body that includes judges, lawyers and nonlawyers. Under Judge Ashenafi Richardson’s leadership, the subcommittee drafted a statewide communications plan that was formally adopted by the Florida Supreme Court, with implementation over a five-year period beginning in January 2016. The plan, “Delivering Our Message,” was developed with input from judges, the media, court public information officers and other court staff from around the state. The plan calls for the use of communication technology and social media to the extent appropriate in judicial settings, emphasizing the importance of improving communication between Florida’s judicial branch and the public at large, as well as court users and other justice partners of the courts. She currently chairs the Second Judicial Circuit’s Communications Committee, which was created to implement the communications plan. Judge Ashenafi Richardson has been recognized with numerous awards for her servant leadership, most recently receiving the Chief Justice’s Distinguished Judicial Service Award for exceptional pro bono service and the Florida Court Public Information Officers Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nancy Benavides, FSU College of Law

Nancy Benavides

Nancy Benavides is the associate dean for Academic Programs and Student Advancement at the Florida State University College of Law. She joined the College of Law administration in 2000, where she served as the director of Career Planning & Placement before being named assistant dean for Student Affairs in 2002. She has served in her current role since 2004. Prior to joining FSU Law, she worked in private practice in Washington, D.C. Benavides is responsible for all student-related activities and events. She also counsels and advises students on a wide range of issues. She designed and oversees the law school’s Raising the Bar Professionalism+ Program. She has served as faculty advisor to multiple law student organizations, including the Women’s Law Symposium and Cuban American Bar Association. In addition serving the law school community, Dean Benavides is actively engaged in mentoring undergraduates. Since 2002, she has overseen FSU’s ABA-award winning Donald J. Weidner Summer for Undergraduates Program. She also teaches an undergraduate prelaw course for freshmen in FSU’s Bryan Hall Learning Community. She’s received numerous awards for her work, most recently receiving The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism Law Faculty Professionalism Award. Benavides earned both her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Maryland.

Edward L. Birk

Edward L. Birk

Edward L. Birk is a shareholder with MarksGray, where he represents and defends news media organizations and journalists in all aspects of newsgathering, publishing, and broadcasting, including source development, pre-publication review, compelling access to courts and records, copyright and trademark enforcement, fighting subpoenas for privileged information, and defending against defamation and libel claims. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1983 from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he was a staff member of The Massachusetts Daily Collegian newspaper and the news team at WMUA college radio station. Before law school, Birk was an editor and reporter for The Associated Press in Massachusetts and Florida. He earned his law degree with honors in 1995 from Florida State University College of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review. Birk has earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating of AV. For the past 10 years he has been named in The Best Lawyers in America and in Super Lawyer magazine. He serves as general counsel for the Florida First Amendment Foundation.

Courtney Brewer

Courtney Brewer

Courtney Brewer is a board-certified appellate specialist and a partner at Bishop & Mills in the Tallahassee office. She has had primary responsibility in all aspects of appellate litigation in cases at the 11th Circuit, federal district courts, and every appellate court in Florida. Prior to joining Bishop & Mills in 2012, Brewer served as a deputy solicitor general in the Florida Office of the Attorney General. In the spring of 2010 she served as a Supreme Court fellow for the National Association of Attorneys General, where she had the opportunity to obtain direct and intensive hands-on exposure to U.S. Supreme Court practice. Prior to that, she clerked for Justice Charles Wells at the Florida Supreme Court from 2004 to 2007. She obtained her  law degree from Duke University School of Law in 2004, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 2001. Brewer is treasurer of The Florida Bar’s Appellate Practice Section and president of the First District Appellate American Inn of Court. She co-teaches appellate advocacy as an adjunct professor at the Florida State University College of Law and has coached numerous law school moot court teams.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles T. Canady

Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles T. Canady

Justice Charles Canady was born in Lakeland, Florida, in 1954. He is married to Jennifer Houghton Canady, and they have two children. He received his bachelor’s degree from Haverford College in 1976 and his law degree from the Yale Law School in 1979.

From November 1984 to November 1990, Justice Canady served three terms in the Florida House of Representatives, and from January 1993 to January 2001, he served four terms in the United States House of Representatives.

Upon leaving Congress, Justice Canady became General Counsel to Gov. Jeb Bush. He was appointed by Gov. Bush to the Second District Court of Appeal for a term beginning November 20, 2002.

On August 28, 2008, Justice Canady was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Charlie Crist and took office on September 8, 2008. He served as Florida’s 54th Chief Justice from July 2010 through June 2012. He was elected by his colleagues to serve as Chief Justice for a second time starting July 1, 2018, and a third time starting July 1, 2020.

Florida Supreme Court Justice John D. Couriel

Florida Supreme Court Justice John D. Couriel

John D. Couriel is the 90th Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. Justice Couriel was born in Miami, Florida in 1978. He is married to Rebecca L. Toonkel, M.D. They have two children.

Justice Couriel received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2000 and his law degree from Harvard Law School in 2003. He clerked for the Hon. John D. Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia before joining Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. His practice there included securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy matters, and investigations. In 2009, he became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He prosecuted hundreds of federal offenses, including international money laundering, public integrity, healthcare fraud, and human trafficking crimes. In 2013, he joined Kobre & Kim LLP, where he specialized in cross-border disputes and investigations relating to financial products and services, asset recovery, and government enforcement defense, with an emphasis on clients in Latin America.

Justice Couriel is a native speaker of Spanish. His parents emigrated from Cuba in the 1960s, his father as one of approximately 14,000 unaccompanied minors welcomed to the United States as part of Operation Pedro Pan.

He was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 1, 2020.

Mark Earley, Leon County Supervisor of Elections

Mark Earley

Mark Earley has been serving the voters of Leon County for over 30 years. He was elected Supervisor of Elections in 2016 following the retirement of his mentor, Supervisor Ion Sancho. Early is responsible for the conduct of elections in Leon County and works closely with other local, state and federal agencies to protect the right of every voter to cast their ballot and have it counted accurately and securely. Early was integral to adopting the county’s first optical scan paper ballot voting system, voting operations during the 2000 General Election recount, and the consolidation of county elections operations into the new Ion V. Sancho Leon County Elections Center. Early is the president of Florida Supervisors of Elections Inc., the state association for Florida’s 67 Supervisors of Elections, where he serves as the chair of the Cybersecurity Committee and as vice-chair of the Legislative Committee. At the federal level, Early serves on the executive committee of the Elections Infrastructure’s Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which advises and supports elections offices nationwide in securing elections. He also serves on the Local Leadership Council of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the national clearinghouse for voting system certifications and election information and best practices.

Paul Fleming, Florida Supreme Court Pubic Information Office

Paul Fleming

Paul Flemming is the director of the Florida Supreme Court Public Information Office. He moved into that position in March 2022 after working as PIO for the Office of the State Courts Administrator for five years. Previously, he was a reporter and editor for newspapers in Missouri and Florida. He came to Tallahassee in 2004 and worked as bureau chief, leading state coverage for four newspapers and in cooperation with three television stations. Before joining the state courts system, he worked in the Florida Legislature for two years.

Giselle Girones

Giselle Girones

Giselle Girones is a senior associate at Shullman Fugate, where she represents media and entertainment clients in business, intellectual property, and content-related litigation. In her media/First Amendment practice, she offers advice concerning content and publication practices, defends against subpoenas to reporters, defamation, and privacy claims, and prosecutes actions concerning access to government records and proceedings. She also provides pre-broadcast and pre-publication review and newsgathering advice for both English and Spanish stations, newspapers, television networks, podcasts, and production companies. In her intellectual property practice, Girones litigates copyright and trademark disputes and provides advice concerning intellectual property management and enforcement. Girones is the co-chair of the ABA Forum on Communications Law’s Young Lawyers Committee and serves on the forum’s Media Advocacy Workshop. Girones taught Media Law and Ethics as an adjunct professor at the University of North Florida. She is fluent in Spanish.

Pat Gleason

Pat Gleason

Pat Gleason serves as special counsel for Open Government for Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. She has also served as the advocate for the Florida Ethics Commission and chief of the Administrative Law section in the Attorney General’s Office. She is the editor of the Sunshine Manual and the Public Records Guide for Law Enforcement agencies. She is a graduate of Florida State University College of Law.


Grandal, Office of the State Courts Administrator

Jennifer Grandal

Jennifer Grandal is the chief of the Office of Problem-Solving Courts in the Office of the State Courts Administrator (OSCA). She oversees the operations of the office, which provides support to drug courts and other problem-solving courts through technical assistance, training, data collection and analysis, and policy development. Grandal has worked at OSCA for more than 24 years and with problem-solving courts for 23 years. She is the 2010 recipient of OSCA’s Award of Excellence. She has served as a board member of the Florida Association of Drug Court Professionals since 2002 and has served as the treasurer since 2009. Grandal earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Florida State University.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Jamie R. Grosshans

Justice Jamie R. Grosshans was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court on September 14, 2020 by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Previously she was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 2018 by Gov. Rick Scott. Prior to her appointment to the appellate court, she served as an Orange County Court Judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida where she presided over criminal and civil matters.

Justice Grosshans was raised in Brookhaven, Mississippi and graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law. During law school, she clerked for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi. Following admittance to the Florida Bar, she served as an Assistant State Attorney for the Ninth Circuit of Florida in both the misdemeanor and felony divisions where she tried numerous criminal jury trials.

Justice Grosshans later entered private practice and founded her own law firm where she focused on family law and criminal defense matters for nearly 10 years. During this time she also served as an Adjunct Professor at Valencia College where she taught Hospitality Law for the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. She also frequently volunteered as a guardian ad litem with the Orange County Legal Aid Society. Justice Grosshans has served on state court system advisory committees and has been involved in numerous activities with the Florida Bar and other legal organizations.

Justice Grosshans regularly speaks to lawyers and law students on topics such as challenges in the practice of law, the role of judges, professionalism and respect in the legal profession, criminal law, and family law.

William Hatfield, Tallahassee Democrat

William Hatfield

William Hatfield is the editor of the Tallahassee Democrat. For the last four years, the Democrat has won the Gold Medal – the top journalism prize in the state – an unprecedented feat in the paper’s century-long history. He doesn’t believe in coincidences, which means the small-town way of life, one-degree-of-separation in Tallahassee makes for constant divine intervention. He has been a Floridian for 22 years and in a former life was the editor of the Northwest Florida Daily News, Destin Log and Walton Sun. In his spare time he loves to research family histories for himself and anyone who shows the slightest interest.

Paul Hawkes

Paul Hawkes

Paul Hawkes is a retired judge who served on the Florida First District Court of Appeal. After his appointment by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2003, he was elected as Chief Judge by his judicial colleagues where he led the effort to implement electronic filing (the first court in Florida to use electronic filing). Since retiring in 2012, he has worked as a private practice attorney and lobbyist. His most recent work has focused on the Florida victim’s rights amendment to the constitution where he drafted one of the most robust victim rights provisions in the country. He continues to represent crime victims, Marsy’s Law for Florida, as well as Florida’s appellate judges and Florida’s county court judges before the legislature and executive branch. Hawkes served as deputy director in the Office of Policy for Gov. Bush. He then went to work as policy chief at the Florida House Prior to serving in the Bush administration, Hawkes opened his own practice and served two terms in the Florida House of Representatives. Early in his career, he accepted an appointment as an assistant state attorney in the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Hawkes earned his undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida in 1983 and went on to receive his law degree from Florida State University in 1985. While in law school, he was selected for Law Review, served as research editor, and graduated with honors.

Melissa Holsman

Melissa Holsman

Melissa Holsman is a crime, courts and legal affairs reporter with TCPalm. A native of Kansas City, she moved to Stuart in 1989 and began her journalism career in the 1990s working as an assignment editor for WPTV TV5, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach. After graduating from Florida Atlantic University in 1997, she switched to radio and spent two years reporting news for a cluster of stations that broadcast on the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County. She joined The Stuart News newspaper in 1999, then owned by E.W. Scripps and now part of the USA Today Florida Network, which includes and daily papers in Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties. She has spent 21 years reporting on legal affairs covering state and federal courts, both civil and criminal. In 2019, Holsman wrote and co-hosted the true crime podcast Uncertain Terms, that featured the stories of juveniles convicted of murder seeking freedom from life prison terms. She’s been recognized with numerous awards, including The Florida Bar Parker Thomson Awards for Outstanding Legal Journalism in 2022 and 2013, the 2021 Green Eyeshade Awards for nondeadline reporting, the Florida Press Club’s Lucy Morgan Award for in-depth reporting, in addition to awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.

David Karp wearing a suit

David Karp

David Karp practices law at Carlton Fields, where he focuses on appellate litigation and trial support with a special interest in First Amendment law. He has substantial experience litigating class actions, defamation claims, bad-faith insurance cases, and real property disputes. He worked for more than a decade as a writer and editor at the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times). David also clerked for Senior U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew of the Middle District of Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale and his law degree magna cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Tricia Knox, Florida Supreme Court

Tricia Knox

Tricia Knox is the deputy director of Public Information with the Florida Supreme Court. She has spent 30 years in state government, including 24 years in the judicial branch. Her background includes public information, communication and strategic planning, education and outreach, and web design and administration.



Jennifer Krell Davis, The Florida Bar

Jennifer Krell Davis

Jennifer Krell Davis joined The Florida Bar Public Information Office in 2001, after graduating law school and working as a staff attorney for the Florida House of Representatives, to assist with special projects. She moved on to the Florida Chamber of Commerce as communications director where she led messaging efforts for legislative advocacy, and political and grassroots outreach. From there she became communications director for the Florida Department of State, covering the arts, elections, corporations, and historical divisions as well as the 2008 Presidential Election. After that she served as press secretary for the Office of the Florida Attorney General and then vice president of Public Affairs for the Florida Ports Council, the professional association for Florida’s 15 public seaports. She rejoined The Florida Bar staff in 2016 as deputy director of Communications leading internal and external digital communications for the Bar. She became communications director in 2021. Davis received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Florida State University and her law degree from the University of Florida.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga

Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga

Justice Jorge Labarga was born in Cuba in 1952. He is married to Zulma R. Labarga, and they have two daughters. He arrived in the United States at the age of 11 where he initially lived with his family in Pahokee, Florida. He graduated from Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach in 1972 and received both his bachelor’s (1976) and law (1979) degrees from the University of Florida.

Justice Labarga began his legal career in 1979 as an Assistant Public Defender with the Public Defender’s Office in West Palm Beach, assigned to the appellate, misdemeanor and felony trial divisions. In 1982 he joined the State Attorney’s Office in West Palm Beach, where he tried cases ranging from theft to homicide. In 1987 he joined the firm of Cone, Wagner, Nugent, Roth, Romano & Ericksen, P.A., and specialized in personal injury trial work. In 1992 Justice Labarga participated in founding the law firm of Roth, Duncan & Labarga, P.A., in West Palm Beach, where he continued to specialize in personal injury litigation and criminal defense.

Gov. Lawton Chiles appointed Justice Labarga to the Circuit Court of the 15th Judicial Circuit, in and for Palm Beach County, in 1996. In that capacity he served in the family, civil and criminal divisions. He also served as the administrative judge of the civil division.

In December 2008 Justice Labarga was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. On January 6, 2009, he took office on the Florida Supreme Court after appointment by Gov. Crist. He is the 84th Justice to take office at the Florida Supreme Court since statehood was granted in 1845. On July 1, 2014, he became the 56th Chief Justice of Florida – the first Cuban American to lead the state judicial branch. He held that office for two terms until June 2018, the first chief justice to serve consecutive terms in a century.

James Lake

James Lake

James Lake is partner with Thomas & LoCicero in Tampa. His practice focuses on media law, intellectual property and business litigation, representing clients in state and federal courts and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He frequently renders advice on newsgathering, trademark, and copyright matters. Lake’s clients include media, financial, retail, chemical and staffing companies, and well-known authors. He has litigated defamation, trademark and copyright cases, trademark opposition proceedings, reporter’s privilege disputes, demands for access to public records and meetings, domain-name proceedings and commercial disputes. He regularly serves as local counsel for businesses sued or pursuing claims in the Middle District of Florida. Lake  graduated from Washington and Lee University with honors in journalism and then worked as a reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He graduated with honors from the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Gary Lesser, BOG President

Gary Lesser

Gary S. Lesser, the 74th president of The Florida Bar,  is the managing partner of Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith in West Palm Beach. Lesser is one of Florida’s leading personal injury attorneys, handling a large number of high profile personal injury cases over the years. He has lectured at seminars all over Florida on the topics of personal injury and various ethics issues. He has been interviewed by local and national media regarding personal injury cases, important ethical/legal issues, and his service to the community. He served for 10 years on the Florida Bar Board of Governors, was appointed chair of the board’s Legislative Committee three years in a row, served as chair of the Professional Ethics Committee, and served on the Strategic Planning, Disciplinary Review, Communications and Board Review on Professional Ethics committees. He has also taken active leadership positions in his community, including with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, Jewish Federation, and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. Lesser  graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, where he served as president pro tempore of the Student Senate, associate editor of the school newspaper, and the editor-in-chief of the GW Journal. He earned his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law, where he was a member of Bar & Gavel Society and he served as associate editor of the Yearbook of International Law and editor-in-chief of Res Ipsa Loquitur, the law school’s newspaper.

Lidsky, Professor, UF Levin College of Law

Professor Lyrissa Lidsky

Lyrissa Lidsky is the Raymond & Miriam Ehrlich Chair in U.S. Constitutional Law at the University of Levin College of Law. She previously served as dean of the University of Missouri School of Law from 2017 to 2022. The focus of her research and teaching is the intersection of tort law and the First Amendment, with an emphasis on free speech issues in social media. Before becoming dean at Missouri, Lidsky served in a variety of leadership roles at the Levin College of Law, including as associate dean for graduate and international programs and associate dean for faculty development. She also held the Stephen C. O’Connell Chair in Law and received a number of teaching awards during her 23-year tenure at UF. Lidsky is co-reporter on the Restatement of Defamation and Privacy, co-author of a leading Media Law casebook, a First Amendment casebook, and a reference book on press freedom and has published dozens of articles, culminating in her recent article in California Law Review titled Considering the Context of Online Threats. Her work on anonymous speech has been cited by a number of state supreme courts and the highest courts of Canada and Hong Kong. Before becoming a law professor, Lidsky served as a clerk for the Hon. Joseph T. Sneed of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, Calif. Lidsky received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law with high honors and her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in English and political science from Texas A&M University.

Carol LoCicero

Carol LoCicero is the managing partner of Thomas & LoCicero, a media, First Amendment, and intellectual property boutique law firm. LoCicero practices at the trial and appellate levels, handling litigation concerning defamation and privacy, the Public Records Act, court access, cameras in the courtroom, and trademark and copyright infringement. She leads statewide advocacy efforts on media issues and was instrumental in the adoption of Florida’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute.

Judge Rober J. Luck in his robes in front of law books

Judge Robert Luck

Judge Robert J. Luck serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Before his confirmation to the federal appellate court in 2019, Judge Luck presided over hundreds of criminal, civil, and family law appeals as a justice on the Florida Supreme Court, and as a judge on Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. Earlier, Judge Luck served on the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. He presided in the Criminal, Civil, and Appellate divisions. Judge Luck, in his years as a trial court judge, tried 70 jury trials, and heard dozens of appeals from the county court and municipal agencies. Judge Luck was appointed to the circuit court in 2013 and was elected by the voters of Miami-Dade County to retain his seat in 2016. Prior to his service on the bench, Judge Luck was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Earlier in his career, Judge Luck was a legislative correspondent for two U.S. Senators, a law clerk and staff attorney to Circuit Judge Ed Carnes on the 11th Circuit, and a part of the Greenberg Traurig firm’s appellate section. Judge Luck received his law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law magna cum laude and his bachelor’s in Economics from the University of Florida with highest honors.

Paul Lux, Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections

Paul Lux

Paul Lux has worked for the Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections office since 1999, serving in various capacities until he was elected Supervisor of Elections in 2008. During his time with the office, Lux helped keep Okaloosa County on the leading edge of the elections community, participating in equipment certification testing, voting equipment upgrades, and election audits and recounts in other counties. He worked with the Federal Voting Assistance Program on the Voting over the Internet project in 2000 and the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment in 2004. Lux worked in 2008 on the Okaloosa Distance Balloting Pilot project, a kiosk-based Internet voting initiative carried out only for Okaloosa County voters. He leads a 34-county consortium to provide online access to blank ballots for Florida’s absent military and overseas voters, and serves on the Technology Committee for the Council of State Governments to study ways to better serve absentee voters. Lux serves on the Election Assistance Commission Standards Board as the representative for Florida’s local election officials.

Susan MacManus profile picture taken outside on a sunny day.

Susan MacManus, Professor Emerita

Susan A. MacManus is a USF Distinguished University Professor (Political Science) Emerita. She has authored or co-authored numerous publications on Florida politics, including Florida’s Minority Trailblazers: The Men and Women Who Changed the Face of Florida GovernmentPolitics in Florida (5th ed., 2019); Florida Politics: Ten Media Markets, One Powerful State; Young v. Old: Generational Combat in the 21st Century?; and Targeting Senior Voters. From 1998 to 2015, she served as political analyst for WFLA News Channel 8 (Tampa’s NBC affiliate). Since 2016, she has been the political analyst for ABC Action News (Tampa’s ABC affiliate). She is a featured columnist on — a widely read Florida-based political website. MacManus has appeared on every major broadcast and cable television and radio network and been interviewed by major newspapers in Florida, the U.S., and abroad.  She serves on the UF Bob Graham Center For Public Service Council of Advisors and on the Board of Directors of the Florida TaxWatch Center for Florida Citizenship. She chaired the Florida Elections Commission from 1999 to 2003 and is Florida’s most-quoted political scientist. MacManus is not affiliated with any political party. She received her M.A. from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. from Florida State University.

Minch Minchin

Minch Minchin

Minch Minchin‘s practice at Shullman Fugate focuses on content, defamation, access-to-information, and intellectual property disputes. His affinity for media law began when he worked as a reporter, photographer and editor at the daily Independent Florida Alligator at the University of Florida, where he also played linebacker for the football team. In 2011, he graduated, summa cum laude, with a degree in journalism, and in 2014, he received his master’s degree in media law as a graduate with distinction. In 2018, Minchin graduated with a law degree, order of the coif, and a doctorate in mass communications law. While in graduate school, he worked for a media nonprofit in Washington, D.C., a law firm in Tampa, and two federal judges in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Minch also taught media law to University of Florida undergraduate students, wrote several journal articles on media law issues, and served as the executive articles’ editor of the Florida Law Review. After graduation, Minchin clerked for the Hon. Karon O. Bowdre, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Linda Norbut, Thomas & LoCicero

Linda Norbut

Linda Norbut is an associate in the Tampa office of Thomas & LoCicero, with a practice concentration in media and communications law, including defamation and invasion of privacy. She also focuses on business litigation and intellectual property matters. Linda previously worked as a legal fellow at the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a nonprofit organization charged with informing lawmakers and the public on the importance of an open and transparent government. She also taught media law courses to undergraduate students at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, and she has served as a contributing author of several leading legal guides, including ones relating to defamation, open courts, and public records. Linda has published several law review articles focused on the First Amendment and communications law. She currently chairs the committee for the ABA Forum on Communications’ First Amendment Diversity Moot Court competition, making her one of the youngest attorneys ever asked to serve in that capacity.

Mary H. Nguyen-Nodelman, Public Defender Fifth Judicial Circuit

Mary H. Nguyen-Nodelman

Mary Nguyen-Nodelman is a criminal defense trial attorney at the Public Defender’s Office in the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Nguyen was an assistant public defender in the felony division in the 13th Judicial circuit in Tampa. Nguyen represented indigent clients and tried numerous felony cases ranging from third degree felonies to first degree felonies/punishable by life cases. Nguyen is also serving her second term as vice-chair of the Florida Bar’s Media and Communications Law Committee. Prior to her legal career, Nguyen worked as an investigative journalist for close to 20 years. The Emmy-nominated reporter has worked at various ABC, NBC and Fox television stations across the country, as well as NBC News. Nine of those years were at WFTV, the ABC station in Orlando, Florida. Nguyen started her career as a print journalist at the age of 16 and wrote a monthly column for ‘TEEN Magazine. She has also been published in Los Angeles Times and USA Today. Nguyen focused on law and the court system while she was a journalist covering high profile cases such as the Casey Anthony, Trayvon Martin and Jodi Arias cases. Nguyen received her bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of California at Los Angeles and graduated from Florida State University College of Law.

Melissa Pérez-Carrillo, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Melissa Pérez-Carrillo

Melissa Pérez-Carrillo is a breaking news and public safety reporter at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. She’s a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she was the managing editor of Centric Magazine. She previously covered local news at 90.7 WMFE, News 6 WKMG and the Orlando Weekly.



Emilie Rietow

Emilie Rietow is the education and information administrator at the Florida Supreme Court. Her work in public information office includes instructing thousands of teachers, students and members of the public from throughout the state about Florida’s judicial branch of government and coordinating other civics education programs. Rietow is also responsible for website and social media content management and event planning. Prior to her position at the Court, Rietow spent several years working in The Florida Bar’s public information office and as an elementary classroom teacher in the public school system.

Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

Jim Saunders

Jim Saunders has been executive editor of the News Service of Florida since 2013 and has covered state government and politics in Florida since 1998. Jim came to the News Service in 2011 after stints as Tallahassee bureau chief for The Florida Times-Union, The Daytona Beach News-Journal and Health News Florida. He moved to Florida in 1990 and worked eight years for the Times-Union in Jacksonville and St. Johns County. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he graduated from Northwestern University and worked at The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio, before moving to the Times-Union. Saunders covers legal and regulatory issues and has extensive experience in covering health care.

Julio Semino

Julio Semino

Julio Semino is the director of community relations for Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit, where he oversees the communications, jury services, and court interpreting departments in the circuit, which encompasses Orange and Osceola counties. Prior to 2008, Semino was a supervising court interpreter in the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which spans four counties including Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, and surrounding areas. He is the president-elect of the Florida Court Public Information Officers, an organization that helps the public and the media better understand our state’s legal system. He has worked extensively with the media, including during the State v. Casey Anthony case, where he coordinated media access to court proceedings, exhibits, and other vital information.

Eunice Sigler, 11th Judicial Circuit

Eunice Sigler

Eunice Sigler has served as director of the Office of Government Liaison and Public Relations for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida since April 2006. In this capacity, she serves as public information officer for the largest judicial circuit in Florida, with 123 judges. Sigler is the main point of contact for the public and for the media covering court proceedings in Miami-Dade County. In addition, her office collaborates with local justice partners and government entities, commercial film production entities, visiting judicial and government dignitaries from other nations, and coordinates educational and outreach programs. Prior to joining the 11th Circuit, Sigler served as a Miami Herald reporter, freelance journalist, and public affairs representative for the City of Coral Gables. While at the Herald, she covered municipal government, breaking news, and features on a wide variety of subjects. She was among the Herald staff members who shared the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting – awarded coverage of the surprise federal raid on Elian Gonzalez’s Little Havana home the year before. She is past president of the Florida Court Public Information Officers (FCPIO), an educational organization of all the public information officers in Florida’s courts. Sigler holds bachelor’s degrees in Communications-Print Journalism and Computer Science from Florida International University.

Tracy Skeen

Tracy Skeen

Tracy Skeen is the director of Community Relations for the 10th Judicial Circuit and has worked in the court system for 26 years. She started her career with the Department of Corrections Probation & Parole Court Intake Unit where she worked for eight years before joining the 10th Judicial Circuit as a judicial assistant in 2004. Skeen has worked in the 10th Judicial Circuit’s Administrative Office of the Courts since 2017, first as a senior court operations consultant/public information officer and most recently as the director of Community Relations. She graduated from the University of Florida with honors in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology.

Kelly Steele

Kelly Steele

Kelly Steele is the director of Case Management for the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Orlando, where she oversees civil case management and all problem solving court programs. She began her career with the courts working as budget director in the administrative office of the Office of the Courts in Atlanta, Ga. After seven years in Atlanta, Steele moved to Denver, Colo. to become a policy analyst with the Office of the State Court Administrator. In 2013, she moved to Florida where she began her work in the Ninth Circuit as the Adult Drug Court manager.  For the last seven years, Steele has been the program manager for all problem solving courts in the circuit supporting the expansion and enhancement of Drug Courts, Veterans Treatment Courts and Mental Health Courts in Orange and Osceola counties. In 2020, she was appointed by Chief Justice Canady to the Supreme Court’s Steering Committee on Problem Solving Courts. In addition to her work with problem solving courts, Steele supports civil case management, data analysis, planning and security operations in the circuit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from Agnes Scott College, and master’s degrees in International Affairs and Public Policy; both from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has received her Certified Court Manager and Certified Court Executive credentials from the National Center for State Courts.

Elizabeth Tarbert

Elizabeth Clark Tarbert

Elizabeth Clark Tarbert is director of the Lawyer Regulation division for The Florida Bar, the division responsible for the investigation and prosecution of disciplinary complaints against Florida Bar members. She also serves as counsel to The Florida Bar Board of Governors Disciplinary Review, Disciplinary Procedure, and Rules committees. She was ethics counsel for The Florida Bar from 1997 to 2021, providing oral and written ethics opinions to Bar members and advising the Professional Ethics Committee, Standing Committee on Advertising, and Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics. She has also served as counsel to numerous special bar committees and task forces. She is a former member of and current liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. She has been an assistant public defender in both Dallas, Texas and the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Gainesville. While at the Defense Contract Management District Mid-Atlantic, Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia, Tarbert worked in a special fraud remedies unit, assisting in the investigation and prosecution of government contractors. Tarbert graduated from the University of Florida College of Law with honors and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Florida. She frequently speaks on legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Blan Teagle

Blan Teagle

Blan L. Teagle is the executive director of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission. He worked for the Office of the State Courts Administrator for a total of 27 years, most recently as deputy state courts administrator. He previous experience includes serving as director of The Florida Bar Center for Professionalism, director of Education and Training for the Florida Department of Children and Families, and as an attorney with Emmanuel, Sheppard, and Condon in Pensacola. Teagle was for nine years the staff counsel to Florida’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee and is the author of Florida’s “Judicial Ethics Benchguide,” a publication of the Florida Court Education Council. He is a member of the faculty of the Florida Judicial College, where he teaches the introductory ethics course to new judges. He received his bachelor’s degree from The University of the South, Sewanee, his law degree from the University College of Law (where he served as editor-in-chief of the University of Florida Law Review). He also holds a Master of Professional Studies from Loyola University, New Orleans.

2020-2021 Reporters Workshop — Web Series

Florida Courts, Redistricting, and Elections 2022

Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET

Redistricting of congressional and state legislative boundaries in 2022 will have a profound effect on Floridians’ representation and the possibility of swinging control of Congress. Florida’s already outsized influence grows even greater after apportionment from the 2020 census. There are now 28 congressional seats in the state, up one. The state’s demographics have changed considerably since the last redistricting.

Litigation following the 2010 census and redistricting was protracted and contentious. Is the same likely following the 2020 count? What will redistricting mean for voters and how will court challenges differ this cycle? How can reporters meaningfully cover the court challenges that may be ahead?

A panel of experienced players will offer their views of the process ahead and how it may intersect with the judicial branch.


Dr. Susan MacManus
Moderator: Distinguished Professor Emerita Susan MacManus, USF
Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles
Bill Cowles, Orange County Supervisor of Elections
Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards
Lori Edwards, Polk County Supervisor of Elections
Miami Herald Bureau Chief Mary Ellen Klas
Mary Ellen Klas, bureau chief, Miami Herald
Attorney Barr Richard
Barry Richard, shareholder, Greenberg Traurig

Public Records and the Courts

Thursday, September 30

This session focused on changes in Rule 2.420 of the Judicial Rules of Administration, which took effect July 1, “to eliminate the requirement that the clerk of court independently designate as confidential information filed in certain civil cases.” This was done, the Court said, “to address timely access to court records.” Attorney Carol LoCicero represented the consortium of media who advocated for the change. The consortium highlighted the issue in a self-published report, Tour of Florida Courthouses to Access Court Records cited in the Court’s opinion.


  • Pat Gleason, special counsel for Open Government for Attorney General Ashley Moody, has served as the advocate for the Florida Commission on Ethics and chief of the Administrative Law Section in the Attorney General’s Office. She is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law. She also is currently the editor of the Sunshine Manual and the Public Records Guide for Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • Dara Kam has spent more than two decades reporting on Florida government, politics and courts for the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group, Gannett Co., the Palm Beach Post and the Associated Press, where she was part of the award-winning team covering the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election. Kam’s body of work includes coverage of presidential, gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, congressional, state Cabinet and legislative races. She has provided complex and in-depth coverage of the death penalty, including detailed analyses of state and national court decisions regarding capital punishment, as well as stories that bring home to readers the emotions involved in executions. She has written extensively about gambling, medical marijuana, state government, guns, prisons, same-sex marriage, and has more than a decade of experience covering state and federal court decisions. Kam joined the News Service of Florida as senior writer in 2013.
  • Carol LoCicero, managing partner in TLo’s Tampa office, practices at the trial and appellate levels, handling litigation concerning defamation and privacy, the Public Records Act, the Government in the Sunshine Law, court access and cameras in the courtroom. She leads advocacy efforts on media issues, including cameras in the courtroom, and sealed court records.
  • Frank LoMonte, professor and director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, was executive director of the Student Press Law Center from 2008 to 17. He worked worked as a lawyer in every sector – government, private practice, nonprofit, education – after a career as an investigative reporter and political columnist. He was the capital correspondent for the Florida Times-Union, Washington correspondent for Morris News service, and the Atlanta bureau chief for Morris. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University in 1994 and his law degree from the University of Georgia school of law in 2000.
  • Dustin Metz, senior attorney, Office of the State Courts Administrator, is operations manager in the Innovations and Outreach Unit of the Office of State Courts Administrator after working in the Office of the General Counsel at OSCA. Previously he was an executive senior attorney at the Department of Financial Services, managing a team of 12 attorneys, and representing the Division of Workers’ Compensation. He has extensive appellate and litigation experience in public records & professional licensure cases. He graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Florida State College of Law, and has been licensed to practice in Florida since 2009.
  • Erica White, general counsel, Office of the State Courts Administrator and member of the Media & Communications Law Committee, previously served as executive director of the Florida Board of Pharmacy and chief attorney and deputy litigation counsel for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. White will moderate the session.

Led by Executive Director Blan L. Teagle and General Counsel Alexander J. Williams, reporters and editors learned about Florida’s Judicial Qualifications Commission, the process of judicial discipline, and a review of how and when public documents become available.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Moderated by Allison Carden Sackett, director, Florida Bar Division of Lawyer Regulation.

Restrictions in courthouses are being lifted, but post-pandemic, covering courts will never be the same. Post COVID-19 caseloads and months of suspended jury trials mean courts will be busy, both remotely and in person.

How can you best navigate the new and changing landscape of courts coverage? Find out in “Covering Trials After a Pandemic,” the first presentation in the 2021 Reporters’ Workshop Web Series.

The webinar will touch on public information, document access, and understanding current rules, restrictions and available technology. It also will feature a panel discussion with veteran reporters and court communicators on how to engage viewers and readers with lively court coverage.


  • Tara Green, Clay County Clerk of Court, president of the Florida Clerks of Court & Comptrollers
  • John Kennedy, Capitol reporter, Gannett
  • Troy Kinsey, Capitol reporter, Bay News 9 and News 13
  • Tricia Knox, deputy director, Florida Supreme Court Communications Office
  • Sara Miles, public information officer (PIO), Twentieth Judicial Circuit and president, Florida Courts Public Information Officers
  • David Ovalle, reporter, The Miami Herald
  • Eunice Sigler, PIO, Eleventh Judicial Circuit
  • Erica White (moderator), general counsel, Office of the State Courts Administrator, Media & Communications Law Committee member

2019 Reporters Workshop

The 2019 Reporters’ Workshop was held Oct. 28-29 in Tallahassee.

2019 Reporters’ Workshop Agenda

2019 Reporters’ Workshop Photo Gallery

2019 Workshop Materials

We have a little homework for you to prepare for session. We ask that read the Initial Complaint and Response and then be prepared to ask questions about it Monday afternoon when you will serve as members of a mock Grievance Committee of The Florida Bar.

Grievance Committees are composed of both attorneys and members of the public and consider complaints alleging misconduct by attorneys. Grievance Committees are set up by judicial circuit with there being 78 such committees around the state.

In this exercise, Ali Sackett, Division Director of Lawyer Regulation for The Florida Bar, and Patricia Ann Toro Savitz, Staff Counsel, will present a case to the Grievance Committee. The case stems from an actual complaint that a Grievance Committee considered. The committee will have two additional members – Ryan Davis, a Tallahassee attorney who chaired a Grievance Committee, and Shanee L. Hinson, a Florida Bar counsel in the Tallahassee Branch.