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The Florida Bar Journal
July/August, 2017 Volume 91, No. 7
Keeping Our Eyes on the Ball

by Michael J. Higer

Page 4

I love baseball. I grew up playing baseball, and I’m a die-hard fan of the L.A. Dodgers. To this day, I still watch nearly every Dodgers game — even the many late night West Coast games. The game, and the Dodgers in particular, have always resonated with me as a metaphor for equality and justice, perseverance and endurance, and teamwork coupled with individuality, which is true to its classic roots and is not chained to a clock.

In fact, one of my favorite childhood books was Winners Never Quit, featuring the Dodgers’ Maury Wills, who was routinely passed over by professional baseball because of his short stature, but went on to become one of the greatest shortstops in baseball history.

“Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win” — Vince Lombardi.

I am honored to begin my year as Florida Bar president. Among the reasons we presidents serve only one-year terms is the Bar’s mission is so much bigger than what one person alone can accomplish — just like in baseball. As president, I will stay true to our mission, while encouraging all of us to find new ideas and solutions to fulfill it.

My agenda as president falls in line with the Bar’s overall strategic plan:

• Use technology to better connect our resources with the public and members who need it. I believe that communication is the glue to everything we do here at the Bar;

• Encourage a more inclusive profession and justice system that levels the playing field for everyone;

• Educate our members and the public on the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets once every 20 years to review the Florida Constitution and propose changes for voter consideration; the 37-member commission will be holding meetings and public hearings and making its final proposals during my presidential term;

• Emphasize and focus on providing benefits and services that help our members grow; and

• Prioritize lawyers’ health and wellness.

We often get lost in the day-to-day grind as to what we do; rather than reflect on why we do it. As Bar president, I hope to reaffirm why The Florida Bar does what it does — why it matters — and help members reconnect with that same sense of purpose in their own practices.

As an arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar’s “why” is no different: We serve the public, protect the courts, and provide our members with the tools and resources necessary for success, and we do so in the pursuit of justice for all.

Being a lawyer is so much more than filing documents and billing hours. It is about giving a voice to those who would otherwise remain voiceless; advocating for our courts; protecting and defending our constitutional rights; and seeking justice even when it seems out of reach.

This year, I intend to keep my eye on the ball — to be true to the strategic objectives of the Bar — and with teamwork, fairplay, and openness, together we will move the Bar in a positive direction for the benefit of its 104,000 members.

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[Revised: 06-26-2017]