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February 1, 2018

YLD Board of Governors Candidates Platform Statements

Below are the platforms for two candidates running for an out-of-state seat on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors. Ballots will be mailed around March 1 and must be returned to the Bar’s election company before midnight March 21. As in past years, members will have the option of voting with a paper ballot or online. Instructions will be included with the ballots.

Out of State, Seat 2

Michael George Nichola, Jr.

Michael George Nichola, Jr. I am running for the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors of The Florida Bar, Out-of-State Seat 2, and I ask for your vote. I believe I am uniquely qualified for the seat because of my relationship with The Florida Bar and my public service experience as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I am a former governor of the Law School Division of the Young Lawyers Division, representing Florida A&M University College of Law from 2011 to 2013. I had the pleasure of serving with current Out-of-State Seat 3 governor, Eric Everson. During that time, Eric and I worked closely with former YLD President Melanie Griffin and current YLD President Zack Zuroweste to organize numerous volunteer events around the Central Florida community.

My experience as a law clerk for a Ninth Judicial Circuit judge strengthened my belief in the need for a judiciary that shares in the balance of power with the legislative and executive branches of government.

Upon graduation from law school, I was recommended for employment with a member of Congress, from Florida’s Ninth Congressional District, which represents constituents in Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties. Working for Florida’s Ninth Congressional District has been the honor of my life, allowing me to help people throughout the district, the state of Florida, and the United States.

As legislative director, I aggressively fight for federal grant dollars for Florida municipalities and non-profit charitable organizations. I secured millions of federal dollars for firefighters, public transportation, law enforcement, airports, universities, and numerous charitable organizations. Since 2014, I have drafted more than 100 pieces of legislation, successfully negotiated adoption of 19 amendments in various House committees, and passage of 45 amendments to legislation considered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. I am particularly proud of the passage of an amendment, which I drafted, that redirected $3 million within the 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations Act that ultimately went to the University of Central Florida to help treat veterans with PTSD. Further, I drafted and helped secure the passage of 10 pieces of legislation into federal law. All this while working for a member of the minority party in a highly partisan environment. My ability to negotiate and work in a bipartisan manner is key to the success that I was able to bring to Florida’s Ninth Congressional District. I would bring the same work ethic and abilities to the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors of The Florida Bar.

I have a strong commitment to public service and want to represent the out-of-state members of The Florida Bar. I’m always available to listen to the concerns of out-of-state members. I want to expand and strengthen relationships between in-state and out-of-state Florida legal communities.

Let’s shape the future of The Florida Bar together. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to representing you.

Brandon Lee Wolff

Brandon Lee Wolff I am seeking to expand my involvement with The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors as an out-of-state representative from New York. New York is one of the top locations of out-of-state Florida lawyers, but is not currently represented on The Florida Bar YLD. The board currently has an out-of-state representative from the District of Columbia, and instead of having two out-of-state representatives from D.C., I would be honored to be the YLD board’s out-of-state representative from New York.

After completing an appellate clerkship, I began practicing at LeClairRyan in New York and have become the “go-to” associate for Florida litigation matters. Although outside Florida, I have handled creditors’ rights matters throughout the state, a well as commercial landlord/tenant and employment matters in South Florida.

As a new attorney, I have been active in the Florida legal community. Last summer, I attended The Florida Bar Annual Convention and The Florida Bar’s Out-of-State Division Executive Council meeting. After the convention, I helped the YLD Board Transition to Practice Committee compile questions facing young out-of-state lawyers. I personally contributed many Florida-specific questions that I faced as a new Florida lawyer. These questions were then answered by experienced practitioners in short videos.

In addition, as an active member of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, I worked with The Florida Bar YLD and the Florida district representative to the ABA YLD to garner support for the parental leave resolution (sponsored by The Florida Bar YLD), which will be considered at the ABA YLD Midyear Meeting. I have also been asked by The Florida Bar YLD to speak during the resolution’s debate at that meeting.

The Florida Bar YLD is nationally recognized as the preeminent YLD that provides great member programs. I look forward to working with the next two YLD presidents, Christian George and Santo DiGangi, in continuing The Florida Bar YLD’s great initiatives, such as Lawyers Advising Lawyers, “how to” videos, and the mental health/wellness programs. I also plan to work to make sure the YLD is relevant to out-of-state members and will always welcome feedback on how the YLD can better serve its out-of-state members.

So far, I have been endorsed by Natasha Dorsey (out-of-state representative, Florida Bar YLD Board of Governors), Anthony Palermo (ABA YLD district representative for Florida and Florida Bar YLD Board of Governors), Tiffany McKenzie (president of The Florida Bar Out-of-State Division), Larry Kunin (immediate past president of the Bar Out-of-State Division), Donald Workman (chair of the Information Committee of the Bar Out-of-State Division), Eric Meeks (Florida Bar Board of Governors, Out-of-State Division), Ingrid Benson-Villegas (director of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers), Mindi Wells (secretary of The Florida Bar Out-of-State Division and past out-of-state representative, Florida Bar YLD Board of Governors), and Victoria Wu (Past Out-of-State Representative).

I am confident that my experience and impeccable work ethic make me an excellent candidate to contribute significantly to the YLD Board of Governors. Thank you for your consideration and I respectfully ask for your vote!

[Revised: 03-23-2018]