Here are the platform statements for the 2016 candidates for The Florida Bar Board of Governors. Thirteen candidates are running for five seats in the Second, 11th, and 17th circuits.
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.
If any of the races result in a runoff, those ballots will be mailed around April 1 and must be returned by April 22.
Mary Ellen Clark
To my fellow members of The Florida Bar: I am running for The Florida Bar Board of Governors for the Second Judicial Circuit and I respectfully ask for your vote in March 2016.
I am a practicing, A-V rated lawyer, employed for the past 13 years in the Tallahassee office of the Florida Attorney General. I have dedicated my career to public service and the improvement of Florida’s legal profession through bar service. I believe my experience and bar activities uniquely qualify me to effectively serve the Second Judicial Circuit.
I have spent more than 20 years of my career as a public service lawyer and firmly believe there is no higher calling in our profession. My commitment has guided me to serve the public as a hearing officer with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and more recently as counsel to seven professional licensure boards. My experience as counsel for the governing bodies of other Florida professions has given me an unparalleled perspective of the challenges facing licensed professionals. Through my practice, involving all aspects of licensure, I have developed skills and knowledge especially relevant to Florida lawyers.
Two of the professional boards I counsel (Board of Accountancy and Board of Architecture and Interior Design) have asked me to represent them in their respective national organizations. My resultant exposure to licensing issues in other states has provided an invaluable national perspective when advising policy development in our state. This experience will likewise aid me in being an effective advocate for all lawyers licensed in Florida.
My commitment to improving Florida’s legal profession has led me to become chair of the Government Lawyer Section of The Florida Bar, president of the Florida Government Bar Association, and president of the Tallahassee Women Lawyers. I have actively served The Florida Bar through appointments to the Professional Ethics Committee, Traffic Court Rules Committee, Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee, and as a member of the Administrative Law Section Executive Council. I am a member of Tallahassee Women Lawyers, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Florida Government Bar Association, the William H. Stafford American Inn of Court, and the Tallahassee Bar Association. I have also invested in our community through my service on the Board of the Friends of Maclay Gardens and pro bono work with the guardian ad litem program.
Lawyers in Florida have numerous concerns including the independence of our judiciary, professionalism, technological innovation in our practices, and state mobility. I have observed similar concerns by the professionals I work with in my position as board counsel, and I am prepared and committed to working with the Board of Governors to craft the right answers for Florida lawyers and those in the Second Judicial Circuit.
I am humbled to have the confidence and support of my employer, Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, as I seek to bring my experience and commitment to representing the diverse interests of lawyers in the Second Judicial Circuit, and I ask for yours, as well.
Involvement. Innovation. Inclusion.
If elected as the Second Circuit representative on the Board of Governors, I will continue my commitment to involvement, innovation, and inclusion, by effectively advocating for all lawyers in our circuit. I am running to ensure that all lawyers in our circuit are represented fairly.
I have a proven track record of involvement. I have led at both the local and state levels as the Tallahassee Bar Association president, a fellow of the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, a graduate of The Florida Bar Leadership Academy, and president of the Tallahassee Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. In leadership and decision-making, I have earned a solid reputation for being thoughtful, fair, and enthusiastic with a strong work ethic. My history of Bar service reflects the level of involvement I will have as a Board of Governors member.
I am also the chair of the Second Circuit’s Professionalism Panel, appointed by the chief judge. This panel assists lawyers to informally resolve complaints before they escalate and to educate members in our circuit about professionalism issues. I serve on the Second Circuit Grievance Committee, making sure that no attorney is disciplined without probable cause. These experiences provide a firm foundation from which I will work to ensure that integrity is maintained in disciplinary proceedings.
My broad practice experience allows me to effectively represent the diverse lawyers in our circuit. The majority of Florida Bar members identify themselves as solo or small firm, yet many members in our circuit are government attorneys. I have served as a government attorney, as an in-house counsel for a publicly traded company, and in private practice as a law clerk, an associate, opening a small law office, and as an equity shareholder.
As your representative, I will embrace innovation to address a significant issue facing all members of our Bar: integrating technology into our practice and understanding how the practice as we know it today will change. I am on the forefront of these issues daily in managing my practice. Whether it’s the logistics of maintaining a physical office, managing client relationships and partnership structures, creating effective business development practices, billing, litigating, or mediating, I engage in the practice of law and the management of my practice every day. I will help lawyers in our circuit protect our practice to ensure lawyers will never be replaced and to address the impact that rapidly-changing technology will have on the legal profession.
I will encourage inclusive programming, education, and policies that protect and enhance the profession as a whole. While president of the Tallahassee Bar Association, I created the first ever “Legal Community Conference” to provide continuing education for all lawyers in our circuit. I understand that technology and education will be significant issues for our Bar in the coming years.
As your representative on the Board of Governors, I will advocate for the interests of all lawyers in the Second Circuit. I will promote involvement, innovation, and inclusion. I am grateful for your support.
11th Circuit, Seat 4
As the 2014-2015 president of Miami-Dade FAWL, I served the organization well and would like to continue to serve our legal community as a member of our 11th Circuit Board of Governors. Under my leadership, Miami-Dade FAWL was instrumental in the passage of legislation outlawing revenge pornography, gained national media recognition for its advocacy work, called upon several organizations to increase and consider diversity when putting together panels or giving awards, began a pro bono committee that continues to provide thousands of hours a year of legal services to those who cannot afford them, and for the first time in its history reached across the aisle to work with CABA, Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, and the Dade County Bar Association to achieve common goals. I also penned several letters to Gov. Scott when he failed to appoint qualified women and women of color to the bench and to the JNCs.
Additionally, my community involvement includes the following:
• Spellman-Hoeveler American Inn of Court member, 2015-present.
• Florida Bar Civil Procedure Rules Committee – 2015-2018.
• Florida Bar 11th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee – 2015-2018.
• Anti-Defamation League – Civil Rights Committee member, 2014-present.
• Dade County Bar Association – member
• Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., board member, 2009-2011.
• Recipient of 2011 Volunteer Service Award.
• Lotus House – director of 2011 Street Law Program.
• Cuban American Bar Association – member.
• Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association – member.
• Jewish Federation of Greater Miami Judicial Reception Awards Selection Committee – 2015 and 2016.
Professional Recognition and Speaking Engagements:
• Super Lawyers – 2016.
• Daily Business Review Superstars Mock Trial participant – October 2015.
• State FAWL Leaders in the Law Award – 2015.
• Florida Trend Legal Elite – 2015.
• “40 Under 40” Cystic Fibrosis Award – Outstanding Lawyers of Miami-Dade County – 2012.
• Panelist, Dade County Bar Association Bankruptcy Committee Seminar – Extraordinary Remedies: Proceedings Supplementary and Involuntary Bankruptcy – March 2015.
• Speaker, Katherine Fernandez Rundle State Attorney and Donna Shalala, President of University of Miami’s Fourth Annual Human Trafficking Forum – January 2015.
• Panelist, Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers Seminar – Women, Minorities, the Media & the Law – April 2015.
• Panelist, 11th Judicial Circuit’s Fairness & Diversity Training – 2015.
I am a Northwestern University School of Law graduate, a founding member of Lipscomb, Eisenberg & Baker, PL, and am licensed to practice law in Florida, New York, and California. With a practice that spans from coast to coast, I have a unique perspective on reciprocity, and believe that no attorney should practice in Florida without demonstrating knowledge of our laws. Nearly 90 percent of The Florida Bar agrees and I will represent that overwhelming majority’s view. The Board of Governors must also consider implementing reasonable term limits upon itself so that all qualified attorneys who wish to serve may do so without challenging an incumbent. There is work to be done and I ask for your support. My candidacy has been endorsed by several community leaders and I hope you will join them and vote for me. www.bakeregoziforbog.com.
Michael A. Dribin
• Immediate past chair of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar (largest section of the Bar, over 10,000 members).
• Practicing law since 1975.
• B.A., Northwestern University; J.D., Loyola Univ. of Chicago; LL.M. (Taxation), Univ. of Miami.
• Partner and head of trusts and estate practice of Miami law firm of Harper Meyer.
• Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
• Board Certified Wills, Trusts and Estate Lawyer since 1986.
• Active member, Probate and Guardianship Committee, Dade County Bar Association.
• Past chair, Attorney/Trust Officer Liaison Conference (sponsored by RPPTL Section).
• Past president, Estate Planning Council of Greater Miami.
• Estate planning advisor, University Miami School of Law Masters in Estate Planning program.
• Florida Super Lawyer, Best Lawyers in America, Florida Legal Elite.
• Participating member of Put Something Back and Greater Miami Legal Services (Leadership Circle-Silver).
• Supporting contributor to The Florida Bar Foundation.
The first priority of The Florida Bar should be the delivery of services to its attorneys, in ways that are relevant and meaningful and through every stage of our careers. In the recent Florida Bar Membership Survey, 38 percent of the respondents said that The Florida Bar had made fair or poor progress in enhancing and improving the value of Florida Bar membership and the Bar’s relationship with its members. Another 9 percent didn’t know or had no opinion. As disturbing, these responses remain unchanged from 2011 and 2013. Almost half of the respondents to the same question since 2011 do not see any significant progress in the Bar‘s enhancement of the value of their membership. I will work to change that.
Most Bar members closely relate to The Florida Bar through its services. I believe that the most effective way to enhance services to Bar members is to strengthen our Bar sections. In the recent Bar survey, CLE programming and The Florida Bar Journal received among the highest ratings of services provided by the Bar. But CLE courses are organized, planned, and taught by Bar sections, and the substantive law articles in the Bar Journal are submitted on behalf of sections. All too often, however, the Bar is not closely collaborating with the sections in management and marketing of CLE. For example, there is no comprehensive Bar-wide marketing of CLE programs.
Through my efforts, in concert with my colleagues in the RPPTL Section and the leadership of other Bar sections, changes have been implemented in Bar financial reporting. This kind of cooperative interaction facilitates progress. When I addressed the Board of Governors as chair of the RPPTL Section last year, I spoke of the need for the Bar and the sections to develop a true sense of partnership to deliver services to our membership. Strengthening this relationship at the board level will be my first priority.
As a result of these experiences, I have learned what works and what doesn’t work. Because it is the Board of Governors that sets policies that impact every practitioner, I want to have a voice in setting those policies.
I respectfully ask for your support.
I have had the pleasure of serving members of The Florida Bar through my work on numerous voluntary bar committees and court committees. I am excited about this opportunity to expand my service. Together, we can meet the challenges facing our courts, our profession, and our communities. As we move forward, we can give back.
I would like to be your advocate as we continue the efforts to improve the legal profession and secure our future through mentoring young lawyers and working for the inclusion of diverse talent. Through the following leadership roles, I have worked with and encouraged lawyers in the pursuit of the highest ethical and professional standards:
• Dade County Bar Association, president (2015-Present).
• Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association, president (2000-01).
• The Florida Bar, Business Law Section Executive Council (2002-2012), chair of Antitrust, Franchise & Trade Regulations Committee (2003-04, 2009-11), chair of Business Law Section Diversity Committee (2009-12).
I served as the diversity chair for an Am Law 200 law firm for 10 years and received Diversity Best Practices’ 2008 Diversity Officer Leadership Award. The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division honored me with its 2003 Diversity and Gender Sensitivity Award. In addition, I have served as a mentor for many minority lawyers and members of South Florida’s diverse legal community. My peers have given me an AV rating in Martindale-Hubbell®, and I have been listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, Florida Super Lawyers®, Florida Trend magazine’s Florida Legal Elite™, and Miami Metro magazine’s South Florida Legal Guide® for Top Lawyers.
I would like to represent you as we continue the work of improving professionalism, ensuring judicial independence, making our court system more efficient, and addressing the current funding crisis facing our courts. Some of the committees I have served on to improve our profession include:
• Chair, 11th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee “B” (2010-2012).
• United States District Court, Southern District of Florida Ad Hoc Committee on Attorney Admissions, Peer Review and Attorney Grievance (2003-05).
• Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Management of Cases Involving Complex Litigation (2006-09).
• 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida Ad Hoc Committee on Complex Business Litigation Section (2006-08).
• Chair of Judicial Issues Committee of the Dade County Bar Association (2000-01).
I am a Miami native and a product of our public school system. I graduated from Duke University in 1988 with a B.A. degree in history, political science, and English. I received my law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1991. After graduating from law school, I served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th U.S. Circuit from 1991-92. I am president & CEO of Murray Law, P.A., practicing complex commercial litigation, franchise, intellectual property, and real property matters. My wife Dale and I are the proud parents of two boys. We ask for your vote.
11th Circuit, Seat 5
Dennis G. Kainen
Though born in the United States, I lived from infancy in Peru coming to Miami Beach when almost four with my mother, who was raised in Peru, and sister, a native of Peru. From my earliest memory, mother worked as a legal secretary. As a child, I was nurtured to not only respect lawyers but to also respect the law. I think I wanted to be a lawyer from my age of reason. My mother admired lawyers and the good works they did and that is what I wanted to do.
As a young lawyer I practiced as an assistant federal public defender representing those who could not afford counsel. I then entered private practice. I have practiced primarily criminal defense and tax controversy for 30 years with my partner Alan Weisberg, who has always shown me that a lawyer may practice law successfully with a “strong moral compass” and with involvement in the community.
Having understanding colleagues has permitted me to quench my thirst for Bar and community activities. My involvement commenced with the Young Lawyers Section of the local bar and later as president of the Dade County Bar Association and then as president of the South Florida Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. I was fortunate to serve as a member of the Judicial Nominating Commission for this circuit. I was humbled to be honored as attorney of the year by the Tallahassee-based Florida Law Related Education Association and to receive the Richard Milstein Pro Bono Excellence Award by “Put Something Back.” Outside of bar activities I was honored by the Ronald McDonald House as one of its Twelve Good Men for 2003. I also served as Florida chair of the Anti-Defamation League, a human relations organization whose anti-bias training and work in the civil rights arena has been acclaimed internationally.
I have been honored to serve as your member of the Board of Governors for multiple terms. I seek to serve for only one more term.
Because my family was prescient and fortunate to leave Europe for South America the same year that Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, I have always believed in the importance of not only the rule of law but also that the law must be mindful of our humanity and be respectful of the human condition. I have tried to be mindful as a Board of Governor member that The Florida Bar must remember that many of us are working lawyers and that the rules should not exist to complicate our lives but to help us be better lawyers.
It is through the independence of the American lawyer and the separation of powers that our system remains legitimate. We have a duty that as wars are fought worldwide to help foment democracy that we remain ever-vigilant to protect ours. As a member of the Board of Governors, I have always remained steadfast in advocating for the independence of our Bar and for the working lawyer.
The legal profession is experiencing a period of profound change and we need a Florida Bar that is up to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Such an undertaking requires bold leadership, a new vision, and energy. That is why I am a candidate for The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors and humbly ask my colleagues for their support.
Like many in our community, I am an immigrant. My family lived through an oppressive regime in Uganda and left with nothing more than a suitcase and determination to build a better life. As a student at Florida State University and given my family’s experience, I studied genocides around the world and became passionate about how the law could be used to protect people. Shortly after becoming the first person in my family to graduate college, I proudly enrolled at St. Thomas University School of Law because I wanted to turn my passion into a career as an advocate for the most vulnerable in our society.
My partners and I at Farrell & Patel focus on representing those who require justice but lack the resources or knowledge to represent themselves. From multiple class actions representing minority business owners who have been wronged by large corporations to fighting for children and families who have suffered birth defects due to malpractice, I pride myself as an attorney in taking on tough legal challenges and have been recognized for my work. The following are some of my professional affiliations:
• Board of Trustees of St. Thomas University, School of Law.
• Board of Trustees for Miami Children’s Health Foundation.
• Recognized as one of Miami’s top “40 Under 40” by the South Florida Business Journal.
• AAHOA Chairman’s Award for legal services rendered to thousands of Indian hotel owners.
• Super Lawyers Rising Star.
• National Brain Injury Lawyers Association .
• National Trial Lawyers Association (Top 40 under 40).
• Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division.
• Coral Gables Bar Association.
• South Asian Bar Association.
I would not be where I am today without the generosity of others, and I am committed to serving our community. My firm and I offer pro bono legal services to COPE School for pregnant teens, as well as for VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) victims. Recently, I became one of the youngest members ever appointed to the Miami Children’s Health Foundation Board of Directors, which safeguards the financial solvency of one of the country’s top children’s hospitals.
If elected to The Florida Bar Board of Governors, I plan to serve with vigor, energy, and passion. I will work tirelessly to modernize The Florida Bar and ensure it is prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. Having worked with many tech startups, I recognize how technology can transform organizations. Accordingly, I will leverage technology to create and promote greater transparency for Florida Bar members, including when it comes to communicating with members and applying for admittance. I will also work to ensure that The Florida Bar Board of Governors represents the diversity of our community and state and that it remains at the forefront of the legal profession.
11th Circuit, Seat 7
John H. (Jack) Hickey
VISION. LEADERSHIP. EXPERIENCE.
VISION: The Florida Bar should represent you, the everyday, hardworking lawyer. We can make it better. Together we can.
Like you, I am an active practitioner in the trenches. I know what it means to bill hours, collect fees, and make payroll. And I know how difficult and expensive the practice of law has become. That is one of the main reasons that I have devoted myself to be your vocal supporter on important issues. For example, I was a leader in the charge against reciprocity. And I will oppose the non-lawyer/corporate ownership of law firms.
My plan for the next two years on the board is to tackle the problems of lawyers coming out of law school without jobs and without mentors, but with debt, the increased costs of litigation, the underfunding of the judiciary, and any move to open admission to the Bar with lesser standards than we have today.
LEADERSHIP. Leadership is not just about going along to get along. It is about speaking up when it is the right thing even if it is not the popular thing. When lawyers from across the state emailed me with their views on reciprocity, I responded to them and wrote a letter to the editor for publication in The Daily Business Review.
When the leadership of FAWL brought to my attention that the TV show “Bad Judge” denigrated both women and the judiciary, I spoke before the board about the need to send a message to the producers urging them to cancel the show.
The question then is who do you want to represent you? The answer I believe should be someone who knows where you come from, who has your interests at heart, and who has a proven track record of leadership. Here is mine:
Dade County Bar Association
• President (2003-2004)
The Florida Bar Board of Governors:
• Judicial Nominating Commission Selection Committee
• Vice chair, Board Certification Plan Appeals Committee
• Disciplinary Review Committee
• Liaison to the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee Liaison and to the Admiralty Law Committee
• Special Committee to Study the Unethical and Illegal Solicitation of Legal Business
• Designated Reviewer, 11th Circuit UPL Committee ‘A’
• Designated Reviewer, 11th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee ‘C’
• Designated Reviewer, 11th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee ‘F’
The Florida Bar:
• Past chair, Grievance Committee ‘L’ (1996-1999)
• Past chair, 11th Circuit Fee Arbitration Committee
• Past chair, Admiralty Law Committee
• Past member, Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee
Other Bar Associations:
• Lifetime member, Florida Council of Bar Association Presidents
• Fellow and Lifetime Member, The Florida Bar Foundation
• Member, Cuban American Bar Association (CABA)
• Member, Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL)
EXPERIENCE: Born and raised in Miami. Miami Palmetto, Sr., High School, Florida State University, and Duke Law School. For 17 years was an insurance defense and commercial lawyer. For the last 18 years, trial lawyer on the plaintiff’s side. Double Board Certified: Civil Trial and Admiralty and Maritime.
More of my background and commitment to the Bar at www.hickey2016.com.
I would appreciate your vote for another term. And I am asking that you e-mail your friends now and tell them to vote for me JOHN H. (JACK) HICKEY. Every vote counts.
We can make it better. Together we can.
Oscar A. Sanchez
I have placed my name in nomination to be a board representative of the 11th Judicial Circuit because an issue of great importance to all Floridians, and especially to members of The Florida Bar, is the upcoming Florida Constitution Revision Commission, on which the Bar will be asked to play a key role.
Florida lawyers should expect their elected Board of Governors to have the experience and principles necessary to address this issue, as well as the many other challenges facing our profession. I believe that I have the requisite experience and principles.
I presently serve on the Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee of The Florida Bar which, among other things, liaisons with the Governor’s Office on behalf of the Bar on the topic of judicial nominating commissions and judicial appointments. I have served on a Florida Bar grievance committee, learning much about the many pitfalls and mistakes that lawyers can make, and thus learning how these mistakes and pitfalls can be avoided by our profession. I am a frequent speaker on trending legal topics, such as federal court procedures, landlord-tenant law, and evidence, but I often devote my presentations to the topic of legal ethics. I have also worked on the Informed Voters Project of the National Association of Women Judges, helping put on symposia and sitting on panels dedicated to informing the Bar and the public about the selection process for the Florida appellate courts and the Florida Supreme Court, and stressing the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary. I have had leadership positions in organizations dedicated to producing better future Florida lawyers, having served as president of the University of Florida Law Alumni Council, and presently serving as chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Florida Law Center Association.
I earned my juris doctor in December 1982 from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where I was selected to the Order of the Coif. For over 25 years I was with a national law firm, where I concentrated my practice on representing litigants in practically all forms of civil cases in federal courts and in the trial and appellate courts of Florida. I left my firm as an equity partner in 2015 to devote my energies to facilitating parties to resolve their disputes as a neutral and impartial mediator and arbitrator, and to serve, when appointed by the courts, as a special magistrate.
I ask for your trust and your vote and give you my commitment to work diligently on behalf of our esteemed profession and to always ensure that your voices are heard.
Nikki Lewis Simon
A Voice for a New Season in Bar Leadership
I began practicing more than 15 years ago as a first-generation college graduate; the first lawyer in my immediate and extended family; and one of few women of color, including particularly black women, practicing in a major Florida law firm. Today, I offer my voice on behalf of the 11th Judicial Circuit for The Florida Bar Board of Governors. I offer a voice informed by the collaborative work at a diverse law school and in diverse law firms (then and now) to successfully advance common goals. My voice is also that of a lawyer who has been actively engaged in The Florida Bar, local and national voluntary bars, and several national organizations, consistently dedicated to advancing the practice and business of law.
Serving in various forums, including as a Federal Court Practice Committee vice chair, a Committee on Diversity & Inclusion member, a Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association board member, a Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation board member, and a University of Miami School of Law adjunct, has afforded me the chance to learn about some of the concerns of lawyers in our circuit.
Certainly, our work is cut out for us.
Working to: (1) preserve the availability of the jury trial; (2) protect the judiciary’s independence; (3) expand access to the courts; (4) revamp legal education and training; and (5) advance diversity and inclusion are among the priorities. I am also opposed to reciprocity in Florida for one simple reason: We must protect Florida citizens from lawyers who have not demonstrated knowledge of our unique laws. Equally important is our continued exploration of ways to address industry disrupters, like non-lawyer referral services, online legal forms providers, and technology in a broader sense. In short, as a unified Bar, we have a unique opportunity for engagement and advancement by asking questions that raise our collective consciousness and inspire action. Achieving these goals — seizing these opportunities — will require “outside the box” thinking and the kinds of collaborations among you, the Board of Governors, and other stakeholders that have been central to my practice, career, and public service.
This is the season for a new voice among the Bar’s leadership. A voice that can articulate from firsthand experience real-time best practices to advance our profession while protecting the public trust, and one that is reflective of an underrepresented portion of our Bar, is needed. I am prepared to serve. You can learn more about me: www.gtlaw.com/People/Nikki-Lewis-Simon or https://www.facebook.com/NikkiLewisSimonBOG. I appreciate your support for Seat 7, 11th Circuit. Vote for me beginning March 1st.
In addition to battling the constant attacks upon judicial independence and promoting the goals of a more diverse and inclusive Bar and bench, our Bar now faces new challenges. Market forces, technology, and social media are shaking the foundations of what we have taken for granted to be the practice of law. More than 101,000 lawyers in Florida are experiencing a very exciting, and often anxiety-provoking, time in their careers. Some lawyers don’t want anything to change, while others see change as a welcome departure from an outdated way of doing things. Either way, it is critical that The Florida Bar hears the voices of its members so that their interests and those of their clients are better served.
As a member of the Board of Governors, I hope to help the Bar incorporate and reflect the views and concerns of its membership in a time of rapid development — if not revolutionary change — in the legal profession. My goal is to represent the will of our members as we make some very important decisions over the next few years. In this evolving marketplace, the right answers may not always be obvious, but certainly, the wrong answer is to ignore these imminent changes or the will of our members. As a Bar, we must be able and willing to adjust and adapt when necessary, while maintaining the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and service.
I am uniquely qualified for this position, having served at the highest levels of voluntary bar leadership and on various committees of The Florida Bar. I have worked in a large-firm environment as well as in a small firm where I now serve as my firm’s managing partner. My broad professional experiences in both large- and small-firm environments give me a thorough understanding of the issues faced by lawyers who work in each.
My extensive history of serving The Florida Bar, local voluntary bars, and the community is as follows:
• Chair, Florida Bar Judicial Administration & Evaluation Committee.
• Chair, Florida Bar Grievance Committee.
• Florida Bar Vision 2016 Commission - Subcommittee on Delivery of Legal Services.
• Florida Bar Annual Convention Committee.
• Florida Bar Federal Court Practice Committee.
• Florida Bar’s Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy — Inaugural Class.
• Executive Council of The Florida Bar General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section.
• Board of Directors of the Broward County Bar Association.
• Founding member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida.
• Chair of the Board of Directors of Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida.
• President’s Pro Bono Service Award, The Florida Bar, 2015.
• Broward Lawyers Care, Attorney of the Year, 2014.
• Lawyers for Children America, John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Award, 2001.
As my record shows, I have a deep commitment to serving my Bar and my community. I sincerely enjoy working with others to get things done, and offer my experience, my energy, and my continued dedication to serve The Florida Bar and its members.
Morrie I. Levine
If you are reading this, you already have my respect. I’ve been informed that out of the almost 10,000 attorneys in the 17th Judicial Circuit, less than 40 percent are expected to vote in this election. You deserve respect if you are taking the time to make an educated decision on whom you wish to elect to The Florida Bar Board of Governors.
As long as I’ve been practicing law in South Florida (30 years as of February 2016), I’ve been in the minority of attorneys who have gotten involved in our legal community. I am very proud that I was elected chair of the boards of directors of Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida and Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc., for 2013. As chair, I created several ongoing programs (Annual Installation, Annual Board/Staff Breakfast, Governance Committee, and Past Chair Committee). Currently, I serve on the boards of directors of the Stephen H. Boorer Inn of the American Inns of Court and the Justice Unit of B’nai B’rith. I served for four years on the Broward County Bar Association Board of Directors (establishing the Publicity and Publications Committee and serving as liaison to the Solo/Small Law Firm Section). I served as chair of Florida Bar Grievance Committee 17(B). I believe that it is my history of involvement that led Walter G. “Skip” Campbell, Jr., to tell me to run for his seat on The Florida Bar Board of Governors. I will work very hard to make him proud of me.
I’ve been a member of the Broward County Bar Solo/Small Law Firm Section for 11 of its 12 years of existence. I am very aware that this group of attorneys (as well as many members of medium and/or large firms) feel that The Florida Bar is not focused on their specific needs. As current Florida Bar President Ramon Abadin has stated on several occasions, “The practice of law as we currently know it is under attack from outside sources.” There are many websites and businesses that are seeking to provide legal services traditionally provided by members of the Bar. The increasing number of new attorneys every year is also an issue that needs to be addressed in the near future. Organizations like the American Inns of Court and local bar associations cannot provide enough mentorship. One of the equalizers is technology. I believe that not only to succeed, but to grow, the legal profession must embrace technology.
I believe that there needs to be better access to the court system. Unfortunately, these are still dire financial times for legal aid. The IOTA program may take many years to rebound to the time when it provided a large amount of funds to the legal aid system. Alternatives must be found.
If you elect me, I will get involved on committee assignments and work towards my goals. If elected, I will also listen to your expectations for The Florida Bar, as you already have my respect.
Charles A. Morehead III
My fellow Broward lawyers:
The 17th Circuit needs a strong leader on the Board of Governors who understands our legal community and has demonstrated the dedication necessary to represent our interests. For the past 30 years, I have been a part of and served our legal profession.
I have made Bar work my business and have served on working committees that do real work for you. I came out swinging when the “Vision 2016” committee proposed “reciprocity” for lawyers from every state in the union without forcing them to prove competency in Florida law. It was the wrong thing to do, was improperly vetted, and nearsighted. I pledge to continue in a watchdog role for all Broward lawyers.
A South Florida native, I have represented plaintiffs and defendants in my career, with an emphasis on trial practice. My practice includes commercial work, professional malpractice, and diverse personal injury.
My past Bar work and accomplishments include:
• Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, currently in my second term as a member of the Florida Bar Board Certification Committee.
• President-elect (2016), secretary, treasurer, and board member of the Broward County Bar Association since 2006; past chair of the Trial Lawyers Section, past chair of the Bench & Bar Committee for three terms.
• President (2016), vice president, secretary and treasurer and member of The American Board of Trial Advocates, Ft. Lauderdale Chapter.
• Twice Florida Bar 17th Circuit Grievance Committee chair, and member.
• Two term member of The Florida Bar Code and Rules of Evidence Committee.
• The Best Lawyers in America, 2014, 2015 & 2016.
Rest assured my independence and fair consideration of the issues will be paramount. It would be my privilege to represent my fellow Broward lawyers with strong leadership, based on fairness and common sense, on The Florida Bar Board of Governors.