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Sackett is new chief of Bar’s Legal Division

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Allison “Ali” SackettSettling into the new job of running the Bar’s largest division, Allison “Ali” Sackett is quick to note she is only one person in a 125-employee team.

Sackett is the new director of the Bar’s Legal Division, taking over July 1 from long-time Director John Berry, who recently retired.

The Bar’s Legal Division encompasses the Bar’s Lawyer Regulation Department, including the five branch disciplinary offices; and the Attorney Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP); the Fee Arbitration and Grievance Mediation Program; and the practice and professional enhancement programs, most notably the ethics school and the professionalism workshop that diverts minor cases from the disciplinary environment into remedial areas.

“The success of the Legal Division doesn’t rest with the division director, it’s a product of the day-in and day-out effort of all the hard working men and women in the Bar’s disciplinary branch offices and Bar counsels who are in the courtrooms,” Sackett said. “It is the work of these people that protect the people of Florida by making sure our lawyers adhere to the highest standards of the profession.”

Sackett has been with the Bar for 12 years, starting as a Bar counsel in the Tallahassee Branch office. She became director of the branch in January 2015, and in April 2018 became the associate director of Lawyer Regulation.

Before coming to the Bar, Sackett worked for Legal Services of North Florida, Inc., beginning there in 2002. From 2004 until joining the Bar, she directed the agency’s Quincy office.

Her legal aid tenure gave her experience with large caseloads, numerous court appearances, and practicing in a variety of areas from civil to bankruptcy to family law.

She received her law degree from the Mississippi College School of Law in 2002 and her undergraduate degree, in history, from the University of Montevallo in Alabama.

Sackett’s office bears the signs of settling in, with boxes and files, and leaning against the wall a vertical wood sign resembling a fence slat and painted with the words “Be Kind.”

“I feel energized and excited about my new responsibilities, but definitely not underestimating what it means and the huge role and undertaking leading this division is,” said Sackett, adding she’s taking a flexible approach to her new job.

“I think our current processes get it right, it’s been what works. It has done a good job in trying to rehabilitate lawyers and protect the public,” Sackett said.

At the same time, “Change is inevitable. Is there room for improvement? Of course. Is there room for change? Sure, if that’s what we need to do.

“Any changes will be well thought out and gradual. We will look to the Supreme Court for direction if there is anything they want done differently,” Sackett added. “We’re continuing to do what we do, which is enforcing our rules and prosecuting errant lawyer when necessary.

“We have really good and experienced people administering our lawyer regulation system and supporting our branch operations,” she said.

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