Tanner wins election for Bar president-elect
Jacksonville attorney Michael G. Tanner has prevailed over fellow Board of Governors member Renée E. Thompson of Ocala in a neck-and-neck race to become president-elect of The Florida Bar.
In results released March 24, Tanner received 8,647 votes to Thompson’s 8,558. The 89-vote margin (50.3 to 49.7%) out of more than 17,000 ballots cast marks it as one of the closest contests in Bar history.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as The Florida Bar’s president-elect beginning this June,” Tanner said in a statement on his Facebook page. “Current events demonstrate that we live in challenging and uncertain times. I thank all of my supporters for your encouragement and hard work during the campaign.
“In my platform statement, I described myself as an optimist. That is still true and I believe the best days for our profession are ahead. With your help, I look forward to making that a reality.”
Four other seats on the Board of Governors were also decided when balloting ended at midnight March 23; as was one seat on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors while another YLD race goes to a runoff.
Thompson, a former Young Lawyers Division president who still has more than a year left on her board term, said she will continue to be active there and in other Bar-related activities as well as spending time with her family and practice.
“I’m so grateful for all of the help and support I received over the last year and a half,” Thompson said. “While it’s disappointing, we have so many other challenges we have to be focused on.”
In announcing his candidacy, Tanner listed his goals as maintaining the integrity of the judicial branch including adequate court funding, maintaining and improving professionalism and diversity among lawyers and the courts, and promoting member and other benefits for Bar members, including on health and wellness initiatives.
Results for the contested seats on the Bar Board of Governors include:
• In the Fourth Circuit, Seat 2, W. Braxton Gillam IV of Jacksonville defeated John M. Phillips of Jacksonville 1,044 to 416 votes.
• In the 11th Circuit, Seat 7, Alice Sum of Miami defeated Michael Shelley of Miami Beach 1,894 to 572.
• In the 17th Circuit, Seat 1, incumbent Jay Kim of Ft. Lauderdale defeated Bill Gelin of Oakland Park 1,295 to 663 votes.
• In the 17th Circuit, Seat 4, incumbent Hilary Creary of Ft. Lauderdale defeated Christina McKinnon of Miramar 1,063 to 758.
Results for the two contested seats for the YLD Board of Governors, include:
• In the Sixth Circuit, Seat 2, Benjamin S. Thomas defeated Randall D. Baskin 103 to 68.
• In the Fourth Circuit, Seat 2, Valeen Arena, with 143 votes, will face Sarah Morris, with 118 votes, in a runoff. The third candidate, Angela Huston Miller, garnered 80 votes and was eliminated.
For those involved in the run-off election, ballots will be emailed and/or mailed by the election services provider, Election Services Corporation, on or before April 1. Voters will receive an eballot and have the option of voting online (using their Personal Identification Number and member number) in lieu of returning a paper ballot. There will also be a link posted on the Bar’s homepage. All votes must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, April 22.
Tanner, who practices business commercial litigation and “some election law,” has served on the Board of Governors since 2011, including on the Legislation Committee since 2013 and has chaired or co-chaired that committee three times. He has also served on the Program Evaluation Committee, was chair for the 2016-17 Bar year, and chaired the board’s Constitution Revision Committee during the CRC’s recent deliberations.
Tanner served on the Trial Lawyers Section Executive Council from 1992-99 and served as section chair in 1999-2000. He also spent five years on the Board of Legal Specialization and Education, including one year as chair.
Tanner has received awards, recognition, and membership from many peer-evaluated organizations. He is board certified in both civil trial law and business litigation. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member and past Jacksonville branch president of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Tanner has been named as a “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend since 2006 and in its Hall of Fame since 2014, and listed in The Best Lawyers in America’s Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Appellate Law categories since 2006. He has been designated among Florida Super Lawyers since 2007, including several years in the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and Top 25 Lawyers in Jacksonville.
Tanner is a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law and has been a Bar member since 1978. He is a member of the Appellate Practice, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, and Trial Lawyers sections.
He is married and has two daughters and three grandchildren.