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Westheimer presents President’s Awards of Merit

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Paige Greenlee and Scott Westheimer

Paige Greenlee and Scott Westheimer

During the General Assembly June 21 at The Florida Bar Annual Convention in Orlando, outgoing President Scott Westheimer honored the following lawyers with President’s Awards of Merit:

  • Paige A. Greenlee, a member of the Board of Governors from Tampa, in recognition of her constant service to the Bar, the Board of Governors, to members of the public and our profession.

Westheimer said Greenlee’s “commendable leadership on numerous board and Bar committees, for your tireless contributions to the legal profession, your willingness to assist with board meeting preparations, and your commitment to uphold and protect the Bar’s mission and vision are invaluable.”

Westheimer also noted Greenlee’s willingness to “jump in” and help with the Supreme Court’s Judicial Circuit Assessment Committee. She also served on the Bar’s Beaudreax Committee, co-chaired the Disciplinary Review Committee, and chaired a Program Evaluation Committee that reviewed the Bar News. She is also the incoming chair of the Bar’s Communications Committee.

  • Anisha Patel of Tampa, outgoing president of the Young Lawyers Division.
Anisha Patel and Scott Westheimer

Anisha Patel and Scott Westheimer

“You have worked hard to improve professionalism, dedicating your undeniable talents in leading the renovation of the Practicing with Professionalism program, leading and supporting the redevelopment of the Bar’s Basic Skills program, hosting two very successful virtual summits for the Young Lawyers Division, and improving the practice of law for young attorneys,” Westheimer said.

Westheimer said Patel is a force of nature.

“What she accomplished as the president of the YLD is nothing short of incredible,” he said. “She clearly put the YLD’s focus on their core mission and improved the practice of law for young lawyers in our state. The fact that the YLD was able to re-record all 13 basic skills courses and added eight new basic skills courses this year was an incredible accomplishment and will be a benefit not only to the young lawyers but the legal profession as a whole.”

Under Patel’s leadership, the YLD:

  • Hosted six Practice Series webinars, which each focused on managing a case in a different area of practice.
  • Visited 11 law schools and almost 400 students this year to discuss the transition to practice and resources offered by The Florida Bar and YLD.
  • Raised $72,000 in sponsorships this year for events and resources.
  • Created the 36 Under 36 Professionalism Awards with over 200 nominations received.
  • Revamped the Practicing with Professionalism Course to make the section on the discipline process standard and added segments on substantive rules-based topics.

“Anisha’s commendable advocacy and hard work in preparing the next generation of Florida attorneys has been a revelation to watch and I am honored to have been able to serve with her,” he said.

  • Valeria I. Obi of Tampa
Valeria I. Obi and Scott Westheimer

Valeria I. Obi and Scott Westheimer

Westheimer said he selected Obi for a President’s Award of Merit in recognition of her leadership and devotion to The Florida Bar, for her service and leadership with many voluntary bar associations, including the George Edgecomb Bar Association, Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association, the Florida Association for Woman Lawyers, and the Black Law Students Association at Stetson Law, and for service as a liaison on The Florida Bar Board of Governors.

“Your unwavering commitment to leadership and support for the future generations of attorneys is appreciated and celebrated,” he said.

Marshall Cassedy Award

Scott Westheimer and Craig A. Shoup

Scott Westheimer and Craig A. Shoup

Westheimer presented the Marshall Cassedy Award to Craig A. Shoup, executive director of the Jacksonville Bar Association.

The award is presented to a local bar, a Bar executive, or to staff members who have provided extraordinary service to the Bar or to a local bar. It honors the legacy and attributes of Marshall R. Cassedy, Sr., who served as executive director of The Florida Bar from 1961-1980.

“The Jacksonville Bar Association is a vibrant and busy voluntary bar organization with 27 committees and nearly 2,000 members,” Westheimer said. “The JBA has in excess of 120 events, six bar-wide luncheons, and an average of 50 CLE hours of programming per fiscal year. And on top of that, [Shoup] has been critical voice as a Florida Bar Board of Governors liaison last year.”

Westheimer said Shoup has also been a valuable member of the Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee and served on a Grievance Committee.

Tony Boggs Excellence in Discipline Award

Scott Westheimer and Brian Burgoon

Scott Westheimer and Brian Burgoon

This year’s Tony Boggs Excellence in Discipline Award was presented to Board of Governors member Brian Burgoon for his decades of exemplary leadership and dedication to the Disciplinary Review Committee.

“He also had articles published in the Bar Journal to aid members of the public and legal professionals in understanding the complex disciplinary process,” Westheimer said. “He also helped shepherd the first ethics opinion on AI.”

Burgoon has chaired or co-chaired Disciplinary Review Committee five times and teaches a course at the University of Florida College of Law on the lawyer regulation and discipline system.

Thomas Wert

Thomas Wert

A second Boggs Award was given to outgoing Board of Governors member Tom Wert in recognition of his “exemplary dedication to the Board’s Disciplinary Review Committee, humbly serving to improve the disciplinary process.”

Westheimer commended Wert on his “unwavering commitment to uphold the principles of fairness, integrity, and accountability.”

Kirk Haas Award

Scott Westheimer and John Patterson

Scott Westheimer and John Patterson

Westheimer also presented the G. Kirk Haas Award to John C. Patterson, Jr., for meritorious service to the legal profession.

The award recipient is selected annually by the Bar president, and the recipient then selects a Florida law school and a scholarship is awarded to a second-year student who demonstrates an exceptionally high degree of integrity, ethics, professionalism, and a concern for others.

Westheimer said he has known Patterson since he was in third grade and grew up with Patterson’s daughter, Kim.

“When you talk ethics, professionalism, and integrity, that epitomizes John Patterson,” said Westheimer, adding he would never have become Bar president without Patterson pushing and mentoring him along the way.

Patterson has served as the president of FFLA, is a former member of the Board of Governors, the Pro Bono Legal Services Committee, the Leadership Academy Committee, the Bar’s Investment Committee, and Certification Plan Appeals Committee.

“This award recognizes his exemplary service and significant impact through his dedicated service to his local community, especially in underserved areas, as well as across the state,” Westheimer said. “Your commitment is commendable, given your involvement in leadership roles within the legal profession and service roles within the medical community. This award undoubtedly highlights your exceptional contributions and positive impact.”

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