Westheimer wins Bar president-elect race
'It was a gratifying experience to travel the state and meet Florida Bar members, hear their concerns, and find new ways to help them out with their practice.'
Scott Westheimer of Sarasota has prevailed over fellow veteran Board of Governors member Lorna E. Brown-Burton of Ft. Lauderdale in the race to become president-elect of The Florida Bar.
In results released March 22, Westheimer received 11,986 votes to Brown-Burton’s 8,175, or 59.5 % to 40.5%.
“I am humbled and honored to be chosen for the responsibility in these truly transformational times,” Westheimer said. “It was a gratifying experience to travel the state and meet Florida Bar members, hear their concerns, and find new ways to help them out with their practice.”
A managing partner since 2002 at Syprett Meshad, P.A., which he joined in 1996, Westheimer primarily represents plaintiffs in personal injury and commercial litigation. He said he is eager to put his ideas into action.
“My platform and priorities remain the same,” he said. “I want to find resources and tools we can help to empower Florida Bar members with the business of law, the practice of law, and their health and wellness, and that will better protect the public.”
A partner at Lubbell|Rosen, Brown-Burton congratulated Westheimer and said she looks forward to continuing their service together. A member of the Board of Governors since 2012, Brown-Burton has more than a year remaining in her current term.
“I’m honored and humbled by the over 8,000 judges and attorneys who took the time out of their busy schedules to vote in this historic race for our platform,” she said. “Based on the outpouring of encouragement from members of the Bar, I am announcing that I am running again for president-elect of The Florida Bar in the next upcoming race.”
Two seats on the Board of Governors were also decided when balloting ended at midnight March 21, as was one seat on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors.
In the Board of Governors contest in the 10th Circuit, challenger Victor R. Smith defeated incumbent C. Richard Nail, 257 to 133.
In the 17th Circuit, incumbent Jay Kim defeated challenger William “Bill” Gelin, 1,563 to 552.
In the 20th Circuit race for a seat on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, Joseph Coleman defeated Francesca L. Passidomo, 77-60.
A member of the Bar since 1996, Westheimer received his undergraduate degree (in History) from the University of Florida and law degree from the UF Levin College of Law.
Since joining the Board of Governors in 2013, Westheimer has chaired the Program Evaluation Committee, the Disciplinary Review Committee, the Communications Committee (twice), and has served five years on the Executive Committee.
When he announced his candidacy, Westheimer said his top priorities were helping members with their practices and quality of life, defending the independence of the judiciary including keeping the Bar as a self-regulating entity, and improving communications with members.
In his Bar leadership roles, he has spearheaded efforts to help Bar members such as LegalFuel, practice management center, the Tech Helpline and the Florida Lawyers Helpline, a mental health resource.
“Some examples of the things that I would focus on are free trust accounting software; free case management software; tool kits for government lawyers with free CLEs; additional cyber security education and tools; additional health, wellness, and quality of life resources; and other member benefits to support the ever-changing needs of attorneys.”
Westheimer belongs to numerous voluntary bar associations and is a past president of the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Sarasota County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. He also served on the Bar’s Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors.
Westheimer is married to Tia, and they have two children, Ayla, 7, and Arie, 21 months.
Westheimer will be sworn in as president-elect at the Bar’s June Annual Convention when current President-elect Gary Lesser takes the oath as president. Westheimer will succeed Lesser at the 2023 convention.