YLD Board of Governors Candidates Platform Statements
Twelve lawyers are running for five seats on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, which will be decided by division members in Bar elections this spring. (Fourteen lawyers originally filed, but two dropped out). Following are the platform statements from the candidates. Ballots will be mailed to YLD members in circuits with contested races around March 1 and must be returned by midnight, March 21. As in past years, voters will have a choice between returning a paper ballot or voting online and instructions will be included with the ballots. If no candidate gets a majority of votes, a runoff will be held for the top two finishers, with ballots mailed around April 1.
My name is Brittany Fraser and it would be my pleasure to serve as one of your Seventh Judicial Circuit representatives on The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors. Although I went to law school in Chicago, and loved the big city lifestyle and all it had to offer, in my opinion, there is no place better to live than our little slice of paradise in the Sunshine State.
While I am currently working in a small firm practicing estate planning and estate and trust litigation, I began my career in 2014 as an assistant state attorney prosecuting misdemeanor and juvenile cases in Volusia County. Luckily, I was able to transfer to the State Attorney’s Office in St. Johns and practice in my hometown of St. Augustine. I quickly learned the importance of engaging with the legal community and the community at large and became involved in the St. Johns County Bar Association. SJCBA became an affiliate of the YLD that year and I was given the opportunity to present at the Affiliate Outreach Conference.
I had no idea then of what resources the YLD could offer me as a new lawyer and this may still ring true for many of you reading this. As your representative, I will work to bring awareness of the many resources available to you and if I am elected as your representative, I encourage you to reach out if there is a need of young lawyers that you feel could be met by the YLD. I want to understand how your day-to-day practice of law differs amongst your peers and help you create new ways (or implement existing solutions) to ease your work-life stresses and improve overall wellness.
As a member of the SJCBA Board of Directors, co-chair of the Young Lawyers Section of our local bar, and a committee chair for St. Johns Association for Women Lawyers, I have continued to hone my skills as a leader. As your representative I will do my best to help you utilize all of the resources and opportunities available to you to improve your work-life balance. I appreciate your consideration for this position. Thank you for taking the time to learn a little about me.
To my colleagues in the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar: I am seeking your support in the upcoming election for the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors for the Seventh Judicial Circuit.
For the past five years I have worked in Volusia County, Florida, concentrating in the areas of general civil litigation, real estate litigation, estate planning, and probate. I have been recognized by Florida Trend as an “Up and Coming” attorney and by the Volusia/Flagler Business Report for being (1) a Top 40 Under 40 Business Professional and (2) one of the top real estate attorneys in the Volusia County area as voted on by Volusia County residents.
My reason for seeking election stems from a long-standing desire to be involved within the legal community, especially among attorneys who are developing their practice. I have been a member of the Dunn Blount Chapter of the American Inns of Court for several years and have served on the board of directors for the Volusia County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division since its creation three years ago. During that time I have held the positions of treasurer, vice president, and most recently, president. While serving on the board of directors for Volusia’s Young Lawyers Division, I have been an integral participant in several projects designed to assist young lawyers, as well as Volusia County residents. Such projects include the creation of an informative video designed to explain the judicial election process to local voters, a “survival guide” intended to aid lawyers who are new to the community or who are new to private practice, two professionalism seminars hosted by local judges for the purpose of assisting young lawyers with common professionalism pitfalls, and two CLE seminars focused on appellate practice and discovery. As part of my involvement with the local Young Lawyers Division I have been fortunate enough to attend several Affiliate Outreach Conferences that fostered my desire for greater involvement within The Florida Bar.
If elected, I believe that I can provide strong representation not only for the large number of young lawyers within Volusia County, but for all young lawyers within the Seventh Judicial Circuit. In my opinion, representation is not only about making sure that the thoughts and desires of local young lawyers are known throughout Florida, it is also about making sure that local young lawyers know and understand all that the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar has to offer.
I thank you for your time and consideration.
Denise Kim Beamer
Our time is now — our time to connect, our time to be heard, and our time to thrive. We, as young lawyers, are The Florida Bar’s future. My name is Denise Beamer and I am running to serve as your representative for Seat 2 in the Ninth Circuit for The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, and request your vote in the March 2017 election.
The Young Lawyers Division provides programs and projects to assist its young lawyers, and I believe it should make our lives and practices better. Whether it is helping young lawyers in their transition from law school to the practice of law, connecting mentors with young lawyers, or providing opportunities for service and involvement, the Young Lawyers Division should be here to serve you. Together, we can create the environment where we help each other thrive.
Young lawyers deserve a representative who will focus on issues that affect us. One particular area of concern is student loan reform. Student loan debt burdens us, our legal practice, and our families. Those of us saddled with student loan debt know how it affects the decisions we make and how it touches almost every aspect of our lives. It plays a significant role in our family decisions, employment opportunities, and the type of law we practice. The burden and impact of our student loan debt should be examined and brought to light within The Florida Bar resulting in a meaningful conversation. We need to be heard about its impact and connect with other young lawyers throughout the state regarding potential reform, while keeping young lawyers informed about the proposed changes happening in The Florida Bar, the Florida Legislature, and in the national arena. I intend to be this voice for young lawyers.
I have made career-long choices with the goal to make a difference in my local legal community, and be a voice for others. I started my legal career as a prosecutor in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, and am now the senior assistant attorney general with the Office of the Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division. I am also proud to have served our local legal community in various positions, which include the following:
• Ninth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee, attorney member;
• Florida Bar Annual Convention Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Committee;
• Florida Bar Leadership Academy, Class III;
• Barry University School of Law mock trial coach, winning two national championships and first place at The Florida Bar Chester H. Bedell Mock Trial Competition;
• Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association, director and community service chair;
• Guardian ad litem;
• Orange County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, “Holidays All Year Long” fundraiser, committee member, and co-sponsorship chair;
• Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Orange County Bar Association, member.
I would be honored to represent the Ninth Circuit on the Young Lawyers Board of Governors, and thank you for your support. Please remember to vote between March 1 and March 21.
You deserve experience. You deserve action. You deserve leadership. Because, simply stated, you are the future of The Florida Bar.
If you are one of the more than 2,000 young lawyers in the Ninth Judicial Circuit, you need someone on the Young Lawyers Division who can be a champion for issues important to you — someone with the reputation and proven record of taking action and getting things done. That is why, if you are practicing in the Ninth Judicial Circuit, I respectfully ask you for the honor of serving as your representative on Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors.
With the upcoming Constitution Revision Commission — which only occurs every 20 years — it is important for you, now more than ever, to have a strong, experienced leader representing you on the Young Lawyers Division. Serving you, whether at the state or local bar level, is something I have dedicated myself to since I began my career, and I will continue to dedicate my time to serving you in the future. As a board member I will have numerous experiences to draw upon to serve you, including:
• Treasurer, OCBA Young Lawyers Section;
• The Florida Bar Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy fellow;
• At-large board member, OCBA Young Lawyers Section;
• Chair, Evening with the Judiciary;
• Chair, Holidays All Year Long;
• Chair, OCBA Intellectual Property Committee;
• Practicing with Professionalism speaker;
• Shaw Awards Committee, Federal Bar Association;
• Active member of Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers;
• Active member of the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar;
• Active member of the Intellectual Property Committee of The Florida Bar;
• Guardian ad litem.
Lawyers today, especially young lawyers, face a daunting array of problems and challenges that the Young Lawyers Division is working hard to address. Whether navigating office politics, hanging your own shingle, or finding time to volunteer, the Young Lawyers Division exists to make your life a little less stressful and little more manageable. If elected, I want to build on the work of Karen Persis and continue to help young lawyers by fighting to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, advocating on your behalf to the Bar, improving upon the mentoring initiatives in place, providing low cost and practical CLE opportunities, and supporting our local affiliates. If elected, I will use my experience to fight on your behalf, and further the issues that matter to you. Thank you for your consideration and your support.
If you have any questions for me or would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to either email me at [email protected] or call at 407-841-2330. I would love to hear from you about your ideas for the Young Lawyers Division.
I am running for The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors. If elected, I will support initiatives that will help young lawyers manage student debt and develop meaningful mentorship opportunities.
Managing student debt — sometimes at crippling interest rates — is a crucial issue affecting current and future YLD members. The YLD is in a unique position to provide informative programming pertaining to repayment and refinancing options available to young and soon-to-be lawyers. The need for a reliable source of information about student loans is critical. Just last month the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed suit against Navient, “for systematically and illegally failing borrowers at every stage of repayment.”
Providing useful information is imperative. But taking action is paramount. On the legislative front, the YLD should advocate for relief to those saddled with student debt. I strongly support the YLD’s call for action to support the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Our peers in the public sector who meet the requirements of the PSLFP have earned their loan forgiveness. Beyond PSLFP, there are a number of ideas the YLD should work to support including: increasing the wage limitation and the deduction amount for the student loan interest tax deduction; exempting forgiven student debt from income taxes; and allowing borrowers to refinance at lower rates. If elected, I will work toward a broader legislative platform that advocates for legislation benefitting those battling student loan debt.
Aside from this critical issue, I plan to expand mentorship opportunities for young lawyers and law students. One of my most rewarding experiences has been mentoring a University of Miami student through the YLD and Law Student Division Mentorship Program. I’m also fortunate to call a number of lawyers my mentors. I will work with local voluntary bar associations and schools to increase involvement in the mentorship program and facilitate relationships between YLD members and more experienced members of the Bar. Eric Bluestein, the president-elect of the Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, is working on an initiative to encourage mentorship here in Miami, which could serve as a model throughout Florida.
About me: As an associate at Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A., I represent plaintiffs across Florida in a variety of catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Prior to joining the firm, I worked as a clerk for Judge Paul Huck. I serve on the board of directors of the Dade County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section and the Jewish Community Services Alliance. I’m also a member of the Legal Services of Greater Miami’s Young Professionals Committee and volunteer as a guardian ad litem through Dade Legal Aid’s pro bono program.
The YLD has the ability to shape the future of our Bar. I would appreciate your support as I work to improve our profession. I hope to have the opportunity to serve as your representative on the YLD Board of Governors.
Serving on the Board of Governors for the Young Lawyers Division for the last two years has been an honor. Like many young lawyers, I was unaware of what our YLD does on behalf of new and young lawyers — until I became actively involved with The Florida Bar years ago, initially through the Bar’s Leadership Academy.
The YLD organizes CLEs and seminars offering training and advice for young lawyers; operates a website it created with resources and tips for young lawyers interested in becoming solo practitioners (www.startmyfloridalawfirm.com); and develops initiatives highlighting mental health, diversity, and gender bias issues in the legal profession. That is a sample of what your YLD has done in the last two years alone. We can (and will) do more. That is why I am running for Miami’s Seat 3 on the YLD Board of Governors. I humbly request your vote this March.
I was the first candidate in this race to announce a platform (visit: www.dwayne4yld.com):
• Assisting young lawyers as they transition to the practice of law;
• Supporting the YLD’s lobbying efforts for tuition forgiveness for government attorneys;
• Opposing new CLE requirements, increased dues, or mandates that cause additional financial hardships on young lawyers; and
• Funding the events of Miami YLD affiliates, such as CABA, Gwen S. Cherry BWLA, DCBA, and Miami-Dade FAWL.
As I have seen firsthand as a member of the YLD board, even where the YLD does not establish a policy affecting young lawyers, the YLD is an important voice. The American Bar Association and The Florida Bar Board of Governors, for instance, request the YLD board’s position on behalf of Florida’s young lawyers on a number of proposals. Miami’s young lawyers are busy, balancing their practices, family life, and community outreach. They deserve a YLD representative who has already cultivated relationships with representatives of Florida’s Legislature and The Florida Bar and who will also advocate on behalf of Miami’s young lawyers.
I have been serving Miami’s young lawyers for years. With the YLD, I organized and moderated a CLE seminar, was a panelist at a Practicing with Professionalism seminar in Miami, and organized and moderated a diversity symposium at FIU. I am the co-chair of the YLD Technology Committee, which is preparing a free resource guide on tech tools for young lawyers. I am among the few board members selected to serve on the 2017 Long Range Planning Committee. I have mentored young (and prospective) lawyers through the YLD, the Federal Bar Association, and the Koyzak Minority Mentoring Foundation, among other avenues.
I strongly believe that to whom much is given, much is required. As the child of immigrants, I am blessed to be a practicing lawyer of The Florida Bar. At great sacrifice to my family (and with a lot of student loans), I achieved my American dream. Your support is very important as I continue to serve you, our community, and The Florida Bar.
Please vote for Dwayne Robinson for your YLD Board of Governors this March.
My name is Samantha Kelly and I am running for Seat 2 of the 15th Judicial Circuit’s Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors. I received a B.S. in marketing from Florida State University in 2012, and my J.D. in 2015 from Florida State University College of Law. After being admitted to The Florida Bar in 2015, I spent the past academic year attending the University of Miami School of Law, receiving my LL.M. in estate planning. I moved back to Palm Beach County in June 2016, and have since joined the law firm of Simses and Associates, P.A., in Palm Beach.
As a brand new lawyer in this county, I understand the difficulties many of us face in beginning our careers, and how intimidating it may seem to get involved. If elected, my goal is to stimulate new lawyer involvement by organizing innovative social and networking events.
I would like to continue the legacy the YLD has already established though programs for continuing education, professional development, and pro bono involvement. It is important to me that members are aware that these opportunities exist. Awareness can be accomplished through additional, concentrated, advertising methods which target an individual’s preferences and won’t bombard their inboxes.
I would be honored to represent your interests, and receive your vote. Thank you for your support and consideration. You will receive a ballot in the mail on or about March 1. The deadline to return your ballot by mail, or vote online, is March 21.
For the last two-and-a-half years I have had the honor and pleasure of working as an assistant state attorney for the 15th Circuit. This opportunity has allowed me to dedicate my work to the pursuit of justice and doing what is right. If I am elected to the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, I pledge to serve the 15th Circuit with the same dedication and passion.
I grew up in the town of Jupiter, Florida, and have lived here for most of my adult life. I attended the University of Central Florida and St. Thomas University School of Law. While in law school, I served as an ambassador for the Student Bar Association and was a member of the Financial Budget Committee.
If I am elected to the YLD Board of Governors, I can assure all of the young lawyers in my circuit that I will always be available and happy to meet with you to address any issues or concerns you have as it relates to The Florida Bar. Further, I am passionate about helping law students through the rigorous application process and would like to develop a line of communication between young lawyers and law students that would enable law students to seek advice and answers to many of the questions they may have. I am certain there are many other ideas the young lawyers in my circuit have to make The Florida Bar an organization that better serves its members. As a member of the board, I will do everything in my power to help facilitate these ideas.
Another major issue facing young lawyers is employment. The ever growing number of lawyers in this state and exorbitant amount of debt most law students undertake can be a major concern for young lawyers. I would like to help connect employers with potential employees in ways that go beyond emails and LinkedIn messages. My first job out of undergraduate school was with the New Orleans Hornets (now the New Orleans Pelicans). I obtained this job through a job fair held by the National Basketball Association where all 30 teams attended and interviewed candidates. I would like to implement a similar program where young lawyers would have an opportunity to meet in person with partners of law firms and other potential employers. I truly believe, in this age of digital communication, that face-to-face contact and a chance to shake hands can open many doors for young lawyers that may not have been opened otherwise.
If I didn’t feel as though I could make The Florida Bar a better organization that better serves its members, I would not be running. I am a passionate, friendly, open-minded person and kindly ask for your vote for the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors.
As a current Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division governor representing the 15th Judicial Circuit, I have had the privilege and honor of representing my young lawyer constituents from Palm Beach County this past year. I am a proud “double gator,” having graduated from the University of Florida in 2008 and then the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2013. Bar service has been a passion of mine for many years. In law school I served as a governor on The Florida Bar YLD Law Student Division Board of Governors for three years and also had the privilege of serving as president of The Florida Bar YLD Law Student Division for the 2012-2013 term. As president, I governed a board comprised of over 60 governors representing each law school in the state of Florida. During my term, I had the opportunity to create networking, mentoring, community service, and continuing education opportunities for thousands of law students and Florida residents statewide.
Upon graduation from UF Law in May 2013, I was blessed with the opportunity to return to my home town in Palm Beach County and serve as a public defender at the 15th Judicial Circuit Office of the Public Defender. Every day as a public defender, I have the privilege of representing the indigent, criminally accused of Palm Beach County. Working the past three years as a public defender in Palm Beach County, I have had the opportunity to have extensive courtroom and trial experience. But the most valuable of my experience has derived from the contact I have made with the indigent community of Palm Beach County. I have come in contact with thousands of Palm Beach County residents who suffer from poverty, mental health issues, physical and sexual abuse, and substance abuse issues. My goal in being your elected representative for the YLD is to continue to serve as the only public defender on the board and share a different outlook with the board regarding issues of poverty and other social issues that plague our clients in the state of Florida. The YLD receives substantial funds each year to use for a good cause. I hope to continue to spread those funds to touch those Palm Beach County and Florida residents who desperately need assistance.
I humbly ask for your vote this election so I may have the honor to continue to serve as your representative for the 15th Judicial Circuit.
Denise Andrea Mutamba
My commitment to improving our legal community has led me to run for the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors for the 15th Judicial Circuit and I respectfully ask for your vote!
Although I am invested in our legal community, I believe that we continue to be concerned with the number of new lawyers graduating into a legal community that has few jobs to offer and underdeveloped opportunities for mentorship. In addition, the need for a pipeline of diverse individuals prepared to take leadership roles remains.
My plan for the next two years on the board is to address these concerns. I believe that my commitment to the Palm Beach County Bar Association, commitment to voluntary bar associations, and my legal experience show my dedication to our legal community. I am ready to create and execute resolutions to address our concerns!
Please visit www.facebook.com/electdenisemutamba for more information.
Commitment to legal profession:
• Young Lawyers Section, PBCBA;
• Adopt a School Committee, co-chair;
• Holiday Party for Foster Children, co-chair;
• F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr., Bar Association;
• Young Lawyers Section, chair;
• Craig S. Barnard American Inns of Court;
• Lincoln Inn, pupilage co-leader;
• Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, PBCBA;
Commitment to community:
• Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure Team Leader;
• Sigma Lamp of Learning Foundation, Inc., president;
• Gamma Gamma Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., secretary;
• Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc.;
• Fair Housing Act;
• Fair Labor Standards Act;
• Florida Minimum Wage Act;
• Fair Debt Collection Practices Act;
• Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act
• The Florida Bar, 2014;
• United States District Court, South District of Florida;
• University of Miami School of Law;
• Pro Bono Honors;
• University of Akron;
• Bachelor of Science in Business Administration;
• Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
I hope you will allow me to continue my service to the community by electing me to The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors.
Since being admitted to The Florida Bar, I have been committed to serving Broward’s legal community. As an assistant state attorney in Broward, I learned firsthand how difficult it was to network and participate in local bar organization activities due to financial constraints. In 2012, I joined the Broward County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section as a director and I was vocal about the financial difficulties current programing presented. Most events had a cost of at least $25 to attend. I made it my mission to increase the number of free events and where possible, decrease the costs of events to provide opportunities for more new, young attorneys to get involved without a financial barrier. Local bar involvement is the best way to integrate young lawyers into the legal profession and the larger community — finding a way to help them do so has been at the center of my goals.
My passion and commitment ultimately got me elected by my peers to serve on the YLS Executive Board where I currently serve as president. I have been instrumental in reducing cost of participation for government lawyers, inspiring members to get involved and take leadership roles, and supporting our greater community through charitable work and volunteerism. Past presidents of the BCBA YLS and the current YLS Executive Board have endorsed me. I have devoted hundreds of hours to improving the quality of services for young lawyers and making an impact for the underprivileged and underserved in Broward. I have been integral to YLS’s success, serving as president-elect and president when The Florida Bar’s YLD recognized us as Affiliate of the Year for 2015 and 2016.
My commitment to service has led to my serving on the boards of other local voluntary bar associations. I served as mentorship chair and law school liaison for the BCBA’s “Big Bar,” in an effort to connect new, young, and soon-to-be attorneys with those more experienced in the field. I also served on various judicial campaigns. For years, the YLD has asked me to speak to new lawyers at Practicing with Professionalism. My professional accomplishments and dedication to the legal community led to my selection by Super Lawyers as a 2017 Rising Star. All of this past and current experience has prepared me for this new role with the YLD Board of Governors.
I want to bring my passion, creativity, and dedication of service to the YLD and do what I can to improve the quality of life for young lawyers throughout Florida. If you have any questions related to my service or candidacy, please do not hesitate to contact me directly or reach out to the people who have endorsed me for the position (see BCBA’s February Barrister).
Please afford me the opportunity to continue to serve you as your representative from the 17th Circuit.
Harold Fernandez Pryor, Jr.
I am a 2016-2017 class member of the Bar’s Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy. I’m currently president-elect of The T.J. Reddick Bar Association, and a board member of the Broward County Bar Young Lawyers Section, two-time winner of The Florida Bar YLD’s Affiliate of the Year Award. I serve these organizations well, and would like to continue to serve our legal community as a member of the YLD Board of Governors.
I am a graduate of the University of Florida, with a B.A., with honors, in political science, and was a proud member of Florida Blue Key. In 2012, I obtained my J.D. from Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law, where I delivered the graduation commencement address. I began my career as an associate with McClain, Alfonso, Meeker & Dunn. For the last three years, I have proudly served as a 17th Circuit assistant state attorney.
With the T.J. Reddick Bar, I helped develop initiatives to give back to the community through events like the Street Law partnership with Dillard High School, a “Know Your Rights” forum in partnership with the Urban League of Broward County, and the Voter Mobilization Project in partnership with the Links Incorporated.
With the BCBA YLS, I chaired the annual Boot Camp Series, which exposes new attorneys to the different areas of the law and provides hands-on training and education with experienced practitioners. One of my goals as a YLD Board of Governors member will be to educate and equip young lawyers with essential skills needed to start their careers. I believe that in order to be a successful attorney, one must properly learn the basics of legal practice, and thereafter build upon that knowledge and skill.
Further, I will advocate for continued YLD leadership in making the Bar more technologically advanced while making its websites and services user-friendly. The YLD should be at the forefront of this and we are the attorneys that utilize technology and social media for our practices every day.
I want to foster an environment where our voices are heard on important issues facing the Bar, specifically issues that will go before the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. Thirty-seven commissioners will ultimately decide on constitutional amendments appearing on the November 2018 ballot, including issues that could affect the practice of law. We are the future and we will be the ones to bear whatever is decided regarding the practice of law, so we must be engaged in the CRC process.
As young lawyers, we can be the Bar’s strongest advocates on the self-regulation of our profession or judicial term limits, even if we have different views. I will advocate for assisting the Bar with educating the public about the CRC while we continue to educate ourselves.
These are just a few of the issues important to me, and on which I will focus my efforts as your YLD representative. I look forward to serving our circuit diligently, and I humbly ask for your vote.