Before I knew I would run unopposed for your Florida Bar president, I picked up the phone and randomly called lawyers I'd never met. Quite frankly, some lawyers viewed the Bar as the police department because of its disciplinary arm, and they really didn't want to get a call from the police.
As our Florida Bar teeters at the 100,000-member mark, I want to take this opportunity to say once again I am here to help you, and ask that you consider some advice I've learned from experience. Rather than watch silently from the sidelines or fear the unknown about your Bar, please get engaged in its inner workings and participate in bettering our profession. In the process, I know you will become an even better lawyer.
This month is your opportunity to sign up for Bar committee work by going to The Florida Bar's website --www.floridabar.org--and completing your committee preference form between December 1 and January 15, 2015.
President-elect Ramon Abadin will make committee appointments early next year. We need both new and experienced members to help us navigate our ever-changing legal profession. Some of the factors considered are prior service to the Bar and voluntary bar organizations; the need to infuse new members to a particular committee; and diversity, which includes but is not limited to gender, ethnicity, geography, practice areas, and firm size.
About 2,000 members serve on 68 standing committees, where the real work gets done.
The Rules of Judicial Administration Committee, for example, is hip deep working on the meticulous details as Florida transfers to paperless courts.
The Legal Needs of Children Committee recently celebrated a victory in a hard-fought battle to provide lawyers to children in dependency court. The 2014 Florida Legislature passed a $4.5 million appropriation and statutory authorization for lawyers to assist the most vulnerable children with special needs in five categories.
The Member Benefits Committee is rushing to bring technological innovations to members, including low-cost access to a group of technology specialists who understand the practice of law.
That's just a glimpse of the vast array of opportunities to get engaged in Bar committee work. Check out your options under "About the Bar" on the webpage, and let us know you are interested in serving.
From my own experience, I know that to be engaged in Bar committee work is challenging, refreshing, stimulating, and even...