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Angones named president-elect.

Forty-four years ago, Francisco "Frank" Angones landed in South Florida from Cuba, alone, without even his parents, as part of a program called Peter Pan that brought Cuban children to this country.

Now more than four eventful decades later--which have seen Angones both achieve greatly and give back to his profession and community--he has been elected 2006-2007 president-elect of The Florida Bar, following the close of election filing December 15.

Angones was the only candidate to submit enough signatures to qualify. Around 690 signatures are required and Angones submitted more than 3,000. He will be sworn in as president-elect at the June Annual Meeting, when President-elect Hank Coxe is sworn in as president. Then in June 2007, Angones will become the first Cuban-born president of The Florida Bar.

"I feel both extremely honored for the support that I got from other lawyers not only in South Florida but throughout the state and I'm truly humbled," Angones said. "I came to the United States without my parents in 1961 in a program called Peter Pan [his parents did join him four months later], and some 40 years later, I'm going to be president of The Florida Bar. Only in America."

Angones said he was inspired to seek the Bar's top spot by former President C. Clyde Atkins, who went on to become chief judge of the federal court's Southern District of Florida. He recalled how Atkins wound up overseeing the desegregation of South Florida schools, and arranged to have his grandchildren moved from parochial to public schools.

"He believed in leading by example," he said. "He was kind, gentle, yet firm in principle."

Those are traits Angones hopes to bring to what he sees as some tough challenges for the Bar.

"I think more and more it has become important for The Florida Bar to interact with the legislature and the executive branch," he said. "We are part of the judiciary. We need to have a fair and impartial judiciary and to do so we need to interact more than we have in the past with the legislature and the executive branch.

"We all want to have better government for Florida."

Angones also said he wants to continue the Bar's diversity efforts begun by former President Miles McGrane and continued by former President Kelly Overstreet Johnson, President Alan Bookman, and President-elect Hank Coxe.

"We have been doing a great job in the past two to three years of diversifying the Bar, not just paying lip service, but going out and seeking participation of all groups," he said, adding that applies to both geographic as well as ethnic issues.

Angones also said he liked Bookman's program last summer that brought Bar leaders and the Bar's sections together. He said he'd like to continue that and expand it to voluntary bars, including special interest bars, such as for trial and criminal lawyers.

Angones practices civil trial, personal injury, commercial torts, and insurance litigation in Miami at the firm he co-founded, Angones, McClure & Garcia, P.A. He received his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from the University of Miami in 1972 and his law degree from UM in 1976.

He is a past president of both the Dade County Bar Association and the Cuban American Bar Association, is a member of the House of Delegates of the ABA, and has served on the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the Southern District, among many other bar-related activities.

He has also been active in a variety of civic organizations including serving on the board of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board, on the Executive Committee of the Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community, and chair of Victoria Hospital's Board of Directors.

He is married to Georgina and their son, Frank, recently graduated from Columbia University.

While that might seem like an impressive resume for someone who landed on these shores in 1961, Angones is thankful and sees it as an essentially American story.

"This country opened its arms to me and many other Cuban Americans and many other immigrants," he said. "This is really the place where you have opportunity for upward mobility and if you're not afraid to work hard and sacrifice, the United States of America is the place to be."
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Title Annotation:Francisco Angones
Publication:Florida Bar News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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