Board candidates platform statements.
Bar members will have the choice of voting by the mailed paper ballot or voting online by following instructions with the mailed ballot.
This year's balloting has five races in four circuits. The winners will be sworn in during the June Annual Meeting.
The platform statements, along with those for candidates for the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, are also posted on the Bar s Web site. floridabar.org.
11th Circuit, Seat 1
When my parents arrived in this country nearly forty-five years ago all they wanted was for me to have all the rights and benefits they lost in Cuba. My wife and three children are the greatest blessing in my life, and I want them to live in a state where everyone has access to justice--a state where each one of their aspirations can become a reality--a state where an independent judiciary enforces and protects the rights of everyone because it reflects the diversity that is our state.
For these reasons, a significant part of my professional life has been dedicated to probono and public service work, including:
* Florida Bar Grievance Committee (June 1996-1999) (vice chair June 1998-1999);
* Director of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA), 1997 through 2003;
* President of Cuban American Bar Association 2004;
* President of the Cuban-American Bar Foundation, 2005;
* Chair of The Florida Bar's 2005 Annual Diversity Symposium, May 2005;
* Member of the Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity in the Court (appointed by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente);
* Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (appointed by Chief Justice Pariente);
* Third District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission for 2004-2008 (appointed by Governor Jeb Bush); chair of the Judicial Nominating Commission for 2005-2006;
* Dean's Advisory Council for the Florida International University School of Law.
In June 2005, I was surprised and humbled to be awarded the G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award by then Florida Bar President Kelly Overstreet Johnson. The award is given to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to improving our profession.
If I am honored with your vote to serve on The Florida Bar Board of Governors, I can promise you that I will work hard to follow in the footsteps of Frank Angones, John Kozyak, Henry Latimer, and others who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to ensure that the Board of Governors and our judiciary reflect the makeup of the community it serves. I will continue the work I began as CABA president of reaching out to the voluntary bar associations throughout the state to encourage their participation in The Florida Bar and in the judicial selection process. We have the privilege of living in a state whose cultural diversity is matched by few others in this country. That diversity enriches all of our lives and should be reflected in our professional organizations.
Thank you for your consideration of me as a candidate for the Board of Governors. I hope to have your vote.
Proudly, I have been a Florida Bar member for 43 years. The experience and expertise (outlined below) I have gained therein is what I offer as a candidate for the Board of Governors.
My undergraduate degree is from the University of Florida and my law school degree is from the University of Michigan.
As a litigator, I have tried over two hundred cases to verdict, mostly before juries. I have represented plaintiffs and defendants, but mostly defendants. These include all cases from small claims up to arguing in the United States Supreme Court, including the Florida Supreme Court, all five state district courts of appeal, the 11th U.S. Circuit and the Fifth U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal.
I taught trial advocacy at the University of Miami Law School to seniors for 10 years.
My law firm, Shutts & Bowen, was 15 attorneys in Miami when I started. As it has grown to 175 attorneys in seven cities, I helped and learned by serving on many committees and being elected to the Executive and Distribution committees.
I am currently an elected member of the Dade County Bar Association, serving my fourth three-year term. During these 12 years, I was elected three times for five years as the sole Dade County Bar Association delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates. Therein, I voted on the most important issues and problems facing our profession.
I have served as president of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association, director of the Dade County Defense Bar Association, director of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, officer and director of the national Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, and continue as a member of all these legal organizations.
This trial, teaching, law firm, and Bar association work has provided the background and diversity for me to help solve the problems facing our Bar. As a senior attorney I can devote the time necessary to ably represent you.
Perhaps most importantly, I want to represent you because I love the profession and consider it a high honor to be a lawyer. I want to raise our image in the public's eye, as it deserves to be. Lawyers should be protected from unfair criticism and unwarranted attack. The pro bono work we do needs to be adequately publicized. Our service in our towns, civic associations, and governments should be emphasized. The services and benefits of the Bar need to be enhanced and utilized.
I want to listen to your ideas, promote the concepts that are important to you, and be a representative you can be proud of. This is an opportunity to elect a proven leader at a time when our Bar may benefit most. I thank you for your consideration and hope to have the chance to serve you. I will be available to you every day to hear your views. Thank you for this privilege.
The Florida Bar asked candidates for seats on the Board of Governors to submit a platform statement for their candidacy to be printed in the February 1, 2006, edition of the Florida Bar News. It is my pleasure to do so. I would also like to tell you a little about my background before discussing the platform.
I've been a member of The Florida Bar since April, 1998. Prior to that, I practiced in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. I received my undergraduate degree in business from the University of Pennsylvania, and obtained a J.D. from Temple University in 1984. After graduating from law school and taking the bar, I received a Masters in Taxation from New York University in 1986. I worked several years as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service before entering a solo practice in Philadelphia. I moved permanently to Miami Beach in 1997, and sat for the bar in February 1998. It was quite the challenge taking the bar again 14 years after graduating law school. I've worked at several offices since joining The Florida Bar including those of Robin Weiner, Chapter 13 Trustee, Ritter & Zaretsky, The Barthet Firm (twice), Weiss and Handler, and Berman Rennert. Of late, I have had the pleasure to publish numerous articles in the Florida Bar Journal and American Bankruptcy Institute Journal. For those who have not yet published, I would encourage them strongly to do so. It is an all around "feel good" experience.
I'm running for a seat on the Board of Governors to promote excellence and fulfillment for lawyers in their practice of the law. Like a good many other members of the bar, there have been aspects of my practice that have been absolutely exhilarating. On the other end of the spectrum, there have been times where it has been difficult to say the least. I believe we all could use some guidance to help us achieve the level of self-actualization that we are entitled to in this demanding profession. Simply put, the practice of law can be a tough field. Unfortunately, the level of dissatisfaction among lawyers is too high. However, we all have had those moments in our careers when something ignited a spark. Maybe it was that great oral argument, or that perfect agreement, a masterpiece of a brief, or even a telephone call where we said just the right thing to our client. Each of us has unique talents that can be developed further. We need to recapture those areas of our practice that inspired us to become lawyers. I believe everybody who is a member of the bar should have the opportunity to consult with expert counselors to help us make our practice more fulfilling and a better overall experience. If elected to the Board of Governors, I will endeavor to establish an office at the Bar dedicated the helping lawyers actualize their individual potential in their practice of the law.
In closing, I want to extend my appreciation to my fellow members of the Bar for giving me this opportunity. I feel honored to be running with the other candidates for this seat--Ramon A. Abadin and Richard M. Leslie--both of whom are eminently qualified. It is a privilege to be considered for this position. Thank you.
11th Circuit, Seat 5
I am running for the Board of Governors, Seat 5, for the 11th Judicial Circuit.
Over the past 20 years, I have devoted thousands of hours to serving The Florida Bar, Dade County Bar and my community. The abbreviated resume below illustrates some of this service and my dedication to our profession.
My primary commitments are to the statewide professionalism movement, independence of the judiciary, and to diversity in our profession. Each of these areas is a major priority of the Bar, vital to the continued growth of our profession, and I am ready to continue devoting my energies to these important causes.
It would be an honor to continue my service as a governor, and I ask for your vote and support. Thank you.
Program Chair, The Stephen R. Covey Professionalism Program for Lawyers, Judges and Staff, March 11, 1999 (introduced Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to the legal community through a unique professionalism program. Attended by 750).
Program Chair, The Stephen R. Covey Professionalism Program for Lawyers, Judges and Staff, Part II, January 7, 2005 (re-introduced Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 8th Habit, From Effectiveness to Greatness, to the legal community through a unique professionalism program. Attended by 600).
Program Chair, Retirement Celebration, Third District Court of Appeal Judges, October 29, 2004 (celebrating the service of Robert L. Shevin, Marlo P. Goderich and Alan R. Schwartz. Attended by 700).
Program Chair, Tribute to Senator Bob Graham, April 13, 2005 (celebrating the service of Senator Graham, author of Intelligence Matters. Attended by 250).
Program Chair, Tribute to David Boies, February 17, 2005 (introduced trial lawyer David Boles, author of Courting Justice, to the legal community. Attended by 300).
The Florida Bar
Standing Committee on Professionalism Chair, July 1, 2004-June 30, 2005 Member, July 1, 2000-
Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
Member, July 1, 2004- Diversity Subcommittee, 2005- Budget Subcommittee, 2005-
Supreme Court Commissioned Professionalism Committee, 11th Judicial Circuit
Dade County Bar Association
Board of Directors, 1997-June 10, 2005
Dade County Trial Lawyers Association
Board of Directors, 1992-1999
Association of Trial Lawyers of America
Young Lawyers Division Chair, 1995-1996
Board of Governors, 1996-1998
Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers
Young Lawyers Section Chair, 1994-1995
Board of Directors, 1993-2003
Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory, Hollywood, Florida, a United States Department of Education "Recognized School of Excellence"
Chair, Board of Trustees, April 15, 2000-September 13, 2003
Member, Board of Trustees, 1998-September 13, 2003
Cuban American Bar
Florida Association for Women Lawyers
Haitian Lawyers Association
Miami Beach Bar
Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr., Bar
St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church, Member, Church Council
Martindale-Hubbell "AV" Rated
South Florida Legal Guide, 2005, 2006--"Top Lawyer"--Civil Trial Practice
Florida Trend's Legal Elite, 2005--Top 1.7% of Florida Lawyers--Civil Trial Practice
Robert J. Fiore, P.A.
February 1, 1998--
Russomanno, Fiore & Borrello, EA.
Partner, September 1, 1996 to January 31,1998
Floyd, Pearson, Richman, Greer, Weil, Brumbaugh & Russomanno, P.A.
Associate, May, 1986 to August 31, 1996
Though I was born in the United States, I lived from infancy in Peru and came to Miami Beach when I was almost four with my mother, who was raised in Peru, and sister, a native of Peru. From my earliest memory in this community, my mother worked as a legal secretary. As a child, I was nurtured to not only respect and admire lawyers but to also respect the law. I think I wanted to be a lawyer from when I was the age of reason. My mother looked up to lawyers and the good works that they did in our society and that is what I wanted to do.
As a young lawyer I was pleased to practice as an assistant federal public defender in this district representing those who could not afford counsel. I then entered private practice. I have practiced primarily criminal defense and tax controversy for over 20 years with my partner Alan Weisberg, who has always shown me that a lawyer may practice law successfully with a "strong moral compass" and with involvement in the community.
Having an understanding colleague has permitted me to quench my thirst for bar and community activities through my involvement in the Young Lawyers Section of the local bar and later as president of the Dade County Bar Association and then as president of the South Florida Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. I was fortunate to serve as a member of the Judicial Nominating Commission for this circuit and as a member of a grievance committee. I was humbled to be honored as attorney of the year by the Tallahassee-based Florida Law Related Education Association and to receive the Richard Milstein Pro Bono Excellence Award by "Put Something Back."
Outside of bar activities I was honored by the Ronald McDonald House as one of its Twelve Good Men for 2003, and in the past was pleased to serve for years on the Dade Heritage Trust Board. Currently I am Florida chair of the Anti-Defamation League, a human relations organization whose anti-bias training and work in the civil rights arena has been acclaimed internationally.
Because my family was prescient and lucky enough to leave Europe for South America the same year that Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, I have always believed in the importance of not only the rule of law but also that the law must be mindful of our humanity and be respectful of the human condition. The only political engine created which I believe comes closest to fulfilling this ideal is our representative democracy.
It is through the independence of the American lawyer and the separation of powers that our system remains legitimate. We have a duty, as wars are fought worldwide to help foment democracy to remain ever vigilant to protect ours. Were I honored to serve as a member of the Board of Governors, I would remain steadfast in advocating for the independence of our Bar and for the working lawyer.
Hello! I am Evan Marks and I am running for a seat on the Board of Governors. I am 46 years old, I have been practicing law since 1981 and I am the father of four children. I practice law with my wife, Carolyn West, in our firm, Marks & West, P.A. We are AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and we have two associates. Our law practice is primarily marital and family law and I am board certified in that area. Last year I was the chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar.
The main reason that I want to he elected to the Board of Governors is to give a voice to groups that I feel have been under-represented. Having always practiced in a small firm, I feel that I am best suited to express the needs of the small firm practitioner. As a family lawyer I believe that I am best suited to express the needs of the family bar. As a Florida Bar section member, I believe that I am best suited to express the needs of the sections of The Florida Bar. My experience last year sitting on The Florida Bar's Special Commission on Lawyer Regulation gave me insight to the needs of lawyers who are going through the disciplinary process. I have also served in the past as the president of Inn North Dade Bar Association and the president of the First Family Law American Inn of Court. I currently serve on The Florida Bar's Legal Needs of Children Committee and the Supreme Court's Committee on Children and Families in the Courts.
As the chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar last year, I faced a number of complex and controversial issues which I addressed head on. That is the way I am. As a member of the Board of Governors, I intend to do the same. We need to change the way the Board of Governors decides whether to take a stand on an issue as the existing standard is arbitrary and subjective. We need to improve our outreach to all Florida Bar members. We need to develop a strong public relations campaign. As an organization, The Florida Bar needs to go from being reactive to proactive. I feel that I am best suited to take on these challenges.
If I am elected I will attend the meetings, solicit advice and opinions from my constituents, and work hard to support the changes as set forth above. I have strong opinions but an open mind. I hope that you will vote for me.
I have practiced law in Dade County for more than 30 years. I am board certified, and I have had a broad range of trial experience, concentrating in the last 20 years in eminent domain. I have served as chair and vice chair of The Florida Bar Eminent Domain Committee at various times. I have written portions of two chapters in several editions of Eminent Domain Practice and Procedure published by The Florida Bar, and I have lectured on various issues in eminent domain. I have been a partner in the firms of Kelly Black Black Earle & Patchen, P.A. and Earle & Patchen, P.A., and since my partner's retirement, I am a sole practitioner. I am a graduate of The University of Michigan and The University of Michigan Law School.
I will work to support those issues which enhance the respect of the public for the legal profession. In particular, I will work to reduce or eliminate the current political practice of attacking the legal profession, particularly the trial bar. Neither political party should posture as either friend or foe of the legal profession for political gain. Our profession protects all people without regard to any other consideration. I also believe that the public perception that attorneys' fees are too high is wrong, especially when compared to other occupations and professions over the last 30 years. A better argument could be made that legal fees are too low, in particular when consideration is given to the responsibilities undertaken by lawyers. I shall work to see that the legal profession keeps pace with the 21st century while preserving the ethical and professional principles that should always be our guide.
I am asking for your support. I am in the race for Seat 5 of the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar to represent the 11th Circuit, Miami-Dade County. I am eminently qualified to serve. As the only woman and minority candidate, I need your vote and your input to succeed and win the seat. I promise you that I will represent your interests and make a difference for you.
My service commitment to Florida lawyers through The Florida Bar runs deep at the local and statewide levels. I've served as statewide president of The Florida Bar's Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors and led more than 20,000 lawyers in Florida. As president, I held a voting seat on the Board of Governors, served on board committees, and represented young lawyers on the Executive Committee of the board. I've produced and managed significant budgets, fully participated in board meetings, understood the increasing complexity of issues facing our legal community, and developed the capacity to perform the breadth and depth of work required at the board level.
I've practiced law for almost 17 years in several areas of litigation for law firms and corporations. Many of my friends are lawyers and I've worked with lawyers on Bar committees from every imaginable practice area. Listening to lawyers and identifying their issues of concern is important and I am acutely aware of many of the issues we face as lawyers, including the following:
1. To preserve the independence of the judiciary,
2. To enhance and provide even greater benefits to all Florida's lawyers,
3. To continue and to improve upon the Bar's diversity initiatives and to increase benefits and available resources for women and minorities,
4. To continue to explore waiver or forgiveness of continually escalating student loans and other innovative ways to allow new lawyers to consider developing their careers with lessened concern for salary and essentially broaden their choices of employment,
5. To be vigilant about access to the courts due to reduced funding.
As a trial lawyer, I have been a zealous advocate for my clients. As president of the young lawyers I was the voice for young lawyers in the state. I promise to show the same zeal in representing you on the Board of Governors. I greatly appreciate your consideration and thank you for your support.
15th Circuit, Seat 3
Scott G. Hawkins
"Accountability," while an over-used term, is critical when weighing a lawyer's responsibilities to clients, colleagues, and our profession. Accountability is especially important when considering The Florida Board of Governors.
For years, many have decried a decline in professionalism, a worsening of lawyer behavior. Since being elected to the Board of Governors in 2004, I have been troubled by serious grievances brought before me as a designated reviewer. There is a perceived lack of accountability. Some lawyers choose to behave unethically, assuming they will not get caught. While most are highly ethical, there is a persistent problem, which erodes confidence. Two judges recently commented they no longer refer matters to the grievance committee--a process they consider ineffective. If judges sense this problem, no wonder there is public criticism. The notion that the Bar does not properly self-regulate contributes to the legislature's recurring effort to supplant the Florida Supreme Court in regulating lawyers.
The Board of Governors is responsible to provide ethical leadership that represents the entire profession--to make decisions as a body that advance the profession and improve services. Whether encouraging diversity, expediting grievances, ensuring fiscal accountability, or simplifying lawyer regulation, the board should, in all respects, act decisively to increase ethical behavior.
On the board, I have been effective in building consensus and challenging conventional thinking to improve our Bar's reputation and services. I am grateful for prior opportunities and emphasize the following:
Experience: For 19 months, I have served on the Board of Governors and on its Budget, Disciplinary Procedures, and Judicial Independence committees, and, in doing so, have confronted many difficult issues. I was involved in restructuring the budget process to improve financial accountability, in clarifying responsibilities of board members in the grievance process, and in studying judicial independence. I am committed to ensuring Florida's judiciary remains independent of the other branches of government. My experience extends beyond the Bar. For three years, I was president of the Children's Place and Connor's Nursery, a home which cares for children who have been abused or diagnosed with HIV. Working with families from diverse backgrounds, I engaged in a critical role lawyers fulfill--providing a voice and supporting the less fortunate.
Perspective: I was president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, president of its Young Lawyers Division, and chaired its Revitalization Committee which restructured bar elections to encourage diversity and to build relations with lawyers across the county. Working with a diverse group, the committee transformed the election process, which led to greater board diversity and enhanced relations with the South County Bar Association. Because of my Bar and community service, I received The Florida Bar YLS "Most Productive Young Lawyer" award. Board Certified in Business Litigation and AV rated, I have been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Florida Trend and South Florida Legal Guide.
It is a privilege to be a member of Board of Governors. t request your support of my re-election. Thank you.
I am honored to be a member of The Florida Bar and would consider it a privilege to serve as a representative of the 15th Judicial Circuit on the Board of Governors.
As a board certified Civil Trial Lawyer, former assistant state attorney, and criminal defense attorney, I have experienced the challenges facing the practice of law from multiple perspectives. As a result, I am confident I have the experience and vision to successfully serve the diverse interests of The Florida Bar while at the same time promoting the integrity of the Bar as a whole. Three issues I feel significantly impact all of us are: ensuring the independence of the judiciary; establishing diversity throughout the practice of law; and, continuing to promote integrity and professionalism within our profession. It is my desire to be an effective advocate for you on the Board of Governors.
In my 16 years of practice in Palm Beach County, service to my profession and my community has been an integral part of my career. I have had the privilege to serve as President (2005), Treasurer (2003) and Secretary (2002), for the Palm Beach County Trial Lawyers Association, having served on the Board of Directors since 1998. I was also fortunate enough to serve on the Florida Bar Board of Governors Young Lawyers Division, serving on numerous committees for four years (1996-2000). In addition, I am currently devoting considerable time and energy to the Palm Beach County Bar Association Diversity Committee. This has been a truly gratifying experience in which we are creating opportunities for minority law students to gain work experience and develop important relationships at prestigious law firms through the Minority Internship Initiative.
My years of public service have also extended into the community with my service on the Board of Directors of the Urban League and the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County as well as Cafe Joshua, all groups that assist individuals in bettering their lives through educational and vocational opportunities.
To date, I have received the endorsement of more than 500 attorneys in all areas of practice throughout the 15th Judicial Circuit. I am truly grateful to all of you who will demonstrate your confidence in my ability to represent your interests by voting for me in March 2006. If I am privileged enough to serve as your representative, I will bring my passion and commitment to the Board of Governors.
20th Circuit, Seat 1
Service. Commitment. Representation. That is my pledge to the lawyers in the 20th Judicial Circuit if I have the opportunityto serve you on the Board of Governors.
Service. Some of you know me as an active member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar. During 2004-2005, I had the privilege of serving as chair of that section. During my eight years on that section's Executive Committee, I served the members of that section in various offices and capacities. I worked with staff at The Florida Bar and members of the Board of Governors on many issues. I served that section by appearing at meetings of the Board of Governors and working with the Bar staff. My service to our profession will continue with the same untiring efforts on the Board of Governors.
Commitment. When accepting opportunities to serve our profession, I have taken those commitments seriously. Whether it was responding to Bar leadership and Governor Bush's office regarding hurricane issues, assisting Dudley Goodlette and other members of the legislature with responses on pending bills, or encouraging voluntary bar participation throughout the state, I was committed to the objective at hand. My commitment to our profession will continue on the Board of Governors.
Representation. The lawyers in the 20th Judicial Circuit deserve effective and active representation on the Board of Governors. You also should expect your Board of Governors' representative to be accessible and .responsive. I look forward to providing that kind of representation.
About Me. My law practice began in Miami in 1984. After receiving my LL.M. in estate planning from the University of Miami in 1987, my wife, Laurie, and I moved to Naples. My law practice continues to be based in Naples and focuses solely on trusts and estates related matters. I am a sole practitioner with a supportive family and dedicated staff that allows me to participate in professional activities which I believe are important.
In addition to my service in the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, I have also chaired the Collier County Bar Association's Trust and Estate Section and the Fiduciary Income Tax Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. I have served as vice chair of one of the Bar's grievance committees for the 20th Judicial Circuit. I have been a frequent speaker throughout the state to lawyers on probate, estate planning and trust issues. Since 1988, I have been board certified by The Florida Bar as a Wills, Trusts and Estates attorney.
I would appreciate your vote for Laird A. Lile for the 20th Judicial Circuit on the Board of Governors. Service. Commitment. Representation.
J. Christopher Lombardo
It is with great pleasure that I request the members of the 20th Judicial Circuit to re-elect me as their representative to The Florida Bar Board of Governors. I have enjoyed my service for the past four years as I have enjoyed my varied Bar service over the last 22 years. I have practiced in Southwest Florida since 1983 and have long history of Bar service. Service to the Bar is very fulfilling and great way to participate in the evolution of our profession. Besides my service on the Board of Governors, I served as a representative on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors for eight years (two of those years as an officer), co-chaired the Gender Bias Commission, co-chaired the Equal Opportunity Commission and participated in a variety of Bar committees and projects. I had the pleasure of chairing the 1999 Florida Bar Annual Meeting (the 50th Anniversary) which was tremendously successful and despite the hard work, truly a fun job.
In my years of service I have met and worked with an incredible array of outstanding members of our Bar, who possess great passion and commitment to our Bar. I have also had the honor of working with the staff of The Florida Bar and can tell you that our Bar staff is exceptional. The Florida Bar has served as national leader in developing new programs to assist our growing membership. We have seen the advent of sophisticated information systems, more streamlined CLE programs, and encouragement of lawyers to participate in our communities.
As a member of the Board of Governors, I have experienced serving as the lone voice in opposition to the majority, only to be amazed at our board's ability to carefully and considerately debate thorny issues to appropriate conclusions. Sometimes I persuaded the board to agree, sometimes not, but always I walked away with a sense of pride and accomplishment because of our board's ability to consider varied opinions without prejudice or malice. The Board of Governors is made up of dedicated individuals of whom each of us should be proud.
If the circuit sees fit to elect me to one more term, I commit that I will not run again, as I feel it is important to have change in the board so the opinions and concepts expressed and developed by the board remain fresh and current. I intend to continue with my campaign to encourage the board and the Bar in general to be more proactive with regard to proposed Florida constitutional amendments and promoting a review of the amendment procedure. While I believe that Florida is progressive in its legislative practices, the constitutional amendment procedures have created a Florida Constitution that is burdened with matters that really should be addressed statutorily.
I also intend continue my involvement with the Disciplinary Review Committee, as it is one of the most important aspects of service on the Board of Governors. In my years on the board I have tried to assemble a good, balanced committee that takes those responsibilities seriously. I have encouraged our grievance committees to be just and fair in their assessments so that the interests of the public are balanced appropriately against the interests of lawyers and given due consideration to the overall impact on the Bar. I have consistently advocated the Bar take this charge seriously even when expense is high. I feel this charge is critical as the public needs to understand that we will always regulate in a manner that is strong yet compassionate. If we do otherwise we will not be able to defend a push to have us regulated by the DBPR, which in my eyes will not serve the Bar or the public as well.
I enjoy Bar service, I enjoy being a lawyer and regardless of the outcome of this election thank each one of the members of the 20th Circuit for the opportunity to serve and look forward to one more term.
Out of State Seat 4
In 2000, at the age of 28, I was honored to become the youngest person ever elected to the Florida Bar Board of Governors. I was re-elected in 2002 and 2004, and during my tenure I have worked to be an accessible and dedicated advocate for out-of-state Bar members. I ask for your vote so that I may continue to be your voice on the board.
Out-of-state members need a representative who knows the needs of nonresident lawyers--and who knows the state of Florida. I grew up in Ocala, Florida, and attended both college and law school at the University of Horida, where I represented over 40,000 students as UF's student body president. While I have practiced commercial litigation with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan in Atlanta, since graduating in 1997, I maintain many close ties to Horida, serving on UF's law school Alumni Council and traveling to Florida regularly both for work and to visit family and friends.
Over the past six years, I have worked hard as your advocate to improve the Bar's services to you. Since 2000, I have served on the Out-of-State Division's Executive Council. I have also served as the Bar's Disciplinary Review Committee as co-chair, Rules Committee as vice chair, and Out-of-State Pro Bono Award as chair.
One of my main goals on the board has been improvements to the Bar's Web site and other technological advancements that benefit our members. I have vigorously supported features that permit you to vote, pay dues, check CLE records, update personal information, order products, and apply for committees online, all of which are available today. I also supported implementation of the fastcase service, which enables you to conduct Florida legal research free of charge. I will continue to support these types of technological improvements that benefit all Bar members.
In addition, I have actively opposed efforts to implement rule changes that would be detrimental to out-of-state members, including proposals that would make it more difficult for out-of-state members to become board certified. I will continue to work with the Bar's leadership to ensure that the voices of out-of-state members are heard.
My board experience, dedication, and enthusiasm will be valuable to the out-of-state members as the board makes important decisions that affect all Florida lawyers, regardless of location. In the coming months, the Bar plans to consider a comprehensive overhaul of the Bar's disciplinary system, and continues to review the recent changes to the multijurisdictional practices rules. In addition, the Bar will consider changes to internet advertising rules, which will have unique implications for out-of-state lawyers who are also governed by the rules of their home states' bars.
Living in Atlanta gives me the advantage of being in close proximity to Florida, and I will always be available to discuss any concerns that you may have. I believe that I have been a strong and effective leader for the out-of-state members for the past six years, and I hope you will give me the privilege to serve you for another term.
The out-of-state circuit has enjoyed a tradition of excellent representation on the Board of Governors (BOG). Serving as a nonresident BOG requires deep understanding of nonresident lawyer's concerns, leadership by collaboration, and aggressive, dedicated advocacy to represent all Florida lawyers. I have the experience, work ethic and broad based support to fulfill these high standards. I am honored having received support and endorsement from seven presidents of the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors (YLDBOG), Out-of-State Practitioners Division (OOSPD) members, and many lawyers nationwide.
For those who do not already know me, The Florida Bar has played a large role in my life. I proposed to my wonderful wife Susan during a Florida/Florida State football game in Tallahassee while I was serving on the YLDBOG. Our two children Eric II (3 years) and Carl (18 months) have attended many Bar functions in Florida. I am additionally admitted by Ohio, Illinois, U.S. Supreme Court; and am a CPA/MBA.
I have devoted thousands of hours to The Florida Bar and am fortunate to serve as the current OOSPD president where I continue to work closely with the BOG. I am a strong proponent of vision and change, while I am mindful of the importance of maintaining a historical perspective. I am proud of my accomplishments on behalf of the OOSPD, including but not limited to:
* Upgrading the division's Web site to allow searching for attorneys by practice area and state licenses. This will help out-of-state attorneys comply with the new inventory attorney rule and to give/receive referrals.
* Creating an award for attorneys practicing 50 years in any combination of states. These awards will be presented during a special lunch co-hosted with the YLD.
* Hosting Division's first Internet-based CLE.
Additionally, I served two years as OOSPD president-elect and five years on the YLDBOG. I have developed strong relationships with a great group of Florida lawyers throughout Florida and nationwide. Before starting my own firm in Cincinnati, I worked for a large firm's national corporate tax consulting team. In nearly seven years, I logged about 700,000 airline miles while working in Atlanta, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Tampa, and other interesting cities. I managed fees over $20 million, and supervised work during a $51 billion transaction (largest cablevision deal at its time).
My primary commitments are to:
* Enhance Bar Programs & Benefits. Continue to enhance Florida Bar programs and benefits that have distinguished this Bar from others around the country.
* Promote Inclusiveness. Strive to make the entire Bar more inclusive of our nonresident diverse membership, especially by reaching out to OOS members who feel disenfranchised. It is imperative we invigorate these members to present a unified force to ensure continuance of our independence.
* Maintain Independence. Uphold our judicial system independence, fairness, and impartiality.
I ask for your support to continue serving as an advocate the for nonresident Florida lawyers. Please vote for Eric Meeks, Out-of-State Circuit when you receive your ballots. Please contact me to further discuss any issue (513)-826-0229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Publication:||Florida Bar News|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2006|
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