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FLABOTA presents awards: Judge Schlesinger, Cole, and Milton honored.

The Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates selected U.S. District Court Judge Harvey E. Schlesinger of Jacksonville as its Jurist of the Year, and Robert A. Cole of Jacksonville as Trial Lawyer of the Year.

Both were honored during FLABOTA's annual awards banquet in Palm Coast. Also this year, FLABOTA bestowed a new award, the Fran Peacock Coker FLABOTA Community Service Award, which was presented to Joseph P. Milton of Jacksonville.

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"Judge Schlesinger and Bob Cole have made significant contributions to improve Florida's system of justice, not just this year, but throughout their careers," said Joshua A. Whitman of Jacksonville, president of FLABOTA. "They each have made a profound impact on the profession, and in their respective communities."

In nominating Schlesinger, Charles Sorenson, president of the Jacksonville chapter, said: "Judge Schlesinger has been a great friend to the Jacksonville ABOTA chapter for many years and is a staunch supporter of the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury. Judge Schlesinger is universally respected, liked, and admired by the trial bar in the Middle District of Florida."

Cole was recognized for over 30 years of service as a lawyer, including 17 as a member of ABOTA. At the local chapter level he has been active, serving as president in 2001, and since then as the chapter representative to the FLABOTA board. He will serve as president of FLABOTA in 2011.

"He is considered a tough lawyer, but he practices fairly and honestly," said Charles Sorenson, in his nomination letter.

Outside the courtroom, Cole devotes considerable time to civic activities with the Jacksonville University Council, Baptist Health Foundation, March of Dimes, Arlington Little League, Arlington United Methodist Church, and the Board of Directors of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Florida.

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Established in March 2006 in memory of Fran Peacock Coker, the wife of 1997 FLABOTA President Howard Coker, the new award was created to recognize Fran Coker's tireless devotion and accomplishments in the area of children's literacy, an issue important to the administration of justice and preservation of trial by jury. Milton recently concluded a two-year term as president of the ABOTA Foundation, which conducts educational programs for the legal profession and for America's youth.

Howard Coker said that during Milton's presidency, the ABOTA Foundation experienced unprecedented growth and progress, raising over $600,000 from ABOTA members and various institutional donors. That effort provided funds for its youth education program known as Justice By the People, and is teaching tens of thousands of school children throughout the nation the advantages and virtues of trial by jury. Also during Milton's term, the foundation was a principal sponsor for an international conference in Latvia, resulting in fundamental changes, including enforceable ethical standards for both lawyers and judges in that country.

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Title Annotation:Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates honors Harvey E. Schlesinger, Robert A. Cole, and Joseph P. Milton
Publication:Florida Bar News
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:466
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