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Ten Bar employees have 30 or more years on the job: 'the people try to work together for the common good: serving Florida's lawyers'.

Her office was a mop closet complete with sink, when Cheryle Dodd was hired in 1974 at The Florida Bar as an administrative assistant in Membership Records.

Today, she is happy to have a corner office with three windows overlooking green grass and pruned azaleas, and is editor of the Journal & News, where she supervises 10 employees who help publish the Bar's monthly magazine and twice-monthly tabloid newspaper. She remembers the old type-setting days involving painful bums from hot wax to paste the copy in strips, and sections of copy would slip off, fall on the floor and get stuck to the bottom of your shoes.

Paul Hill, hired in 1976, once raced to the Greyhound bus terminal on deadline day to ship boxes of camera-ready layouts and sheets of uncut mailing labels for the Bar News. Now, the paper is sent via computer to the Miami printer. And Hill, first hired as an editor in Legal Publications, then transferred to Journal & News as an associate editor, is the Bar's general counsel, coordinating all nondisciplinary legal matters for the Bar, including the legislative program and governmental affairs activities.

Along the way at the Bar, Hill first met the former Mollie Brown--"that extraordinary, 'unsinkable' woman"--also once a Bar employee, and they have been married since 1980.

Dodd and Hill are among 10 employees who celebrate at least 30 years with the Bar. Together, these Top 10 in Longevity Employees' experience working at the Bar totals 319 years. The others are:

* Wallace Saunders, the longest serving Bar employee hired October 29, 1970, was only 15 when he accepted a part-time and summer job at the Bar, his third job after delivering newspapers and working as a bag boy at a grocery store. He started out mailing CLE legal publications, back in a time when continuing legal education was available only by reading a book and was not mandatory. Now, he's an audio-visual specialist, producing content for CLE tapes that are available on the Web site, too.

* Carol Watson, hired December 16, 1970, began as a typesetter/proofreader and is now production specialist in Legal Publications. She can remember typing everything on a typewriter and using carbon paper for copies.

* Mary Stevens, hired October 2, 1974, as a legal secretary, is now branch office manager for the Lawyer Regulation Department in the Orlando office, supervising nine employees. She recalls the cumbersome process of using microfiche readers for inquiries about attorney membership and discipline history; and using voluntary bar counsel and referees who were attorneys, not judges. Back when she started, there were no branch offices and all statewide complaints were handled by a small department of staff counsel, three or four attorneys, an administrative assistant, two legal secretaries, and several part-time Florida State University law students.

* Jack Reshard, hired February 4, 1975, as a pressman, is now director of the Duplication and Mail Center, overseeing all of Bar printing, binding, mailing, shipping, and receiving. He has witnessed the gradual transformation from offset printing into the digital era of computers, Internet, and e-mail that has decreased print volume from past years.

* Gerry Rose, hired August 18, 1975, as an assistant editor for CLE publications, is now director of the Legal Publications Department, and serves as staff liaison to the Bar's Federal Court Practice Committee and Criminal Procedure Rules Committee, as well as providing staff support to the Supreme Court's Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases. He remembers when all research was done in books, all editing done on paper, and typesetting involved cutting and pasting paper, not clickable commands under "Edit" at the top of the Word computer screen.

* Dan Bennett, hired October 1, 1975, as division director of Finance and Accounting, is now division director of Administration.

* Robert Harding, hired as a part-time mail clerk January 1, 1976, was also teaching a TV production class at Leon County's public library. His Bar career was sparked when he met former Bar Human Resources Director John Rooks, who took his class to learn how to video the Bar's Annual Convention golf tournament. Rooks told Harding that the Bar was on the verge of launching video-recorded CLE seminars, and Harding got the job, where he has remained as AV specialist.

* Lynn Brady was hired July 19, 1976, as a graphic artist/photographer who worked on section publications and prepared appellate case summaries for print. She remembers her drafting table was crowded into a tiny space in the basement, where armed with an Exacto knife and hot wax, she helped put the Bar Journal directory issue together by hand. Now she is the art supervisor who has embraced technology, and she counts among her proudest moments designing the "Kids Deserve Justice" specialty license plate.

What keeps these loyal employees faithful to the Bar?

"I've stayed here so long because it's a good place to work. The people try to work together for the common good: serving Florida's lawyers," said Brady, who said she hopes to "keep having opportunities to create publications that are pleasing to the eye and that serve the Bar well."

"No two days are ever alike and the job is still challenging," answered Stevens.

"Personal and professional fulfillment in what I do, and an enjoyment of the great lawyers whom I serve and the dedicated Bar executives whom I work with," answered Hill. "I have had the benefit of meeting and collaborating with many of the giants of the Florida legal profession, and elsewhere, and with some extremely talented folks who work at our state and local bars."

Dodd, who plans to one day spend a lot of time rocking on the front porch of her family's farmhouse in Mississippi, said, "I shall always consider myself blessed to have experienced the camaraderie of Bar officers and staff and to have provided an accounting of The Florida Bar's involvement in legal reform, service to the public, and the administration of justice."

She recalled the words of former Bar President Miles McGrane, who always said: "Today is a great day to be a Florida lawyer. I am proud to be one. You should be too."

"Well, I'm proud to have served Florida's legal community for 32 years," Dodd said.

Harding remembers when he was still a part-time mail clerk, he noticed a small plaque on the wall at the Bar headquarters.

"I did not realize it at the time, but the plaque inscription was one of the first statements introducing the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. It says, 'The purpose of The Florida Bar is to inculcate in its members the principles of duty and service to the public, to improve the administration of justice, and to advance the science of jurisprudence.' When I read that plaque, I realized that I wanted to be a part of the Bar organization," Harding said.

"I wanted to belong as an employee and to somehow contribute my support of those high standards and goals," Harding said. "Of course, I still support the purpose of the Bar and always will. It's so great to work in an environment where the overwhelming majority of the staff and administration feel the same way."

By Jan Pudlow

Senior Editor
COPYRIGHT 2006 Florida Bar
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Author:Pudlow, Jan
Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Jun 15, 2006
Words:1200
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