- 2014 - February - 10th -

Your chance to get involved in The Florida Bar: A spotlight on Judicial Nominating Commissions

By Michael Fox Orr, Jacksonville Bar Board of Governors

The Florida Bar has more than 98,000 members.

According to the results of the 2013 Florida Bar membership opinion survey, an astonishing four-fifths (80 percent) of all respondents indicated that they are either rarely involved or not involved at all in various Bar programs, services or activities.

I believe this is roughly the same percentage of Florida Gator fans who I did not hear much from this football season.

Here’s your chance to be involved. Do not miss out on many exciting opportunities for appointment to one of the state’s Judicial Nominating Commissions (“JNCs”).

JNCs are designed to locate, recruit, investigate, and evaluate applicants to fill judicial vacancies within the Florida court system. The JNCs then submit three to six names of the most highly qualified applicants to the governor, who must make a final selection from the list.

There are 27 separate JNCs: one for the Florida Supreme Court; five for each of the district courts of appeal or “appellate districts”; 20 for each circuit court and the county courts contained in that circuit; and one Statewide Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims.

Representing each JNC are nine members: Five members are appointed directly by the governor and the Bar sends nominations to the governor to fill the remaining four spots.

The Florida Bar has the opportunity to nominate six lawyers for each JNC to the governor for his appointment. Each appointee will serve a four-year term, commencing July 1.

Applicants must be engaged in the practice of law and a resident of the territorial jurisdiction served by the commission to which the member is applying. Applicants must comply with state financial disclosure laws.

Commissioners are not eligible for state judicial office for vacancies filled by the JNC on which they sit for two years following completion of their term.

In the Bar’s continuing efforts to increase diversity in our JNC applicants, Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis has extended the deadline to Friday, March 21, 2014.

Please keep in mind that the Bar must send six nominees to the governor for two vacancies on each of the 26 JNCs for a total of 156 names.

There are currently no applicants for the 3rd and 16th Circuits. Additionally, there are less than the minimum six required applicants for the 4th Circuit. Your assistance is needed in helping to recruit qualified and diverse applicants.

We would love to see more nominations from Jacksonville considering the quality of lawyers in our legal community.

More information can be found on The Florida Bar website at floridabar.org.

In the meantime, if you have questions or would like to get involved, please contact one of your Florida Bar board representatives: Grier Wells (grier.wells@gray-robinson.com), Michael Tanner (mtanner@tannersbishoplaw.com) or me (mfo@dawsonorr.com). We look forward to your involvement.

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