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Heather Quick

Bar Bulletin: Judicial Relations Committee is active

By Heather Quick, The JBA Judicial Relations Committee Co-Chair

As we approach the summer, it is hard to believe the year is half over.

With longer days and summer vacations, there can be a tendency to slow down. I suggest we all use this time to evaluate the goals made back in January.

Summer is a good time to re-energize ourselves and look for fresh ways to achieve those goals, rather than in December when the likelihood is much less.

The Judicial Relations Committee set goals this past year to increase events with the judiciary and thus far, has achieved great success. In the past, once the summer began, there were not many scheduled events through the JBA. Not this year.

We are kicking off the summer with the inaugural Summer Judicial Reception and Swearing-In Ceremony. On Tuesday, everyone is invited to the reception in the Wells Fargo Center lobby.

This is a free event to all JBA members and will allow you to meet the new officers and congratulate them as they take office as well as to show our appreciation for the past year’s leaders.

It also will be an opportunity for attorneys to visit with the judiciary in an informal setting. In the JBA’s continuing effort to support Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Association, a $20 donation is suggested at the door and may even get you a winning raffle ticket.

As excited as we are about the summer, it is a great time to look at what this committee has accomplished since last fall.

Under the professionalism section, the committee serves to increase opportunities for practicing attorneys to interact with the judiciary. We believe more occasions for lawyers to interact with one another, as well as the judiciary will produce a higher the level of professionalism in all the participants.

The stress of adversarial litigation can lead to lapses in judgment and, at times, undesirable behavior. Events that increase informal interaction between attorneys and judges allow a professional interaction where we can get to know one another and network with each other, while providing the judges an opportunity to get to know the attorneys on a personal level.

The benefits are a genuine camaraderie and an opportunity for fellow attorneys to build relationships that can transcend individual cases.

Increased professionalism can only occur with increased knowledge and skills in our designated practice areas. When the sidebar luncheons with the judiciary were created in 2007, they offered an opportunity for the judges to address a large group of attorneys on practice area specifics.

This has continued and grown over the years to provide federal magistrate sidebar luncheons and family law general magistrate sidebars for attorneys. This past year, the criminal court judges, family law judges and county judges participated in organized sidebar luncheons.

To continue ramping up the summer, there will be a Civil Judges Sidebar Luncheon on June 19. As several judges have committed to attend, this should not be missed by any attorney practicing civil litigation.

Just when you thought we couldn’t do any more over the hot summer months, we have an amazing 1st District Court of Appeal Appellate Sidebar Luncheon scheduled for July 22 in the jury assembly room. This event will be a must-attend for all litigators and appellate attorneys.

Attorneys will have an opportunity to learn practice and procedural tips firsthand from a distinguished panel of 1st DCA and 5th DCA appellate judges. I guarantee that if you do not attend these events, your next opponent probably will, and will thus have an intellectual advantage over those who miss.

The committee comprises several attorneys and judges from various practice areas that provide great collaboration in creating and facilitating these events.

Our chair, Bruce Maxwell, has had such a great vision for all we could do this year, and the committee will continue to meet this summer to get a jumpstart on the fall events that will continue to provide opportunities for growth, and increase the level of professionalism in our local community practice of law.

Heather Quick is with The Quick Law Group.

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