My fellow Jacksonville Bar Association members, I come to you this time as a lame-duck president but steadfast in commitment and duty.
This is the 11th article I’ve drafted as the president of The Jacksonville Bar Association and my final in that capacity.
By far this has been the hardest article to write. This year has been trying but at the same time truly rewarding and satisfying, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve as your president.
At the beginning of the term I came up a list of things I wanted to accomplish.
The plan for the year included major steps for the Bar and novel concepts. There were so many things that I planned to achieve.
Some goals were accomplished, such as having a luncheon to benefit the Clara White Mission and keeping lunches to one hour.
Others were not so easily accomplished, such as hosting a lunch with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and getting that U.S. Supreme Court Justice as a speaker.
Nevertheless, it was a great year, full of extreme demands and great personal satisfaction. I learned a lot about people, how to negotiate difficult obstacles and issues, engaging others to action and cooperation.
I also learned how to manage my most limited resource — time. Balancing time between my Jacksonville Bar Association duties, my practice and my family proved to be the most difficult task of the year.
From attending naturalization ceremonies at the federal courthouse each month, to conducting and attending swearing-in ceremonies and investitures, to hosting the member luncheons and meeting the very interesting and diverse keynote speakers, to emceeing JALA’s Equal Justice Awards and public access television shows to drafting these monthly articles, I have truly enjoyed my time as president of the Jax Bar.
Hosting events and meeting thousands of people during the last year has been exceptional. Working closely with other volunteers to create new events such as the TPC at TPC has been equally rewarding. But all good things (depending upon your point of view) must come to an end.
Just like “The Late Night Show with David Letterman,” Gator Basketball with Billy the Kid, “Glee” (never saw it … really) “Cougar Town” (OK, once), “Mad Men” and Motley Crue (their final tour is called “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” – coincidence?), my time for fun in the sun also has come to an end.
The membership has spoken and new leadership was elected at our Law Day Luncheon and annual meeting Wednesday, May 13 –– at least it wasn’t Friday the 13th.
After the luncheon, featuring a fantastic keynote presentation from American Bar Association President William Hubbard, all of the votes were tallied and your new slate of leaders became official, subject only to swearing in at the JBA spring judicial reception and board swearing-in ceremony to be held at 6 p.m. June 16 at the Wells Fargo Building.
Your new leader is President Giselle Carson, who will be loyally supported by President-elect Geddes Anderson.
The newly elected board includes all of the incumbents that were running for re-election: Katie Dearing, Michael Bateh, Blane McCarthy and Lee Wedekind (s/k/a Lee Hubbard). Each incumbent has served the Bar faithfully for years and I am truly pleased that they were all re-elected.
The lone non-incumbent to be elected is Charles Jimerson. If Charlie’s leadership in organizing and hosting the Ehrlich Seminar this year is any indication, he will fit right in as another great member of the Board of Governors.
Your new president and elected Board of Governors will do an exceptional job guiding the Bar in the coming year.
OK this is it … the last paragraphs of my term. In preparation for this article, I reflected upon prior articles drafted during prior years of service to the Bar. No longer will you have to read my nonsensical articles ranging from fishing in Barataria Bay to gushing about my beautiful wife and kids (in case you were wondering, Cinco was born April 9) to selling The Players.
In my initial article during this fiscal year, I identified several things that I wanted to accomplish and vowed not to “wreck the car.” It was all about the things I wanted to do.
Along the way, I learned that serving as president of The Jacksonville Bar Association is not an “I” thing, but a “we” thing. Not only must it include all of my board members, who spend incredible amounts of time working through the day-to-day responsibilities of running your Bar association, but also the JBA staff, the past presidents and the membership.
While many decisions have to be made quickly and independently, any major decision must be and is vetted by a devoted board that fully discusses and analyzes the pros and cons of any critical decision.
I leaned heavily on past presidents of The Jacksonville Bar Association from whom I gained great insight, direction and support. I am thankful to all for the time devoted selflessly to the good of the Bar.
With great support — even though we had many sharp curves in the road and had to slam on the brakes several times — we didn’t “wreck the car.”
Farewell to all, as president. I look forward to returning to normal Jacksonville Bar Association membership, spending more time with my family and making up for the last year largely spent practicing Bar rather than practicing law.