I recently attended The Florida Bar Annual Convention as one of my first official duties as Jacksonville Bar Association president.
As I hobbled along in my trusty removable cast through the incredibly lengthy hallways of the Gaylord Palms Resort, I ran into the infamous Hank Coxe who promptly welcomed me to the “big leagues.”
One of the many events I attended was the swearing-in ceremony of new officers, which included our very own Michael Fox Orr, the newly elected Young Lawyers Division president.
Later during the ceremony, Greg Coleman, the current Florida Bar president, also was sworn in for his term. Coleman spoke about his goals for association, which include improvement in the areas of e-etiquette, access to courts and technology.
However, by way of analogy he gave his view of the upcoming year as president. He said he envisioned a scenario where Jack Harkness, Florida Bar executive director, took him to the Florida Bar garage to show him the organization’s fancy red sports car.
Coleman would be driving this fancy car for the next year. As he got into the vehicle, Jack handed him the keys and whispered in his ear: “Just don’t wreck it.” This analogy stuck with me.
While my Jacksonville Bar Association car may not be a souped-up red sports car, I will do my best to not wreck, ding or scratch it. That being said, there are certain things I would like for the association to accomplish this year.
Initially, we have established several new board of governor committees to encourage greater participation from all its members. These committees have been staffed by board of governor members and include areas from membership to building a sustainable budget each year.
While these committees will require more work, they are important to the future success of the association.
Another concept is to think outside the box for new luncheon ideas.
We are exploring options with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville Suns, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Clara White Mission.
The goal is to successfully plan and implement at least one outside-the-box luncheon with the dual purpose of fiscal conservatism and increased community involvement.
I am hopeful we will have great participation in these and can continue this practice in the future.
As a side note, we are hopeful that we can arrange for a luncheon with a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. U.S. Rep Ander Crenshaw, our local representative, recently invited the board of governors to a luncheon for a legislative update.
While there, former President Dan Bean was quick to point out we have not had a U.S. Supreme Court Justice since 2000. Crenshaw vowed to try to assist us in securing a visit from one in the coming year.
A final goal for the year is to assist young lawyers. Many lawyers graduating from law school are choosing to start their own solo and small firms.
When I started my legal career, I had great direction from my initial mentor, Mark Arnold, and other senior attorneys at Rogers Towers, such as the late, great Jim McClain.
However, if I had started my own firm as a first-year attorney, I do not know where I would have gone for guidance on the administrative, financial and legal responsibilities of running a law practice.
As one of our many member benefits, The Jacksonville Bar Association has set up a mentoring program to assist young lawyers who would like to have a mentor.
Currently, we have more requests than we have mentors. If you are interested in serving as a mentor to a young lawyer, please contact The Jacksonville Bar Association office or send an email to me at [email protected].
In conclusion, I look forward to this exciting and challenging year — and I won’t wreck the car. Besides, we didn’t budget for the increased insurance premium.