Highlights from the first quarter of 2018.
By Tad Delegal
The past two months have been an extraordinary time for The Jacksonville Bar Association. We sometimes don’t take the time to look at everything that we, as a Bar, do for our profession and community, so I thought I would write about just a portion of the events that we have held since Jan. 1.
We started the year off right with a unity event developed by Amber Donley and the D.W. Perkins Bar Association, in which a number of local Bar representatives hosted The Florida Bar President Michael Higer.
In what we hope will be an annual event, we discussed how we can address important race and gender diversity issues and bring together our organizations. We followed up with a successful January luncheon on the (very scary) dark web.
In February, we heard from Kelly Mathis. Many of us had heard about Kelly’s story before and knew that he had been wrongfully charged with a crime when he had done nothing more than represent his client and advance the legal opinion that had been accepted by numerous state and local government attorneys. What we learned at the event, though, was the great sacrifice that Kelly and his family made, risking a career and freedom to advance the principles of our profession and our system of justice.
Kelly turned down numerous settlement offers for minor penalties and insisted that he be vindicated. I’m not sure that I, or most of us, would have had that same courage.
What we further learned during the event was that numerous members of the JBA supported Kelly during those tough days and it was important to recognize those local attorneys, as well as Kelly’s family.
Some of the JBA members who stood up and supported Kelly include Mitch Stone, Mike Lindell, Bruce Stusman, Abe Bateh, Ed Lang, Chris Johns, Curtis Fallgatter, Rut Liles and Hank Coxe. We should be proud of their and Kelly’s commitment.
Duval County Judge Gary Flower’s Professionalism Committee sponsored the Mathis event, and also is active in mentoring young attorneys.
In February, Judge Flower was joined by Poppy Decunto, David Barksdale, Cyndy Trimmer, Jamie Karpman, Jim Nolan and Rob Ellis in meeting with new attorneys to help with navigating practical and ethical issues in our profession.
The mentoring program that folks like Mark Alexander and Circuit Judge Eric Roberson helped develop is going strong, and we are serving young attorneys well with meaningful mentoring.
Recounting the events that the JBA held since the start of the year would take more words than I am permitted. We had great events from the Elder Law Committee, Health Law Committee, Governmental Relations Committee, Estate Planning & Tax Law Committee, among others, and had another outstanding Raymond Ehrlich trial advocacy program.
February’s luncheon involved a panel discussion on the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission, led by Hank Coxe with former American Bar Association President Martha Barnett and University of Florida law professor Mary Adkins.
One of most fun traditions is the Young Lawyers Section Chili Cook-Off. Alex Hill, Alessandro Apolito, Adam Edgecomb and Megan Moon led the largest event ever this year. It raised a lot of money for a good charity and showcased the legal community in a public way at the Riverside Arts Market.
In serving as your JBA president, I get to see all the great stuff that Jacksonville lawyers do for our profession and our community. When we look at the totality of the JBA’s work, we realize the tremendous commitment of our membership and staff. I am truly proud of the work we do, and hope that you are as well.