Valeen Hyde is a member of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division board of governors and the Jacksonville Bar Association Young Lawyers Section board of governors.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? I am a first-generation lawyer. After high school, I moved to Manhattan where I took a trademarks and copyright class that exposed me to the legal profession. I realized that law touches every aspect of our lives. My experience living in New York inspired me to pursue law school.
Someone who inspires me: My mother, Julie. Despite facing many challenges throughout the years, she keeps smiling and maintains a positive attitude. As my family continues to grow, I have a new appreciation for all that my mother kept together.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? Studying criminology as an undergrad helps me understand why and how someone reached a decision, whether legal or illegal. The training has helped me connect with clients and handle sensitivities.
How did you decide your practice area? I love problem-solving individually and as a team. Civil litigation presents the opportunity for both.
Other than technology, what has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? Florida is beginning to adopt the federal standards of law. This has been on the horizon for some time, but now it is happening.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? I think some remote hearings, depositions and trials will become the norm rather than the exception.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would . . . Increase access to justice. Most people will need an attorney at some point in their lives. Supporting legal aid organizations and pro bono opportunities will help provide access to justice.
What community service have you pursued and why that? I serve on The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division board of governors to provide resources to more than 26,000 young lawyers across the state. I also serve on the Jacksonville Bar Association Young Lawyers board of governors. Through these organizations, I work with attorneys and community leaders to provide pro bono services, resources for attorneys’ physical and mental health and charitable donations.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Listen to advice from more senior attorneys in different practice areas. They tend to do things a certain way for a reason, likely because they have already made that mistake or learned that lesson. When you learn why something has been done a certain way, you can then suggest more thoughtful changes and progress together.
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