Elizabeth Ferguson says she will oversee growth and evolution.
If you ask attorney Elizabeth Ferguson how she came to be elected president of the Jacksonville Bar Association for 2019-20, she’ll rewind the story about 17 years.
Born and raised in Walla Walla, Washington, Ferguson went to law school at Indiana University.
In 2002, her third year in law school, she visited her brother in Jacksonville for spring break.
Already on the path to a career in construction law, she knew there weren’t many opportunities in that field if she went home to Walla Walla, so “I set up some job interviews just to see what would happen,” Ferguson said.
What happened was a job offer from a Jacksonville firm.
“Four or five days after I graduated from law school, I filled up my Honda and moved here,” Ferguson said.
She doesn’t recall exactly how she became a member of the JBA, but the credit likely goes to her first colleagues.
“I think they just signed me up,” Ferguson said.
Becoming involved with the association’s Young Lawyers Section gave her a way to meet people in the legal community that she worked with, but didn’t really know.
“The opportunities I had through YLS to meet other attorneys, the judges and judicial staff were invaluable. I’ve met some of my best friends through the JBA,” Ferguson said.
She is a partner at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin.
As she advanced through the YLS board and then, in 2012, was elected to the JBA’s board of governors, the benefits of membership in the association became more evident.
“It makes law practice more enjoyable. The law is a profession. We should want the best for our profession and for it to be seen in a positive way,” Ferguson said.
As her year as president begins, Ferguson plans to maintain the priorities that have been established by her predecessors.
“I don’t think there should be a big agenda from a new president. It’s more important for our goals to be consistent year to year, like increased membership and better membership benefits,” she said.
Based on member feedback, Ferguson and the board will be evaluating the programs and services the association offers.
“We’ll improve what we want to keep, we’ll get rid of what’s not working and we’ll be trying a couple of new things,” she said.
“This isn’t about me. It’s about moving the JBA forward. Growing and evolving.”