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Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 17, 201412:00 PM EST

Platform statements for 4th Circuit Board of Governors candidates


Here are the platform statements for the candidates for The Florida Bar 4th Circuit Board of Governors.

Ballots were mailed about March 1 and must be returned no later than 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Bar members will have the choice of voting by the mailed paper ballot or voting online by following instructions with the mailed ballot.

Fred Douglas Franklin Jr.

Since graduating from the University of Florida College of Law, I have worked to serve both the Jacksonville community and our profession through my involvement in numerous civic and professional organizations.

I now hope to build on this record of service and leadership by serving as your 4th Judicial Circuit representative on The Florida Bar Board of Governors.

Because of my broad-based experience, I bring a fresh perspective that recognizes the needs of all Bar members. As a former assistant state attorney, I understand the challenges faced by prosecutors and public defenders. As a young sole practitioner, I learned firsthand what it takes to run a small law office.

As the general counsel for the City of Jacksonville, I experienced the practice of law from the perspective of both the corporate and municipal lawyer. My many years with the law firm of Rogers Towers have afforded me the opportunity to practice law on a statewide level.

I am also honored to have been recognized as a Florida Super Lawyer, a member of the Florida Trend Legal Elite and a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated lawyer.

If privileged to serve this circuit, I will bring leadership experience to the job. As general counsel for the City of Jacksonville, I was the chief legal officer for Jacksonville’s consolidated government, its independent agencies, and constitutional officers, including the Jacksonville Port Authority, the Jacksonville Electric Authority, the Duval County School Board, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the Clerk of Court.

As managing partner of Rogers Towers, I have led the firm’s expansion, opening three new Florida offices during the most challenging economic period in recent history.

Service on The Florida Bar Grievance Committee for the 4th Judicial Circuit, the Grievance Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Judicial Campaign Practices Commission, and the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 1st District Court of Appeal has given me a unique perspective on many important issues facing our profession.

My community involvement includes service on the board of directors of St. Vincent’s Health System, the Jacksonville Port Authority, Leadership Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Civic Council. I have also served on the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, as general counsel to the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, and as both general counsel and chair of the Gator Bowl Association.

Throughout my career, I have sought to participate in organizations where I could make a difference. I believe my broad-based legal background, leadership experience and commitment to representing the interests of all members of the 4th Judicial Circuit qualify me to serve you on The Florida Bar Board of Governors.

Samuel Grier Wells

It has been an honor and pleasure to serve the 4th Judicial Circuit on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. In seeking re-election to another term, I believe my experience on the board — as well as on behalf of The Jacksonville Bar Association and the profession — make me the best qualified candidate to serve the 4th Circuit.

I have served on the Disciplinary Review Committee, including terms as co-chair and as vice-chair on client security fund issues. As a member of the Program Evaluation Committee, I have co-chaired multiple committees investigating and evaluating existing and proposed programs for the Bar.

I have also served on the Communications Committee which, among many accomplishments, has led to significantly improved communications with Bar members.

The Florida Bar continues to face important challenges, and the next two years will certainly be critical. The recently completed 2013 membership opinion survey documented the principal concerns of our members.

The oversaturation of lawyers, first noted in 2011 as a significant concern, has clearly established itself as the issue of greatest impact on the profession in the foreseeable future. Oversaturation involves both younger lawyers entering the profession and older lawyers working longer, both segments critically affected by a shrinking job market and cool economy.

With 11 law schools in Florida and a Florida campus of another out-of-state school, even a reduction in admissions to law schools by some is unlikely to lead to any immediate impact on oversaturation.

The Florida Bar has implemented programs to address the difficulties faced by its members including establishing the Senior Lawyers Committee, initially proposed by Jake Schickel and ultimately developed through a committee I chaired. However, a more aggressive approach to the causes of oversaturation needs to be pursued.

Lawyer advertising and its effect on the public’s view of lawyers is another principal concern expressed by lawyers in the survey. The challenges of balancing First Amendment rights and the Bar’s role in protecting the public is difficult and will undoubtedly continue to be a concern.

My work on the board, particularly with respect to for-profit lawyer referral service issues, will continue to address these concerns.

Professionalism, as always, is an issue for lawyers and is clearly recognized by the Supreme Court as needing improvement. We are fortunate to have fewer professionalism issues in the 4th Circuit compared to other circuits in the state, but we are by no means immune to lapses in civility and good manners.

As a member of the 4th Circuit Professionalism Panel, a committee mandated by the Supreme Court, I will continue to work to improve the practice of professionalism in this circuit.

Representing the 4th Circuit on the Board of Governors is a tremendous responsibility and demands dedication and commitment. My service on the board to date, to the Jacksonville Bar and to the profession, demonstrates such commitment and dedication. Service on the board is an honor, one I believe I have earned.

Your support for my re-election to the Board of Governors is respectfully requested.

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