by David Chapman
Last Monday’s Law Day Luncheon marked the end of the Jacksonville Bar Association’s celebration of the 50th Annual Law Day.
Almost 500 members of the legal community attended the event at the Hyatt to hear a legal legend’s speech and watch the presentations of the 2008 versions of the Lawyer of the Year Award and Liberty Bell Award.
Former federal judge and FBI Director William Sessions was the keynote speaker of the event and discussed a variety of issues relating to the “rule of law” theme.
Sessions — an attorney with Holland & Knight in Washington, D.C. — reflected on his lengthy legal history, disdain for intrusive technology that blurs the line between professional and personal life, the need for a more unified legal system of support and a plea for others within the legal community to fulfill their obligations of the legal oath.
“Lawyers don’t find a way to support,” said Sessions, when he discussed legal support. “The lawyers are just not there. Find a way to support your judges, your courts, your Bar Associations.”
Foley & Lardner attorney Bob Rhodes was presented the “Lawyer of the Year” award for 2008 by Jim Bailey, president of Bailey Publishing. Rhodes specializes in land use and environmental law and real estate development with the firm, is chair of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission and is past chair of both the Environmental and Land Use Law and Administrative Law of the Florida Bar.
Bailey won an award of his own, the 2008 Liberty Bell Award presented by Jacksonville Bar Association President Caroline Emery. The Liberty Bell Award is given annually to a non-lawyer who has fostered a greater understanding and appreciation for the “rule of law.” Bailey is the publisher of the Financial News & Daily Record. He also won the award in 1983.