Florida Bar seeks public member to serve on governing board

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  • | 12:00 p.m. January 21, 2008
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The Florida Bar, in an effort to continue its practice of public involvement, is seeking a new member of the public to serve on its governing board.

The board member will replace J. Blair Culpepper of Winter Park, whose second two-year term ends in June.

A screening committee of The Florida Bar Board of Governors will review applications for the public member position, conduct final interviews and make recommendations to the Bar’s governing board in March.

The Board will recommend three people to the Supreme Court of Florida and the court will appoint one of the three to the board. The Board of Governors oversees the Bar’s lawyer discipline program, continuing legal education programs, legislative activities and the overall administration of The Florida Bar.

Since 1987, two public members have served on the Bar’s 52-member Board of Governors, after the Supreme Court of Florida approved the organization’s request to have nonlawyer representatives. Only 12 other state bar associations have public members on their governing boards.

In addition to the two public members on the Board of Governors, one-third of all members of the 81 local grievance committees that hear complaints against attorneys are nonlawyers, as are one-third of the members of the 31 committees that oversee the Bar’s unlicensed practice of law investigations. These committees report to the Board of Governors, which in turn reports to the Supreme Court of Florida.

Board members average 200-300 hours per year on Bar business depending on committee assignments. Nonlawyer board members are reimbursed for reasonable travel and related expenses for attending official Bar functions.

The new board member will serve a two-year term beginning June 20. Public members are not allowed by rule to serve more than two consecutive terms.

Most of the Bar’s board is apportioned according to Florida’s 20 judicial circuits, with attorney members elected by lawyers in their localities. Additionally, there are four out-of-state representatives. The other public member currently serving is Arnell Bryant-Willis of Tallahassee.

The application is available on the Bar’s Web site, www.floridabar.org, or by calling (850) 561-5600, ext. 5757, to request an application be mailed. Completed applications should be mailed to John F. Harkness Jr., executive director, The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson St., Tallahassee, FL. 32399-2300. The application deadline is Jan. 31.