Candidates for Jacksonville Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors

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Alessandro Apolito
Alessandro Apolito
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• Online voting for the 2015-16 Young Lawyers Board of Governors election began today and ends at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, June 3.

• On-site voting will be 5:30-6:30 p.m., June 4, at the YLS annual meeting at The Candy Apple Café, 400 N. Hogan St.

• There are five seats open for the board. You must vote for one candidate per seat. You may only vote one time.

• To be eligible to vote, you must be members of the JBA and the YLS. The YLS is limited to members who are 36 or younger or who have been practicing less than five years. Student members are not eligible to vote.


SEAT 1 (two years)

Jessica Mathis

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors ex-officio member, 2014-15

• Law Week Poster Contest Committee chair, 2014 and 2015

• Afternoon at the Courthouse Committee member, 2014 and 2015

• Noon in June co-chair 2015 and Committee Member, 2014

• Bar Bulletin co-chair, current.

• The YLD recently began a Health and Wellness Initiative where each affiliate was given the opportunity to submit an application for an event in order to secure funding. I prepared the application and basis for the event, which was accepted by The Florida Bar and the Jacksonville YLS received grant money to conduct this event, which will take place on May 28.

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

At present, I am mainly focused on The Jacksonville Bar Association. However, with our endeavors to support The Jacksonville Bar Association YLD’s Health and Wellness Initiative, I believe my role in our local affiliate program further promotes and assist in promoting the overarching heal initiative of The Florida Bar YLD.

Civic activities

I enjoy supporting local charities and organizations through running events. Specifically, I have participated in running events designed used to raise money for breast cancer research, veterans’ assistance, and many other wonderful causes.

My life is at the beach — and so when my family and I are utilizing the First Coast on the weekends, we are sure to pick up trash and other debris from the sand. I love the ocean, and want to encourage others to do their part in ensuring our coast remains wonderful.

Goals for The YLS

Since my time on the board as an ex officio member, I have enjoyed working with all who serve and coming up with new and innovative ideas to promote the YLS and also to get involved in the Jacksonville community.

My primary goal is to encourage and empower young lawyers in this city to get involved in order to build a more active Bar association and present new and innovative ideas in ways which grow the association and aid in assisting those in the community who need our services.

Health and Wellness is a keystone issue across the state of Florida and I would like to make this issue one that is front and center every year for the YLS.

My hope is to create events and opportunities to encourage all lawyers to make small changes in their lives in order to improve their overall quality of life and health.

Finally, I think that one aspect that has not been addressed is that of the financial burdens that most young lawyers are facing.

Between the student loans, clothes that we need to buy for our new career and the other financial obligations we face, this creates so much stress in our lives (I have first-hand experience in this).

I would like to see the YLS partner with organizations to assist young lawyers by providing financial advice, financial planning and perhaps even an event where the winner is awarded a monetary prize toward achieving their financial goals.


SEAT 2 (one year)

Shawn A. DeVries

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Chili Cook-Off

• Solo and Small Firms Section member

• ADR Section member

• Holiday Senior Project participant

• Kickball League participant

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities 

• The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division member

Civic activities 

• Susan G. Komen North Florida Board of Directors, secretary

• Arlington Council of the JAX Chamber vice president

• Jacksonville Junior Chamber of Commerce legal counsel and immediate past vice president

• Jacksonville Area Legal Aid pro bono attorney

• The Rotary Club of East Arlington member

Goals for The YLS

The JBA has a long history of collegiality and professionalism. My first priority is to ensure that young lawyers carry that tradition into the future.

Furthermore, if elected to the YLS board, I will help build, promote and foster relationships with both experienced attorneys and other YLS members.

I will work diligently to grow and improve the already successful JBA Mentor Program and will serve as a resource for new attorneys.

Lastly, I will continue to strive to find new ways to associate the YLS with other young professional groups through civic service.


Ryan T. Hyde

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Professionalism Committee member

• The Professionalism Conference at The Players Championship Committee member

• Young Lawyers Section Chili Cook-Off Committee member and Social Committee member.

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

Assisted in planning, organizing and presenting the 2014 Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association annual seminar.

Civic activities

I regularly volunteer with the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, Children’s Miracle Network and Wounded Warrior Project. I also have assisted with the construction of homes for Habitat for Humanity.

Goals for The YLS

My top priority is increasing young attorney involvement in the YLS. I have experienced firsthand the benefits of organizing and partaking in YLS activities and functions.

I would like to see more attorneys participating in the YLS because their involvement is vital for the organization’s continued growth.

Contributing to the YLS early in an attorney’s career will hopefully lead to continued involvement in the JBA down the road, thus strengthening the YLS and the JBA.

Along those lines, I would also like to increase collaboration with the JBA to implement a mentoring program for young attorneys to increase opportunities to interact with more senior lawyers.

This program should be geared toward professional development with the additional goal of exposing young attorneys to understanding the importance of finding a balance between their career and personal lives.

As a father, it is a constant struggle to strike the right balance between being an attorney and spending quality time with my daughter.

I think experienced attorney mentors can expose young lawyers to the skills and strategies necessary to successfully juggle a hectic work schedule and multiple personal priorities.

It is vital for young lawyers to create a solid professional foundation early on and this mentoring program will help forge that base.


Megan E. Kelberman


Jacksonville Bar activities

• Young Lawyers Section Law Week Committee 2015, Naturalization Ceremony chair; Law Week Committee 2014 secretary; Rendezvous on the River committee member; and Chili Cook-Off Committee 2014-15, communications and marketing

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Pro Se Clinic Project committee member

• Association of E-Discovery Specialists Jacksonville Chapter executive board and programming and sponsorship chair

Civic activities

• Florida Blue Key 2010-present

• Jacksonville Chamber Impact JAX Public Policy Committee

• University of Florida Alumni Association

Goals for The YLS

Many in our city are working hard to make Jacksonville a destination metropolitan and the JBA can (and should) assist with that endeavor.

Participation is key; the more energetic and optimistic our members and volunteers are, the more the JBA itself can keep up with Jacksonville’s spirit of fostering development, diversity and goodwill.

The events hosted by the Young Lawyers Section help ensure and propel that vision by promulgating community and lawyer participation, involvement and responsibility. A very important goal for the JBA should be to increase the participation of its members through meaningful programs and events.

The next step is to diffuse the JBA’s influence past the legal community to our fellow professionals in business, charity and beyond. By doing so, the JBA can make itself even more visible, relevant and valuable to the Jacksonville community

And, of course, since any attorney who has practiced in Jacksonville can attest to the congeniality of our bar, continuing the JBA’s high level of integrity is something that should never fall from our to-do list.



John W. Wallace

Jacksonville Bar activities

• JBA Member, 2009-present

• Law Week Committee, 2013-present, and vice chair, 2016

• Rendezvous on the River chair, 2015

• Judicial Relations Committee, 2012-present

• Citizenship Day Volunteer, 2013

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Jacksonville Federal Bar Association, 2011-present

• American Bar Association, 2010-present

• The Chester Bedell Inn of Court, barrister, 2014-17;

• The Florida Bar, 2008

• Alabama Bar, 2009

• Georgia Bar, 2014

Civic activities

• Dreams Come True: Horizon Board, 2013-Present; treasurer, 2014-15; and Holiday Social chair, 2014

• Episcopal School of Jacksonville alumni board, 2009-present;

• The Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Jacksonville, 2013-present

• Ronald McDonald House Discovery Circle, 2010-12

• Ducks Unlimited, Jacksonville Chapter, Banquet Committee, 2012-present

Goals for The YLS

My goal for the Young Lawyers Section is to increase membership and participation. To accomplish this, we must offer increased value to our members, and I plan to do this in three ways.

First, I will work with the Board of Governors of The Jacksonville Bar Association to enhance the mentoring program currently in place. I will also explore creating a mentoring program unique to the Young Lawyers Section where new members of the Bar can be paired with other young but more experienced members of the Bar.

Second, I will work to encourage broader participation in the various committees of both the YLS and the JBA at large.

Finally, I will work to provide additional and diverse CLE opportunities geared toward young lawyers. Thank you for your support.


SEAT 3 (two years)

Amanda K. Brooks

Jacksonville Bar activities

• JBA member, 2012-present, and Transactional Law Section Committee member

• Young Lawyer Section member, 2012-present; Chili Cook-Off volunteer and participant, 2013; Golf Tournament volunteer, 2013; Chili Cook-Off Committee member and participant, 2014; Noon in June Committee member, 2014; Holidays in January Committee member, 2015; Chili Cook-Off Committee member and participant, 2015; and Noon in June Committee member, 2015

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Florida Bar member, 2012-present

• American Bar Association member, 2012-present

Civic activities

• Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association member, 2013-present, and Judicial Reception Committee member, 2015

• TEDxJacksonville, volunteer scholarship

coordinator, 2014

• ImpactJax, Member, 2013-present

• Community PedsCare, Halloween Doors and More volunteer 2013-14

Goals for The YLS

• Continue to increase new lawyer involvement and collaboration with professional groups through social and networking events.

• Develop quarterly networking events with other young professional organizations.

• Increase participation on YLS committees and in YLS events and continue to promote YLS and the legal profession in our community.

• Promote and encourage young lawyer participation in community service projects.


John C.W. Cherneski

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Young Lawyers Section golf tournament volunteer, 2014

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• American Bar Association member

Civic activities

• Downtown Rotaract Jax president

• ImpactJAX member

• JALA Ask-a-Lawyer pro bono attorney

• Special Assistant Public Defender program pro bono attorney

Goals for YLS

If elected to the Board of Governors, my primary goal is to make sure that YLS members are realizing tangible benefits from their membership. This, in turn, will encourage young lawyers in Jacksonville who are not JBA members to become more involved with our local Bar association.

I believe the YLS can benefit our professional lives in the following ways: 1) by hosting professional development events that provide an opportunity to learn from leaders in our legal community about how to succeed in the business and practice of law; 2) by continuing to host regular, fun social and networking events that promote collegiality among Jacksonville young lawyers; and 3) by providing opportunities for YLS members to engage the community through meaningful community service events and projects.

If elected to the Board of Governors, I hope to continue the work the current board is doing in these areas and encourage greater involvement throughout the YLS membership.


Jeremy M. Paul

Jacksonville Bar activities

• JBA Law Day Planning Committee member, 2014-present

• Young Lawyers Section member, 2011-present; Board of Governors, ex-officio member, 2015; and Sports Commissioner, 2011-present

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division member, 2011-present

• American Bar Association member, 2011-12

Civic activities

• Learn to Read volunteer teacher, 2009-present

Goals for YLS

My goals for the Young Lawyers Section include increasing opportunities for law students to participate in local Bar activities, creating broader access for the non-legal community to interact with local attorneys and promoting a healthy lifestyle for young lawyers entering the profession.


SEAT 4 (one year)

Alessandro A. Apolito

Jacksonville Bar activities

• JBA student member, 2008-10; member, 2010-present; Ask-A-Lawyer Participant , 2010-present; and Human Rights Committee co-chair, 2011

• Chili Cook-Off participant, 2014, and committee member, 2014-15

• Holiday Project, Committee member, 2013-14

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Florida Bar Association member, 2010-present

• Chester Bedell Inn of Court, associate, 2011-12

• Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association member, 2010-present

• Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar member, 2013-present

Civic activities

• Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School


• One Spark volunteer, 2013-14

• Dreams Come True

• Community Connections of Jacksonville

volunteer and donor, 2010-13

Goals for YLS

I would like to continue to build upon the great programs the YLS already has in place. If elected to the YLS Board, one of my goals would be to assist with events and opportunities to help young lawyers interact with local judges and promote professionalism.

It is no secret these two things can help young lawyers in their careers, and I believe the YLS is the perfect organization to help facilitate these opportunities for young lawyers in Jacksonville.

Another goal would be to promote more community involvement with our events. For example, I served on the Chili Cook-Off Committee, which moved the event to the Riverside Arts Market.

By all accounts, the new venue was a success. One of the keys to the event’s greater success this year was the community interaction and a bigger platform to help our partner charity raise even more money at the event.

I would like to continue to try to promote these types of events that help us get to know our fellow young lawyers, help us give back to our community and improve public perception of lawyers and the legal system.

Erin R. Whitmore


Jacksonville Bar activities

• Sports League Committee member

• Super Chili Bowl Charity Cook-Off

• Holiday in January

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association member

• Federal Bar Association Jacksonville chapter member

Civic activities

• Jacksonville Jaycees member

Goals for YLS

If elected to the YLS board, I plan to work to increase member involvement and encourage more collaboration with other young professional organizations.

I believe we can increase interest and involvement in YLS by opening up some of our events and activities to members of other young professional organizations and also by hosting joint events, which would provide the opportunity to network with young professionals outside of the legal community.


SEAT 5 (two years)

Cynthia Trimmer (incumbent)

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Bar Bulletin editor-in-chief

• Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors, 2014-present

• Law Day Committee 2014-present, Citizenship Day subcommittee and volunteer attorney, Poster Contest Subcommittee and classroom teacher and Rendezvous on the River Subcommittee

• Chili Cook-Off Committee 2014-present, co-chair 2014 and winner of meatiest chili 2014

• Holiday Project Committee 2013-present, chair 2014 and co-chair 2013

• Afternoon at the Courthouse Committee, 2013-present, and chair 2014

• Kickball League, 2012 and 2015

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Jacksonville Area Legal Aid: Citizenship Day, Ask A Lawyer, Advance Directives for Seniors and Pro Bono Attorney;

• Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association: Judicial Reception Committee 2015 and Date Auction Committee 2014

• Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association

• Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition Judge 2014

• Florida Bar, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section: Co-Author, “Limitations: Potentially Fatal Defect In Your Construction Defect Claim,” 5th Annual Construction Law Institute 2012, Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, and Peer Review Editor, Construction Law Institute, 2013, Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section

• RPPTL Condominium and Planned Development Committee, research assistant, “The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: Revenge of the Debtor, Community Association Law - The New Normal,” Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section

Civic activities

I am an active member of the Junior League of Jacksonville and volunteer with organizations such as the Cathedral Arts Project, Jacksonville Symphony Instrument Zoo, Daniel Foundation and Bridge of Northeast Florida.

This past year I served as chair of the house preservation committee and co-chair of the legal committee.

Goals for YLS

I have been thrilled to work on events over the last few years with the YLS that have achieved record-breaking attendance and look forward to maintaining that momentum in the coming year.

I will continue to look for ways to breathe new life into proven events — such as this year’s partnership between the Chili Cook-Off and Riverside Arts Market — and to create new favorites like the wildly successful inaugural Poker Tournament.










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