JBA young lawyers section elections

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• Online voting for the 2016-17 Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors election began today and ends at 11:59 p.m. June 8.

• Votes also may be cast June 9 at the section’s annual meeting at 927 Events at 927 W. Forsyth St.

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

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

Seat 1 (one year)

Austin T. Hamilton

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Student member, 2010-12

• JBA member, 2012-present

• YLS Sports League participant, 2013-present

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities:

• Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, 2013-present

• Chester Bedell Inn of Court, student pupil, 2011-12

Civic activities:

• Jewish Community Alliance Youth Basketball coach, 2015-16

• JAX Chamber ImpactJAX, 2016-present

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

If elected, my main goal would be to connect young lawyers with other young professionals in Jacksonville.

There are many other important organizations outside of the legal field. I would like to partner with a few of these organizations to jointly sponsor happy hours, community service events or other community events.

Connecting young lawyers with other young professionals would result in meeting more colleagues, future references and potential future referrals.

My other goal would be to assist in improving the JBA sports leagues. The sports leagues are a great way to take a break from work and to have fun while also mingling and networking with other attorneys. In the past, I have made many contacts by playing in the basketball and kickball leagues. I would specifically like to bring back the JBA basketball league.

Candace Knox

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association

• Florida Association For Women Lawyers

• American Association of Justice

• Florida Justice Association

• Jacksonville Justice Association

Civic activities

• Veterans Legal Collaborative, volunteer

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

As, a former collegiate student-athlete, I enjoy promoting healthy competition and social interaction through intramural events.

I plan to devote ample time into improving the JBA’s intramural sports program.

Joe Licandro

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities:

• Presenter and lecturer at fraud conferences including Florida Insurance Fraud Education Committee

Civic activities:

• Elder Abuse Committee

• Consumer Advocacy Group

• Assumption Catholic Church and All Saints Learning Center

• Intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy Reserve

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section:

As a prosecutor for almost eight years at the State Attorney’s Office with over five of them spent in the Special Prosecution Division investigating and prosecuting fraud, I have been extremely fortunate to be part of several committees dedicated to protecting consumers and fighting fraud.

I have witnessed firsthand how collaborative efforts can positively impact our community and serve its most vulnerable members.

My two primary goals for the YLS are to promote collaboration between attorneys specializing in criminal and civil law and to look for opportunities where YLS can provide enhanced service to the community at large.

I am hopeful this collaboration will create increased opportunities for young attorneys from a variety of specialties to meet and network.

Another goal of mine is to increase the participation of assistant state attorneys and public defenders within YLS.

Regretfully, I have not been a very active member of the YLS in the past.

At the age of 34, my opportunity to impact YLS is coming to a close, which is why I want to serve on the board of governors.

Given my career experience in the Special Prosecution Division, where my cases often present an overlap between civil and criminal law, I have worked alongside not only a variety of civil and criminal attorneys but Jacksonville residents across all walks of life.

I am confident this experience and these relationships will enable me to make a positive contribution to YLS.

Mark Pionessa

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Member, 2015-present

• JBA Kickball League

• Winter Judicial Breakfast, 2016

• Rendezvous on the River, 2016

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Member, 2013-present

• State Bar of Georgia, 2015-present

Civic activities

• Safari Club International, past volunteer

• Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, volunteer

• National Wild Turkey Federation, Jacksonville Chapter committee member

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

It is my goal to encourage other young lawyers to become involved in the JBA so that each member’s involvement allows them to become familiar with the legal community.

As a member of the board of governors, I will strive to make sure events are welcoming to new members and provide benefits for each person’s membership.

I believe the success of the JBA depends on continually encouraging new member involvement, developing events that cater to changes in the practice of law and building a solid foundation for each member’s success in the legal profession.

Andrew Scott

Jacksonville Bar activities

• YLS Chili Cook-Off Committee

• Cards for K9s Charity Poker Tournament Committee

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities:

• Federal Bar Association Jacksonville chapter

• American Bar Association

Civic activities:

• American Red Cross Volunteer Lifeguard Association.

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section:

As someone who has been to multiple YLS events, I have noticed that many seem to be attended by the same core of people.

If a Young Lawyers Section is what it truly means, then I would make it a priority to encourage new attorneys, like myself, to get involved.

I believe we should start reaching out to people early on. I would make it a priority to reach out to law students who know they will be practicing in Jacksonville and inform them about our organization.

A good way to do this would be to have a YLS happy hour in September dedicated to new attorneys. It would not only benefit our membership numbers, but also strengthen the bonds and legal relationships among young attorneys.

Seat 2 (two years)

John Wallace

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Judicial Relations Committee, 2012-15

• Citizenship Day volunteer, 2013

• Board of Governors, Young Lawyers Section, 2015-present

• Noon in June, chair, 2016

• Charity Poker Tournament, vice chair, 2016

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

• Rendezvous on the River, chair, 2015

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Federal Bar Association Jacksonville chapter, 2011-present

• American Bar Association, 2010-present

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

• Alabama State Bar

• State Bar of Georgia

Civic activities

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

• Alumni Board of the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, 2009-15

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

• Ronald McDonald House Discovery Circle, 2010-12

• Ducks Unlimited Jacksonville chapter, Banquet Committee, 2012-15

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of serving the young lawyers of the Jacksonville Bar as a member of the YLS Board of Governors. I am proud of what we have accomplished, whether it’s been raising thousands of dollars for charities such as K9s for Warriors and the JT Townsend Foundation, or providing networking opportunities to our members through our quarterly happy hours, judicial breakfasts or charity fundraisers.

My goals continue to be both increasing membership and participation among the young lawyers of Jacksonville, as well as giving back to the community through service.

I will continue to look for opportunities to attract participation among all segments of our legal community, both solo and large firm, public and private.

I also will continue to be accessible to anyone who would like to share an idea or become involved with the many wonderful things the young lawyers of the Jacksonville Bar are doing.

Seat 4 (two years)

Alessandro Apolito

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Ask-A-Lawyer participant, 2010-present

• Pro Bono Committee, 2015-16

• Chili Cook-Off participant, 2014; committee member, 2014-15; co-chair 2015-16

• Holiday Project Committee, 2013-2014; chair, 2015

• Afternoon at the Courthouse event and CLE, chair, 2015

• Human Rights Committee, co-chair, 2011

The Florida Bar/other Bar Association activities:

• Member, 2010-present

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

• Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association, 2013-present

• Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association, 2010-present

Civic activities

• Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, volunteer

• One Spark, volunteer, 2013-14

• Dreams Come True

• Community Connections of Jacksonville, volunteer and donor, 2010-13, 2015-16

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

I would like to continue my work on the YLS board for another two years because I really enjoyed this past one-year term.

My primary goals remain the same: To assist with Bar association events and opportunities to help young lawyers interact with local judges and the community.

In addition to helping with all the other great events planned by the YLS board, I want to continue to grow the Chili Cook-Off event with the help of the other board members and great committee volunteers.

Since we moved the event to Riverside Arts Market two years ago, we have almost doubled the donation to charity each year. This past year, we were able to raise almost $7,000 for Community Connections of Jacksonville, and I would like to help the YLS board double that donation again this year.

Seat 5 (one year)

Will Anderson

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Law Day Committee

Civic activities

• Volunteer with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and the 4th Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office.

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

• To dedicate my time to facilitating activities that improve the professional and personal lives of YLS members.

• Ensuring YLS continues to provide programs that are relevant and provide value to our members

• Continue to foster an atmosphere of collegiality

Daniel S. Benchimol

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Student member, 2011

• Member, 2013-present

• Criminal Law Litigation Committee, 2015-present

• Diversity Committee, 2015-present

• Hispanic and Latino Interest Committee, 2015-present

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Member, 2013-present

• National Hispanic Bar Association, 2013-present

• National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2013-present

• Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2015-present

• Robert M. Foster Inn of Court, associate, 2013-present

• Nassau County Bar Association, 2015-present

• U.S. Middle District of Florida, 2015-present

Civic activities

• Ronald McDonald Foundation

• Guest speaker at Florida Coastal School of Law first-year orientation

• Florida Coastal School of Law Alumni Association, 2013-present

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

• Increase diversity and Hispanic interest within the JBA

• Increase the JBA’s presence with Florida Coastal School of Law

• Establish a mentoring program between attorneys and law students

Dave Chauncey

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Young Lawyers Section

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, Law Student Division at University of Florida

Civic activities

• Leadership Florida Northeast Region

• Teach For America Jacksonville, alumnus

• Florida Blue Key, president emeritus

• University of Florida Alumni Association

• Leadership for Education Equity Jacksonville event, director emeritus

• Celebration Church Jacksonville

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

My goal is to build upon the work that has been done by YLS.

There are opportunities to co-host or co-sponsor events with other young professional organizations that can help young lawyers connect with non-legal young professionals in the city, elected officials (especially in an election year) or other influencers in our community in order to affect Jacksonville and be a voice for civic issues that many of our members care about.

For example, as a former teacher at Ribault Middle School, I want to continue the success of the Ribault High mentorship partnership with Duval County Public Schools and the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, which really does positively impact students’ lives and serve the community.

Happy hours and social events are always a positive end to a long day but there can be other avenues of getting people together, including continuing to expand health and wellness programs such as sports leagues and exercise opportunities.

Diversity of programming helps pull in people of all types.

Finally, being the stepping stone for law students to enter the legal profession is imperative to YLS’ mission and I would work to help provide new programming to bridge that gap.

Chardea Murray

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Pro Bono Committee, 2013-present

• Law Week Committee, 2015-16

• YLS Mentoring Partnership with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, 2015-present

• Diversity Committee, appointed chair

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Tax Section Fellow, 2013-15

• Bar Leadership Academy Class III fellow, 2015-16

• Leadership Academy Committee, 2016-19

• D.W. Perkins Bar Association, 2013-present; secretary, 2014-present

Civic activities

• Impact Church, 2013-present

• Dance ministry, 2015-present

• Delta Sigma Theta sorority, 2005-present

• 4th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, 2013-present

• IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, 2016-present

Goals for the Young Lawyers Section

If honored with the opportunity to serve on the YLS board of governors, I will strive to promote diversity among the organization in regards to gender, race and practice area and develop initiatives to enhance the YLS Committee’s commitment to pro bono.

James Poindexter

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Human Rights Committee

• Labor and Employment Section Committee

• Solo/Small Firm Committee.

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Florida Coastal School of Law Student Bar Association

• National Employment Lawyers Association Florida chapter

Civic activities

• First Coast Rotaract

• Florida Times-Union Citizen editorial board

• Jacksonville Community Council Inc. executive board

• Communities in Schools “Mayor’s Mentors” initiative

Goals for The Jacksonville Bar Association

I would like to see The Jacksonville Bar Association continue to develop its reputation as a professional association that is committed to public service.

In furtherance of this goal, I will work with the association to see our organization take a more active role in promoting and recognizing our lawyers’ great work and accomplishments.

BeJae Shelton

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Human Right Committee, co-chair

• Diversity Committee

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association, 2012-present; board member; Pro Bono chair and Bureau of Justice Assistance liaison

Civic activities

• Duval County Public Schools Parent Academy, “5,000 Role Models” at Fort Caroline Middle School

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

Get more young lawyers involved and get the word out about the benefits of being a Young Lawyers Section member as well as the benefits of JBA membership.

David Thompson

Jacksonville Bar activities

• Member, 2012-present, attend monthly Bar luncheon and social and networking events

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Criminal Rules Procedure Committee, 2013-present

Civic activities

• Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School Career Fair, 2015

• Jacksonville Veteran Affairs Thanksgiving baskets, 2015

• Clay County Animal Care and Control pet supply drive, 2014-15

• Daniel Kids “Back to School Supply Drive,” 2014-15

• Brother’s Keeper meals program, 2016

• Florida Coastal School of Law Mock Trial coach, 2012-14

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

I would like to continue the excellence and tradition of helping to assimilate young lawyers into the legal community by throwing fun and exciting networking events. I would also like to continue working with different community service organizations to help bridge the gap between The Young Lawyers Section and our community.

Seat 6 (two years)

Fernando Dutra

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• American Bar Association

• New Jersey Bar Association

• New York Bar Association

Civic activities

• Chimeric Corner

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

• Empowering young professionals to be confident in networking situations.

• Encouraging younger attorneys by creating and strengthening collaboration and professionalism initiatives.

• Fostering and deepening the sense of community for younger attorneys in Jacksonville.

• Bridging the communication between the younger attorneys and those with more experience through lunch-and-learns or other initiatives.

Ashlea Edwards

Jacksonville Bar activities

• YLS Chili Cook-Off Committee

• YLS mentorship program at Ribault High School

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Environmental and Land Use Law Section Law School Liaison Committee

• Business Law Section, Real Property and Probate Law Section, and Trial Lawyers Section

Civic activities

• Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Estate Planning Night

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

There seems to be a gap in involvement with YLS and JBA by newly admitted attorneys. Although there are numerous happy hours and events for the YLS, new attorneys hesitate to be involved.

I would attempt to bridge that gap by creating more events for young attorneys to attend, whether networking events, continuing legal education credits, lunches and/or social events.

I would attempt to publicize those and the current events further in advance and more often than is currently being done.

Megan Kelberman Moon

Jacksonville Bar activities

• JBA Membership Chair, 2015-16

• Law Week Committee: Secretary, 2014; Naturalization ceremony chair, 2015; Rendezvous on the River, co-chair, 2016

• YLS Chili Cook-Off Committee, 2014-16

• Jax Chamber, Impact Jax, Public Policy Committee

• Judicial Relations Committee, 2014-present

Florida Bar/other Bar association activities

• Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists, Jacksonville chapter, executive board member, 2015; member, 2016

• U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Pro se Clinic Project, subcommittee chair, 2015

Civic activities

• Florida Blue Key, 2010-present

• Dance Marathon, University of Florida, Jacksonville, volunteer

• University of Florida Alumni Association

Goals for The Young Lawyers Section

As the current membership chair for the JBA, I know that quality of membership is just as important as quantity.

While it is always our goal to recruit new members for the Young Lawyers Section, quality of participation is key. The more energetic and optimistic our members and volunteers are, the more YLS can keep up with Jacksonville attorneys’ spirit of fostering development, success and camaraderie.

For each happy hour, charitable event or professional activity hosted by YLS, it is my goal to ensure each event is well attended by a diverse group of young lawyers so YLS can further its goals of fostering professional development among its members.

The next step is to diffuse YLS’ 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 community and create professional and charitable bonds that endure long past the time we are still deemed “young lawyers.”



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