Legal Notebook: New leadership for The Florida Bar

Miami attorney Michael Higer will be sworn in as the 69th president of The Florida Bar on Friday during the Bar’s annual convention at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

  • By Max Marbut
  • | 8:15 a.m. June 19, 2017
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West Palm Beach attorney Michelle Suskauer will be sworn in as president-elect. She will become Bar president in June 2018.
Higer is a partner on Miami firm Berger Singerman’s Dispute Resolution Team and devotes his practice to commercial litigation and civil trial work. He focuses principally on commercial and insurance litigation.
Higer chaired the Bar’s Special Committee on Gender Bias, which recently issued a 12-point plan to address bias and promote inclusion.
More than half of the committee chairs and vice chairs he appointed for 2017-18 are women, part of an effort to increase diversity for Bar leadership.
Suskauer is a criminal defense attorney and a managing partner of a small firm in West Palm Beach. She chaired the Bar’s Board Disciplinary Review Committee, the Board Communications Committee and the Annual Convention Committee.
With more than 104,000 members, The Florida Bar is one of the largest unified professional legal organizations in the U.S.
It is charged by the state Supreme Court with regulating the practice of law in the state as well as promoting the administration of justice. 

Hall Booth Smith opens office in Jacksonville
Hall Booth Smith opened an office in Jacksonville in the BB&T Tower Downtown at 200 W. Forsyth St.
It is the Atlanta-based law firm’s 13th office in the Southeast and second in Florida.
The office is co-managed by J. Brent Allen and Duke Regan and expands the firm’s medical malpractice practice.
Joining Allen and Regan are partner Bill Fuller, of counsel Rayford Taylor and associate Kirk Carter.
Established in 1989, Hall Booth Smith is a full-service law firm with six regional offices in Georgia, as well as offices in Charleston, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Jacksonville and North Palm Beach; and Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. 

50-year attorneys to be honored
The Florida Bar will honor 254 attorneys for 50 years of dedication to the practice of law Friday in Boca Raton. To be recognized, attorneys must be members in good standing of The Florida Bar, active or inactive, and attain in 2017 their 50th anniversary of admittance to the practice of law.
Jacksonville attorney John DeVault III, a former president of The Florida Bar and one of this year’s honorees, will be the featured speaker.
Also to be honored from the 4th Judicial Circuit: Charles Wayne Alford, U.S. Circuit Judge Susan Black, Aaron K. Bowden, Thomas R. Brown, Frederic A. Buttner, Linden Kinder Cannon III, Hugh M. Davenport, John Stratford Duss IV, Michael W. Fisher, Lloyd Buck Fowler, Donald Jack Glazer, Kenneth Maurice Keefe Jr., Mitchell Wooten Legler, Robert Peck Lippelman, Reese Marshall, Charles P. Pillans III and James T. Terrell.

Sarber and Vickers join Carr Allison
The Carr Allison law firm added Lloyd Johnson Sarber III and Heath Vickers to its Jacksonville office.  
Sarber joins as a shareholder. His practice will focus on civil trial defense in the area of commercial motor vehicle transportation law.
He is a member of The Jacksonville Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute, the Florida Defense Lawyers Association, where he served as president in 2011-12, the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (board of directors since 2015), the Transportation Lawyers Association and the Trucking Industry Defense Association.
Vickers, serving as counsel, will focus on defending matters involving trucking and transportation liability, retail and premises liability, products liability and governmental liability.
He is a member of the JaxSports Council Committee and TaxSlayer Bowl Committee.
Carr Allison has more than 90 attorneys in offices in Birmingham, Dothan, Florence and Mobile, Alabama, as well as Gulfport, Mississippi; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Tallahassee and Jacksonville.

Ferguson joins Marshall Dennehey 
Elizabeth Ferguson has joined Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin as a shareholder in the firm’s Jacksonville office.
She is board-certified in construction law by The Florida Bar, a construction panel arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and serves on the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.
Ferguson is a member of Associated Builders and Contractors and The Florida Bar’s Construction Law Committee as well as The Jacksonville Bar Association’s board of governors and Construction Law Section. 

Florida Bar board of governors names executive director
The Florida Bar reports that its board of governors has selected Joshua Doyle to be the organization’s next executive director.
His appointment follows a nationwide search to follow John “Jack” Harkness Jr., who after 37 years of service will shift from executive director to a consulting role. Doyle and Harkness will begin a six-month transition in July.
Doyle, 37, comes to the Bar following a lengthy career in civil service, most recently as a special agent for the FBI working in the bureau’s Tallahassee office.
Before his seven-year tenure at the FBI, he worked as a lawyer and lobbyist for Metz, Husband & Daughton, including serving as an outside legislative consultant to The Florida Bar.
Doyle grew up in Tallahassee and received his undergraduate and law degrees from Florida State University.
Before law school, Doyle served as special assistant to U.S. Sen. Bob Graham. 
He also was special assistant to Tallahassee attorney Martha Barnett in 2001 when she was president of the American Bar Association.



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