Attorney Edward M. Booth Jr. is a new partner at Boyd & Jenerette. He’s also an aviator and offers legal counsel each year at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? My father, Edward M. Booth Sr., practiced law for 53 years and inspired me to follow in his footsteps. I saw the mutual respect between my father and his clients and how important the legal system is to our community.
Someone who inspires me: Daniel R. Coffman Jr., who has been a lawyer for 58 years and a pilot for more than 60. He continues to provide me with invaluable guidance in both areas.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? The study of political theory, almost exclusively written by lawyers, is ideal preparation for a career in law.
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? I was born into a family of litigators. My father, uncle and several cousins were trial lawyers. From listening to conversations around the house and at family gatherings, I had an excellent understanding of litigation by the time I reached high school. I also developed an interest in aviation at an early age and have been flying airplanes for more than 40 years. In 1994, I worked with The Florida Bar to develop a board certification program in aviation law, and in 1996 became the first attorney certified.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? Specialization. When I passed the Bar there were attorneys with a general litigation practice. It is difficult to do that effectively today.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? Alternative dispute resolution will play a more dominant role. Litigation is inefficient and rarely passes any cost/benefit or risk/reward test.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would: Eliminate advertising of legal services and return to the world we knew prior to Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977). Advertising has not improved the quality of legal services, access to legal assistance or the public’s perception of lawyers.
What community service have you pursued and why that? I have been a member of Rotary International for 31 years. I also have served on the boards of local organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in Jacksonville. I am a past president of the Jacksonville Historical Society and enjoy working toward the preservation and revitalization of neglected buildings and neighborhoods.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Your first job should be as an assistant prosecutor or public defender. You will gain jury trial experience and meet judges and attorneys who will help guide your career. Realize that the legal profession is in a constant state of change and you will need to re-invent yourself every 10 years.