Blane McCarthy was sworn in as president of the Jacksonville Bar Association on June 15 at the group’s membership luncheon and awards ceremony at the Marriott Jacksonville Downtown.
McCarthy is a certified circuit civil mediator with the Jacksonville office of Miles Mediation & Arbitration. He also is a board-certified civil trial lawyer.
His mediations include personal injury, probate, consumer, construction, insurance, commercial, nursing home, eminent domain, collections, and personal injury protection cases.
He is a 1995 graduate of Stetson University College of Law.
Outgoing President Fraz Ahmed presented the annual Professionalism Award to Tom Ray, a partner at Lippes Mathias.
Alex Underkofler, an attorney at Delegal & Poindexter, received Committee Chair of the Year award for chairing the Law Week Committee.
Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge John Guy, who is assigned to the Family Law Division, received the President’s Award.
Ahmed presented special President Awards to JBA staff members Carla Ortiz Ramos, continuing legal education and events coordinator, and Anthony Adams, operations coordinator.
McCarthy told JBA members his goal is to further collegiality and strengthen camaraderie within the membership.
He encouraged JBA members to reduce the use of video conference calls as he emphasized in-person interaction among peers.
McCarthy also urged members to make a point to attend meetings and set a goal of meeting at least two new people at each one.
“When you come, be mindful of where you sit. Look around your table. Are you sitting with a lot of peers from your firm?” he said.
“If we come to a meeting as a group, sit as a group and leave as a group we have not built any community outside of that group.”
He asked that no more than two judges sit at a table.
Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz and 4th Judicial Circuit Judge Mark Mahon talked about law and the courts in a conversation at the event.
Muñiz praised the Legislature for setting aside money for the state’s court system to hire and retain court staff.
Mahon emphasized the need, saying that the starting salary for a court reporter in the 4th Judicial Circuit circuit is $33,000.
“That is a shame. We will continue to advocate for these people who keep our doors open,” Mahon said.
Asked for advice about becoming a judge, Muñiz cited the importance of developing a reputation for listening and objectivity. He said humility also is a virtue.
“A lot of this is about timing and things that are out of your control. (If you fail) take it with some humility and realize that there are lots of other people who can also do the job as well as you can,” Mahon said.
The 2023-24 JBA board of governors
• Blane McCarthy, president, Miles Mediation & Arbitration
• Christian George, president-elect, Akerman
• Brian Coughlin, treasurer, The Bedell Firm
• Asghar Syed, secretary, Gunster
• Dave Chauncey, Young Lawyers Section president, Alexander DeGance Barnett