Get Engaged: Make 2016 the Year of Professional Involvement



Get Engaged: Make 2016 the Year of Professional Involvement

Young lawyers make up more than thirty percent (30%) of Florida’s practicing lawyers.   Because young lawyers comprise such a large percentage of Florida’s attorneys, and that number will only continue to grow, it is paramount that young lawyers get involved in the profession!

There are opportunities abound in the Florida Bar to allow young lawyers to connect with like-minded professionals, hone their leadership skills, and to improve the provision of legal services in Florida.   Professional involvement not only benefits the entire Florida Bar, but also allows young lawyers to make an impact on the future of the legal profession.

The following are ways you can get involved in YOUR Florida Bar:

Apply to become a fellow of The Florida Bar Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy.
The Academy is accepting applications through January 15, 2016 for the Academy’s 2016-17 class. “The Leadership Academy is a multi-session training program designed to assist a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers in becoming better leaders within the legal profession and in their chosen path, while enhancing their leadership skills.” To apply, download the application at

Apply to serve on a Bar Committee.
Young lawyers are encouraged to request appointments to serve on committees for the 2016-17 Bar year. Serving on a Florida Bar committee will provide young lawyers an opportunity to improve the functioning of the profession and build relationships with other lawyers statewide. There are numerous committees related to a variety of substantive and procedural areas. Information and the committee preference form are online. The form must be submitted by January 15, 2016 to be considered by President-elect William J. Schifino, Jr.

Apply to serve on your local Judicial Nominating Commission.
There is currently one lawyer vacancy for each of the 26 Judicial Nominating Commissions. “The Florida Bar has the opportunity to nominate three lawyers for each Judicial Nominating Commission to the Governor for his appointment. Each appointee will serve a four-year term, commencing July 1, 2016. Applicants must be members of The Florida Bar engaged in the practice of law and residents of the territorial jurisdiction served by the commission to which the member is applying. Commissioners are not eligible for state judicial office for vacancies filled by the JNC on which they sit for 2 years following completion of their term.Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in the Executive Director’s office of The Florida Bar. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of an application. Screening committees of the Board of Governors will review all JNC applications. The Executive Committee will then make recommendations to the Board of Governors.Persons interested in applying for any of these vacancies may click here to complete and download the new application form from the Bar’s website,, or should call Bar headquarters at (850) 561-5757, to obtain the application. Completed applications must be received by the Executive Director, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300 by the Feb. 26 deadline date.”

Valerie Barnhart is a Partner in the the Fort Lauderdale office of Kelley Kronenberg, focusing her practice on business transactions and data privacy and security matters. Valerie serves as an elected representative on the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors for the Seventeenth Circuit.

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