The Florida Bar needs a new generation of leaders. By applying to The Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy, you can become part of this new generation of leaders. The Leadership Academy focuses on developing your leadership skills, building relationships with state and national bar leaders, and informing lawyers about the opportunities available within The Florida Bar. During a one-year term as a Leadership Academy fellow, your curriculum will also provide for professional development, including CLE credits. You will also attend Bar events, including the Annual Convention, which provides for invaluable networking.
The Leadership Academy is designed to develop and enhance your leadership skills. As individual attorneys, we are leaders. We lead staff. We lead juries. We are already leaders in our local organizations. But are we thinking of the bigger picture? We need to bring innovation and technology to the practice and to The Florida Bar. This is done through the influence and ideas of new leaders who step up and force us to adapt to changing ways. When I started practicing law in 2008, there was no electronic filing and no one had ever heard of “the portal”. Now “e-filing” is second nature and it is almost difficult to remember a time when lawyers actually rushed to the courthouse to file documents before the daily deadline. Ideas about reciprocity, metadata, cybersecurity, and electronic practice are making its way into The Florida Bar’s discussions. It is your time to become a part of that discussion and to help create the pathway to the solutions.
The Leadership Academy is designed to allow its fellows to network, interact, collaborate, and build relationships with state and national bar leaders. We must force ourselves to have the difficult conversations about where the direction of the legal practice is headed. With websites like Legal Zoom hiring attorneys and Avvo’s commercials taking over primetime television, we must acknowledge that the legal practice, the way consumers now know it, is different than what we are used to. The access to justice problem continues to grow and many consumers in the middle class are unable to afford an attorney. The Leadership Academy fellows discuss these difficult concepts and work on creating solutions. By discussing these pressing issues with state and national bar leaders, fellows are exposed to how other cities and states are working on these same issues.
The Leadership Academy provides an insider’s look at the important role The Florida Bar plays within our legal system and allows fellows to explore their role within the legal profession. The Leadership Academy’s main goal is to assist lawyers in becoming better leaders within our profession. There are numerous opportunities for leadership that many lawyers had not considered. The Florida Bar has 70 standing committees and 22 sections that seek a new generation of leaders. The Leadership Academy provides an opportunity for fellows to learn about those leadership positions and create their continued path of leadership within The Florida Bar.
The deadline to apply for Class IV is January 15th, 2016. Full and partial scholarships for travel and accommodations are offered to Fellows on the basis of financial need. To be considered for scholarship from the Bar, applicants should fill out the Financial Need Statement on the application.
Kristina E. Feher lives in St. Petersburg, Florida and is the Managing Member of Feher Law, PLLC. She is one of the 6th Circuit representatives on the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors and a Class I Fellow of The Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy.