Dear Florida Young Lawyers,
A lot has changed since The Florida Bar was founded in 1950. The number of lawyers practicing in Florida has increased (from 3,758 lawyers in 1950 to approximately 104,000 lawyers today). The demographic and cultural makeup of the Bar has changed. The way we communicate has changed. Well, almost everything has changed.
There is no question that we all recognize the many changes that have and are affecting our profession. But what can we do? Where do we go from here?
This year, The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division (“YLD”) will be “thinking different” as we work to help Florida’s young lawyers thrive in this new reality.
Under the direction of Zack Zuroweste and Paige Gillman, we will be training young lawyers on how to start and operate a virtual law firm.
We will be initiating the “Take an Hour Campaign.” This campaign will encourage senior lawyers to take an hour out of their day to meet with a young lawyer—in hopes of developing a mentor/mentee relationship.
Brian Karpf and Ethan Wall will be organizing monthly webinars highlighting technological tools that can help young lawyers run efficient, effective, and profitable law practices.
Our Access to Justice Chairs, Sorraya Solages Jones and Matt Ramenda, will be working with web based legal service providers to help connect young lawyers in need of work, with the 80% of the population in need of legal services.
Web Melton and Stephanie Cagnet will be exploring ways for young lawyers to provide “virtual” pro bono assistance.
Under the leadership of Chrystal Thornton and G.C. Murray, we will begin a statewide campaign to encourage diverse young lawyers to seek election and appointment to the judiciary. It is our hope that one day our judiciary will truly reflect the demographics of our great state.
The chairs of our newly formed Women’s Affairs Committee, Val Barnhart and Jacqueline Simms Petridis, will be starting a statewide initiative to support young women lawyers in both their professional and personal growth. We cannot continue to let young women lawyers leave our profession at alarming rates.
Finally, under the direction Andrew Pickett and Cherine Valbrun, we will address such pressing issues as: the uniform bar exam, the unbundling of legal services and limited scope representation; and our outdated rules.
This is just a sampling of what the YLD has on its plate. But thankfully, we will not be going at it alone.
This past year, the YLD saw unprecedented support and inclusion from the senior Board of Governors and, especially, Immediate Past-President Coleman and President Abadin.
The YLD has also had the opportunity to engage with the Court and law schools. Outgoing YLD President Michael Orr and I met with Chief Justice Labarga for over 4 hours in March to discuss the numerous issues facing today’s young lawyer. And a few weeks ago, the YLD hosted its first annual Florida Law School Dean Summit.
I’m confident that if we all continue to communicate and work together, great things will happen.
On a personal level, I am forever grateful to my mentors, family and friends for providing me with the support and encouragement necessary to serve our profession.
In closing, I am looking forward to leading the YLD this year with President-Elect Katherine Hurst Miller. We have such a talented group of Governors with whom to work this year, and they are the ones who work hard every day to ensure that Florida’s young lawyers have the resources and support that they need to succeed.
Gordon J. Glover, President
The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division