Special Reports from The 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention

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by: Laurence Colletti

The Florida Bar PodcastLanding in Orlando to catch an evening Uber to the hotel marked the beginning of our time with The Florida Bar at their 2016 annual convention. In true form to their association, I didn’t make it 20 feet inside the lobby before I was greeted by Florida public interest attorney Kimberly Sanchez. Despite over 100,000 plus members, it seems that the Florida lawyers all know each other by first name.

Our early conversations gravitated to the recent mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub, which took place several days before our trip. In juxtaposition to that horrible tragedy, The Florida Bar seemed resolute to carry on and deal with the security challenges and speaker change ups that inevitably occurred. It was clear that the sadness and confusion wasn’t going to unmoor them from their duties.

All in all, we ended up with more interviews than we had originally planned. We regret not being able to talk with City of Orlando Chief of Police John Mina, but we certainly understand that his city needed him on more important matters. We wish to thank him for his service and also for the hospitality of Administrative Specialist to the Chief Evelyn Aponte. She made a special point to keep us apprised of Chief Mina’s situation and wished us safe travels during a very difficult time for Orlando.

Our coverage begins with leadership and The Florida Bar as Legal Talk Network host Adriana Linares talked to former, current, and future bar presidents Ben Hill, Ramón A. Abadin, and Bill Schifino. During the conversation, each president addressed issues and themes in their time as leader. They discussed the importance of trusting their executive director and why it’s important for young lawyers to get involved with the bar early in their career. Listen here: 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: Past, Present, and Future Bar Presidents

Like many bar associations, The Florida Bar disseminates information and pertinent efforts through its committees, divisions, and sections. We had the privilege of talking to many of these groups to learn about current efforts, programs, and future events. Kicking things off, we learned more about the annual convention itself when 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention Co-Chairs Melanie S. Griffin and Renée Thompson joined us for a conversation about their recent security challenges, efforts to provide a family-friendly venue, and proudest moments during event prep. We learn that next year’s convention will return to Boca Raton and the top three reasons Florida lawyers should attend. Listen here: 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: Organizing The Event

Our coverage continues with Pete Sweeney, chair of the Member Benefits Committee of The Florida Bar. Host Adriana Linares talks with Pete about his committee’s role, the offering of member benefits, and how companies can pitch new services and products to The Florida Bar’s member benefits program. Tune in to hear more about their offerings to Florida attorneys. Listen here: 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: Member Benefits Committee

Next up, we hear from practice area groups within The Florida Bar as their leadership stops by to discuss their programs, why attorneys should join, and much more. Here are just a few examples of the topics discussed during this series of interviews with different sections and divisions:

Similar to previous years, the 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention featured many wonderful speakers. Although the entirety of presenters would be too much to cover, we were able to catch up with many notable individuals:

We hope you enjoy listening to our coverage of the 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention!