By Jeffrey Johnson
It has been several months since I assumed the role of the 51st President of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association. I have been honored to be able to serve, and I have been warmly encouraged by all of you. Thank you.
As we turn the calendar into a new year, most of us began with zero hours, zero receivables, and the desire to achieve our personal and professional goals for the New Year. I have found in my 56 years, 30 of it as a defense lawyer, that it is so important to set goals. Write them down on paper. Chase them. Yes, you can get by without stated and written goals, but you will notice that the calendar turns 2019 faster than you can imagine, and the satisfaction of achieving something you wrote down now, comes and goes by the wayside.
My message to you today is to become a part of this great organization. As defense lawyers, we all know and talk about how connected and informed the plaintiff bar is on so many levels. There is no reason why we can not be as connected and informed. The FDLA provides the forum for all of us to work towards the goal of leveling the playing field so that justice can be equally represented.
For those of you who are members, I hope that you have or will participate in our three major events: the Winter meeting, Florida Liability Claims Conference (FLCC), and the Annual meeting. The Winter (January ) and Annual ( September ) meetings provide valuable CLE sessions, while giving you and your family and friends time to spend doing recreational sports, or just hanging out and recharging your batteries. The FLCC has and will take place at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World in June, and the room block has just became available at a super reduced rate. Further, the Florida resident rates are still in effect. As the kids get out school, before summer events and plans commence, the FLCC is a fantastic couple of days to learn, network, and have fun! Check the website for details.
In all our events, we encourage our members to participate as speakers. It is such a great way for senior lawyers to impart knowledge, junior lawyers to make a name for themselves, and young lawyers to start their careers. Simply the exposure, together with your enthusiasm, will cause you to remember the events as I have over the years.
And now, we get to the point of my message. It is addressed to all of you who have not joined: Please do so now! We have renewed our membership drive for 2018. For the sum of $50.00 for new members, you can enjoy all the benefits of membership. The FDLA has a newly redesigned web site up and running. We are obtaining more and more content as members share their successes. The FDLA will provide you with the exposure you need for your career, your partnership track, and your growth as a lawyer.
Share your successes! Everyone knows that all filings in Florida are publically obtainable. So, why not get on the forefront and taking your summary judgment, directed verdict, defenses verdict and sharing it with your colleagues. Own it, advertise it, and reap the benefits of it, all for $50.00 for the first year.
As an organization, the FDLA constantly looks for improvement. The best way to improve is to tap into the ideas of the extremely talented lawyers who we have doing defense work. As most of you know, I have a small boutique firm and now I am the President of this organization. Anyone can do it, all of us should do it.
I am also fortunate to know of a lot of the decision makers in the big firms. While I do not know everyone, I believe that all of the decision makers know that power is in numbers. If you can have your lawyers taking credit for successes in handling the files for your clients, your clients are impressed, your lawyers feel appreciated, and your firm becomes stronger. Membership is the key to helping all of us become better lawyers. For $50.00, the gateway is open for you to grow professionally and to have a good time doing so at the same time. WIN WIN.
A final thought, as many of you know our organization is divided by our District Courts of Appeal. The Board of Directors assist and guide the organization it is growth, stability and influence. I am asking the members that would like to become more involved in a leadership role to submit your name to your district’s board members. You can find their names on the website. You need to be a member. You need to have the self motivation to participate. You should begin by speaking in our events, writing amicus briefs, assisting in our local events, and otherwise becoming a person who is dedicated to making the FDLA stronger for the next decade and beyond.
The board and officers of the FDLA are all volunteers. The amount of time you dedicate to the organization is up to you. However, you will find that the more time you invest, the more members you meet, and the more resources you take advantage of, the greater the payoff for your and your career. Join us, and lets enhance the knowledge, skills and professionalism of defense lawyers, while fostering the balance in the civil courts through judicial and legislative advocacy.
Join today and be a part of the FDLA.