This is an exciting year for FDLA, and I am honored to lead this organization through times of growth and evolution. In November, our Board of Directors gathered for a strategic planning session. Out of that session we developed many great ideas for the future of the organization. These ideas and strategies have already been implemented and will continue to be implemented in the coming years.
FDLA created a new free membership geared toward claims professionals and in-house counsel. This will be a great way for businesses and insurance carriers to stay apprised of the legal landscape and issues facing them in their defense of claims and lawsuits. Numerous claims professionals and in-house counsel have taken advantage of this great opportunity.
FDLA has expanded its Committees to allow for more collaboration and sharing of information among specialized practice areas. With the addition of several committees, the FDLA currently has the following Committees:
• Amicus Committee
• Auto/Transportation Committee
• Bad Faith
• Class Action
• Construction Law Committee
• Diversity and Inclusion Committee
• First Party Property
• Government Law Committee
• In-House Counsel
• Insurance Coverage Committee
• Labor/Employment Committee
• Legislative Action Committee
• Medical Malpractice Committee
• Premises Liability Committee
• Products Liability Committee
• Professional Liability Committee
• Trail Advocate Committee
• Workers Compensation Committee
• Women in the Law
• Young Lawyers Division Committee
We also added Vice Chairs to our committees to provide for more leadership opportunities and to assist Committee Chairs with the work required to operate a successful committee. We continue to introduce each Committee, and its Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs, through email blasts related to important issues affecting each committee.
One of our biggest accomplishments in 2019 is the addition of the Legislative Action Committee. Led by Chair William Large, FDLA has finally become active in the legislative arena. The Legislative Action Committee identifies legislation affecting the civil defense bar and gets members who practice in the specific area to testify to the Legislature on the area of law and proposed legislation. FDLA has already made an impact – having members testify at legislative workshops and sessions where proposed legislation has been discussed. Being able to make an impact with respect to proposed legislation affecting the civil defense bar is a critical, and long overdue, facet of FDLA.
FDLA’s signature event of the year – the Florida Liability Claims Conference – is poised to be a great success. Attendees will notice exciting changes from years past, including the event being held at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. This venue allows for new features including desserts and fireworks inside Epcot, a Cocktail Reception at Atlantic Dance Hall, and our very own character breakfast. In addition to the social events, the lineup of speakers and topics will be unsurpassed. This year’s FLCC will include a program geared toward claims professionals and in-house counsel in honor of our new FDLA membership. The FLCC will also have its usual sessions tailored to the civil defense lawyer. We received an overwhelming number of phenomenal presentation proposals in response to our call for speakers for the FLCC. The event is surely one that should not be missed!
In the Fall, the FDLA will host its first ever conference discussing the business side of the practice of law. This law practice management conference – focused on how law firms can remain competitive in today’s environment – will address topic such as business development, lawyer compensation, attracting and retaining new lawyers, technology, insurance risk, diversity, and other issues impacting the civil defense and insurance defense practices. This conference is a must for lawyers in leadership positions, as well as firm administrators and marketing directors. The Annual FDLA Awards dinner and reception will also be held at this event.
These advancements and events are just a sampling of what FDLA has accomplished and plans to accomplish in 2019. I hope that our members have noticed positive changes within this organization and will continue to see those positive and impactful advancements in the future. I urge our members to get engaged, and to encourage your clients, partners, associates, and colleagues to get engaged in FDLA. Our organization was founded upon the idea that the civil defense practice is stronger when we educate, share information and collaborate on issues affecting our practices – I am confident our programs and strategies for 2019 accomplish this goal.