It's hard for me to believe, but my time as FDLA President in drawing to a close. Time flies! We have had a great year, and I am proud to say I will turn the presidency over to Kansas Gooden with our association in even better condition than it was at the start of my term. Here's a quick summary of what FDLA has accomplished over the past several months:
- Our membership has increased to over 1000 members, including over 300 in-house counsel and claims professionals. This greatly increased level of participation by professionals in the industries we represent further strengthens our association and provides our membership with a valuable additional perspective on the views and priorities of the clients we represent.
- We have increased the number of annual sponsors and exhibitors who partner with us, continuing to provide our members with an increasing selection of vendors and service providers to work with, and simultaneously providing our sponsors and exhibitors with hundreds of opportunities to build their businesses. FDLA sponsorship is a win-win for all concerned -- if you want to do business with Florida civil defense lawyers, from court reporting to e-discovery to expert witness review services, you should look into it!
- Our level of collaboration and communication has improved greatly. Our online communities are getting going. We're not yet where we need to be, but we're miles ahead of where we were.
- Our online storehouse of information for members, The Vault, has grown significantly over the last year under the management of Ross Vickers, with Cole Scott Kissane, to whom our association owes a debt of gratitude for taking on such an important and time-consuming task. We continue to collect motions, orders, briefs, deposition transcripts -- any document that might be useful to a fellow defense lawyer dealing with a similar issue in the future. If you're a member and you're reading this, *please* consider contacting Ross and contributing a few documents to our collection.
- We have increased our On Demand CLE programming available to our members to over 50 hours. These are high quality, Bar-approved, CLE programs that any member can access through the FDLA website, anytime. This On Demand collection is a new creation from 2020 that is rapidly becoming one of our very best member benefits.
- We have instituted online roundtable meetings every Friday on a variety of topics, including an ongoing trial skills series that helps participants improve their preparation and performance of every portion of a civil trial. We had a bourbon tasting and a trivia contest, both via Zoom.
- And, possibly best of all, we were able to resume holding live, in-person events -- so far we have had three events, each of which was completed safely, successfully, and within budget. By this fall, we hopefully will have increased that number to five with the successful completion of the Florida Liability Claims Conference and the Florida Insurance Networking Symposium.
I am happy to have had the opportunity to preside over the start of our association's transition from dealing with the pandemic to the "New Normal" of post-pandemic life. We're never going back to the way things were before the pandemic. In some ways that's unfortunate, but in many ways that has turned out to be a silver lining on a terrible experience for us all. Many of us, and many of our law firms, have responded to the pandemic by learning new ways to do virtually everything related to the practice of law -- and some of those lessons we've learned will continue on, even when the pandemic has faded into history. And so we really are not going back to normal. Instead, we're headed into a "New Normal" that will blend pre-pandemic life with the best aspects of our responses to the pandemic.
If you are not already a member, please consider joining. It is truly the premier organization of civil defense lawyers in Florida. FDLA can help you become a better lawyer, and you might accidentally have some fun along the way. And we are enriched by every member who decides to join us and become involved.
The Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA) is a state organization of Lawyers involved in the defense of civil litigation. As such, FDLA expresses its strong commitment to the goal of diversity in its membership. Our member attorneys conduct business throughout Florida, the United States and around the world, and FDLA values the perspectives and varied experiences that are found only in a diverse membership. The promotion and retention of a diverse membership is essential to the success of our organization as a whole as well as our respective professional pursuits. Diversity brings to our organization a broader and richer environment which produces creative thinking and solutions. As such, FDLA embraces and encourages diversity in all aspects of its activities. FDLA is committed to creating and maintaining a culture that supports and promotes diversity in its organization.
Over 50 Years of service
The first meeting of the original members of the FDLA took place in 1966 with formal formation of the organization in April of 1967
Over 1000 Members
Approximate current member count.
Current States represented in membership
Trial Advocate, the FDLA's professional journal is not only received by members, Florida judges, and industry professionals statewide, it is published by Westlaw as a legal resource.