About the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar
The Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar was established in 1967. The Section has over 5,800 members with membership open to any attorney in good standing with The Florida Bar who shares a common interest in trial advocacy before the courts. Affiliate memberships are also available.
The essential purposes of the Trial Lawyers Section are threefold: (1) to assist the courts in improving the administration of justice; (2) to promote the art of advocacy; and (3) to preserve and protect the jury system. The governing body of the Trial Lawyers Section is its Executive Council, which is made up of 21 elected members of the Section, plus the Chair, Chair-elect, Secretary, and Immediate Past Chair. The Executive Council is essentially equally divided between plaintiff and defense lawyers and is geographically diverse throughout the state.
The Trial Lawyers Section has assisted the courts in improving the administration of justice in numerous ways. The Section worked with the Conference of Circuit Court Judges in publishing and distributing throughout the state the Guidelines for Professional Conduct. The Joint Committee of the Trial Lawyers Section, the Conference of Circuit Court Judges, and the Conference of County Court Judges, has published and distributed throughout the state three editions of the Handbook on Discovery Practice. Further, the Joint Committee has promoted the Expedited Summary Jury Trial Program. Over the years, the Trial Lawyers Section has taken a leadership role in the area of professionalism; actively promoting concepts of litigation ethics, pro bono service, civility, and excellence in the practice of law.
The Trial Lawyers Section has been the leading organization in the state seeking to preserve and promote the art of trial advocacy. The Section presents ten continuing legal education seminars each year, including its week-long basic trial advocacy seminar and advanced trial advocacy seminar. In addition, the Section puts on the civil trial board certification review course and sponsors the Chester Bedell Memorial Mock Trial Competition, a statewide competition open to all Florida law schools.
Finally, the Trial Lawyers Section has taken a very active role in trying to preserve and protect the jury system. Because of our unique role as “officers of the court,” trial lawyers have a special obligation to preserve and protect our judicial system. The Trial Lawyers Section has been very active when proposed legislation is based upon false assumptions or otherwise lacks empirical support. Historically, because of the equal balance on the Executive Council, the Trial Lawyers Section has not taken a position on legislation which favors either the plaintiff or the defense. However, where legislation threatens the public’s access to the courts, the independence of the judiciary, or the independence of the practice of law, the Trial Lawyers Section has taken and will continue to take a stand. We believe there is no greater duty than the responsibility of protecting the freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution.