“Increase Your Law Firm Productivity and Efficiency Using Apps” will highlight various applications that attorneys can use in their professional lives to make their practices more efficient and productive. Course number 4556. Approved for 1.0 General; 1.0 Technology CLE credit. REGISTER
Renee E. Thompson is a solo civil trial attorney and mediator from Ocala, Florida. She is an active leader in The Florida Bar, serving on the Board of Governors as the current Technology Chair and Member Benefit Liaison and on the Executive Council of the Solo and Small Firm Section. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in the area of Practice Management and Technology, and has received the General Practice/ Solo and Small Firm Section’s Walter S. Crumbley Award for her contributions in the area of Practice Management. She established a reputation at a young age as a high achiever, as President of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division and inaugural Chair of The Florida Bar Leadership Academy, and received the President’s Award of Merit twice while serving on the Board of Governors.
Liz McCausland has been practicing law for over 20 years after graduating from the University of Florida with both her Bachelor of Arts and JD degrees. She practiced civil litigation representing both individuals and national corporations before starting her own firm. Ms. McCausland now concentrates in bankruptcy and mediation. She is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator. She served on committees to establish both the Orlando Bankruptcy Division’s Mortgage Modification Mediation Program, as well as the Orange County Mortgage Modification Program.
She has conducted over 4,000 Mortgage Modification Mediations in every district in Florida, as well as in Indiana, California, Nevada, and Arizona. She travels throughout the US to teach other attorneys and mediators how to successfully obtain and mediate mortgage modifications in bankruptcy.
Liz has served in leadership positions in many voluntary bar associations and has won awards for her devoted service including being recognized with the Lawrence G. Matthews Professionalism Award. She is a past president of the Orange County Bar Association, and serves on the executive board of the Florida Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Section. She has also previously served on the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Section, The Florida Bar’s Leadership Academy Committee and on the executive board of the Central Florida Association For Women Lawyers.
Liz is a self-proclaimed gadget geek and has never met an app she didn’t try. Unfortunately, the nuances of Microsoft Excel still confound her.
March 24, 12 – 1 PM Wednesday Wisdom Zoom webinar. Free CLE for Solo & Small Firm Section members.* Presented by Teresa Byrd Morgan, Morgan Law Center of Lake City; Sean Desmond, Desmond Law, PLLC of Tallahassee; and John Maceluch, Jr., Maceluch Law Firm of Panama City. REGISTER
This trio of thriving solo and small firm attorneys will share tips that have helped them to succeed in their practices. Topics will cover Team Building & Management, Time and Money Management, Client Development, Competency and Considerations for Breaking into New Practice Areas. 1.0 General CLE Credit Pending.
*Registration will be approved when section membership is confirmed.
Teresa Byrd Morgan is a Florida Bar board-certified elder law attorney. After graduating with honors from the University of Florida School of Law, she served for six years as the senior judicial clerk to First District Court of Appeal Chief Judge E. Earle Zehmer.
In 1993, Teresa and her husband decided to build their dream home on the banks of the Suwannee River in rural North Central Florida. She served as a general practitioner in a small law firm for four years, and in 1997 opened her own firm, limiting her practice to the areas of estate planning, probate and trust settlement, business law, and appellate law. When her parents began declining both physically and cognitively and she found herself immersed in the world of caregiving for aged parents, she broadened her practice to include elder law. She is deeply gratified to be able to help families effectively deal with the physical, emotional, and financial aspects of caring for their elderly loved ones.
Teresa is married to Dan Morgan, and they have one child, Jason Morgan, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Defense, and two granddaughters, Caroline and Amelia. Teresa also enjoys being “Resa” to Dan’s additional grandchildren, Cooper, Morgan, Ashley, Latham, Reagan, and Kennedy. Teresa and Dan’s family would not be complete without their pets, which include Daphne, a Maine Coon cat, and Izzie, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Sean T. Desmond focuses exclusively in the area of Elder Law and Estate Planning, with a focus on Medicaid Crisis Planning and Long Term Care Planning.
Sean has been practicing law since September 2000. Since becoming an attorney, Sean has served as both a prosecutor and defense attorney as well as representing countless clients going through family law matters and personal injury cases. Sean is a 1996 graduate of Boston College and attended Law School at Florida State University, College of Law, graduating in May 2000.
Mr. Desmond has always remained extremely active in the community throughout his legal career. Mr. Desmond served as President of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division 2011-2012 and also served as Chair of The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism (both State-wide positions). In addition, Mr. Desmond has a voting seat on the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. Mr. Desmond also served as the President of the Tallahassee Bar Association and as President of the William Stafford Inns of Court in Tallahassee, Florida. Mr. Desmond is married with two children and attends Bradfordville First Baptist Church where he teaches a Sunday School class, plays guitar in the Worship band and serves as a Deacon.
April 20, 12 – 1 PM Live GoToWebinar presented by Melanie Griffin, Of Counsel attorney at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, Tampa, and Senior Advisor, Business-to-Business Relationships of Shumaker Advisors Florida. Time Management Strategies & Life Hacks for the Productive, Professional Lawyer. Moderator: Jennifer Kuyrkendall Griffin. Live InReach webinar. Course number 4278. 1.0 General; 1.0 Professionalism CLE credit pending. Registration coming soon.
Time. It is something we all want more of. Yet, no matter how hard we wish, there are only 24 hours in each day. During this virtual webinar, Melanie S. Griffin will help you stretch these 24 hours as far as possible. Together, we will develop a personal strategy that incorporates time management skills and other productive habits to become more effective, efficient, professional and happy lawyers who best serve ourselves, our clients and employers/employees, and the legal profession and justice system as a whole.
Melanie S. Griffin, Esq. is a triple-graduate of The Florida State University (Business Finance, 2003; MBA, 2006; JD, 2006). Her entrepreneurial skills were honed for thirteen years at a prominent Florida corporate law firm where she served as a law clerk and then attorney from 2006-19, the last five years of which she was an Equity Shareholder and the Tampa Office Managing Partner. In 2019, Melanie joined Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, an Am Law 200 firm that is the largest law firm in Tampa Bay, Of Counsel and Shumaker Advisors as Senior Advisor, Business-to-Business Relationships.
During her legal career, Melanie has served as the 2011-12 President of the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers and 2013-14 President of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division. In 2021-22, she will serve as President of the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers.
Melanie has been recognized as Florida’s Most Productive Young Lawyer (2009), FAWL Leader in the Law (2010), OBJ 40 Under 40 (2011), Super Lawyers Rising Star (Business Litigation 2010-20), Florida Trend Legal Elite (Up & Comer 2010-14, Commercial Litigation 2014-18), TBBJ BusinessWoman of the Year Legal Services Finalist (2016), FSU Notable Nole (2016), Tampa Bay Metro Inspiring Woman in Business (2016-17), FSU College of Business Recent Alumni Achievement Award (2017), and Best Lawyers in America (Commercial Litigation 2017-20). In 2019, Melanie assisted with the launch of Nora Riva Bergman’s book 50 Lessons for Women Lawyers from Women Lawyers at the New York City Bar Association. Her Lesson, Dream Beyond Perfection!, is published as Lesson #20.
Beyond her legal career, in 2017, Melanie created Spread Your Sunshine, her then passion project committed to empowering others with the confidence to break the glass ceiling and achieve their dreams. After two years of experiencing the excitement over and need for the #ShineItForward™ movement, Melanie is dedicated to intentionally focusing on the inspiration of joy in and encouragement of others.
Melanie’s success shining others through the glass ceiling to their most audacious dreams was celebrated through her receipt of the TBBJ BusinessWoman of the Year Angie Joseph Excellence in Mentorship Award (2016), GSWCF Woman of Promise Award (2017), FSU Inspire Award (2017), Florida Bar YLD Outstanding Woman Lawyer of Achievement Award (2018), KNOW Tampa Feature (2018), The Best of KNOW Feature (2019), Florida Bar SSFS Mentor of the Year Award (2019), Florida State University College of Law Alumni Association Service Award (2020), and KNOW Tampa Contributor Feature (2020).
Melanie is happiest when she is building up all those around her, including her husband Mike, son Maverick, and Golden Lab Molly.
April 28, 12 – 1 PM Wednesday Wisdom Zoom webinar (free for Solo & Small Firm Section members)* presented by Rebecca Bandy, Director, The Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism at The Florida Bar. This interactive experience will explore mental health, wellness, and substance abuse issues facing legal professionals, particularly focused on solo and small firms; it will look at ways to minimize distractions and improve self-care; it will define emotional intelligence and its benefits; and it will give examples of mindfulness-based emotional intelligence practices that can be used personally and professionally to improve quality of life.” 1.0 General; 1.0 Professionalism; 1.0 Mental Illness CLE credit and course number pending. REGISTER
Rebecca J. Bandy serves as the Director of The Florida Bar’s Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism. She joined the Center as Assistant Director in March 2017.
Prior to joining The Florida Bar, Ms. Bandy was an associate attorney at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Powell, PA in Tallahassee, where she litigated in the areas of family and criminal law. She most recently taught college-level courses at Lawton Chiles High School, where she helped establish the school’s award-winning mock trial team along with The Honorable Mark Walker, The Honorable David Frank, and attorney David Grimes.
Ms. Bandy previously served as the Director of Alumni Relations at the Florida State University College of Business and as the Assistant Director of Alumni and Development at the Florida State University College of Law.
She earned her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law. A native of the tiny town of Hilliard in Nassau County, Florida, she earned her Bachelor’s in Communications with Honors from Jacksonville University and her teaching credentials at Georgia Southern University.
Since becoming director, Ms. Bandy has attended the National Legal Mentoring Symposium in Columbia, South Carolina; the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute at Georgetown University; the National Mindfulness Summit in Washington, DC; and has received a Mental Health First Aid certificate. She currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Professionalism. She regularly speaks to legal professionals, law school students, and Florida Bar staff on general professionalism, mindfulness-based emotional intelligence, the impacts of loneliness, mentoring, networking, gratitude, resilience, interpersonal communications skills, active listening, implicit bias, and team building.
Ms. Bandy is active in her church, is a community volunteer at an area elementary school, and she has supported causes including the March of Dimes, Epilepsy Association of the Big Bend, the Holocaust Education Resource Council (HERC), The Kearney Center, and Honor Flight Tallahassee.
May 11, 12 – 1 PM Live GotoWebinar presented by Frank Ramos, Managing Partner, Clarke Silverglate, P.A. of Miami. In “Virtual Business Development – Developing Relationships, On and Offline,” Frank will discuss how attorneys can maximize online platforms for business development and use relationships created online into in person professional relationships. Moderator: Scott Meryl. 1.0 General; 1.0 Technology CLE credit and course number pending.
Frank is the Managing Partner of Clarke Silverglate, where he practices in the areas of commercial litigation, drug and medical device, products liability and catastrophic personal injury. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is listed in Best Lawyers in America for his defense work in product liability matters. Frank has been with Clarke Silverglate for virtually his entire career. He has tried to verdict personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, and inverse condemnation cases. As a certified mediator, Frank has resolved numerous matters through alternative dispute resolution.
Frank is an ambassador for the Firm’s mission of leadership and service. He has been President of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association and the 11th Judicial Historical Society and has served on the boards of the Defense Research Institute, Florida International University’s Alumni Association, Florida International University’s Honors College, Parent to Parent of Miami, Miami-Dade Defense Bar Association, Legal Services of Greater Miami, and Florida Christian School. He serves as a mentor to countless young lawyers and law students through his publications, social media posts, presentations, webinars, and his “coffee chats.” Frank has written 15 books for lawyers, edited five books for lawyers, and has written over 400 articles for lawyers and business professionals.
Franks’s dedication to young lawyers is exemplified through his development of a Deposition Boot Camp and Art of Marketing Program for the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, an invitation-only defense organization that handpicked Frank for membership just eight years into his practice. Frank’s daily practice pointers and business tips on LinkedIn has almost 35,000 followers.
In his spare time, Frank enjoys writing, reading science fiction, and listening to his two sons, David and Michael, perform classical and jazz music.
May 19, 12 – 1 PM, free Wednesday Wisdom Zoom webinar for Solo & Small Firm Section members.* Presented by Christine Phipps, Registered Professional Reporter, President of Phipps Reporting, Inc. of West Palm Beach. The court reporting profession, like the legal profession, has ethical issues and considerations to manage. This is especially relevant with the increase in use of technology, virtual depositions and hearings, and online notarization and swearing-in for the record. This CLE additionally will cover issues including gifting, confidentially, professionalism, methodologies and ethical challenges and how court reporters and office staff can maintain a professional and ethical setting. Course number and 1.0 General; 1.0 Technology; 1.0 Ethics CLE credit pending. *Registration will be approved when section membership is confirmed. REGISTER
Christine Phipps is a Registered Professional Reporter, President of Phipps Reporting, Inc., and current President of the National Court Reporters Association. She received her degree in court reporting from Broward State College. She started out as an official court reporter for the first two years of her career and then spent the next 15 years working all over the world as a freelance court reporter. After building relationships all over the country, Christine opened her own court reporting and litigation support agency, Phipps Reporting. In addition to reporting, Christine is also an Eclipse Trainer and has served as Chair of NCRA’s Technology and Freelance Committees and served on many other committees. Christine was awarded the 2014 Most Enterprising Woman of the Year, Gamechanger of the Year, and Small Business Woman-Owned Person of the Year. Christine’s company, Phipps Reporting, made the Inc. 5000 list every year since 2014, making her the first Honorary member of the Inc. 5000 in our industry. She currently resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and has three children; Brandon, Jarrod and Skylar and her grandson, Forrest.
In addition to reporting, Christine is also an Eclipse Trainer and has served as Chair of NCRA’s Technology Freelance Committee, as well as other Committees within the NCRA.
June 10, 7:55 AM – 4:25 PM. Statutory updates in several key areas of Florida law. 8.0 General CLE Credits Pending
Free CLE for Solo & Small Firm Section Members. Registration will be approved when section membership is confirmed. Wednesday Wisdom Zoom webinar. 1.0 General CLE credit and course number pending. REGISTER
“Managing Up: A Primer on Interfacing with Young Attorneys” is a research-based discussion for legal leaders seeking to enhance and engage young attorneys. Hear from new practitioners in a variety of industries and legal educators on cultivating, retaining, and maximizing the potential of the young attorneys in your workforce. After several major shifts in the law practice landscape in light of COVID-19, join this insightful panel discussion as the Solo & Small Firm Section re-examines traditional best practices on how to on-board and enhance new attorneys, and hear candid advice on how to innovate your law model.
Moderator: Diriki Geuka, Associate, Townsend & Lockett, LLC
1) Professor Alicia Jackson, Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, will discuss her research on how law entities can better engage new attorneys.
2) Brijesh Patel, Seminole County Attorney’s Office, Sanford, former in-house attorney, transactional attorney, government practice.
3) Zoila Lahera, Associate, Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen, Tampa, second-year litigation & appellate attorney, private practice.
4) Ian Dankelman, Associate, Freeborn & Peters LLP, Tampa, former federal judicial law.
Diriki Geuka is an Associate in Townsend & Lockett, LLC’s transactional practice group, where he works on a team focusing on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and venture capital agreements. Diriki was previously a Pinellas Assistant County Attorney where he represented County agencies and elected and appointed officials. Diriki began his career as a federal staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, where he served for a year and was an intern for the Honorable Julie S. Sneed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida while in law school. Diriki was president of Stetson University College of Law’s Student Bar Association before graduating in 2017 with the Dean Richard Dillon Excellence in Real Property and Marc L. Levine Awards. Diriki is a frequent mentor, community volunteer, and currently serves as a member of Morris Brown’s President’s Advisory Board.
Professor Alicia Jackson is a member of the law faculty and the Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation Services at Stetson University College of Law. Before joining Stetson, she was the Associate Dean for Student Learning and Assessment at her previous institution. Professor Jackson’s presentations, publications, and scholarship interests include racial equity and bias in education, cultural competency, generational learning, and educational psychology. Professor Jackson also served on the research team that published, in 2020, Building a Better Bar: The Twelve Building Blocks of Minimum Competence, sponsored by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. She also co-authored Contemporary Teaching Strategies: Effectively Engaging Millennials Across the Curriculum.
Brijesh Patel is a Seminole Assistant County Attorney and graduated from Florida A&M University College of Law in 2012. He is a transactional attorney in city, county, and local government law providing counsel to multiple departments in Seminole County. He has prior experience in the private sector in the legal departments of Universal Orlando and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and in the public sector with the Office of Regional Conflict Counsel and the Pinellas County Attorney’s Office. Mr. Patel also currently serves as Chair of the Student Education/Admissions to the Bar Committee of the Florida Bar and is actively involved in the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Social Media Committee of the city, county, and local government section of the Florida Bar.
Zoila Lahera is a third-year associate in MacFarlane Ferguson & McMullen’s litigation group, where she represents clients in a variety of complex civil, professional, insurance, and business matters in state and federal courts. Additionally, Zoila’s litigation practice emphasizes issues of fraud and malfeasance, in which Zoila provides representation to clients in whistleblower actions from detection, through fact-gathering, drafting complaints, litigation and appeals, all of which allow her to work cooperatively with governmental agencies to protect whistleblowers. Zoila graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2018, cum laude, in the top 15% of her class. Born in Cuba, Zoila and her family were granted political asylum in the United States, for opposing the Castro regime, in 1996, and she speaks fluent English and Spanish.
Ian Dankelman is an Associate in the Litigation Practice Group at Freeborn & Peters, LLP. Ian focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation. Ian graduated from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2014. Before joining Freeborn, Ian counseled large commercial clients at a nationwide law firm that specialized in first-party property cases. For nearly two years, Ian served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Elizabeth Kovachevich in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. He began his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, where he tried over a dozen jury trials to verdict.