Chair’s Message

Mindy McLaughlin

Welcome to the Trial Lawyers Section!
For more than 50 years, we have been dedicated to the essential role of trial lawyers like you. From preserving the right of access to courts for trials by jury to fiercely protecting the independence of our judiciary, while promoting the art of trial advocacy and the abilities and talents of Florida’s trial lawyers, we continue to work tirelessly for our profession. This year, we have chosen to focus on promoting and maintaining civility, ethics and professionalism, a theme of critical importance, which will permeate throughout all of our programs and events.
I want to personally invite you to participate in the exceptional line-up we have planned for you this year. In addition to the multiple courses we offer that cover a myriad of hot topics and compelling issues, we have two premier events that will take place in Tampa on January 23-25, 2019:
• The prestigious Chester Bedell Mock Trial Competition in which law schools across the state participate. If you volunteer to serve as a juror, you will receive 8 hours of CLE credit. Lawyers serve as jurors while State, Appellate and Federal Judges and Justices preside over each round with the final rounds being held in the Middle District’s Ceremonial Courtroom.
• The Teachers Law Symposium in which middle and high school civics and government teachers are treated to a star-studded two-day program covering the role of trials and lawyers in our society, the independence of the judiciary and government, the mechanics of civil and criminal law, and the groundbreaking decisions that have formed our case law.
As well, in early 2019, we will host the popular two-day Board Certification Review Course, providing 15 hours of Civil Trial Certification and Business Litigation Certification credit. Professor Charles Ehrhardt has signed on for another year, joining the faculty of some of Florida’s top trial lawyers.
Our signature course, The Advanced Trial Advocacy Course at The University of Florida College of Law, will be held May 14-18, 2019. This course counts as a full jury trial for Civil Trial Certification, 40 hours of Civil Trial Certification credit, 20 hours of Business Litigation Certification credit and 10.5 hours of Ethics. This program is always well attended and provides an invaluable experience for the trial lawyers and faculty who join us from around the state, including accomplished Barristers from England.
Aside of the events and courses that you will be invited to attend during the year, please be on the lookout for our publications, which will provide you with insight on recent court decisions and the work of our section. One of the publications you will receive is our newly updated Discovery Handbook, together with Our Guidelines for Professional Conduct. Judges across the state utilize and rely on this publication, and we hope that you put it to use to improve your practice.
As aptly stated by my immediate predecessors, Skooter Kinman and Tom Bishop, if you try cases, want to try cases, or want to learn more about the trial of cases, the Trial Lawyers Section is the place for you. We have a great year ahead!

Very truly yours,

Mindy McLaughlin, Chair
Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar