Tribute to a Fallen Warrior
This is a dedication to Glenn Matthew Burton, Sr., who passed away on June 24, 2009. He was chair of the Trial Lawyers’ Executive Council for only one day, but his presence, though still felt, will be sorely missed. Glenn was the “real deal,” a lawyer’s lawyer with the intelligence, competence and razor sharp wit that made him one of the top trial lawyers in our state. He was in some ways larger than life, a warm, outgoing man who was serious about his profession, but always had a smile and a twinkle in his eye. He was proud to have the opportunity to lead the Trial Lawyers’ Section, a position his father Dan Burton held 28 years ago.
Glenn dreamed big. He wanted to make every trial lawyer in Florida a better and more professional advocate.
To accomplish this goal he wanted to start a trial lawyer’s summit or retreat, where all civil trial lawyers and judges could come annually for CLEs and the exchange of ideas, plus the building of professionalism and civility. The current Executive Council is attempting to make Glenn’s vision a reality.
Glenn also loved to teach, and he found fulfillment in training younger lawyers at his firm. But he also chaired the annual Trial Advocacy seminar at the University of Florida in Gainesville, a 5 day program that always draws rave reviews, and has contributed to making up to 48 trial lawyers per year better at their craft. He was understandably proud of this seminar, which he believed was responsible for equipping hundreds of lawyers in our state with the tools to better able to serve their clients, and to do so in a professional manner.
His teaching was not limited to the spoken word, and Glenn saw a need for a guide to handling medical malpractice cases. He gathered some of the state’s finest med mal lawyers, and wrote a chapter himself and edited the rest of the book. The second edition of the Florida Medical Malpractice Handbook will come out soon, and is another example of his passion for excellence.
He was also willing to sacrifice huge amounts of his time in an attempt to preserve the public’s right to a jury trial. Access to courts was not just a worn cliché to him, but was important enough for him to spend time in Tallahassee attempting to convince our legislature that keeping courts open is not an issue just for criminal cases, but is also important to the business community and to citizens in general.
I have lost a good friend, his wife Nancy and son Matt have lost a loving husband and father, our Trial Lawyers’ Executive Council has lost a driving force in the profession, and the entire Bar has lost one of its strongest advocates. But the biggest loss is to our state, whose citizens have lost an outspoken defender of their constitutional right to trial by jury.
– Bob Mansbach