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Chair's Message

Chris Donovan

January 2021

Greetings Appellate Practice Section Members,


We made it out of 2020—finally! Like every new year, some things change and some things stay the same. One thing changing is the look of our e-blasts. Our Bar Administrator, Cheri Wright, and her team at The Florida Bar have done a wonderful job redesigning our e-blasts, which is part of our Section's overall initiative to refresh our digital brand. We hope to also roll out a new website in the coming months!

Another big change that took effect on January 1, 2021 are multiple amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, which include appellate jurisdictional changes, font changes to appellate submissions, and changing from a page limit to a word limit. I have summarized most of last year's rule amendments in an article for The Record, which can be found here.

On the other hand, some things stay the same in 2021, like Zoom hearings, Zoom oral arguments, and—unfortunately—a Zoom Winter Bar Meeting. I had really hoped to see each of you this January in person, but regrettably our Committee and Executive Council meetings will be virtual again. Our last Chair was known as the "Force Majeure Chair"; I guess I'll be known as the "Virtual Chair".

Although the Executive Council agenda will be sent in a later blast, here's a schedule of our Winter Bar meetings:

Appellate Practice Section 2021 Winter Meeting Schedule
*Click on Meeting Names Below to Register for Each Meeting*

Wednesday, January 13, 2021
9:00am-10:30am Diversity & Inclusion Committee
10:30am-11:30am Outreach Committee
11:30am-12:00pm Pro Bono Committee
12:00pm-5:00pm Winning Your Appeal at Trial
- presented by the APS Pro Bono Committee and Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program
Thursday, January 14, 2021
10:30am-11:30am Legislative Committee
10:30am-11:00am Publications Committee
11:00am-12:30pm Communications Committee
12:30pm-1:30pm CLE Committee
11:30pm-3:30pm Executive Council Meeting

You'll notice in the events above that one positive thing continuing in 2021 is our Section's joint half-day CLE event with the Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program on January 13th. This year's theme is Winning Your Appeal at Trial, and it is overflowing with talented presenters. Attendance is free and is good for both appellate and criminal appellate certification credit. To learn more, view the schedules, or register for the CLE, please visit Winning Your Appeal at Trial, here.

Finally, last month, our Programs and Outreach Committee Chairs put together a Zoom-Tastic event involving a virtual scavenger hunt. Those who attended had a great time and if you missed it, you'll have to attend the next one. But, it seems only right that your moment of zen should be screenshots of your fellow Section members having a blast (or making fools of themselves?):

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt

I wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year, and look forward to a time in the (hopefully near) future when we can share good times and good memories in person.


Chris Donovan, Chair
The Florida Bar APS Chair 2020-2021