I am writing my first "Chair's Message" from my balcony overlooking Mallory Square in Key West. We just finished our first retreat and long range planning session in over a decade. Appellate lawyers from all over the state descended upon the Conch Republic to have a voice in the future of our section.
All of us have busy professional lives, and we rarely have the time to stop and reflect on long term goals when we get together for our regular meetings. How can the Appellate Practice Section better serve our members, our appellate courts, our profession, and our legal community? What are we doing well, and what could we be doing better? We discussed these types of weighty topics for the better part of a day, including talks over a fabulous Key West sunset dinner that I will never forget.
I won't attempt to describe all the progress that we made — there will be much discussion about these issues in the coming months. However, I am very proud of what we accomplished as a group. I think we all finished the weekend with new ideas, new action items, and a renewed resolve to accomplish even more in the 2016-17 bar year, and beyond.
My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who participated in our retreat, and especially to the core group of retreat planners: Hala Sandridge, Tom Hall, and Nick Shannin. I know we will have these types of planning sessions more often in the future, and this retreat has set a very high standard.
I hope all of you who have taken the time to read this missive will be inspired to be active members of the section this year, and to take full advantage of all we have to offer. Our success depends on the involvement of skilled and dedicated appellate lawyers like you!
Hopefully I will see you at our next meeting at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, on January 26th, where we will talk more about the section's plans going forward, and you will see some of the progress that is already being made. We have a great year ahead of us.