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Message from the Chair

Siobhan Helene Shea
Siobhan Helene Shea

A central theme of my service as your Chair will be to reinvigorate the Pro Bono Committee. Past Chair Steve Brannock's last message encouraged members of the Section do more pro bono appellate work. That message could not have come at a better time, as members have responded to the call and are joining the ranks of a growing committee under the leadership of Bryan Gowdy, who has generously agreed to serve as Chair of the Pro Bono Committee. As the recipient of the first annual Appellate Practice Section Pro Bono Award, I heartily recommend that you volunteer your time to undertake at least one pro bono case this year, and do so through the Pro Bono Committee. Some of my most memorable cases have been pro bono, and now more than ever, there is a huge need for skilled appellate pro bono representation in Florida.

The Section has been extremely fortunate to have the continued involvement of our state's finest appellate jurists and court staff. This is especially appreciated in light of funding cuts to the judiciary. We are applaud the installation of one of our Judicial Representatives, the Honorable Peggy A. Quince as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida. And we welcome the return to leadership as Vice Chair of the Section retiring Supreme Court Justice Raoul G. Cantero, III.

The Appellate Practice Section's legislative and policy agenda this year continues to support the need for maintaining an independent judiciary with funding for appellate judges and support personnel consistent with the Supreme Court of Florida's budget requests. This continues to be an area in which the Section's leadership is necessitated by the underfunding of the judicial branch. If you wish to be involved in the Section's Legislative Committee please contact Chair Tom Warner, who has kindly agreed to continue leading that committee.

The Section is looking for more ways to serve you better, get new and passive members involved, and to help a diverse number of appellate lawyers for leadership in the Section. If you would like to get involved in the Section and don't know where to start, please contact Outreach Chair Gwendolyn Powell Braswell or Leadership Chair Angela Flowers.

The Publications Committee, chaired by Caryn Carvo, has successfully put the Guide online, under the Editorship of Rebecca Steele, along with the assistance of Website Chair Henry Gyden and Website Vice-Chair Jonathan Streisfeld. Look for that and other improvements to the website promised by the website committee.

The Appellate Practice Section's CLE Committee got this year off to a big start with the Advanced Appellate Advocacy Seminar, which this year was moved to Coastal Law School in Jacksonville under the leadership of Co-Chairs John Mills and Celene Humphries. In October, the Section is co-sponsoring this year's Eleventh Circuit Appellate Practice Institute in Atlanta under the leadership of Treasurer/Secretary Matt Conigliaro. Our monthly telephonic CLEs continue to be a popular and convenient way to hone appellate practice skills from the office. This year the Section, under the leadership of CLE Chair Betsy Gallagher, is re-evaluating ways to improve our CLE programs by making them easier to attend and giving members CLE in the appellate practice areas they want. Section members will continue to receive email updates both from the Section and from the Bar about relevant appellate practice CLE. Towards that end we welcome hearing from members about the CLE and information we are providing.

Thankfully, Jack R. Reiter has graciously agreed to serve as Editor of the Record for another term. This is a generous service to the Section and a great opportunity for publishing and getting up to date articles on appellate practice and Section news. Other publishing opportunities for Section members exist in the Florida Bar Journal publications edited by Tracy Raffles Gunn and the Pro Se Appellate Handbook updates Edited by Chair Elect Dorothy Easley and Vice Chair of the Handbook Kimberly Jones.

The budget continues to be an area of focus for the Executive Council, as we continue to reassess the impact of the change in the splits from revenues with the Bar. We are looking for ways to increase our revenues and make Section projects self-sustaining. This provides potential marketing opportunities for firms and select vendors. If you or your firm is interested in sponsorship opportunities with the Section, please contact Treasurer/Secretary Matt Conigliaro.

Finally, for the end of this year, we will be planning the fourth Appellate Practice Section Retreat. If you are interested in getting involved in the retreat planning or other Section events, contact Programs Chair Ceci Berman, who is Vice Chair of the Retreat, along with Past-Section Chair Hala Sandridge. Part of the Retreat Agenda will be to refine our Internal Operating Procedures and maintain the Section's history. Our Section has a rich tradition of involvement of the pre-eminent appellate lawyers and jurists in the state. To preserve that history, we are collecting historical notes and photos from the Section and would love to hear from you if you have anything you think should be included in the IOP or the Appellate Practice Section History.

It is a great honor to serve as Chair and I welcome your suggestions and feedback.

- Siobhan Helene Shea, Chair