As chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar for 2017-2018, I am excited to let you know what has been happening with the section and what direction we will be going this year!
First, I would like to say a special thank you to our section sponsors: Carlyle Appellate Law Firm and Divorce Power Analyzer (platinum level), Family Law Software (gold level) and Girard & Johnson (bronze level). We appreciate their ongoing support of the Family Law Section and its members.
We enjoyed a successful 2016-2017 under Chair Laura Davis Smith’s remarkable leadership and we thank her for her outstanding service to the section. At our Annual Luncheon held during The Florida Bar Annual Convention, Laura recognized those individuals who really helped make her year great:
Kathryn Beamer, Sheena Benjamin-Wise, Ron Bornstein, Anthony Genova, Carin Porras, Robin Scher and Eddie E. Stephens, III, were recognized with the Unsung Hero Award.
Alicia de la O, Sandy T. Fox, Anastasia Garcia, Joseph D. Hunt, Michelle Klinger Smith and Reuben Doupe were presented the Spotlight Award to recognize their unique contributions to the section.
Eddie Stephens was awarded the Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award for his dedication to making a difference for Florida’s children and families through his tireless service to the disadvantaged and underserved.
The Above and Beyond Award was presented to Aimee Gross, Amy C. Hamlin, Amy Hickman, Sarah E. Kay, Andrea Oyola-Reid, Bonnie Sockel-Stone, and Eddie Stephens.
Jorge Cestero and Scott Rubin, former chairs of the section, were presented with the Honorable Raymond T. McNeal Professionalism Award for their passionate service and professionalism.
Former Chair Elisha D. Roy was presented with the Trail Blazer Award, in recognition of her trailblazing contributions to advance gender equality within the Bar, her desire to elevate the practice of law through Board Certification, her tireless voice for Florida’s families and her championing legislation to benefit Florida’s children, among others.
We elected and welcomed our new Executive Committee members, Chair-Elect Abigail Beebe, Treasurer Amy Hamlin, Secretary Douglas Greenbaum, and of course, Immediate Past Chair Laura Davis Smith. Former Chair Maria Gonzalez administered the oath as we swore in our newest Executive Council members, Trisha Armstrong, Anastasia Garcia, Kimberly Rommel-Enright, Philip J. Schipani and Sarah Sullivan, as well as those EC members returning to serve a new term, Sheena Benjamin-Wise, Sarah E. Kay, Matthew Lundy, and Philip Wartenberg. We also had an opportunity to recognize those attorneys who have become newly board certified by The Florida Bar in the area of Marital & Family Law: Lauren Marie Ilvento, Justin D. Jacobson, Travis R. Johnson, Lisa Frances Karges, Sarah E. Kay and Jonathan R. Simon. Congratulations!
I am excited to announce that this year’s theme is appropriate advocacy. This year we will focus on promoting the mastery of the substantive, procedural and ethical rules that are unique to family law. Our section also will continue to encourage, recognize and foster service by our members to improve our practice area and the legal profession, and to provide assistance to those unable to afford representation in family law—an area of critical need and importance. If you are not already an active member, I encourage you to join us and get involved this year with the Family Law Section—we have a lot that we can accomplish together!
Nicole L. Goetz, Esquire
Chair, Family Law Section of the Florida Bar