The inaugural meeting of the Senior Lawyers Committee took place last Thursday, January 23rd at The Florida Bar Winter Meeting at the Hilton Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida. I am both honored and humbled to be a member of this passionate group of attorneys, and hope to serve as a bridge between the “new” and the “experienced” attorneys.
Over 40 committee members, many of whom with careers spanning over 40 years and still in practice, were in attendance, as well as a number of members who participated via conference call. Committee Chair Jake Schickel began the meeting by emphasizing that the Committee’s mission has nothing to do with determining or enforcing the “fitness” of a senior lawyer. Instead, the mission of the Senior Lawyers Committee is focused on helping lawyers find a meaningful, dignified approach to transition from full time practice to the next phase in their career or possibly retirement.
Discussion opened up with a number of attorneys expressing a real concern over the lack of professionalism shown among many of today’s practitioners, and a desire of many to see the talk of professionalism put into action through a senior lawyer advisory council for existing and new lawyers, as well as judges in each circuit. Many also expressed a strong desire to pass along their wealth of knowledge through a mentorship program with new attorneys. Others discussed openly their frustration over not yet being ready to retire, but also not wanting to keep up the same pace.
The overwhelming theme throughout the discussion among members was a strong desire to share their knowledge and experience, and give back to the legal community as well as the community at large. As a professional who is relatively new to the practice of law, I am excited to be a part of what will surely be a ground breaking endeavor and look forward to being a part of the development of the Senior Lawyers Committee.