It is my distinct privilege and honor to serve as your President for the 2017-18 year term.  I am humbled to be selected, given the strength and quality of the trial lawyers and judges in FLABOTA – who fit the phrase “the best of the best."

My goals as President of the FLABOTA are: 

  • To energize FLABOTA with greater social media presence -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram
  • To offer a "tool kit" to all Florida Chapters, of those highly successful and popular programs -- Professionalism and Civility programs, the James Otis Lecture Series and Judge's Night
  • To lead the Early Response Teams at FLABOTA, to react and respond whenever an unjust criticism of a judge occurs in Florida
  • To visit every Chapter that holds a signature program
  • To attend annual meetings of CAL-ABOTA, TEX-ABOTA, SEABOTA and ABOTA
  • To closely monitor any effort by the Florida legislature to enact judicial term limits
  • To ask each Chapter to name a “point person” for the FLABOTA Legislative and Educational Fund (FLEF), and for such person to be in contact with Howard Hunter

I can't wait to start my term as your President.

William R. Clayton, FLABOTA President


In 1957, the American jury system was under fierce attack by the press, legislators, judges and scholars. California’s Governor, Edmund “Pat” Brown, suggested a commission to hear workers’ compensation, liability and other civil cases. It was this dark cloud – the potential death sentence for the civil jury system – that provided the seeds for the birth of the American Board of Trial Advocates. A handful of young lawyers began an organization (ABOTA) that was “revolutionary,” according to most of their elders. The same forces are at work today as they were in the late 1950′s – some people continue to attempt to dismantle the civil jury system in our country — and the attacks are far less subtle.

The preservation of the civil jury trial, “Justice by the People,” is the primary purpose of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We seek attorneys who display skill, civility and integrity, to help younger attorneys achieve a higher level of trial advocacy and to educate the public about the vital importance of the Seventh Amendment. Thomas Jefferson was of the opinion that the right to trial by a jury of fellow citizens was a more important safeguard of personal liberty than even the right to vote. With a jury, the rights and duties of each of us will be decided by our fellow citizens, not by a bureaucrat or governmental functionary. ABOTA embraces this philosophy of Jefferson and is a leader in the fight to preserve and protect the rights of every American to a jury trial. ABOTA is dedicated to “Justice by the People.”

This documents the video history of FLABOTA since its inception in 1992. Past President Josh Whitman engaged Video Law Services to interview past presidents of FLABOTA, leaders of ABOTA National and others to chronicle FLABOTA’s history, and the excellent video here, is the result.