Since 1992, FLABOTA has been one of four regional chapters chartered by the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). FLABOTA represents eleven local chapters in Florida and brings together the collective efforts of our almost 700 members statewide. Each and every one of our members combines the professionalism, trial experience and impeccable ethical standards that are the recognized hallmarks of ABOTA members.
As you visit our website, you will see a section entitled “Why We Matter.” It lists but a few of the things FLABOTA actively does to promote the professionalism, civility and ethics in trial practice that our members demonstrate. FLABOTA spearheads efforts in support of the independence of our Judiciary; in preserving the jury system; in supporting the ABOTA Foundation and its mission to educate and inspire our youth to learn and respect the United States Constitution; in teaching law students about civility in and out of the courtroom; and in myriad other ways that assist the efficient administration of justice and elevate the standards of integrity, professionalism and civility of trial advocates.
Our past leaders have paved the way for our mission. Why do we matter? We matter because we firmly believe that our profession and the art of trial advocacy are a sacred trust. We are committed to preserving the constitutional right to trial by jury and the independence of our courts, the third and co-equal branch of government.
– Gerald F. Richman, 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 John 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.