Let me first thank all of you for the privilege of serving this term as your President.  I will end this term, unquestionably, with an even greater appreciation for what all of us do on a daily basis for our clients and importantly, for our system of justice.  Despite all of our efforts, the systemhas  been  challenged  in the Sunshine State over the  course of the  last  number of  years.  What can we do?  More R&D?

While R&D is commonly known as Research and Development, we have done plenty of  that;  and  so,  as  we  begin  another  year  at  FLABOTA, I  would  like R&D  to  stand  for Revitalizationand Diversity.” There is no question that our members are the backbone of our system.    We  shine  a  light  on  the  issues  that  present  themselves  to  all  of  the  branches.We  are uniquely  qualified  to  expose  those  issues,  but  some  of  our  Chapters are  also  facing  challenges.  Each of us must commit to help those Chapters and move more strongly toward our shared goal.  I am asking each of you to help me Revitalize the Chapters that need our support.   

I am also asking each of you to think about how we can be more  diverse.  Who amongst your  community  meets  our  criteria  with  professionalism  and  civility?    Only  through  a  broader tent can we have the lasting effect that we all strive to achieve.   

As  we  move  forward;  every  day  dedicated  to  defending  the  American  Civil  Justice system,  let  us  do  so  with  an  understanding  that  that system can  only  operate  appropriately when  it  is open to people of  every, color, religion and  sexual orientation.  That is the only way that the system benefits from what we do.  We are advocates...let this message be our message, The  Justice  system  is  more  efficiently  administered  by promoting  professionalism, civility  and diversity in everything we do!  

Thank you for this opportunity. 

Jeff M. Goodis, 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.