2019-2020 President's Welcome

R. Scott Costantino


It is my honor to serve as FLABOTA President for 2019-2020. The Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (FLABOTA) consists of eleven local chapters throughout our state. Each FLABOTA member is also a member of our national organization ABOTA as well as their local chapter. FLABOTA is unique in that our membership is divided evenly between plaintiff and defense civil trial lawyers. Our membership includes many of the finest civil trial lawyers in the United States. Members are selected by their peers and exemplify the highest professional and ethical conduct. To increase membership we will continue our search for qualified and diverse civil trial lawyers who share our passion for achieving justice for our clients and the public.

I consider it a privilege to serve alongside our members in promoting FLABOTA’s goals of preserving the right to civil jury trial as guaranteed by the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, promoting professionalism and civility in the practice of law, and protecting the independence of the judiciary. This mission is achieved through our professionalism programs such as Civility Matters and our educational outreach programs such as Teachers Law School, 7th Amendment Symposium, and the James Otis Lecture Series.

Our programs are made possible by the generous support of the ABOTA Foundation. If you are a FLABOTA member and have not joined the ABOTA Foundation I would encourage you to do so. For more information on how you can join the ABOTA Foundation please visit www.abota.org.                                                                                                                                                                                               
Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for our newsletter that will inform our members of various FLABOTA events. We also plan to be active on social media in order to raise awareness of FLABOTA and all the good work we do. ABOTA has so much to offer its members at the national, state and local levels. Please take advantage of these opportunities by staying engaged with your state and local chapters and informed on all things ABOTA.                                                                                                                                       

It will take the efforts of all our members to reach our goals as an organization. Let’s work together to make it happen!

R. Scott Costantino, 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.