SOUTH FLORIDA CHAPTER
Events and Programs
Please contact us if you are interested in chairing, or volunteering for a committee. Click on any of the links below to find out more about each committee's remit.
AWARDS & GRANTS COMMITTEE
Chair: Michael Tarre. The Awards & Grants Committee is tasked with optimizing the resources available to the South Florida Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and obtaining recognition, when deserved, for its work with its members and the community. This committee is a liaison to the National Federal Bar Association, and works diligently to have the SDFL Chapter at the forefront of the National FBA’s consideration.
AWARDS & INSTALLATION DINNER COMMITTEE
Chair: Erica Zaron. The Awards & Installation Dinner Committee serves the vital function of planning our annual installation dinner gala, an event always well attended by members of the judiciary and the local bar. The committee invests significant time and energy into planning this annual event, where the annual Edward B. Davis Award for Service to the Federal Bench & Bar is awarded. This is the South Florida Chapter’s highest honor, which is given to a judge or lawyer who has exemplified the Chapter’s values of excellence and service to the community, the federal bench, and the federal bar.
BENCH & BAR CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
Chair: Brett Barfield. The Bench and Bar Conference Committee is in charge of planning and coordinating the Bi-annual Southern District of Florida Federal Bench and Bar Conference. This conference offers an array of seminars for bar members to attend, and covers both civil and criminal law issues. Attendees obtain Continuing Legal Education credit for their attendance at these thought provoking seminars. The Chief Judge of the Southern District of Florida traditionally welcomes everyone to the conference, and offers a “State of the District” summary. A distinguished guest speaker also presents during lunch. The Conference offers members of the local bar an opportunity to interact and network with each other, and also provides them a chance to interact with the judiciary.
CIVICS & EDUCATION OUTREACH COMMITTEE
Chair: Stephanie Turk. The Civics and Education Outreach Committee is tasked with reaching out to local area schools to offer them available programming in conjunction with the Court and with the assistance of FBA National and also with assisting in participating in the programming when events are held. Newly established in 2017, this committee is constantly looking for new ideas and ways to increase students’ exposure to the law and to government.
BOARD ROOM LUNCHEON COMMITTEE
Chair: Stephen Warren. The Board Room Luncheon Committee arranges periodic lunches in a casual small group setting with federal judges and/or leaders in federal practice, such as the United States Attorney or the Federal Public Defender. A maximum of 20 members of the South Florida Chapter of the FBA are invited to attend. These lunches are traditionally held in the summer months. The lunch is free and interaction is highly encouraged as the honorees are always receptive to questions from our members.
Co-Chairs: John Byrne and Jessica McDonald. The Education & CLE Committee works to promote CLE events sponsored on behalf of the South Florida Chapter of the FBA. Each year, the CLE Committee hosts an ethics seminar, where attendees hear from members of the federal judiciary as well as leaders in the community as to the most pressing ethical issues of the time, including issues in civil, criminal, and appellate disciplines. The Committee ensures that the Florida Bar approves its seminars for credit in advance, thus ensuring ease for the members to obtain their credit. The CLE Committee also acts as a liaison for its members to the National FBA and its many CLE offerings throughout the year.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION COMMITTEE
Co-Chairs: Eddie Kirtley and Tal Lifshitz. The Diversity Committee is aimed at providing programming to our members with a focus on a wide-swath of diversity related topics and is also tasked with ensuring we have a diverse membership. The FBA supports the full and equal access to, and participation by, all individuals in the Association, the legal profession, and the justice system regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other unique attribute. The FBA recognizes that achieving diversity in the legal profession requires the Association’s continued effort and commitment. The FBA is committed to diversity throughout the Association.
FBA LUNCHEON COMMITTEE
Co-Chairs: John Byrne and Jessica McDonald. The FBA Luncheon Committee plans and hosts our monthly luncheons where distinguished guest speakers address the capacity filled room on wide ranging issues of interest to federal court practitioners. These issues always touch on the most pressing and interesting topics of the time and garner a fantastic question and answer session at the conclusion of the presentation.
Chair: David Weinstein. The Finance Committee is trusted with the sacred obligation of ensuring that all funds brought into the South Florida Chapter of the FBA are properly accounted for, and that all expenses are carefully monitored. The members of the Finance Committee are constantly analyzing the most effective and efficient means to allocate the Chapter’s resources, and also work to ensure that the relationship with the banking institution the Chapter is affiliated with is constantly and consistently serving the bests interests of the Chapter.
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE
Chair: Oliver Ruiz. The Government Relations Committee is tasked with being the government arm of our chapter and integrating with FBA National to advocate to our elected representatives and others on behalf of the federal judiciary and the federal court system to assist in addressing their concerns and championing their needs.
IT & SOCIAL MEDIA COMMITTEE
Co-Chairs: Naim Surgeon and Courtney Cunningham. The IT & Social Media Committee works to keep the South Florida Chapter on the cutting edge of technology and social media. It is tasked with updating our Chapter’s website, as well as promoting events via Facebook, LinkedIn and email. This Committee is adept at evolving with the trends of the time, and serves to constantly keep our Chapter’s events at the forefront of peoples’ attention.
JUDICIAL RECEPTION COMMITTEE
Chair: Alaina Fotiu-Wojtowicz. The Judicial Reception Committee coordinates the South Florida Chapter’s annual judicial reception, one of the most highly anticipated and attended events of the year. At this cocktail party style event, members of the bar engage with one another and with members of the judiciary without the constraints of any formal meetings or agenda. This unique opportunity involves a great deal of planning and promotion, and the Committee ensures that everything runs smoothly each and every year.
LAW CLERK & YOUNG LAWYERS DIVISION COMMITTEE
Chair: Martha Leibell. The Law Clerk & Young Lawyers Division Committee works to incorporate recent law school graduates into the South Florida Chapter’s mission and events. This Committee’s dedication furthers the Chapter’s recognition that the younger members of the bar are the future of the Chapter, and works to ensure they are engaged and made to feel welcome as they progress in their careers.
LAW STUDENT COMMITTEE
Chair: Christopher Yannuzzi. The law student committee serves as a beacon to guide law students’ involvement in the South Florida Chapter of the FBA. This Committee is tasked with being the liaison to the law student committees of the Federal Bar Association established at each of the local law schools, and assists them in obtaining members and becoming active in the various events of the Chapter.
LEGAL SERVICES OF GREATER MIAMI INC COMMITTEE
Chair: Rachel Furst. The Legal Services of Greater Miami Inc. Committee acts as a liaison to the organization, offering support and involvement in their pro bono and community outreach project as well as promotion and engagement in their charitable and networking activities.
Co-Chairs: Tal Lifshitz and Enjolique Aytch Lett. The Membership Committee encourages lawyers to join and become active members in the South Florida Chapter of the FBA. In achieving this objective, the Membership Committee promotes the Chapter and engages the community in raising awareness about the benefits of membership. The Committee also works to ensure that its members are engaged in the Chapter and are current with their memberships.
Chair: Erica Zaron. The Newsletter Committee works tirelessly to put together the seasonal newsletter of the South Florida Chapter’s past events, highlighting the seminars, luncheons, and receptions that the Chapter hosts and actively participates in. The newsletter is offered in both print and online format to reach as many members as possible.
OPERATIONS & GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE
Chair: Ed Sanchez. The Operations Manual Committee works to ensure that the operations manual is being followed and is being kept up to date with the constantly evolving needs and interests of the South Florida Chapter. The members of this committee have intricate knowledge of the operations manual and employ critical thinking skills to offer updates to the manual.
PRO BONO COMMITTEE
Chair: Enjolique Aytch Lett. The pro bono committee works to support the FBA’s public service and pro bono mission by assisting the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida with its pro bono needs and by raising awareness of the numerous opportunities for FBA members to get involved and make a difference in their local community while honing their legal skills and enriching their own lives by helping those in need.
WOMEN'S INITIATIVE COMMITTEE
Chair: Celeste Higgins. The Women’s Initiative Committee works to promote the interests of female lawyers in the community and within the Federal Bar Association. The Women’s Initiative Committee hosts brown-bag luncheons to discuss the important issues facing a practicing female attorney, and works to engage the members of the bar and the judiciary in discourse focusing on important women’s issues in law and in life.