Friday, August 29, 2014

Executive Director's Message: Ben Hill IV Sworn In As HCBA President; Bar Looks At Changing Legal Profession

By John F. Kynes

Ben Hill III took a moment to reflect on his career, and understandably, he became a bit nostalgic. The occasion was the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s 2014-15 Installation of Officers and Directors event on June 5 at the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center.

You see, Hill III recalled a similar ceremony 33 years ago, in 1981, when he was sworn in as HCBA president. Ten years later, in 1991, Hill III was elected president of The Florida Bar. And in 1999, he was the recipient of the HCBA’s Outstanding Lawyer Award.

At this installation ceremony, however, Hill III was tasked with introducing his son, Ben Hill IV, as the incoming president of the HCBA. Hill III noted that his other son, Gordon, was being installed as a director on the HCBA board as well. All three work at Hill Ward Henderson, where Hill III was a founding member.

In his introduction, Hill III talked about his son’s personal background and professional experience. Hill IV attended Jesuit High School, went to Vanderbilt University, and is a Stetson Law School graduate. In addition, Hill IV is a past president of the HCBA’s Young Lawyers Division, and he is a recipient of the Stetson Lawyers Association’s Outstanding Alumni Representative Award. 

“He brings to the table the culture that hopefully all of you have, and certainly we have in our firm, in that we believe very strongly in giving back to the community … and advancing our profession,” Hill III told those in attendance. 

In his remarks, Hill IV talked about leading the HCBA this year. “It’s special to be a part, much less lead, this association of such great lawyers,” he said.

Hill IV discussed the HCBA’s strong relationship with the judiciary and efforts to increase professionalism and civility in the legal profession. “This is an association about ‘us.’ I’m reminded that the ‘us’ and ‘we’ far outweighs the ‘I’ and the ‘me,’ ” Hill IV said. “That attitude has made the HCBA one of the most highly regarded Bar associations around the country.”

“I believe it’s our duty to maintain, and even enhance, the stellar reputation the Bar enjoys,” Hill IV added.


The fall season and a new Bar year also bring new opportunities for HCBA members. Opportunities to stay connected and forge new relationships with your colleagues in the legal profession. And opportunities to take advantage of the numerous educational and CLE programs made available throughout the year.

So consider joining the HCBA’s Lawyer Referral & Information Service and help grow your practice through case referrals.

Make it a point to attend the HCBA’s 18th Annual Bench Bar Conference & Judicial Reception scheduled for October 30 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

Also, stay tuned for information about a new HCBA health/wellness event later in the fall at the Ferguson Law Center. It will offer free health screenings and valuable personal health information for everyone.

At the same time, the HCBA and legal groups across the country must grapple with changes in the legal profession and evolve in order to stay relevant. That’s why I am pleased to be following the work of The Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 Commission.

Established by former Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis, this group is studying the future of the legal profession in the areas of legal education, technology, Bar admissions, and access to legal services.

“We are at the crossroads of major evolutionary changes in our profession,” Pettis said in a recent column in The Florida Bar Journal. “We must acknowledge a changing world, driven largely by technological advancements, and be willing to adapt.”

As we look to the future, this is something we should all keep an eye on.

See you around the Chet.