Monday, September 14, 2015

Save the Date: Bench Bar Conference, Membership Luncheon & Judicial Reception on October 27

By Judges Samantha Ward and Lisa Campbell, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit

Character, competence, commitment, and civility. According to The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism, these are the “essential ingredients of professionalism.” Although the opposite might make for good TV, those who uphold these standards are the real-life legal stars.

Thus, the Hillsborough County Bar Association and its Bench Bar Committee co-chairs, Judges Samantha Ward and Lisa Campbell, are proud to announce the theme for the 19th Annual Bench Bar Conference ― Breaking Good: Prioritizing Professionalism in Advocacy. The focus of this year’s conference is on our duty to rise to the challenges we face in a profession that is inherently filled with drama and pressure.

We believe that the curriculum for this year’s conference is particularly timely and relevant, given the recent headlines shining a spotlight on professionalism issues in the legal field. After our traditional morning “ethics-themed” breakfast, the day’s break-out sessions promise to be both substantive and practical. In an effort to highlight progressive legal efforts outside the courtroom, we are adding sessions on collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution this year. In addition, we will feature a session on the LLC Revised Act.

Building on the success of our “View Toward the Bench” seminars, we are adding two “View from the Box” sessions, which will give attendees a chance to hear from former jury members on civil and criminal cases. Back by popular demand, the “View Toward the Bench” sessions will provide lawyers and judges the opportunity to candidly talk about practice-specific topics in round-table discussions, with segments focused on civil, criminal, appellate, federal, and family law.

For the first afternoon plenary session, our attention will turn to the U.S. Supreme Court with a review of the past term and preview of the term to come. And for our conference finale, we will wrap up our “Breaking Good” theme with a plenary session on professionalism. (For all you “Breaking Bad” fans, we did not ask Saul Goodman to speak at this one.)      

The Bench Bar Conference is the HCBA’s signature educational event of the year, and as always, the committee seeks to keep the channels of communication open between the bench and bar, with its primary focus on improving the justice system. Working together, we can make positive changes in our court system.
In the spirit of collaboration between the bench and bar, we also invite you to join us at the Judicial Reception immediately following the conference.

So please save the date for the Bench Bar Conference, Membership Luncheon & Judicial Reception on October 27. Look for more information about specific course offerings and registration instructions in email blasts from the HCBA and on We look forward to seeing you!