I really do love speaking about FLA at local county bar association luncheon meetings. As I’ve said before, the very fact that 50 or 60 lawyers are willing to take off from the office on a lovely Friday afternoon to socialize with each other, maybe listen to someone like me talk at them, and enjoy a nice meal places them in a distinct minority within the 94,000 Florida lawyers, most of whom think that being away from the office to enjoy oneself on a weekday (or even a weekend) is anathema. I had the pleasure of speaking at the Indian River County Bar Association today in Vero Beach and, like the Martin County Bar Association I spoke at last month, it was an extremely welcoming and cordial group of professionals. Of course, it still astounds me that FLA has been around for 26 years and we’re still thought of as the association that helps lawyers with only drug and alcohol problems, that we’re an agency of the Florida Bar, that we’re based in Tallahassee, and that we’re the alcohol police, none of which are true. So I get to dispel some misconceptions, explain that FLA is a a voluntary, lawyers-helping-lawyers association, and let the attendees know there is free, confidential help available for lawyers, judges, or law students who want help. I had a couple of people today who said they’d like to talk to me about lawyers they had concerns with, which by itself makes it a worthwhile trip. I wanted to thank Mark Hill, Rebecca Emmons, and the IRCBA members for their warm welcome and attentiveness (despite having a pretty nice steak in front of them), and look forward to visiting again in the future.
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