Welcome to the
Southwest Florida Federal Court Bar Association




A Message from the President:

As of October 1st we have the “changing of the guard” within out SWFL Federal Bar Association.  I am honored to be your 3rd President and to continue the pace set by my two predecessors.  A brief history:  in the fall of 2014 our local Federal judiciary posed the challenge to Brigette Willauer and Amanda Levy-Reis (both Federal Court staff attorneys) to gauge interest in re-vitalizing a local Federal Bar association.  Previously our locale had a chapter with a National group and over time interest had waned.  Putting together a group of SW attorneys to pick up the challenge, a new Association was born to address the needs of attorneys practicing in SW Florida.  To the latter, our SWFL Federal Bar Association is here to listen to what you need, what topics you want addressed, and what venues / avenues you want to learn this information.

Membership renewal is open NOW and I ask everyone to renew at the still amazing rate of $125 a year.  For this rate you get free, or at reduced rate, access to seminars and luncheons. Many people wonder why they should join the Federal Bar Association.  Whether your primary practice is in Federal Court, or you rarely go but you know that at any moment your case can end up in Federal Court, you need to have access to the rules and procedures of practicing in SW Florida Federal Court.  Some lawyers have told me they avoid taking a case if it could end up in federal court, or try to dissuade the opponent from removing a state case to federal court.  If an attorney felt more comfortable overall in federal court, wouldn’t that remove the above obstacle and make your life easier and you less vulnerable to the opponent’s maneuvering ? Think about it.

This year our program will include:  Chamber luncheons with the judges – a small group of lawyers and the judge eating pizza while casually talking (Judge Chappell’s luncheon is set for December 1st and space is limited); a cocktail reception with the judges and their clerks (Kick-Off Event Thursday October 26th at Miramar Country Club, 5:30-7:30PM – sign up now ):  seminars addressing  the burning topics of the year (last year’s seminars included E-Discovery; and understanding the new Federal rules);  after-hour receptions at Naples and Ft Myers pub or wineries where you can mingle with the judges and other lawyers;  and a ½ day or full day Trial Skills Seminar hosted by local lawyers who will teach you how to argue a motion / conduct opening and closing statements, and interview witnesses – all done in the Federal Courthouse with a judge.  The date for this is to be determined based upon sufficient interest from law firms with young associates who want to learn how to properly address the Court and / or more seasoned lawyers looking for a refresher course in trial practice.   Please let me know if a Trial Skills seminar would be of interest to you and we will begin planning it.

I would like to thank my Executive Board who has agreed to work with me this year, and acknowledge the continuing input and support of our Judges.  Everyone please renew your membership NOW and sign up for our October 26th Kick-Off Event at the lovely and conveniently located Miramar Country Club.  Hope to see you there!