The Florida Bar

Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy

Logo Wm. Reese Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy

Training Today. Leading Tomorrow.

The Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy is a multi-session training program designed to assist a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers in becoming better leaders within our profession, in their chosen path, while enhancing their leadership skills. Each year a select group of participants are selected from applications submitted to The Florida Bar to become Academy Fellows.

During their one-year term, Academy Fellows follow a curriculum tailored to enhance their professional development, knowledge base and experience, including attending The Florida Bar events and special educational programs. Academy Fellows are given the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the Bar and their role in the legal profession, while enhancing their personal leadership skills. The Academy's Mission is to identify, nurture and inspire effective leadership within the Bar and the legal community.

2016-2017 Academy Fellows
On This Page:
Mission and Goals
Becoming a Fellow
Scholarship Opportunities
2016-2017 Academy Fellows
2016-2017 Academy Meetings
Academy Partners
Academy Committee
News & Photos
Contact Us


The 2018-2019 Leadership Academy Application will be available December 2017.

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1. Mission and Goals of the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr Leadership Academy
The mission of the Academy is to enhance the skills of a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers selected from across the state that will enable them to become effective leaders throughout the Bar, our profession and the greater community.

The Goals of the Academy include:

· To enhance leadership skills of a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers;

· To identify, nurture and inspire effective leadership within The Florida Bar and the legal community;

· To enhance the diversity of leaders within The Florida Bar;

· To raise the level of awareness and engagement among lawyers regarding issues facing the legal profession through the study of ethical, professional and public service issues

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2. Becoming a Fellow
Who Should Apply?

Applications to become a Fellow of the Academy are open to all Florida Bar members who are in good standing. Applicants with some history of leadership or involvement within The Florida Bar, their community, offices, and/or the legal profession are encouraged to apply.

Voluntary and specialty bar associations, Florida Bar sections and divisions, members of the judiciary, law firms, and bar members are also encouraged to nominate Fellows to the Academy.

Why Should I Apply?

As a Fellow you will be part of a select group of leaders who are provided the opportunity to:

1. Develop and enhance leadership skills important to your future in the legal profession.
2. Network, interact, collaborate, and build relationships with state and national bar leaders.
3. Get an insider's look at important role the Bar plays within our legal system, while exploring your role in the legal profession.

What Should I Know Before I Apply?

Attendance and Commitment Policy: Participation in the Academy as a Fellow requires a commitment of time and resources. Meetings typically will be held on Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon at various locations. Attendance at meetings is mandatory and Fellows may be dropped from the program for non-attendance. Fellows who complete the program will graduate and receive CLE credit for their participation.

The Academy meets approximately every other month for a total of six meetings, plus graduation. These meetings include meeting during The Florida Bar's Annual Convention in June, the September Fall meeting, and the January meeting of the Board of Governors in Tallahassee. The three other meetings are at various locations around the state. At the conclusion of the program, Fellows will participate in graduation at The Florida Bar's Annual Convention. While there is no tuition fee to attend the Academy, Fellows will be responsible for their travel expenses and accommodations while at meetings. Full and partial scholarships are available for those with financial need.

When Should I Apply?

The 2018-2019 Leadership Academy Application will be available December 2017.

Why Should My Employer Support My Application?

Fellows need to obtain the approval of their employers to participate in the Academy given the commitment required. With the invaluable leadership skills Fellows will learn from state and national bar leaders, employers can be assured that the busin
ess development possibilities and state wide networking opportunities are limitless for Fellows.

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3. Scholarship Opportunities
Scholarships for travel and accommodations are offered to Fellows on the basis of financial need. To be considered for scholarship from The Florida Bar, applicants should fill out the Scholarship Assistance Application and Certification within the application. Selection of Fellows is determined without consideration of financial need or scholarship interest.
Additionally, some sections and divisions, and other associations will offer scholarship opportunities to their members to participate in the Academy. Inquiry regarding those scholarship opportunities should be directed to those entities.

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2016-2017 Academy Fellows

Photos of the Fellows PDF document opens in new window

Onchantho Am, Orlando

Aaron Bates, Jacksonville

Allison Bekavac, Orlando

Jared Brooks, Orlando

Laura dePaz Cabrera, Alachua

Jesus Casas, Ft. Myers

Christine Concepcion, Miami

Ariel Cook, Jacksonville

Cornelius Demps, Tampa

Gregory d’Incelli, Miami

Amber Donley, Jacksonville

Jillene Doolkadir, Coral Springs

Fabienne Fahnestock, Ft. Lauderdale

LaDray Gilbert, Marianna

Josiah Graham, Ft. Lauderdale

Shenika Harris, Ft. Lauderdale

Janice Haywood, Ft. Lauderdale

Alen Hsu, Boca Raton

Erik Johanson, Tampa

Rosalind Johnson, Ocoee

Wilnar Jeanne Julmiste, Boca Raton

Bernice Lee, Boca Raton

Euyelit Moreno Kostencki, Miami

Zeshawn H. Mumtaz, Miramar

Celena R. Nash, Ft. Lauderdale

Jennifer Newton, Miami

Joseph Passeretti, Pensacola

Harold Pryor Jr., Ft. Lauderdale

Kristina Puente, Ft. Lauderdale

Jarred Reiling, Miami

Devona Reynolds Perez, Miami Lakes

Antonio Romano, Miami

Jihan Soliman, Miami

Edward Spaight Jr., Inverness

Tabitha Taylor, West Palm Beach

Cynthia Trimmer, Jacksonville

Christina Unkel, Sarasota

Mallory Widgren, Orlando

Alisa Wilkes, Jacksonville

Camara Williams, Orlando


2015-16 Academy Fellows

2014-15 Academy Fellows

2013-14 Academy Fellows
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2016-2017 Meetings
Annual Convention, Orlando (June 17-18)
Voluntary Bar Leaders Conference (July 15-16)
Fall Meeting, Tampa (October 20-21)
Jacksonville (November 18-19)
Board of Governors, Tallahassee (January 19-20)
Miami (April 7-8)

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Academy Partners
Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance

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Academy Committee

The Leadership Academy Committee is charged with overseeing the activities of the Academy, the Fellows and their activities. Review the Leadership Academy Committee page for the 2016-2017 members.

Juliet Murphy Roulhac, Chair

Melanie Shoemaker Griffin, Vice Chair
Kevin Anthony McNeill, Vice Chair
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News & Photos
Florida Bar News Articles:
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Contact Us
Questions regarding the Academy or becoming an Academy Partner should be directed to
Arnell Bryant-Willis.

[Revised: 03-06-2017]