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  • Thursday, October 07, 2021 7:31 PM | Anonymous

    Justice John Couriel is the most fully “invested” justice to ceremonially join the Florida Supreme Court in its 175-year history. Sort of a veteran inductee.

    As Chief Justice Charles Canady noted in introductory remarks, Couriel’s October 7 ceremonial investiture came 16 months after he actually joined the court, the intervening delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is the 90th investiture to occur in a history that now stretches back 175 years,” the chief justice noted. “It is the first investiture in this court’s history to be delayed because of a pandemic.”That pause didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Couriel’s family, friends, former colleagues, and others who packed the court to sing his praises and poke more than a little good-natured fun at the justice.

  • Thursday, January 28, 2021 7:33 PM | Anonymous

    The Florida Supreme Court Historical Society held our annual “A Supreme Evening” fund-raising event virtually on January 28, and nearly 1,500 viewers watched the evening’s festivities on Zoom. The event lived up to its well-earned reputation as the “must-attend” event of the year for Florida's legal community. 

    After remarks by Society President Jon Claussen and Master of Ceremonies Hank Coxe, the audience enjoyed interviews with the court’s newest Supreme Court justices, John D. Couriel and Jamie R. Grosshans.

    Chief Justice Charles Canady offered his “State of the Court” address, focusing on the pandemic’s effect on the courts and Florida judiciary, the courts’ swift pivot to the use of remote technology and the trial courts’ backlog of unresolved cases. He also shared plans for a partnership with the Society to create a Judicial Learning Center inside the Court’s 175-year-old library to offer educational outreach and learning programs that draw on the court’s history. Justice Canady concluded with a reminder about the importance of the role of the courts in our system of constitutional government.

    The Historical Society presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Judge Joseph W. Hatchett, who was selected by a unanimous vote of the 75-member board of directors. Following moving video clips from former Gov. Reuben Askew, Chesterfield Smith and 

  • Wednesday, November 18, 2020 7:30 PM | Anonymous

    Jamie R. Grosshans didn’t set out to be on the Florida Supreme Court, but it’s not surprising that she has joined the state’s highest court as its newest justice, according to her friend, Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Meredith Sasso.

    Speaking at a packed Supreme Court at Grosshans’ ceremonial investiture November 17, Sasso said, “What Jamie did is she thought about what was important to her and she let that lead her. My advice to ambitious law students would be if you want to be like Justice Grosshans, first figure out what you believe in and then pursue what you’re passionate about and pursue it with integrity…

    As Chief Justice Charles Canady noted in opening the session, Grosshans was actually appointed to the court on September 14, 2020, by Gov. Ron DeSantis and has served since. But the ceremonial festivities to honor her being the 91st justice in the court’s 175-year history were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    But that didn’t make the session, by turns, any less joyful and solemn as friends, DeSantis, and others praised Grosshans and talked about her journey from growing up in the small Mississippi town of Brookhaven, through the University of Mississippi law school, becoming an assistant state attorney in Orlando, running her own small firm, service as a county judge and on the Fifth DCA, and then to the Supreme Court.

  • Wednesday, February 10, 2016 2:58 PM | Mark Miller

    Attorney Bruce B. Blackwell of Winter Park, a founding partner of King, Blackwell, Zehnder & Wermuth, P.A., in Orlando, Historical Society Trustee and Past President, now CEO/executive director of The Florida Bar Foundation, was presented with the 2016 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award at a Jan. 28 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida.

    The award, the highest statewide pro bono award, commemorates the late Miami lawyer Tobias Simon, who was a tireless civil rights attorney, a crusader for prison reform and an appellate authority. For Blackwell, more than 40 years of pro bono service has meant not just the direct representation of clients but also recruiting others to provide pro bono representation and lobbying to strengthen and preserve the network of legal aid organizations serving the poor.  

    In 2014, Blackwell showed his commitment to service by retiring from the firm he helped to found and becoming only the second CEO/executive director in the history of The Florida Bar Foundation. Blackwell was interim director for three months and then, when asked, took the full-time position. He became CEO at a difficult time, as low interest rates depleted the Foundation’s reserves at the very time that access to justice was becoming such a crucial issue in Florida.

    “This was a call I just had to answer, as the Foundation is simply too important,” Blackwell said.

    Beyond his work with the Foundation, Blackwell has donated thousands of hours of direct pro bono services.

    A fifth-generation Floridian, Blackwell graduated from Florida State University College of Law.

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